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A rise in the minimum wage has been suggested by the LPC – Low Pay Commission. The recommended increase is 3% which would bring the minimum wage up to £6.70 per hour (for adults). The recommended increases for other employees are

  • An increase from £5.13 to £5.30 for 18-20 year olds
  • An increase from £3.72 to £3.87 for 16 – 17 year olds
  • An increase from £2.73 to £ 2.80 for apprentices.

If the recommendations are passed, they will be effective from October 2015. It will also signify the largest increase to wages since 2007.

Business secretary Vince Cable comments “If this recommendation were accepted, the value of the minimum wage would be higher than when we came to office in 2010, and we are now making good progress towards restoring the value it lost during the financial crisis.”
HR Magazine, February 2015

The University of Cambridge and Britain’s Healthiest Companies have published results of recent research. The results indicate that 51% of employees would describe their health as ‘good’ or very good’ despite the fact these 51% have four or more ‘risk factors’. These risk factors are health issues which could potentially lead to serious illnesses. Tony Cooke, Adidas HR director said “We live in a 24/7 environment that has therefore caused a lot of cases around stress, mental illness and mental fatigue. Employees won’t tell their managers that they are struggling as it is seen as a sign of weakness.” He continued to say that Adidas has placed a big focus on CBT therapy and on the ’emotional wellbeing’ of its employees. Cooke believes that employees should be encouraged to become more active in participating in ‘wellbeing schemes’. Statistics from Mercer Health and Benefits head of health management consulting Wolfgang Seidl show that mental health costs business in the UK £8.4 billion per annum due to absenteeism from the workplace. The cost of presenteeism is £15.1 billion.
HR Magazine, February 2015

The use of zero contracts, which were used by many employers at the start of the recession, is now here for the long term according to the Office for National Statistics.  Currently, there are approximately 700,000 employees on zero hour contracts. In 2014, the government revealed plans to tighten up the legislation on zero hour contracts. It intends to ‘ban exclusivity clauses’ which restrict employees from having another employer. Stuart Neilson a Pinsent Masons partner warns that legislation must be ‘very targeted and specific’ in order to meet the needs of both employers and employees.  CBI director for employment  and skills  Neil Carberry warns, “The important thing is to ensure that action taken to avoid any abuses doesn’t restrict the use of flexible contracts – figures show that almost two-thirds of people are satisfied with the number of hours they work, and being in work gives people more opportunities to increase their hours,”.
HR Magazine, February 2015

Jelf Employee Benefits conducted research which has revealed that many (84%) of employers is fearful that their employees may fall victim to pension scams in April (when ‘pension freedoms’ come into effect). 55% of employers indicated they will be providing measures to help protect staff from the scams and to inform them of the potential problems. 19% of employers will offer informative meetings and 35% of employers will communicate to employees through writing. Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Jelf Employee Benefits says ‘the key to avoiding any potential scam is awareness and education –and this is most certainly true in the complex area of pension savings’.  Now:Pensions CEO Morten Nilsson said, ’employers have a critical role to play in raising awareness of these scams, directing retiring staff to the [government’s] Pension Wise service and to other resources designed to help keep their pension pots safe’.
HR Magazine, February 2015

The subject of gender diversity and female representation on boards in businesses and organisations is being tackled by CIPD.   They are encouraging businesses to promote women to senior positions and to encourage a faster rate of appointment. Since 2012, there has only been a 1.8 % increase of female representation at executive director level in the FTSE 100 companies. This has led CIPD to press businesses and organisations to hire more females onto boards and at both executive and non-executive levels. CIPD would also like to see organisations have a ‘voluntary target’ of no less than ‘20% female executive directors among FTSE 100 firms by 2020’. CIPD has also published its latest study entitled Gender Diversity in the Boardroom: Reach for the Top which examines how to improve gender diversity in business. The results of this research also highlighted that voluntary targets were more effective than quotas to improve ‘long term gender diversity’.
The Global Recruiter, March 2015

The Department for Business has published the results of its latest research which involved researching 80 companies in the UK to examine the effect of migrant workers. The study revealed that migrant workers are beneficial to UK businesses from both performance and productivity perspectives. Some of the benefits that migrants offer include being able to teach new skills in areas such as IT, ‘culturally unique’ skills and skills that are beyond those that were specified in the job description, specifically in areas such as IT, language and management experience. The manager of a London Biotech firm was quoted as saying ‘In our world we benefit strongly from having access to migrant workers, because these are highly skilled people, highly educated people. We as a company benefit and I’m sure the country benefits also from having them. It’s not like they’re taking up a job that could have gone to a local person, by having them, new businesses are created’.
Recruitment International, February 2015

Dell and Intel recently conducted research on the work-life balance of UK adults. Raj Vekaria from Xerox has coined this work-life ‘collision’ ‘homing from work’.  The results of the research showed that 41% of adults monitor work emails after work hours whilst 26% continue to receive work related phone calls.  There were some mixed opinions regarding working from home. 33% of people believe working from home is not as beneficial as working from the office whilst 80% believed working from home was ‘an extra benefit’. The research also highlighted that employees often carry out errands of a personal nature during working hours. Raj Vekaria also stated that employees are match [ing] their professional lives with their personal lives whether they are home-based or in the office. They are adapting their work style to do personal tasks during work hours and then carry on with work in the evening’.
HR Magazine, February 2015

The latest figures from ONS have revealed that unemployment for young people (16 – 24 year olds) remains the same as last year with 16.2% jobless. Chris Jones from City & Guilds Group calls for more training programmes to be available for youths in order to give them the experience and skills required for the jobs market and that ‘links skills to the economic forecasts’ On a positive note, unemployment figures have decreased by 97,000 and salaries have risen by 2.1% (bonus included) and 1.7% (bonus excluded). Gerwyn Davies, CIPD labour market adviser, says “If we are to improve overall UK productivity, we must lift the bonnet on British businesses, and take a look at what they are doing to develop and use their people’s skills. Until this issue is tackled, performance and pay will continue to suffer.”
HR Magazine, February 2015

Prudential has conducted research involving people intending to retire in the coming six months. The study revealed that 21% of people due to retire this year admit they are not prepared for no longer working whilst 24% intend to postpone it (retirement).  There are various reasons for this –financial and health.  Financial concerns are one major issue amongst potential retirees with over half saying they would continue working for financial reasons. According to the research, this is the sixth continuous year that retirees have expressed this view. 12% of workers would consider taking up a part time job. Many people expressed a wish to continue working for health reasons – 35% enjoy working and communicating with colleagues, 39% of people said they liked being at work. Stan Russell, a retirement income expert at Prudential says ‘ the old image of everyone giving up work aged 60 or 65 and becoming a pensioner is a thing of the past’. He also states that ‘ people are seeing the opportunity to stay at work full-time or in a period of ‘pre-tirement’ as an attractive one-whether it’s to boost their pension pots or just to stay fit, healthy and stimulated’.
Recruitment International, February 2015

‘It simply does not pay to work’, is the reality facing many parents according to the Family and Childcare Trust. Many salaries have not been increased yet childcare costs have in recent years. Studies show that the cost of childcare has increased by 27% since 2009. Part-time child care costs have also increased, by 43%.  Julian Foster from Computershare Voucher Services MD comments that these costs are a ‘major barrier to work for far too many people’. He suggests employers could make flexible hours more widely available and offer childcare voucher schemes.
HR Magazine, February 2015

New regulations concerning data on employees is currently being drafted and could pose problems for organisations and HR managers, according to Allen & Overy. The firm published its report entitled The Big Data Think: Data with Destiny and highlights that currently, there is no EU legislation regarding employee data.  The new regulations will require managers to have ‘explicit, informed consent to use employee data’. Managers will be required to explain very clearly to employees exactly what kind of information is being compiled, how it will be used and the length of time for which it will be retained. It is recommended that a data protection agreement is used to outline these guidelines. Organisations may incur harsh penalties or fines if data is mishandled. Fines may cost from £100 million or 5% of the annual takeover. Sarah Henchoz, partner at Allen & Overy ‘suggested employers should think about implementing a re-sign of data protection contracts as part of annual compliance checks’. Among the benefits listed of data consent is the use of the data being used to ‘customise employee benefit offerings’.
HR Magazine, February 2015

A global market survey involving 18,000 has revealed that UK workers are less likely than global workers to prioritise salary or pay when seeking employment. 46% of global employees cited it as important compared with 24 % of UK employees.  The survey was conducted by CEB which is a member-bases advisory company. The statistics also indicated that workers in the UK are the respondents who are the most unhappy with their current salary. Only 21% expressed contentment with their pay. Unhappiness with pay was listed eighth on a list of reasons to leave a job by UK employees.  Other reasons at the top of the list included factors such as ‘future career opportunity, people management and respect’.  Brian Kropp, CBB executive director commented ‘ at a time when few companies can afford dramatic salary rises, the focus for many will be on getting the non-financial aspect right’.
HR Magazine, February 2015

Many employees blame the stress and pressures of their employment for their unhealthy lifestyles. The British Heart Foundation surveyed 2,000 adults in the UK and discovered that 49% of employees blame their job for their unhealthy eating habits, 9% claim they now smoke more and 22% said they consume more alcohol. Employees also expressed concerns for the health of their hearts with 21% concerned about heart attacks. Lisa Young, project manager of the British Heart Foundation Health at Work programme commented ‘behaviours like these can be extremely damaging, not just to your heart’s health but also to businesses’.
HR Magazine, February 2015

According to CIPD’s most recent Labour Market Outlook, the labour market is divided between organisations that are in a position to offer pay rises and organisations that cannot. In 2014, 40% of employees received a pay increase of 2% whilst 18% received an increase between 0.1% and 1.99%.  The private sector was the most successful sector for awarding pay rises with just under half issuing pay rises of 2% or more. 39% of employees had a pay cut or pay freeze in 2014. Over half of employees in the public sector and nearly half of employees in SME’s had a pay freeze in the past year. Gerwyn Davies, analyst for CIPD’s labour market says there is a link between pay increases and ‘good leadership’  -‘ our report implies that the difference within sectors between companies that can afford to give a decent pay rise and those that are continuing to freeze pay lies partly in the quality of leadership and management and level of workforce investment’.
HR Magazine, February 2015

Research from Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Service has shown that 41% of HR managers have no intention of implementing an incentive and recognition programme into their workplace. Some of the issues concerned when implementing such programmes were discussed by HR professionals; they ranged from unclear aim and objectives, and recognition not being given the time and attention it deserved from managers.  Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services CEO Iain McMath commented that ‘companies were not satisfying ‘an appetite’ for I & R, which will become more important as the UK moves further into recovery’.
HR Magazine, February 2015

David Cameron is set to introduce new initiatives for unemployed youths. Cameron is set to recommend that unemployed youths aged between 18 – 2 must do at least 10 hours of job seeking per week and undertake community work. If these requirements are not met, they cannot claim benefits. Cameron wants to deter youths from a ‘life on benefits’ and instead, have the discipline of a daily routine gained from employment.  Cameron’s ‘Community Work Programme’  will be applicable to almost 50,000 youths who for six months before claiming benefits, have not been in education or training.
HR Magazine, February 2015

More employees are now working outside the traditional fixed office hours of 9-5, new research from Regus has found. In the past 5 years, more employees are now working from home, or working longer office hours. 72% of employees expressed the view that ‘fixed hours’ were not applicable to their jobs and duties. Richard Morris, CEO UK of Regus said the results’ clearly show that UK working practices continue to evolve, the fact that so many UK workers finding that ‘regular’ hours no longer suit their roles, should prompt companies to embrace flexible working practices’.
The Global Recruiter, February 2015

The recruitment sector can look forwa5rd to a good year in 2015 with growth predicted at a 9% increase. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation produced statists showing that 80% of employers intend to increase their number of permanent employees whilst 40% of employers want to increase their agency staff. Managing director of Select Appointments Graeme McKinnon says ‘there had never been a better time to consider a career in recruitment’.
Recruitment International, February 2015

Glassdoor published their results of a recent survey which stated that almost 39% of employees will seek new employment if they do not receive a pay rise this year. This could mean a total of 12 million employees all seeking to switch jobs which would cost employers almost £360 billion in loss of productivity. The survey concentrated on four key aspects of ’employee confidence’

1)    Job security

2)    Salary expectations

3)    Job market optimism

4)    Business outlook optimism

The survey revealed that 35% of workers do expect to receive a pay rise in 2015 and are confident in receiving one. Approximately 50% of workers do not expect to receive a pay rise and 35% worry about redundancies.
Recruitment International, February 2015

Almost 193 recruitment agencies have failed to meet compliance requirements and have not been granted REC membership.  To obtain membership, candidates must show comprehension of the REC Code of Professional Practice, awareness of relevant legislation and be obliged to have good ethical standards.  Chief Executive of REC Kevin Green stated ‘Ninety-five per cent of our members passed the compliance test before the December deadline and that’s terrific news. We have lost a few members because they couldn’t satisfy us that they met our high standards, but the upshot is that we now know all of our members are committed to being compliant and to upholding high standards’.
Recruitment International, February 2015  

Research conducted by Hargreaves London has revealed that over half a million people intend to switch from their DB pension schemes in favour of schemes that offer more flexibility. 67% of people surveyed did not intend to switch scheme but Hargreaves suggest a reason for this may be that people simply are not aware of the options available to them. Gaining more control and obtaining more flexibility were the main factors for decision to switch. Over half of those surveyed wanted to have ‘more flexible income’ once they retired. 29% surveyed expressed a wish to take early retirement and 43% expressed a wish to transfer surplus money to their children in the event of a death.

The survey questioned 1000 respondents and ‘based on 6.87 million deferred and active DB scheme members, this equates to 535,860 people’.
HR Magazine, February 2015

Business in the Community (BITC) has published the results of their survey in a report entitled The Missing Million: Pathways back into Employment, which has shown that people aged over 50 who have lost their jobs, are less likely than younger jobseekers to find new employment. The report published statistics showing that only 30.5% of 50-64 year olds who became redundant found work whilst 38.1% of 16-29 year olds made redundant found work again.  One of the main reasons given for being unable to find work was age discrimination. The report states that older jobseekers are more likely to set up their own business after being made redundant.  Older people tend to avail of job centres, or training schemes when seeking employment than the younger generation. Rachael Saunders, BITC director of age and intergenerational workplaces said’ the research clearly shows that those over 50 and out of work are less likely to get back into employment’. She continued that this was a ‘sorry state of affairs’ and ‘urgent action was needed’ to rectify the situation.
HR Magazine, February 2015

The ECJ has ruled that employers are no longer obliged to ‘consult collectively across multiple branches’ overturning the 2013 EAT ruling of ‘at one establishment’ must be ‘disregarded for collective redundancy involving 20 or more members of staff’.  Nicola Kerr, head of employment at King & Wood Mallesons said ‘ collective consultation is not only time-consuming-delaying redundancies by at least 30 or 45 days, depending on numbers  -but can also be a huge drain on management time’. Emma Zarb, employee at Taylor Wessing believes that until a final ruling is given by the ECJ, employers will opt for the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach.
HR Magazine, February 2015

Ed Miliband is expected to double paid paternity leave from two weeks to four. He is also expected to increase paternity pay. It was discovered that only 55% of men do not avail of the current two weeks paternity leave and cite financial reasons for this. Other research conducted by the TUC has said that 40% of fathers will not be eligible for shared parental leave as their partner is not in paid employment. Mothers who are not in employment or who are self-employed will not be entitled to avail of the shared pay or leave initiatives.
HR Magazine, February 2015

Monster has provided advice to employers on how best to keep employees from seeking employment elsewhere. This follows recent research conducted by Monster revealing that 70% of UK employees would move abroad to follow their ideal job whilst 50% would move to the opposite side of the world. Some of the advice proffered to employers includes

  • being aware of employees goals,
  • offer training and the opportunity to up skill
  • offer workplace incentives and benefits such as pensions, gym memberships
  • challenge employees and keep them motivated
  • the option of flexible working hours to maintain a healthy work/life balance
  • maintain a healthy office environment, ergonomically and aesthetically.

The Global Recruiter, February 2015

According to Adzuna, there has been a 50% decrease in the level of competition for advertised posts in December 2014 compared with December 2013. The amount of advertised posts has seen a 30% increase in December 2014 compared with December 2013. Salaries and wages have also seen an increase with the average salary advertised in December 2014 being 6.9% higher than last year. Employers in the North of the UK are experiencing skills shortages in potential candidates. Salaries are increasing at a higher pace in the north than elsewhere in the UK.  There was a 13.7% average increase in the north east while London only saw a 6.6% increase. Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna warns that “salaries have been static for three months running. This is partly due to an increase in lower paid roles, but also due to growing concerns over an increasingly fragile Eurozone”.

The report also highlights the best and worst cities to find employment. Salford, The Wirral and Sunderland are the top three worst whilst Cambridge, Winchester and Reading are the top three best cities to find employment.

Trade and Construction, administration, travel, customer service and manufacturing were the sectors that experienced the most improvements in job salaries. The worst hit sectors are the Energy Oil & Gas, HR and retail.
Recruitment International, February 2015

Research conducted by the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative has revealed that one in three disabled jobseekers have experienced some level of discrimination during the application process. 82% of disabled jobseekers have had a bad experience when dealing with recruitment consultants. Kate Headley from Clear Company states ‘ it is evident that a lack of awareness and knowledge is continuing to have an adverse effect on the recruitment of disabled people”. Although many employers  – up to 82%,  claim to have made the  legal ‘reasonable adjustments’ to facilitate any disabilities, only 58% of candidates have reported these having actually been done.
Recruitment International, February 2015

Penna, a global people management business published the results of their recent survey which revealed the long term expectations of 1000 employers and 1000 employees (aged between 18 and 34 (Gen Y)). The survey highlighted both the similarities and the differences in priorities expressed by employers and employees. Both groups expressed a desire for a good salary, good work/life balance and to be happy in their employment. 24% of employers believed that it was important for younger employees to have a lot of experience in different jobs and 20% of employers believe the younger employees are motivated by the possibility of potential managerial positions. When the Gen Y was surveyed, their priorities were having a work/life balance and a ‘sense of fulfillment’.   Employers were surprised to learn that Gen Y considered loyalty to one’s workplace and being in an organisation that shared the same values were of high priority. Speaking on Gen Y,  Steven Ross, head of career development at Penna says ‘ Whilst things like salary and progression opportunities will never stop being important to them , what this research shows is that they need to be listened to, otherwise organisations could be investing time and energy on development initiatives that don’t connect or resonate with them, and that can have serious long term business’.
Recruitment International, January 2015

The World Employment and Social Outlook-Trends 2015 has predicted that almost 212 million people will be unemployed by 2019.This is due to slow economic growth and inequality. The gap between the rich and poor is also set to widen which, in turn, could lead to social upheaval and discontent.  Whilst some countries have experienced improvement, such as US and Japan, Europe, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are still at risk. One of the worst hit groups are the 15-24 year olds who account for 13% of worldwide unemployment.  ILO director-general Guy Ryder states ‘the trends we see are worrying but we can improve the overall economic picture if we tackle underlying weaknesses, in particular the  contained lack of  aggregate  demand, stagnation in the Eurozone, uncertain prospects for productive investment, especially among small enterprises, and mounting inequality’.
Recruitment International, January 2015

Businesses should rethink how they advertise jobs for workers aged over 55 according to a survey conducted by the Recruitment and Employment Federation (REC). Some of the feedback received included  -34% felt that there should be more options for older employees to reskill or retrain. 17% felt that advertising only on the internet did not reach out to all available candidates. REC chief executive Kevin Green discusses the advantages of hiring older employees stating that they ‘have a huge amount of experience, skills and knowledge’. He encourages employers to adopt measures to entice older people to the workplace, such as advertising methods and how the jobs are described.  Dr. Ross Altmann, Business Champion for Older Workers at the Dept. for Work and Pensions intends to show evidence of the value of employing older employees and stresses the importance of not ignoring them when recruiting.
Recruitment International, January 2015

Research has shown that the primary concern for 84% of CEOs in the UK is the issue of skills amongst their workforce.  Digital and technological developments have also been a cause for concern with 59% of CEOs worried about the fast pace of change and development in these areas.  Ian Powell, chairman of PwC discusses their survey which shows the importance of the government, businesses and the education sector working together to improve long term prospects for the UK.
HR Magazine, January 2015

Online vacancies for apprenticeships have seen a 28% increase in 2014 with the most vacancies available in the Business, Administration and Law sectors.  The Health, Public Services and Care apprenticeships rose by 50%. There were also increases in the Engineering, and Manufacturing Technologies and Information and Communication Technology sectors. Nick Boles, Skills Minister commented, ‘Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Government’s drive to equip people with the skills employers want’.  National Apprentice week occurs from 09 – 15 March 2015.
Recruitment International, January 2015

New research conducted by eg1 has published their findings entitled The DNA of a Game Changer. The research implies that many organisations are still recruiting employees in a traditional and conventional manner, focusing on previous employment and experience instead of focusing on the candidates themselves. Nathan Ott CEO of eg1 says ‘ just because someone doesn’t fit into the current model doesn’t mean they won’t achieve’. The research also revealed that 84% of managers don’t think a Game Changer needs to be in a position of seniority.

The research has published what they believe are the ‘ten key behaviours of a Game Changer’-

  • Big picture thinkers
  • Very strategic
  • High on vigour
  • Creative idea generators
  • Passionate about the idea
  • Ambitious, obsessive drive to succeed
  • Risk takers
  • Strong influencers of people (above and below)
  • Great at articulating a vision
  • Likeable

Recruitment International, January 2015