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Being Selfish Won’t Help Your Career
September 15, 2020
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By Laura Counts

A new study finds that being manipulative and disagreeable isn’t the path to success. 

The researchers conducted two studies of people who had completed personality assessments as undergraduates or MBA students at three universities. They surveyed the same people more than a decade later, asking about their power and rank in their workplace hierarchies, as well as the culture of their organizations.

They also asked their coworkers about the study participants’ workplace behaviour and rank. Across the board, they found those who scored high on disagreeable traits were not more likely to have attained power than those who were generous, trustworthy, and generally nice.

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Student Experience in the Time of COVID-19 – Survey Results
September 10, 2020
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By Tribal Group, 07-September-2020

The outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 was, in modern times, unprecedented. And it required an unprecedented response from education institutions around the world.

Now, over six months on from the emergence of the global pandemic and with many institutions preparing for the start of a new and potentially uncertain academic year, it is useful to gauge how students feel about their institution’s response to COVID-19 to date.

How have institutions performed on communicating key information to their students throughout the event? How successful was the – in most cases, very rapid – transition to online learning?

What should institutions be aware of in terms of student experience as they navigate through the COVID-19 era?

Read more »

The £2bn Kickstart Scheme Opens

The £2 billion Kickstart Scheme launched on 2nd September 2020 and is now open to any employer.

The DWP has produced A Guide for Employers and there is a page for young people on the jobhelp website here.

Some key details:

  • On top of the wage subsidy, £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.
  • Applications are for minimum 30 job placements. Employers can partner with other orgs to reach the minimum number.
  • If your organisation is creating more than 30 job placements as part of the #Kickstart Scheme, you can submit your application directly here https://www.apply-kickstart-grant-employer.service.gov.uk
  • If your organisation is creating fewer than 30 Kickstart job placements, you must partner with others which could include:
    • similar employers
    • local authorities
    • trade bodies
    • registered charities

If you are a representative applying on behalf of a group of employers, you can get £300 of funding to support associated admin costs. More information about being a representative is here


The Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements for young people aged 16-24, who are claiming Universal Credit.

Employers of all sizes looking to create quality jobs for young people can apply. Through the scheme, all organisations across the private, public and voluntary sectors will be able to access a large pool of young people with potential, ready for an opportunity.

The Government will fully fund each ‘Kickstart’ job – paying 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There will also be funding available to support young people to develop new skills and to help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart Scheme funded job.

Tracy Fishwick, Managing Director at Transform Lives Company, said:

“This is a very significant intervention in the labour market. It provides the opportunity to support the life chances of hundreds of thousands of young people who otherwise may be scarred by long-term unemployment.

“The best of Kickstart will ensure the investment works as hard as it can for a good and fair economy, that it works for the young people who need it the most and that it prevents short-term, low quality, cheap labour”.

Sam Windett, Director of Policy at Impetus and Chair of the Youth Employment Group says: 

“Young people have been hit hardest in the jobs market, with nearly one in seven in the benefit count and youth unemployment due to rise further as furlough unwinds.

“As the government’s Kickstart scheme launches, it’s “job starting” not “job done”.

“Employers, intermediaries and jobcentres have to get this right to ensure there are quality opportunities for the young people who need them.”

Read an article in FE NEWS ‘Kickstart Scheme Opens – New £2bn scheme will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs for young people’ here. 

You can find further information on the Kickstart Scheme at www.gov.uk/kickstart

Employers Warned of Looming Deadline for EU Workers to Sort Visas

Employers have been warned that the deadline for EU workers to have made their UK visa applications is fast approaching.

The latest government advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents states that anybody who had a visa that expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 was able to request an extension if they were not able to return home because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this can not be extended beyond the government’s most recent grace period of 31 August 2020 as travel restrictions are lifting globally. Those affected are therefore expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise their stay in the UK.

The government said those intending to stay in the UK, including those whose leave expires before 31 August 2020, should apply for the necessary leave to remain.

For anybody whose visa or leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, the government said there will be no future adverse immigration consequences if they did not make an application to regularise their stay during this period, however they must now do so by 31 August 2020 or make arrangements to leave the UK.

“There are some quite limited circumstances where people who are still intending to leave the UK but won’t have been able to get their affairs in order [by 31 August] can apply for exceptional assurances from the Home Office, but it’s currently unclear what that really means for them,” Charlie Fowler, senior associate at law firm Collyer Bristow, told HR Magazine.

Furlough Scheme Masks True Scale of UK Unemployment Rate
August 18, 2020
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The number of employees on UK payrolls in July 2020 was down an estimated 730,000 compared to March, according to the ONS labour market overview for August 2020.

Though the figures indicate employment is weakening due to the ongoing pandemic, the unemployment rate has remained largely unchanged due to an increase in economic inactivity, in which people are out of work but not looking for new jobs.

Joanne Frew, national head of employment at legal business DWF, said that this could be partly due to the number of people who have struggled with childcare throughout the pandemic and could therefore change as schools begin to reopen.

“The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will also inevitably be masking the true scale of unemployment,” she said.

“Figures are expected to surge in October when the scheme closes. Although the government has launched the Job Retention Bonus to help incentivise employers to bring employees back from furlough, longer-term strategies will need to be implemented to help tackle unemployment.”

Both the UK’s youngest workers and older generation pre-retirement age were found to be the most likely to be temporarily away from paid work during the pandemic.

This has created cause for concern due to the hiring challenges presented to each age group, particularly in a highly competitive job market.

“The sharp fall in employment highlights a dramatic deterioration for the employment prospects of young people, part-time workers and older workers in particular,” said Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the CIPD.

“A real concern is that this is just the first wave of bad news for the jobs market. The fact that reduced hiring rather than increased firing of permanent staff is the main cause of the jobs slowdown to-date bodes ill for the coming months if more employers turn to redundancies as a last resort.”

To support those disproportionately affected by the post-pandemic job market, City & Guilds Group has advised government to redirect its existing funding for further education.

City & Guilds Group CEO Kirstie Donnelly said that the funds should be allocated to develop skills that match jobs which are currently available and in demand.

“As the labour market shrinks, it’s crucial that we take immediate action to ensure that people, especially those most in need, have the opportunity to get the training, skills and experience they need to access employment, and that young people leaving education understand what is a viable route into a job,” she said.

The report also found that pay decreased in the three months to June 2020 to rates below price inflation, although in sectors like hospitality and construction where workers are returning from furlough, pay growth improved slightly for June 2020.

The claimant count increased by 116.8% from March to July, reaching 2.7 million people.

Smaller businesses drove vacancies in this same period up to 370,000 – a 10% increase on April to June.

With mass redundancies, job insecurity, and a recession ahead, the CIPD has called on government to undertake further intervention.

“The combination of large-scale job losses, job insecurity and falling real incomes means that the UK economy needs all the help it can get,” added Davies.

“The government might therefore wish to consider keeping an open mind to protecting some industries through a revised Job Retention Scheme beyond the end of October and through the winter.”

Pandemic Forces Early Retirement in Over 50s
August 17, 2020
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An estimated 198,000 workers over the age of 50 dropped out of the workforce entirely between March and May this year, suggesting that economic pressure on employers is forcing many into an early retirement.

In analysis of the latest ONS data, recruitment firm Rest Less found that the over 50s, of all other age groups, experienced the sharpest rise in economic inactivity for this period.

This means that rather than being unemployed, people had left and were no longer seeking work due to leaving to care for someone, studying, illness or retiring.

For December 2019 to February 2020, 13.9 million people over 50 were regarded as economically inactive by the ONS. Between March and May this year, this number rose by 1.4% to 14.1 million.

By comparison, the economic inactivity level of those aged 25 to 34 declined by 1% to 1.6 million in March to May 2020, and inactivity in 18 to 24-year-olds declined 0.8% to 1.6 million.

The data adds to concerns that the government’s support schemes are overlooking other key areas of the workforce. ONS analysis from May this year also showed an increase in the number of over 50s making Universal Credit (UC) claims.

Over 50s that have left the workforce will be unable to claim their state pension until the age of 66, and an unstable job market may leave them with little options for employment, so UC or independent savings may be the only options available to them.

According to other recent findings from the Aegon Center for Longevity, 73% of UK employees are offered a retirement plan by their employer yet just 30% have a backup plan.

Rest Less founder Stuart Lewis said: “In the wake of the toughest job market in decades, there has been a significant rise in the number of workers over 50 who have lost hope in finding a job and feel forced into an early retirement that many simply cannot afford.”

He warned that, with the furlough scheme ending in October, the situation for the over 50s could be worsened in months to come.

He added: “Sadly, these numbers are simply the canary in the coal mine, we expect this to leave a permanent scar on this generation and their employment prospects.”

Speaking to HR magazine, Lewis urged people leaders to consider the benefits of employing diverse age groups.

He said: “Workers in their 50s and 60s bring a huge amount to the workforce, such as knowledge, experience and great people skills. We see tremendous benefit in having age diverse teams of both young and old working together. This leads to great diversity of thought and experience, but also improves overall workplace happiness.

“Over the last 10 years, the over 50s have been the driving force of economic growth, responsible for nearly 80% of all of the UK’s employment growth. Losing them early from the workforce means we risk losing essential skills and a key growth dynamo to help drive us out of this recession.”

Jamie Mackenzie, director at Sodexo Engage Topic, said it’s important that employers do not forget the value over 50s bring to the workplace.

He said: “They’ve had the years to build knowledge and expertise that can support both the leadership and wider team – particularly at a time when companies need to stand out in a challenging market.

“They are known to be more committed and loyal, so from a business continuity standpoint, it makes sense to not overlook this age group when recruiting. It’s also important to take a look at any biases currently in the system, meaning that older employees are at a disadvantage.”

The Centre for Better Ageing found in 2018 that nearly a quarter of businesses (24%) are under-prepared for the challenges of an ageing workforce, and only about one in five employers are actually discussing their strategies for managing these workers.

Mackenzie added: “To unlock the potential of employees regardless of their age, businesses must look at understanding how their current policies are meeting the needs of staff, so that everyone can come to work as their best self and be as productive as possible.”

MPs Criticised as Job Vacancies Reach Record Low

MPs have been accused of watching from the side-lines rather than stopping job losses by TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady. 

This was in response to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures which found the number of workers on UK payrolls was down 650,000 compared with March 2020. 

Vacancies in the UK in the last three months were also at the lowest level since the ONS Vacancy Survey began in April to June 2001, at an estimated 333,000.

This is 23% lower than the previous record low in April to June 2009.

O’Grady said the figures were a national disaster waiting to happen.

She said: “Ministers are watching from the side-lines, instead of saving jobs with targeted support for the hardest-hit sectors like retail, manufacturing and aviation.

“The more people we have in work, the faster we will work our way out of recession. If the government doesn’t go all out to protect and create jobs, the economic crisis will be longer and harder.

“We can create jobs by fast-tracking infrastructure projects. This would speed up the delivery of faster broadband, more childcare, green technology, modern transport and housing. And it would create over a million jobs across the UK.”

The largest falls were seen at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and despite the numbers still falling, the rate of decline is slowing. 

The estimated employment rate for March to May 2020 was 76.4%, 0.3 percentage points up on the year but 0.2 percentage points down on the quarter.

This equates to 32.95 million people, 199,000 more than a year earlier but 126,000 fewer than the previous quarter.

Hours worked had reached record lows both on-the-year and on-the-quarter.

There are still a large number of people temporarily away from work, including furloughed workers, although this fell through May.

The ONS predicts half a million people are away from work and receiving no pay due to the pandemic. 

Kirstie Donnelly, CEO at City & Guilds Group, said the figures were a sign of the importance of providing training and jobs to those most in need. 

She said: “As well as supporting young people, we need to ensure that people of all ages, particularly those from lower socio-economic groups, or people displaced from industries badly impacted by the pandemic have the opportunities to gain the new skills they need to access meaningful employment.” 

Pay fell more in industries where furloughing was most prominent, particularly in typically low-pay industries such as accommodation and food service activities. 

Andrew Willis, head of legal at Croner, said HR should bear in mind the best methods of potential redundancy measures. 

He said: “Staff must be chosen in a fair and open way, preferably through a scoring criteria that focuses on attributes such as skills, experience and qualifications. 

“If more than 19 members of staff are to be made redundant, the employer will also need to implement a collective redundancy process. It should also be noted that furloughed staff can be made redundant at any point provided the correct procedure is followed.” 

The Job Retention Scheme, which was set up to protect jobs while businesses recover, will be wound down towards the end of October. 

Willis added: “It currently remains unclear what direction these figures will go in as the furlough scheme is wound down and employers lose the life jacket provided by the scheme. 

“That said, the government is committed to restarting the economy, with the hope that the general situation will improve going forward.” 

Government has attempted to incentivise employers to keep staff on until at least January 2021 by offering them £1,000 per employee if they can retain them until this time.

Report: WHERE DO I GO FOR CAREERS SUPPORT?
June 5, 2020
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In April 2020, Careers England and the Career Development Institute (CDI) in partnership with dmh associates, conducted an online survey to identify how careers companies and careers professionals in England were responding to the impact of Covid-19 and the social distancing lockdown measures.

View the full report here

The main purpose was to investigate how careers companies and practitioners were responding to customer needs and to identify current trends and recommendations to inform public policy.

The survey took place between 24th April 2020 to 10th May 2020. This was primarily aimed at careers companies and practitioners in England1 . The findings highlight a key question for citizens during and after the pandemic is where do I go to for careers support?

Main recommendations include the urgent need for:

 a national Youth Employment Taskforce with cross-departmental ‘buy in’ and joint action plan. Government departments to adopt a more joined up approach, particularly between DWP and DfE, including the National Retraining Service, to clearly signpost individuals to quality-assured career development professionals’ support services.

• every young person in school or college aged 16 -19 (in Years 11-13) to be immediately guaranteed a careers interview with a trained and qualified career development professional to ameliorate the effects of exams cancelled and to ensure young people’s progress is not impeded. This would ensure young people would have as a minimum careers support contact worker and a personalised plan. The Department for Education (DfE) has a duty of care to these young people.

• an enhancement of the existing September guarantee so that all young people, particularly those facing the likelihood of unemployment including apprentices and trainees, receive careers coaching, guidance and/or mentoring support.

 a highly visible national media campaign to promote careers support available to young people and adults, including telephone helpline, web resources and where to find local careers advice from trained and qualified careers advisers/ coaches.

 a broadening of the National Careers Service to include face-to-face careers support for all young people, similar to other parts of the UK i.e. a recognisable place to go for high quality careers support. The role and remit of the Careers and Enterprise Company should also be reviewed in this context and the DfE / Education and Skills Founding Agency (ESFA) should revisit and assess the efficacy of the current Payment-By-Results arrangement.

 a local careers support framework in each local authority/local enterprise partnership (LEP) area designed to champion young people to employers with a relentless focus on opportunities, particularly those with special educational needs (SEN) at risk of being pushed further away from the labour market.

 a minimum guaranteed income for those most vulnerable to assist and support their transition to learning, training and/or work.

• a system in place for career development professionals to track destinations and offer additional wrap around support for those most vulnerable and those not in education, employment and/or training (NEETs).Whilst this is a Local Authority responsibility, it is not carried out to the standard that was provided a decade ago given Local Authorities budget cuts – greater investment is needed at the present time.

The National Careers Service in England already works with Local Authorities, Community Groups, Colleges, Housing Associations, Voluntary organisations etc., serving the needs of adults. More recently, area-based contractors have a new responsibility for providing a telephone helpline service.

Prior to the pandemic, European and world organisations called on governments to invest in career guidance. Many employment support programmes start with CV writing or providing evidence of job search; however, the first challenge for many people who experience job loss or other barriers is to build their confidence, understand their own interests and skills, and identify opportunities that might fit them well.

Whilst many careers companies and careers professionals currently feel under-valued by government in England, they know for sure that in whatever scenario that lies ahead their services will be needed and they are poised and ready to respond.

Share your views with dmh associates here.

WYCA Adult Education Budget Strategy
May 28, 2020
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The Plan

In March 2020, West Yorkshire agreed an ambitious devolution deal with the Government, which will see our region have a directly-elected mayor from May 2021.

Your Voice

The agreement, which is the biggest ever of its kind, unlocks more than £1.8 billion in investment to drive up living standards through better transport, improved skills and stronger businesses, while tackling the climate emergency. This means that West Yorkshire will have control of the £63m annual Adult Education Budget (AEB) for the area enabling us to align spending on skills more closely with the opportunities and needs in the local economy.

The main purpose of the AEB is to provide adults with the skills needed for entering and sustaining employment, an apprenticeship, a traineeship, or other further learning. The funding pays specifically for learning programmes (predominantly qualifications) and provides an element of learner support funding for those with learning difficulties and disabilities.

The AEB Strategy has been developed in order to ensure that we are ready to deliver the Adult Education Budget by 1 August 2021. The plan builds on our existing strategies and the needs of our area, providing a clear foundation upon which we can build the skills of people and businesses within West Yorkshire. The timescales set out by the Government mean that it is necessary to develop the plan prior to the election of the West Yorkshire Mayor.

Click here to view the AEB Strategy.

Devolution of the Adult Education Budget will only proceed if the wider devolution deal is agreed and implemented. If you are interested in knowing more about the West Yorkshire devolution consultation, please 

Click here to visit our West Yorkshire Devolution webpage.

Have your say

As part of our engagement activity and transparency around devolution across West Yorkshire we would like to invite you to provide feedback on the AEB Strategy via an online survey using the link below.

This survey will be open from 25 May to midnight on 12 July 2020.

You can access the survey here.(External link)

Next steps

Following the consultation period, the survey results will be analysed and your feedback will be considered in the development of the final AEB Strategy. This plan will be considered by the Combined Authority to ensure that we are able to meet the required timelines for the delivery of the devolved AEB for the 2021/22 academic year.

Majority of UK Workers Say They Work Effectively from Home
May 22, 2020
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Over half (55%) said their industry as a whole can operate effectively based on remote work.

The LinkedIn study, which is run fortnightly, also showed that UK confidence about jobs, finances and careers sits at +13 on a scale of -100 to +100. This is more positive than negative, but only slightly.

From the data across April, it emerged that those working in the healthcare sector felt the most confident, at +24. They were particularly optimistic about their job security.

On the other hand, education professionals were among the least confident, sitting at a score of +10. They felt particularly low levels of confidence around progressing their career in the next year.

In terms of job-seeking, survey respondents felt generally pessimistic. When asked about their confidence in their ability to get or hold onto a job, the average score was -7 on the index for the week from 27 April to 3 May, down from -2 between 13 and 19 April.

Those working in sales were the most pessimistic, with 77% expecting the number of available jobs to fall in the next two weeks.

Martyn Dicker, director of people at Unicef UK, told HR magazine that it was unsurprising to see that two-thirds of UK workers believe that they are effective when working remotely. 

In addition to technology’s ability to facilitate remote work, Dicker said: “I also believe that a key ingredient of workers feeling that they are effective, is their strong desire for it to work.

“We know that greater flexible working is desired by many, with the CIPD 2019 Job Quality Index stating that 68% of UK employees would like more flexibility. It’s worth noting that this is just 2% more than the 66% believing that they are effective in the LinkedIn study. 

“The UK fares particularly poorly when it comes to job demands interfering with family life, so maybe this forced home working experiment will provide UK employers the impetus to drive change and embrace more flexible working.”

LinkedIn’s study also showed that optimism about company futures was low.

The study found that only 22% of those at director level or above thought their company would be better off in the next six months, with 45% saying they thought it would be worse off.

Among those in non-management roles, 18% believed their firms would be better off and 37% thought they would be worse off.

Emma Jayne, area director of people and culture at the Dorchester Collection, said: “The future is so uncertain right now and it is at the forefront of people’s minds constantly I’m sure. 

“As employers it’s important that we are offering regular, clear and honest communication on the situation our businesses are in and if we can offer reassurance then that should be the very first thing that we are doing. 

“It’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions at the moment and HR’s most critical role right now is to take care of the mental wellbeing of their people.

“The results around the outlook for the next six months I think are very realistic. Despite the government encouraging a return to work to boost the economy, the reality is the economy is going to take a long time to recover from COVID-19.”

Finally, the index found that 49% of UK workers plan to increase the time they’re spending on online learning in the next two weeks, corroborating other recent studies on the upskilling trend.

Nearly half (48%) said they hoped this learning would advance their career path, while 47% wanted to learn something unrelated to work. 

A third (32%) were interested in improving their emotional wellbeing through online learning, while 30% wanted to contribute to society and help others.

Jayne added: “Online learning is such a gift at the moment. We are all in our homes with some time on our hands which is very different from the fast pace of life that used to be’ normal’. 

“I am certain we will see an upswing in a more joined up and kinder society when we come out of this pandemic, I wonder if people will be inspired by the amazing work of the NHS and other services and they will see an upturn in people wanting to pursue a career in those fields.”

The LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index surveys around 1,000 UK LinkedIn members in each wave.