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    How Recruiters Can Find Opportunity Amid Uncertainty

    The forecasts are in, and economists paint a gloomy outlook for the UK economy in the coming months. It has been predicted that Britain risks being the first G7 nation to slip into recession – and the last one to get out of it – which is undoubtedly causing concern amongst business leaders.
    To prepare for challenging times ahead, many organizations are already making tough decisions about where to prioritize investments as budgets tighten. According to new research from LinkedIn, three-quarters of business leaders in the UK are anxious that the current climate will force companies to wind back progress made during the pandemic on important areas of working life such as flexible work, as well as skills development (76%), and employee wellbeing (83%).
    However, this is at odds with what professionals want and has the potential to significantly impact a company’s ability to attract and retain talent. LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report finds that flexible work is the biggest factor UK employees value in employers today, even before compensation, with skills development and work-life balance, also featuring high on the list.
    Opportunity for recruiters
    Despite the economic outlook, we’re still seeing a very active labor market with low unemployment levels and a healthy level of job vacancies – with the term ‘jobful recession’ being coined to describe the current climate.
    However, with uncertainty front of mind for many, it has a knock-on effect on how people respond to new opportunities. LinkedIn labor market data reveals that job-seeking behavior in the UK is down compared to the first half of the year, suggesting that people are becoming increasingly reluctant to change jobs during this time of uncertainty. Furthermore, recent LinkedIn research found that 4 in 5 UK business leaders say it’s been difficult to attract talent in the current environment.
    Recruiters play a pivotal role in helping businesses navigate labor market changes, but during periods of uncertainty like the one we’re collectively experiencing now, they have even more of an opportunity to play a strategic adviser role to clients. They are uniquely positioned to help reduce the disconnect between what candidates want and what many employers are now offering by helping companies understand what candidates need in order to consider and pursue new opportunities actively. This is particularly pertinent at a time when many businesses are struggling to find and recruit talent with specific skill sets needed to grow their organizations.
    In a tough hiring environment where people are potentially sheltering in their roles and reluctant to make a change, recruiters can help companies make sense of the hiring market. Here are four key things recruiters should keep front of mind during this time:
    Helping companies understand what candidates want
    The pandemic has changed the world of work as we know it and shifted the needs and wants of employees. This means that it’s more important than ever for recruiters to understand what job seekers want. The biggest shift is the increased desire for greater flexibility in the workplace. For many job seekers now, flexible working arrangements are a deal breaker when considering a new role, let alone accepting one. Recent LinkedIn data highlights the growing preference amongst candidates for flexible working, showing that demand outstrips supply for remote roles – with remote roles making up less than 12% of job ads in the UK, but receiving more than 20% of applications.
    Flexible working will be a key talent magnet for the foreseeable future and can be a core differentiator for recruiters when reaching out to candidates, so featuring an organization’s flexible working policies front and center is going to be key.
    In addition to flexible working, LinkedIn’s recent Global Talent Trends report shows that skills development is a top priority for employees and job seekers. By highlighting a company’s commitment to skills development and the different L&D initiatives that are available, recruiters can help candidates see how a job move can help them develop new skills and progress in their careers.
    Encouraging companies to think skills-first
    For decades, candidates have been assessed on their formal education, experience, and previous job title, which has resulted in companies missing out on high-potential talent. There’s an opportunity for recruiters to help organizations transition to a skills-based hiring approach, where candidates are considered for their skills and future potential. This can help ease the challenges of recruiting in a tight labor market.
    Our data shows that LinkedIn members globally have added 365 million skills to their profiles over the last year, up 43% compared to the previous year. By using skills to screen and search for candidates, rather than relying on direct previous experience, recruiters can help companies unlock new talent pools and source talent from non-traditional backgrounds, which may also help them to improve the diversity of their organization. In addition, recruiters that adopt a skills-based hiring approach will help companies take a ‘select in’ approach to their recruitment, actively bringing in candidates who might not have realized their skills qualified them for the role – rather than just filtering out unsuitable applications. Given we’re still seeing labor market tightness, drawing in new talent this way will be highly valued by businesses.
    Bringing a company’s purpose, culture, and values to life
    More than ever, job seekers are attracted to companies that align with their personal values. When looking for new roles today, it’s more common than not to see candidates challenge and evaluate where a company stands on particular issues they value most, such as DEI or environmental sustainability.
    Recruiters, therefore, need to be well-versed in understanding a company’s purpose and values, ensuring these come through during the hiring process. Recruiters will also need to partner with companies to help them best highlight these attributes to job seekers through their employer branding.
    Data-driven recruiting is the future
    With so much change in the labor market, businesses are increasingly looking for partners who stand out from the crowd and can be truly consultative – providing them with actionable insights grounded in data.
    This means there’s a huge opportunity here for recruitment firms to arm their teams with the right tools to source this data and the skills they need to be able to decipher it. By equipping their teams with these abilities, recruiters can earn a higher seat at the table, providing their clients with strategic advice on workforce planning.
    There is no denying that these are challenging times, but recruiters have a right to be cautiously optimistic and can provide a huge amount of value to clients by playing a more advisory role. By providing counsel and guidance, recruiters can help organizations navigate a tough economic environment, unlocking new talent pools and successfully attracting top talent.
    By Adam Hawkins, Head of Search & Staffing EMEA & LATAM, LinkedIn.
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    6 Wellbeing Trends that will Shape Work in 2023 and Beyond

    Nuffield Health’s 2022 Healthier Nation Index study revealed one in three adults claims their mental health has got worse in the last year. The same statistic is also true of physical health, with a third of UK adults reporting a decline over the last 12 months.
    Employers have a responsibility to help individuals manage their wellbeing. However, it’s clear targeted support isn’t commonly available to modern workers increasingly adopting flexible working approaches.
    With this in mind, Nuffield Health suggests six workplace wellbeing trends we can expect to see as employers look to create relevant and effective wellbeing offerings…
    Managing MSK
    The recent rise in remote working has delivered many benefits for employees, including a greater work-life balance and a reduction in stressful commutes.
    But it isn’t without its challenges – namely overworking and the physical impact of unergonomic home offices – with 72,000 individuals recently reporting a musculoskeletal (MSK) disorder directly caused or exacerbated by the pandemic.
    Despite employers’ responsibilities to provide comfortable home working set-ups, many aren’t meeting their obligations. However, they are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
    While financial support should continue to be made available to employees for furniture and equipment – and employers should signpost to how to access these funds – we are now entering the age of the corporate physiotherapist.
    Businesses can invite musculoskeletal health experts to review the current office environment as well as offer general advice on posture, exercise, and nutrition to avoid injury at home.
    Employers may also choose to contribute financial support for private sessions, too, to avoid the greater financial burden of the £3.5 billion paid by employers each year to deal with workplace injuries. Plus, research suggests businesses can achieve an ROI of nearly £100 per £1 spent on physiotherapy for musculoskeletal health.
    The new work-life balance
    Our idea of ‘work-life balance’ traditionally involves unwinding from work stress at home after leaving the office. But what happens when home life itself becomes increasingly stressful?
    Research suggests the current cost of living crisis has been linked to a direct increase in stress. And with financial stresses showing no signs of letting up, employers have a responsibility to help individuals avoid burnout.
    This may include inviting a financial specialist to host a webinar for all employees on managing money, as well as offering relevant workplace benefits – such as grocery vouchers – that directly address some key drivers of financial anxiety.
    Self-help support
    Despite efforts to challenge the stigma around ill health, Nuffield Health research suggests a third of employees still wouldn’t feel comfortable disclosing a mental or physical health issue to their employer.
    So, businesses have a responsibility to offer tailored support to those who may feel uncomfortable asking for it.
    This may include making remote support offerings and self-help platforms available to those who would prefer to work through advice and specialist help at their own pace, away from the office.
    For example, telephone CBT services and online self-help management programs – such as the Silvercloud platform – allow employees to access remote support and guidance on understanding symptoms of distress and learning relevant coping mechanisms.
    A focus on prevention
    There is no one-size-fits-all intervention for the unique physical and mental challenges facing employees. However, businesses can embrace technology to access instead of data-led, personalized interventions that make a difference for the individual.
    Digital platforms featuring AI technology can analyze behavioral data provided by the workforce to predict future challenges, allowing businesses to action interventions before symptoms become unmanageable.
    For example, Nuffield Health’s PATH tool gathers data from both a comprehensive physical health exam, alongside behavioral data from questionnaires to understand employees’ unique risk factors and suggests relevant interventions.
    Employers able to take a proactive approach to employee health not only nurture a healthy and engaged workforce but avoid the impact of presenteeism, which can cost businesses up to £4,000 per employee per year in lost productivity.
    Employee power
    Recent workplace trends, including ‘the great resignation’ and ‘quiet quitting’ suggest power is shifting away from the employer, with employees no longer willing to go above and beyond for their employers.
    So, businesses – especially those guilty of encouraging unhealthy workplace cultures in which employees are expected to be ‘always on’ – must rethink their relationships with employees to retain their brightest talent.
    Managers have a responsibility to lead by example when it comes to widescale cultural change. This means clearly outlining employee expectations, like working hours and contactable obligations, as well as being seen to leave the office on time each day.
    Similarly, employers should welcome and seek regular feedback to understand better the challenges facing staff and how the business can tailor its support. This can be done through regular one-to-ones with individuals as well as anonymous feedback surveys for those who may not feel comfortable communicating in person.
    Family focus
    A shift towards flexible and remote working has somewhat blurred the lines between work and home life, with mixed results. Some of the negative consequences include employees working longer hours to compensate for not commuting, while others have enjoyed the benefits of spending more time at home with family.
    These lifestyle changes must now be a key consideration for businesses. As employees continue to mold their work lives around personal habits – often familial responsibilities such as childcare – these challenges must be reflected in the support offered by businesses.
    The workplace must remain flexible in terms of shift patterns and remote opportunities to meet the needs of those with busy family lives. However, we will also start to see businesses extending benefits to the family, for example, private healthcare and medical benefits for partners and children and familial mental health support.
    This may include parental mental health advice hubs or CBT platforms that provide advice and resources for parents on managing children’s emotional wellbeing.
    By Marc Holl, Head of Primary Care at Nuffield Health.
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    How to Recruit Successfully in a Stagnant Market

    It has been a challenging few years for the recruitment sector, and it looks like things might get worse before they start getting better.
    Although employment rates have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels this year, the outlook for next year looks bleaker. Rising food and energy costs have exacerbated the cost-of-living crisis, and recent government budget U-turns have steepened inflation and sent the UK headfirst into another recession.
    As a result, sourcing and retaining talent is becoming increasingly complex. Recent reports suggest that the job market is experiencing a period of stagnation, with many companies forced to freeze hiring as they struggle to keep up with salary expectations.
    So, how can business leaders overcome economic uncertainty and achieve growth in this landscape? The solution lies in analyzing market trends and planning ahead to ensure every skills gap is covered as we enter the new year.
    Understanding job market stagnation
    In recruitment, market stagnation refers to a situation where job growth slows, output plateaus, and wage increases flatten, leaving candidates demanding more than employers can offer.
    Stagnation often follows a period of stunted economic growth, which we have experienced since the first coronavirus lockdown in 2020. The economy showed signs of recovery after the government eased restrictions. However, hiring activity is declining as rising costs and competition for staff cause employers to become more cautious about their hiring plans.
    The most recent KPMG and REC ‘UK Report on Jobs’ survey indicated that starting salary growth slipped to an 18-month low, permanent hiring has fallen for the first time in almost two years, and temporary billings have stagnated. Hiring intentions have increased, but recent reports suggest that business confidence in the UK’s economy has turned negative due to worries over labor shortages, political disruption, and inflation.
    Consequently, recruiting and retaining staff in the current economic climate is becoming more challenging. People are less likely to change jobs for the same or less than they are currently earning, with candidates that are going to market upping their salaries by as much as 30%.
    Equally, in today’s turbulent market, workers may stay put rather than move in anticipation of further economic instability. So, unless hiring managers include adequate long-term budgets for staff increases at the start of the financial year, they will likely feel the sting of stagnation as we head into a new year.
    As a result, employers must assess their hiring needs sooner rather than later to avoid facing a scenario where they are desperate to fill a role but lack the funding and resources to present their top candidate with an enticing job offer.
    Taking a proactive recruitment approach
    It is easy to grow complacent when things seem to go smoothly in the short term. But if we have learned anything from recent disruptions, it is just how quickly things can change.
    Candidates still drive the job market, so companies have their work cut out to attract and retain workers. Business moves fast in the modern world, and employers must always stay one step ahead of their staffing needs.
    To successfully overcome existing and upcoming recruitment challenges, hiring managers must focus on improving the most critical areas of the recruitment process.
    Review benefits packages
    Before embarking on a hiring drive, which can often prove expensive and time-consuming, companies must assess market trends to ensure they can make a competitive offer and fulfill regular pay rises in line with industry expectations.
    The same goes for existing employees. By investing in reward schemes, training, and bonuses, hiring managers can fill skills gaps from the inside and boost retention, reducing the pressure to keep recruiting more staff.
    Focus on diversity and inclusion
    Diversity and inclusion policies (or lack thereof) hold great sway over today’s workforce, playing an integral role in progressive employee value propositions — the way that employers attract and engage desirable employees.
    Highlighting issues and opportunities within this business area is a vital part of social responsibility for modern organizations. Plus, nurturing an inclusive, culture-focused workplace will invite interest from a wider pool of candidates, increasing the likelihood of hiring success and retention.
    Enlist professional support
    Meeting candidate expectations for salary, bonuses, and benefits has always been important. It is now non-negotiable, as market stagnation threatens to impact companies’ bottom lines.
    Enlisting the support of a third-party recruitment team ensures someone is continuously monitoring the job market, conducting accurate budget assessments, and overseeing the entire recruitment process. With these tasks taken care of, business leaders can turn their focus from merely staying afloat to generating long-term growth amidst economic uncertainty.
    By Julie Mott, managing director of Howett Thorpe.
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    How Smart Companies are Solving Post-Lockdown Working (4 New Trends)

    From ‘swarm teams’ to the metaverse, innovative ideas take on the challenges of the new world of work…

    In late 2021, Professor Lynda Gratton of the London Business School asked 150 executives from companies around the world for their take on the biggest challenge currently facing businesses. The answer came back loud and clear: “retaining people,” closely followed by “recruiting people.”

    It picked up on a problem destined to grow. The Great Resignation, the result of lockdown-fuelled dissatisfaction with our jobs was first. Then it was followed by the Great Reshuffle, as workers leapt from job to job in search of fulfillment. As we entered post-lockdown working, how would companies evolve?

    In May this year, the UK’s Office for National Statistics revealed that there were more job vacancies than unemployed people in the country for the first time since records began. The marketplace has since begun to settle, but a July survey of 1,100 US professionals showed that 31 percent were planning to quit within the next 12 months. In other words, employers still need to focus hard on hiring and keeping the best talent.

    Post-Lockdown Working at Home vs In-office

    According to Josh Brenner, CEO of Hired, the largest AI-driven recruitment marketplace for tech workers, what is most likely to attract and retain employees is the offer of flexible working. In a recent Hired survey, less than two percent of respondents wanted a full, five-day return to the office.

    “We’ve seen really high rates of attrition when companies have forced people back to the office for a full five-day schedule,” he says.

    With that comes the need to make the best of hybrid work, potentially across disparate geographies. In order to retain employees, companies also need to work harder to engage them. They need to help them feel aligned with the organization’s values, Brenner believes.

    “When we hear about companies losing high numbers of staff, a lot of it is because employees feel disconnected. They lack a solid understanding of where the company’s going, and how their work  bubbles up and contributes to goals.”

    Throw in the need to prepare for a fast-changing world – technologically, geo-politically – and you have a cluster of problems for companies to solve in post-lockdown working. Those that do so most effectively stand to gain a competitive advantage – so what are the most innovative trending ideas? 

    In WIRED’s report, readers learn about the:

    AI company that has done away with managers marketing company making a four-day week pay dividends professional services company using the metaverse to engage its workforcerise of a new C-suite role that’s re-shaping business… More

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    “Buckle Up and Ride the Economic Storm” Says Veteran Recruiter 

    As the UK heads towards yet another recession, the common mistakes business leaders make are the knee-jerk reactions of lowering headcount, freezing hiring, and sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to finances. All of which are a sure way to hinder future business growth and undermine overarching business goals. Of course, human beings’ fight or flight mode exists for survival reasons, but these tactics are a very temporary fix to a very long-term problem.
    While we are all guilty of receding to our safe place in times of trouble, business leaders should be buckling up to ride the economic storm to the best of their abilities, with the ultimate aim of coming out the other side ahead of competitors.
    Protect your assets
    While it may be tempting to knee-jerk into headcount reduction during tough economic times – especially with inflation hitting a 40-year high at 9.1 percent – this may end up being more damaging to businesses in the long run.
    Now more than ever, employers should be doing all they can to protect their most valuable assets – their staff. History has taught us time and time again that those who recognize this will be the ones who benefit later down the line. As the market recovered from the 2008 crash, reports showed employees felt their employers had ‘lost sight’ of the support they needed and subsequently, left en masse once things improved.
    Don’t let your talent pipelines dry out
    Staff retention should be a priority during rocky times but hiring managers should be seizing the opportunity to look for talent while the rest of the competition’s heads are down. Ensure that your job adverts are appealing to the correct audience, put some money behind LinkedIn advertising or use the services of a recruitment partner.
    Anything that you can do to raise the profile of your business, communicate your messages with your networks and demonstrate yourselves as an attractive employment prospect, will be crucial to future-proofing your business. It may seem counterintuitive now, but when your competitors are clutching at straws on the rebound, you’ll be thriving.
    Mind out for salary inflation
    The cost-of-living crisis’ grip is tightening, and as such, it may be tempting to raise pay for your staff to offset costs. Triggering a ‘wage-price spiral’ should be approached with caution, as inflationary pay rises are inflationary in itself – and companies will only raise consumer prices further – becoming a vicious cycle we may never venture out of.
    The recent news of management consultant giant PwC announcing a 9 percent pay rise for thousands of staff to offset the costs of living is setting a dangerous precedent. A popular move with staff, of course, but once other businesses follow suit there’s no sight at the end of the tunnel. PwC may well have the best intentions at heart (although remember they are also fighting in the war for talent), but it is a major player, and where it leads, others are sure to follow.
    Understand your finances
    Ensuring that you fully understand your income and expenditure is crucial to remaining in control. In a recession, remember that cash is king. Watch costs like a hawk and ensure that your business has sufficient liquidity to operate for longer than you would expect in normal times.
    The challenge during a recession is always to balance your costs and revenue to ensure that you can still generate profit as well as nurture and protect your valued clients and staff. This may require looking at different outlets for your products or services or mining existing relationships more intelligently (more likely a combination of both).
    What’s next?
    While it’s difficult to predict what the next six months have in store for us, especially with the ever-unstable government, there are already signs in the US that inflationary pressures are beginning to ease. One might expect a leveling off or even the beginning of a decline in inflation in the last quarter of this year.
    Of course, nothing about this economy and the job market is easy. The financial challenges are completely new to some, and ‘yet another hurdle’ for others, but the strategy remains the same. Be cautious but buckle up for the long term. The last thing you want is to emerge from your bunker in six months’ time to find your business landscape decimated.
    If the last two years have taught us anything it’s that we can be agile in the face of uncertainty but also that risks may be well worth taking. After all, it should be a walk in the park compared to navigating through the uncertainties of the pandemic.
    By: Dominic Wade, co-founder of specialist HR and Finance & Accountancy recruitment firm, Wade Macdonald. He founded the firm in the early 90s and since has weathered three financial crises and a pandemic. 
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    Ageism in Recruitment: Why We Need to Change the Way We Think

    While both older and younger generations have suffered the effects of ageism in the workplace, those that sit within older age groups seem to have borne the brunt of this harmful way of thinking in recent years.
    The ageism trend has only been accelerated by the repercussions of Covid-19. After the pandemic, Baby Boomers and a significant portion of Gen X took early retirement, deciding against returning to full-time work due to the shortage of opportunities available to them.
    With individuals over 50 leaving work due to lack of support having been identified as the biggest cause for labour shortage across the UK, ageism has the potential to have a detrimental impact that extends far beyond the damage to individuals and businesses.
    The issues with recruitment in the UK
    Hiring managers’ bias towards employing older individuals has been known to be one of the main causes of ageism within recruitment, and with only 24% of HR leaders between the ages of 25 and 30 saying they felt motivated to recruit workers in the 55 to 75 age category, younger generations’ preconceptions seem to be one of the main problems.
    The new generations’ bias is causing them to miss out on the plethora of benefits that working hand-in-hand with people of different ages can have, but also contributing to existing issues within the recruitment industry.
    The recruitment crisis is still rampant in the UK, as the number of unfilled positions has risen to a new record of 1,300,000 between March and May 2022, up from 1.295,000 in the February and April quarter.
    And retention is a problem too, with figures revealing that around 994,000 individuals moved jobs between January and March 2022 in the UK. This shows that businesses are not putting enough effort into retaining their workforce, making them feel valued and presenting them with a path for future progression.
    Additionally, if we are only willing to offer employment to the younger generations, older age groups will naturally feel there are no longer any opportunities available to them, opting for early retirement instead, which is likely to cause the recruitment crisis to become worse in the next few years.
    Why are current recruitment practices not working?
    The implications of ageist hiring practices are multi-faceted, but their effects have undoubtedly been felt by many job seekers within older age groups.
    A research project investigating ageism in recruitment in the UK revealed that around 30% of individuals between the ages of 50 and 69 felt the application process itself put them at a disadvantage because of their age, while around 23% of those who participated said that it is the way that job adverts are written and marketed that is particularly problematic.
    These findings provide interesting food for thought for recruiters: biased screening processes and job descriptions could easily put off certain individuals from applying for a job, causing businesses to lose a potentially perfect candidate. For instance, hiring processes that are entirely digital or that require the use technology older individuals may not be familiar with would naturally penalise older applicants.
    Evaluating the efficacy of their recruitment practices should be the first step for hiring managers and talent acquisition teams, particularly establishing whether these include any elements or processes that would ostracise certain individuals.
    What’s the answer?
    If an organisation has built teams predominantly comprising younger individuals, they should consider asking themselves whether they have – consciously or subconsciously – avoided hiring those within older age groups, and why.
    While having three or four different generations within the workplace may potentially lead to some minor generational clashes, it also has the potential to be beneficial for all age groups, which is why businesses should empower individuals of different ages to work together.
    This should involve utilising behavioural science to identify key traits in individuals to establish whether they will be able to work well together, regardless of age. Knowing exactly how workers collaborate with other individuals, manage stress or react to change are all factors that can help hiring managers make the right decisions and avoid age bias.
    Hiring managers should first and foremost establish what individuals’ abilities are, how they behave in different situations and what sets them in motion. While there is no one answer for every business, our focus should be on making hiring practices as inclusive as possible, which starts with making decisions based on data and focusing on skills and qualities that truly matter.
    Ultimately, biased hiring practices are exacerbating the labour shortage and causing businesses to miss out on a huge portion of talented workers capable of really making a difference.
    By David Bernard, founder and CEO of behavioural assessment firm AssessFirst.
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    Hired Tech Candidate Spotlight – Paula Muldoon, Senior Software Engineer for Zopa in the UK

    We understand you started in a different field or pivoted from a different type of degree and education, tell us about it… I had an international classical music career, having toured over 20 countries, recorded at Abbey Road, performed at the Royal Albert Hall. I spent way more than the vaunted 10,000 hours practising the […] More

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    2021 State of U.K. Tech Salaries

    What You’ll Learn U.K. tech salary trends based on role, industry, and years of experience How technical employees ranked non-salary compensation, such as benefits The impact of the Great Resignation on the demand for tech talent 4 Steps to accelerate your hiring process short term and develop a long term recruitment strategy to handle attrition. […] More