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    The proportion of employers attempting to recruit has risen but two-thirds are still struggling to find the right candidates, prompting a call for skills development to be elevated to the top of the new government’s agenda.

    Sixty per cent of UK organisations were recruiting in the second quarter of this year, an increase from 53% in Q1.

    But finding the right candidate was a challenge for 64%, although this was an improvement on the percentage reporting difficulties in Q1 (73%).

    The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Totaljobs, which surveyed more than 6,500 organisations, said reforming the skills development system was vital if Boris Johnson’s government was to alleviate labour shortages in the long term.

    They want to see a coherent and long-term plan to meet employers’ skills needs, as well as an efficient and cost-effective means of recruiting overseas workers at all levels.

    Claire Walker, co-executive director at BCC, said: “The solution to plugging the UK’s skills gap in the long-term includes reforming the skills education and training system, and giving it time to bed in.

    “We look forward to working with the new administration to get the system working better for everyone and ensuring firms can access the skills they need to improve growth and productivity.”

    She said employers also needed clarity on how they would manage their future workforce requirements after 31 October, when the UK is due to leave the EU.

    Almost a third (30%) of employers planned to increase headcount in the next three months, with construction firms reporting the greatest need to grow their workforce (38%). Just 7% of employers expected their workforce to decrease in Q3.

    Eight in 10 hotel and catering organisations that responded to the survey attempted to recruit in Q2, but the vast majority (77%) were for part-time roles. Transport and distribution firms were also in need of new staff (72%).

    Patrick Wehrmann, CEO of Totaljobs, said: “The labour market continues to weather economic uncertainty, with the vast majority of businesses showing a continued commitment to maintaining or increasing staff headcount.

    “As a consequence of not only an increasing national living and minimum wage, but also a continued challenge to recruit, it is telling that Q2 2019 saw the fastest rise in real-wage growth in over three years, outpacing inflation and expert predictions. As employers look to attract their next hire, there is an opportunity for people possessing in-demand skills to make significant progress in their career and begin to realise their earning potential.

    “In light of this, employers should be mindful of their employer value proposition, and ensure that while salaries remain competitive, they consider more than just pay as a solution to overcoming skills shortages.”

    By A. Webber

    New data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) shows that UK employers’ intentions to hire temporary agency workers have risen dramatically amidst pessimism about the economic outlook.

    According to April’s JobsOutlook report, the balance of sentiment for hiring agency workers in the short-term was 10 percentage points higher than the previous month at net: +3. Sentiment in the medium term was at net: +1, up nine percentage points from the previous month.

    This is despite employers’ confidence in economic prospects for the UK dropping once again, by three percentage points from last month to net: -31. This is the lowest level since the JobsOutlook survey began measuring sentiment about the economy amongst Britain’s businesses, and is 57 percentage points lower than in June 2016.

    In contrast, employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions in their own businesses remained significantly higher, at net: -4. This was a fall of three percentage points from the previous month, the second successive month that this measure has been in negative territory.

    Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said,

    These figures emphasise again how Britain’s fantastic jobs market supports prosperity, given an uncertain economic outlook and lower business investment. Firms are only marginally less confident in hiring for themselves in today’s survey – and far more positive than they are about the wider economy. Given recent political events, these figures are remarkably robust.

    The more positive figures on hiring for temporary workers suggest that many businesses are turning to agency work to help them navigate the unpredictability they currently face. This might be driven by waiting to see whether permanent hiring is justified, or by using additional labour to meet demand rather than making big capital investments. In the long run, however, employment will be best supported by the stability a clear Brexit outcome will bring. It’s time to get on with delivering this.

    The delay to Brexit has given firms breathing space, and anecdotes from recruiters suggest that the jobs market has improved in the past few weeks. Building on this trend needs a deal – but it also needs action to address key staff shortages in some sectors. Employers are leading the way in addressing this, with the survey showing increasing activity on both training and inclusion. But government can help this process by reforming the apprenticeship levy into something that benefits all workers, through a flexible training levy approach.

    Following this quarter’s improvement in anticipated demand for temporary workers, 34 per cent of employers intending to hire temporary workers expressed concern over the sufficient number of agency workers with the necessary skills they require. Employers are ready to hire in some areas – especially where there are skills shortages. More employers planned to increase, rather than decrease their permanent headcount in the short-term, at net: +16. Over the medium-term, forecasts for permanent hiring remained positive at net: +19. Almost half (46 per cent) of UK employers expressed concern about the availability of permanent-hire candidates, with a lack of Engineering & Technical and Health & Social Care workers continuing to cause most concern. Four in five employers surveyed in March 2019 specifically (80 per cent) had either no surplus workforce capacity, or such a small amount that they may need to hire more staff if demand increased. Four in five employers surveyed in March (83 per cent) plan to offer training and upskilling opportunities to their staff in 2019 to increase the productivity of their business. Seven in ten employers surveyed in March (71 per cent) plan to actively promote inclusion and diversity, while 58 per cent plan to offer more flexible working practices in an effort to increase productivity.

    When employers sift through hundreds of applications from people with good CVs, nailing your cover letter could make all the difference between that high-flying job and the doldrums of unemployment.

    The eternal questions for job hunters are numerous: How long should my cover letter be? How formal should it be written? What are the do’s and don’ts?

    Basics first
    A formally structured letter is the place to start. Your address and personal details aligned right and the employers’ aligned left.

    Addressing the letter to someone mentioned on the job application is also essential, and “Dear Sir/Madam” if no name is given.

    When employers are drowning in job applications, the last thing they want to do is to trudge their way through page after page of flowery prose. Keep it brief and make it clear and punchy. But how long is too long? We recommend no more than a side of A4.

    Recruitment experts also say the key is not to just replicate the same generic cover letter for different jobs.

    Instead you need to tailor it each time to include specific skills and show passion for what is undoubtedly your dream job, even if it is not.

    Taking things to the next level
    Beyond the basics, what do job hunting experts recommend to up your cover letter game?

    Duncan Watt, who runs the website The CV & Interview Expert, told The Independent: “The best approach is to summarise the three to four most important things on the job description and then address these in a logical manner, highlighting briefly how your experience matches the requirements. “If it is a speculative letter then look at the key requirements of the kind of role you are applying for, and the companies stated values, and apply the same principle,” he added.

    Watt says one of the most common mistakes in cover letters is “overselling yourself, by making claims which if true would mean you don’t need a job as you are already hugely successful”.

    The other rooky error is talking about what you want from your next role. “Companies are generally more interested in what you bring to the table in the first instance,” he said.

    For candidates who have spent the time building their CV and work experience, it can be tricky to cram it all into one cover letter without waffling on.

    “Only cover things in the letter that relate to the company or job in question, if you have 20 skills but only four are relevant then focus on those four,” Watt said.

    1. Sound finances
    If you’re paying good money to a recruitment consultancy you need to be assured that your cash is not going to disappear into a black hole of fragile cash flow. It will be the consultancy who pay the media to place your advertising. The company can only do that if it has good credit, and sound financial relationships. Cash flow is key to a successful consultancy as they will need to pay expenses and possibly temp staff’s first months’ wages before you’ve even paid their bill, if they’re not properly financed it could cause you grief.

    As in “sorry – your jobs didn’t get posted because we couldn’t pay the job board’s invoice”.

    2. Reliable systems
    Even in our digital age, any busy recruitment agency is going to be processing thousands of CVs. applications, advertising bookings, invoices, letters and contracts.

    There’s a huge circle of communication between consultancy, clients and candidates; and if it’s not processed perfectly the consequences can be catastrophic. In short, you need to know that they know what they’re doing. And without really good administrative systems they won’t have a clue.

    3. Relevant experience
    Recruitment experience goes without saying. You need people who know your market sector, your geographic area and the demographics that link the two. Knowledge of legislation that’s specific to your business is important.

    So is an awareness of the rhythm of the business year in your field and keeping on top of your competitors are doing. Knowing who else is hiring, and when; having a feel for what likely candidates are on the move, is vital information. Experience is important, yes. But relevant experience is an absolute deal breaker.

    4. Overall awareness
    Experience of your business needs to be specific and relevant, but awareness of recruitment needs to be far more wide reaching. New legislation issues like modern slavery and international regulations are subjects you can’t possibly specialise in, but you can expect your recruitment consultancy to know.

    Take a look at how they work. And where. If a visit to their offices reveals one overworked consultant and a part time receptionist the chances are they don’t have the time to get themselves up to speed with the fast moving facts of recruitment legislation. Find a team who have the resources to ensure you’re covered.

    5. The extra mile
    You want people who go the extra mile and then some. It’s about customer service, innovative thinking, attention to detail and a myriad of other difficult to define things that make a consultancy stand out from its competitors. The interesting thing here is that, as essential as the technology is when it comes to systems, it’s the personal touch that makes this happen.

    When it comes down to it, you need to interview a recruitment consultancy like you’d interview a candidate. The trick is to address these five crucial points so that the candidates you do see are the right ones. Brought to you by the right consultancy.

    UK jobs advertised rose by more than five per cent in July 2019 as employers seem to be enjoying “successful hiring strategies”. This is the highest level of job vacancies publicised since October 2018.

    These findings were collated by job board, CV-Library, which found that advertised vacancies rose by 5.3 per cent in July. When comparing the same period in 2019 to 2018, the job board found that candidate applications also increased by 15 per cent.

    CV-Library feels this shows businesses to be in a strong position as they are “gaining a strong return on recruiting investments and enjoying their pick of the bunch.”

    The top ten cities that enjoyed the biggest increase in applications to new roles year-on-year are:

    • Edinburgh – 23.3 per cent increase in applications  
    • London – 22.9 per cent increase in applications  
    • Southampton – 21.9 per cent increase in applications  
    • Bristol – 21.5 per cent increase in applications   
    • Brighton – 16.9 per cent increase in applications  
    • Leicester – 16.3 per cent increase in applications  
    • Manchester – 14.3 per cent increase in applications  
    • Birmingham – 11.2 per cent increase in applications  
    • Cardiff – 9 per cent increase in applications  
    • Glasgow – 6.7 per cent increase in applications 

    The average pay packet for new jobs also hit a three-month high and grew by 5.6 per cent year-on-year, helping to add to the increase in candidate applications.  The cities with the highest salary increase were Leicester (10 per cent), Glasgow (8.4 per cent) and Manchester (6.2 per cent).

    Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library said:

    July was not only a record month in terms of the weather, but also for job vacancies. Employers have been upping their recruiting efforts and clearly, candidates have been listening. Our job market data shows that businesses have bucked the trend of slowing down their hiring plans during the quieter summer months and are seeing a strong return on their recruitment drive as a result.

    These findings are especially positive, considering the mini heatwave we’ve had in the past month. Whilst many Brits would be tempted to take days off to chill out and enjoy the sunshine, it seems that instead they’ve been busy applying for new jobs. So, if you’re thinking of expanding your team or are recruiting for a difficult position, now’s the time to advertise your vacancies.

    CV-Library gathered this information by studying the latest job market data.

    Analysis of over 1.1 million UK CVs has revealed the most common CV buzzwords seen by prospective employers. Job search engine Adzuna has scoured through the CVs on its platform to bring to light the UK’s most common job-hunting clichés, revealing the number of CVs in which they appear, and the amount of times the words or phrases have been used in total.

    Analysis of over 1.1 million UK CVs has revealed the most common CV buzzwords seen by prospective employers. Job search engine Adzuna has scoured through the CVs on its platform to bring to light the UK’s most common job-hunting clichés, revealing the number of CVs in which they appear, and the amount of times the words or phrases have been used in total.

    Work ethic and a good attitude are clearly important skills to demonstrate for UK job hunters, with ‘motivated’ topping the list as the most used buzzword in UK CVs. ‘Motivated’ features in over a quarter of CVs (26%) analysed, appearing 312,000 times in total.

    ‘Initiative’ follows closely behind, featuring in 24% – equating to over 256,000 CVs. ‘Social’ also appears in nearly one fifth of all CVs analysed. The word, which could refer to either social-media skills, socialising or other social skills, commonly appears more than once in CVs. The term is used 372,265 times in total, more than any other CV skill.

    Less commonly used words include ‘assertive’, found in just 8,171 CVs followed by ‘good sense of humour’ and ‘fun’ featuring in just 19,000 and 23,000 respectively.

     

    Top 10 CV buzzwords

    Term

    Number of CVs containing term at least once

    Percentage of CVs containing term at least once

    1 Motivated 278,057 26%
    2 Initiative 256,027 24%
    3 Social 207,092 19.6%
    4 Organised 175,188 16.5%
    5 Friendly 173,978 16.4%
    6 Leader 152,153 14.3%
    7 Experienced 151,102 14.3%
    8 Hardworking 140,828 13.3%
    9 Outgoing 89,191 8.4%
    10 Driven 71,666 6.8%

    Conservative MP Helen Whately, introduced a flexible working bill in Parliament last Tuesday, with Anna Whitehouse, founder of the campaign Flex Appeal, saying it was “a huge moment”.

    Ms Whately’s Ten Minute Rule Bill was given approval to go to a second reading on Wednesday.

    Introducing her bill, she argued that unless employers had a sound business reason for having specific working hours, firms should introduce flexibility to every job.

    “The 40-hour, five-day working week made sense in an era of single-earner households and stay-at-home mums, but it no longer reflects the reality of how many modern families want to live their lives,” she said.

    “At the moment, too many women are reluctantly dropping out of work or going part-time after having children because their employers won’t allow them flexibility.

    “This entrenches the assumption that men are the breadwinners and women are the homemakers.

    “As a result, men don’t get to spend as much time as they might like with their children, women miss out on career opportunities, and the country loses out on the contribution they could and would like to make – if only they could do slightly different hours or work some days from home.”

    Ms Whitehouse, known on social media as Mother Pukka, founded the Flex Appeal campaign after her own flexible working request was refused by her employer.

    Speaking to the BBC, she said, “Today was a huge moment after campaigning on the streets for five years now. Now it feels like people are finally listening.”

    The mother-of-two, now an author and blogger, said she wanted to “open employers’ eyes that there are humans driving their business”, and retaining staff would be far easier if people were had a better balance of work and family life.

    Ella Smillie, from the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality, said: “We urge MPs to give Helen Whately’s bill the support it deserves.

    “Ensuring that employers offer flexible working would open up new jobs to a whole raft of people who want to work, alongside carrying out caring responsibilities or simply achieving a better work-life balance.

    “There are also clear benefits to employers – offering flexible working to employees creates a stronger, loyal and more diverse workforce, which pays dividends.”

    The Gov.co.uk website states the types of flexible working as:

    • Job-sharing
    • Working from home
    • Part-time
    • Compressed hours
    • Flexitime
    • Annualised hours
    • Staggered hours
    • Phased retirement

    The BBC reports that Ms Whately gave an example of a male lawyer who asked his employer if he could work flexibly one day a week, only to be asked what his wife was doing.

    “All these conversations start with a presumption against flexibility,” the MP said. “I ask what if we flip the question and ask whether a job can’t be done flexibly.

    “How many more employers would find that actually it didn’t make a difference where or when a piece of work was done, as long as it was done?”

    MPs often use Ten Minute Rule bills to gain publicity and support for an issue they care about – they are unlikely to become law unless they get government backing.

    The competition for top graduate talent has never been higher. According to a new report, The Must-Know Student Recruitment Trends in the UK for 2019 candidates on average, apply for graduate schemes with 29 different UK employers. As a result the number of applicants per graduate scheme has reached an all-time high with companies within the financial and professional services sectors having to deal with over 250,000 applications and other sectors typically receiving applications from 50,000 graduates.

    The new study reviewed anonymous application data from 3.8 million candidates applying to graduate programmes across the finance, government, professional services, advertising, engineering and retail industries*.

    According to the report competition is not just tougher for the recruiter, but also the candidate. Three quarters of students are interested in graduate programmes but only one per cent of graduates applying for schemes within finance, advertising and professional services and major retailers were hired in 2018, falling from two per cent the previous year.

    These falls can in part be attributed to the fact that 2017 saw the first drop in graduate recruitment in five years (4.9 per cent) and the biggest since 2009. With fewer graduate jobs to go for, graduates are applying for more than twice as many positions compared with 10 years ago in the hope of increasing their chances of being hired.

    However graduate recruiters are making gains in other areas. The gender gap has closed significantly – 58 per cent of all graduate scheme hires were male versus 42 per cent female in 2018. This compares to 69 per cent male and 31 per cent female the previous year. The public sector is the best performer, achieving 50/50 gender equality. The engineering, retail and advertising sectors are still struggling with gender bias – with 70 per cent of graduate scheme places going to men.

    Race equality has also improved, with the proportion of black candidates being hired doubling over the past 12 months. However, this group does still only accounts for six per cent of total hires. Asian applicants also saw a rise in hire rates in 2018, increasing from 13 per cent to 16 per cent.

     

    Guest Blog by Anthony Sherick, Director of Technojobs

    The past twelve months saw a significant amount of change in the recruitment sector, and now, more than ever before, its key that recruitment leaders are aware of the trends that will impact the local, and global recruitment markets. So, what are the trends that will shape the recruitment sector in 2019?

    Diversity

    As candidates and employers become acutely aware of subconscious bias and gender coded language, increased diversity attraction and training are becoming key focuses for HR teams. Fostering workplace diversity makes business sense for all employers as they realise the importance of addressing these biases in the recruitment process. As such, many will invest heavily in 2019 to ensure they have diversity practices in place and that their employer brand is inclusive to all.

    HR Tech thrives and evolves

    Over the last year we’ve seen far greater adoption of new HR tech than ever before, and the technology will only improve over the course of 2019. As the platforms available to in-house teams become even more sophisticated, incorporating new technologies such as AI, Chatbots, and machine learning, the benefits of investing into new technology will become increasingly evident. These systems also lend themselves to data driven recruitment practices, and allow HR times to evaluate and improve the hiring process.

    Blockchain makes its mark

    Blockchain was one of the most talked about technologies in 2018, but this year will see the technology – which underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin – make its mark on the recruitment sector. This year we begin to see new applications for the technology gain traction such as blockchain verified CVs. Verified CVs, or ‘Intelligent Profiles’ store every aspect of a career profile on a blockchain making the CV verified at the beginning of the hiring process for employers.

    Employer branding is crucial

    How best to attract passive candidates is a reoccurring topic of conversation among HR teams and recruitment leaders, and as we look to 2019, employer branding will be invaluable. Cultivating a strong employer brand is no longer a ‘nicety’ but an absolute necessity. Recruiters and in-house teams both need to expand the number of channels to promote company culture; employee advocacy to target candidates – potentially before they’ve even started searching for a new role.

    Targeted candidate attraction

    As the digital skills gap widens in a number of sectors, sourcing the right candidate for a role can become incredibly difficult. Recruiters and HR teams looking to find the best candidates with the right skillsets will need to target previously untapped niche communities. New entrants including Facebook and Google, have realised the opportunity of using their reach for hiring. Niche jobsites that attract specific communities will continue to offer targeted value.

    The gig economy expands

    In recent years the gig economy has altered the nature of the recruitment market, with 1.1 million people in the UK now ‘employed’ within the gig economy – nearly as many people as who work for the NHS. HR teams will have to look for new ways to attract candidates with vastly different job profiles, skillsets and, experience, to other potential candidates.

    Compliance is key

    As GDPR enters force in May 2018, organisations across Europe, and the rest of the globe, will have to comply with stricter data privacy laws – more than ever before. The fragmented nature of the recruitment sector in the UK means that often candidate’s personal data is passed between multiple parties during the hiring process. Recruitment companies will have to work on best practice to ensure they comply with the new law, and it will be interesting to see how the industry works together to implement these new practices. One thing is certain – candidate transparency will be essential.

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