The Office for National Statistics has released the latest labour market figures. Pleasingly showing that the rate of unemployment rate has dropped over the 3months to February 2017 to 4.7%. Twleve months ago it was 5.1%. The rate has not been lower since June to August 1975.
Employers want more employees and are increasingly wanting those employees full-time workers. All workers whether they are full or part time are working more hours.
Worryingly along side the increased demand for workers the number of vacancies is now at its highest level since records began, suggesting that there are simply not enough people available to fill all the vacancies that employers have.
The increase in demand for workers coupled with a shortage of candidates should create a growth in wages, but this is not happening.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, has described the Consumer Price Index (CPI) published in March 2017 which showed an inflation rate of 2.3% as meaning that, “Rising prices and sluggish pay increases mean that real earnings growth has now ground to a halt. Without government action, another living standards crisis is on the cards. We urgently need more investment in skills and infrastructure to build strong foundations for better paid jobs. And it’s time to scrap the pay restrictions hitting midwives, teachers and other public servants.”
The ONS have described the earnings situation as meaning that annual real wage growth is at its lowest rate since 2014.
It is likely that seasonal factors have given the jobs market a boost.
Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, said “that their website now has a total number of advertised job vacancies sitting at 1,126,376, so there are still numerous opportunities available to jobseekers and employees alike.”
The question remains do the candidates have the skills that employers are looking for?
The pay rates listed in job adverts on Adzuna is starting to show a slight increase but says Doug “it not be at a rate worth celebrating quite yet but it does show the resilience of the labour market and is a promising indicator of future growth.”
We do need the talent pool, both domestic and international, to keep pace with the labour market, however, there are still some questions that need to be answered as the country gears up for Brexit.
Former Chancellor George Osborne has said that he wants to win the race to becoming the FinTech centre of the world, but the UK is neither creating a home grown workforce with the necessary skills or attracting international workers to fill the gap. It is debatable how Brexit will affect this.
The Spring Budget did promote spending on the development of IT experts and access to people with digital and IT skills so perhaps the outlook for the medium-term future could be quite bright. But in the short-term, British business will need to take real care to maintain access to overseas talent.
Posted in Recruitment
An interesting survey landed on my desk this morning.
The research from GCS Recruitment’s Marketing Insights indicates that 70% of people are just one step away from resigning from their jobs.
The reason according to the analysis of the survey is the blurring between work and home lives which means that an astonishing 21% of bosses expect to be able to contact their employees 24 hours a day seven days a week.
The specialist technology recruiter spoke to 1,752 candidates and 826 clients, and found that 70% of people consider themselves passive job seekers – this means that while they make be happy in their current roles, they are willing to consider new positions.
Combine this with the fact over a fifth of bosses expect employees to always be contactable outside of work hours (21%) and another showing 62% of employees are unhappy with their benefits package, and the nation’s employers could face a deluge of resignations in the coming months.
The demands for 24/7 contact is facilitated by technology that also makes it easier for recruiters to interact with passive job seekers.
It is surprisingly easy for recruiters to converse with candidates, whether this is via social media or on job boards. In the world of 24/7 connectivity, candidates will have opportunities placed in front of them more regularly – and when it comes to those who are regularly fielding calls from the boss out of hours, it’s not difficult to see why a new role may seem tempting.
As well as bosses with bad habits, the survey showed that 62% of people are not happy with the benefits package offered at their organisation, and a quarter of us believe that our workplace’s remuneration package is below the industry standard.
It seems that despite moves towards working from home becoming more standard, not all employees have yet benefited. 44% of survey respondents said being able to work from home is the work perk that would make the biggest difference to their life – this is over 20% more people than those who would value flexi-time (23%) and 30% more than those who said compressed hours would improve their work life balance (14% of respondents).
Other key points from the survey include:
• 68% of employers think hot desking has a negative impact on productivity
• 59% of companies increased flexible working in 2016
• 48% of say their colleagues make their company a great place to work
Posted in Recruitment
Michael Millward joined Elly Fiorentini on the BBC Radio York Drive Time Show to discuss how important it is for employers to check that what a candidate tells them during the recruitment process is actually correct.
The discussion was prompted by the admission by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), following the acquittal of PC Simon Harwood of the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson, that insufficient recording and checks of PC Harwood’s background had taken place before he was allowed to rejoin the MPS. Deborah Glass, deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has ordered that a disciplinary hearing be held in public and said that the case created grave concerns about how the MPS vetted applicants. MORE
Many of the listeners, said Mr Millward will be shocked by what has happened in London, but the reality is that many, many, employers simply do not check that what a prospective employee is telling them is accurate.
In many ways, he said the recruitment process is one of employer beware!
Candidates are bound to present themselves in the best light and forget to mention their shortcomings let alone the evidence that they are unsuitable for the role which they have applied for.
Employers all too often take what a candidate says on face value. Too many interview questions are tests of whether the candidate can remember what they have written on their CV.
Interviewers should ask open questions; Questions that start with Who, What, Why When, How, and give the candidate the opportunity to demonstrate their competence.
Once they have identified the ideal candidate they should always conduct another check on the candidate with their references.
Many employers avoid providing a reference for past employers, because they worry about employees suing them for defamation or libel.
It is good practice for an employer to provide former employees with a reference and is a legal necessity in some regulated industries like financial services.
If a reference is accurate and does not mislead the company that has requested it then an employer does not have to worry about libel. It is perfectly alright to say that an employee was disciplined in relation to their attendance if that is an accurate statement. But unless the employee agrees you shouldn’t include details of their medical records or spent criminal convictions, unless it if relevant to the job that they have applied for.
It is important that an employer does not provide comprehensive references for some employees but not for others. This is discriminatory.
It is perhaps a good idea, said Mr Millward, to have a standard reference response that includes:
Prepare this as part of the leaving process and it will be ready for any time in the future.
Employers must be aware that people can ask a new employer to show them the references that past employers and other people have provided. Employers are bound by the Data Protection Act to provide these copies.
Telephone references should be avoided as there is too much risk that what has been said can be misinterpreted.
Employers owe a duty of care to both their employee and the company that has requested the reference for the content of a reference it must be true, accurate and fair.
If the reference does not meet this criterion the recipient or the employee may be able to bring a claim in negligence for any damage suffered as a result. To be successful such claims must prove that the reference is misleading, is likely to have an effect on a reasonable recipient and that the employer was negligent in providing it.
Employees can resign and claim constructive dismissal if an employer fails to provide a fair and reasonable reference while they are still an employee.
“The challenges of providing and using references like many other employment processes” said Mr Millward, “are blown out of all proportion. Checking the background of a prospective employee can save a lot of expense and pain for both the employer and the prospective employee. It is a vital part of the recruitment process. Hire right and you remove the risk of future employment issues. The trick as with so many management activities is knowing how to do it right.”
Michael Millward has been interviewed by Simeon de la Torre for the latest issue of Shortlist magazine about career crisis and how to prevent them becoming a disaster.
Mr Millward was asked how readers should respond when they are accused of making a discriminatory comment to a colleague and also about how to cope when faced with the prospect of demotion.
Mr Millward also introduced Simeon de la Torre to other interviewees for the article.
Abeceder managing director and vice chairman of the North Yorkshire branch of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development spoke at a branch event in Scarborough about how employers could improve their selection decisions.
Posted in Recruitment