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June 5, 2020

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

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

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.

New Entrepreneurs Emerge in the Face of Adversity
May 12, 2020

A new survey has found that one in ten Brits have plans to start their own business because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new entrepreneur in her new logistics factory holding a checkboard

UK start-up competition The Pitch has surveyed 2,000 UK adults and has found that 11% say they want to start a business because of the coronavirus crisis. Around one-fifth want to start a business to give back to society.

Key reasons for starting a business include:

  • To earn extra money (47%);
  • To have something to do (26%);
  • Because I finally have the time to start a business (21%);
  • To give back to society (17%);
  • It’s my only option (16%).

The number of people that want to start a business because of the crisis is highest in London, Sheffield and Newcastle. Of those that are interested in working for themselves, 16% have started on a plan, 11% have spoken to a financial adviser, 11% have spoken to potential customers and 10% have registered a company.

Just over 3% of those surveyed have already launched a business because of the crisis. The figures are even higher in Brighton (5.08%), Glasgow (6.02%) and Birmingham (4.95%).

The Pitch, which was launched in 2008, helps start-ups create a pitch and gives them the platform to use it. The competition is now open for applications and The Pitch will run five free, day-long business boot camps across the country to find the UK’s most exciting new start-ups before the final in November. The Pitch is also offering every applicant free one-on-one sessions covering everything from marketing to cashflow.

“We know business is tougher than ever right now,” said Chris Goodfellow, founder of Box 2 Media, which runs The Pitch. “We also know that amazing, world-changing businesses will be built during the crisis.

“Every year, we see The Pitch finalists trying to solve some of the biggest challenges we face, from mental health to tackling food waste. There’s no doubt the UK’s entrepreneurs are going to step up in the wake of the coronavirus crisis too.”

Several of The Pitch judges founded their businesses during recessions and went on to build hugely successful companies, including equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube and Moneypenny.

Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube, said: “I’m a strong believer that difficult economic times are a breeding ground for innovation; it’s no coincidence to me that the likes of Funding Circle, Crowdcube and Ratesetter emerged from the banking crisis.

“Britain has a proud history of innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship and it’s vital we continue to support our start-up community, who will be crucial in helping our economy emerge from this crisis.”

Ed Reeves, co-founder of Moneypenny, said: “Moneypenny was born as we entered a tumultuous few years of recession. There wasn’t a single person who felt it was a good time to start trading, including pretty much every potential investor … Out of adversity comes opportunity.”

Research by the Institute of Directors (IoD) suggests that businesses are also adapting in the face of the pandemic.

An IoD survey of business leaders has found that four in ten said their organisation had made changes – especially home working and a greater focus on digital services – that they intend to keep in place after lockdown.

In addition, almost one in six of those polled said they had launched a new product or service due to the circumstances. The majority of these were related to the country’s medical response, from producing hand gel to procuring PPE.

Edwin Morgan, IoD director of policy, said: “Many companies are finding a way to innovate through the obstacles. The solutions they create might just end up becoming the new normal.”

Written by Rachel Miller.

Careers England Covid-19 Survey
April 24, 2020
Careers England is working with The CDI and DMH Associates to gather intelligence on the impact of Covid-19 on the careers sector.

They would really appreciate you completing our survey which should take no more than 10 minutes.
The results will allow them to speak with a collective voice to government on financial and other implications of C19, and ensure we represent the views of our members. 
Take the Survey
Freelancers Report High Job Satisfaction
February 11, 2020

Full-time freelancers have rated their job satisfaction an average of 4.1 out of five in a survey from financial services provider Payoneer.

The survey revealed that flexible hours and the freedom to work from home were the top reasons for freelancers’ high satisfaction.

Sixty-nine per cent of the 7,414 global freelancers surveyed work full time or exclusively on a freelance basis. The remaining 31% said they freelance as a ‘side hustle’ alongside a more permanent role, and rate their job satisfaction on average at 3.8 out of five.

Speaking of the organisational advantages of using freelancers, Katherine Easter, chief people officer at the Pension Protection Fund, told HR magazine: “Freelancers can bring great benefit to organisations because they approach the needs of the business differently from internal employees and evolve the way things are done.”

Giving freelance copywriters as an example, Easter described how as outsiders to the organisation they are able “to challenge the way complex and technical employee policies are written so that they are free from commonly-used internal jargon and are easy for all to understand”.

In addition, she said, “they bring different expertise on what’s worked effectively elsewhere. This supports in-house teams to evolve the way people strategies are implemented.”

Respondents cited maintaining a sufficient stream of work and income as notable disadvantages to this way of working, but higher lifestyle satisfaction ratings tallied closely with income satisfaction across the board.

Those earning between $5,000 to $10,000 (£3,872 to £7745) per annum from their freelancing rated their income satisfaction on average at 3.3 out of five, and lifestyle satisfaction at 4.1.

Those earning between $25,000 and $50,000 (£19,364 and £38,728) rated their income satisfaction slightly higher at 3.6 out of five, and lifestyle satisfaction rose too to an average of 4.3 out of five.

Past reports have estimated that up to 50% of workers will be freelance by this year, though the nature of freelance work in the UK is unclear because of a review into IR35 off-payroll working rules.

Eyal Moldovan, general manager at Payoneer, stated: “Fuelled by demographic changes, technology advances and shifting work paradigms, the freelance economy is booming as freelancing becomes a preferred lifestyle choice for more workers around the world.”

Good Workplace Relationships Have Largest Impact on Job Satisfaction
February 4, 2020

Good relationships with colleagues are essential to job satisfaction, according to 77% of workers.

Out of the 2,141 people surveyed, 1,537 said they were satisfied in their current role, 500 said they were dissatisfied, and those remaining responded ‘not applicable’.

Satisfied workers generally considered payment less important than feeling connected to the purpose of the organisation and having a challenging role too.

The Institute of Leadership & Management’s study, New Decade, New Direction, found other important factors for job satisfaction including access to training and development (68%), being trusted to take on more responsibility (66%) and a good work/life balance (32%).

Of dissatisfied employees in the survey, 47% said that they feel undervalued by their managers. Other factors found to be linked to dissatisfaction include having a lack of growth and development opportunities (45%), low salary (34%) and negative company culture (33%).

To ensure a positive working environment and therefore drive retention the report advised employers to not assume how people derive satisfaction from their work and pay attention to non-financial aspects of a job.

Kate Cooper, head of research, policy and standards at The Institute of Leadership & Management, told HR magazine:

“It’s often put down to luck when we work with a great group of people, but it’s also a result of a company culture that recognises the social aspects of work and builds in the essential time for people to get to know each other.”

Cooper suggested that if employers create a social and friendly workplace culture colleagues have time to form relationships and bond. However, she warned there can be pitfalls for HR.

“Once the foundations for good relationships have been laid they’re very difficult to undo. But if you get it wrong it takes a long time to fix. So get the social aspects of work right from the beginning: it is such an important investment because what we’re essentially investing in is retaining our talent,” she said.

The research was carried out in partnership with career development consultancy Amazing If and the Triangirls tech community.

More Than 20,000 Retail Job Losses in 2019
January 24, 2020

Job losses on the high street rose in 2019, with 945 more employees being let go than in 2018, an ABC Finance report shows.

In 2019 21,826 retail staff were made redundant. In comparison, there were a recorded 20,881 job losses in 2018 and just 6,884 in 2017.

The research combined the most widely-publicised instances of businesses entering into administration from SMEs up to iconic UK retail institutions. ABC Finance’s research also highlighted the closure of 9,000 physical UK locations and more than 125,000 redundancies from 2010 to 2019.

The retail areas hit hardest by administration between 2010 and 2019 were clothing (41%); household essentials (19%) such as furniture, plumbing and electricals; and general shopping (10%).

Those areas lesser affected were beauty and accessories (5%); food stores (5%), other – pet shops, stationers and travel agents (5%), restaurants – chains/cafes (4%); and gift stores (4%).

Well-known companies such as Thomas Cook, Mothercare and Jamie’s Italian went into administration in 2019, resulting in thousands of employees losing their jobs.

However, Martin Newman, founder of The Customer First Group and former head of e-commerce at Ted Baker and Burberry, said that once the current political uncertainty is resolved, the UK’s business administration issue will ease.

“Political uncertainty has fuelled a drop in consumer confidence and a subsequent tightening of belts. This has led to various brands losing sales on a like-for-like basis,” he said.

The report also suggested that a move away from ‘bricks and mortar’ shopping to online retail has been partly to blame for the death of the high street.

ABC Finance warned that these closures are ‘concerning’ because retail is estimated to generate 5% of the UK’s GDP.

Two-Fifths of Customer Service Employees Looking for New Job
January 10, 2020

The new year is predicted to encourage nearly 40% of customer service workers to look for a new role 

Nearly two-fifths (39%) of employees in customer service roles are likely to look for a new job in January, according to quality assurance platform EvaluAgent.

The study found that 40% of customer service staff are less happy in January than any other month.

It estimated around 5% of customer service workers will leave their jobs in January. Given that there are more than 640,000 people in these roles in the UK businesses could stand to lose around £201,757,500 in January alone, the research predicted.

Employers seemed to underestimate the issue, with 70% of workplaces not believing that staff are more likely to change jobs in January than in other months. 

Financial incentives such as salary increases and bonuses were found to be an ineffective retention solution, with 47% of those surveyed saying money wouldn’t affect their decision to stay or leave a company in January. This was especially true for younger workers, with 59% of 18- to 24-year-olds saying that money isn’t an effective motivation.

The researched suggested that businesses should be using employee engagement strategies including regular and timely feedback, non-financial rewards, and healthcare and flexitime. 

Jaime Scott, co-founder and CEO of EvaluAgent, said:

“High employee turnover in January is a problem for many businesses and can cause significant problems when it comes to productivity and customer satisfaction levels. 

“There is a direct link between employee engagement and turnover, suggesting that businesses need to be making far more effort to engage their workforce at this time of year if they are to prevent the annual surge in departures.” 

The research was carried out by Evaluagent and the sample was from 1,000 workplaces across the UK. 

Fewer than 5% of People in Many Countries Benefit from Adult Learning Opportunities
December 10, 2019

In almost one-third of countries, fewer than five per cent of adults aged 15 and above participate in education and learning programmes, according to UNESCO’s fourth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 4).

Adults with disabilities, older adults, refugees and migrants, minority groups and other disadvantaged segments of society are particularly under-represented in adult education programmes and find themselves deprived of crucial access to lifelong learning opportunities.

Published by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, the report monitors the extent to which UNESCO Member States put their international commitments regarding adult learning and education into practice and reflects data submitted by 159 countries. It calls for a major change in the approach to adult learning and education (ALE) backed by adequate investment to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access and benefit from adult learning and education and that its full contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is realized.

“We urge governments and the international community to join our efforts and take action to ensure that no one – no matter who they are, where they live or what challenges they face – is left behind where the universal right to education is concerned,” says UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, endorsing the report’s recommendations. “By ensuring that donor countries respect their aid obligations to developing countries, we can make adult learning and education a key lever in empowering and enabling adults, as learners, workers, parents, and active citizens.”

The publication stresses the need to increase national investment in ALE, reduce participation costs, raise awareness of benefits, and improve data collection and monitoring, particularly for disadvantaged groups.

Progress in participation in adult learning and education is insufficient

Despite low participation overall, many more than half of responding countries (57% of 152) reported an increase in the overall participation rate in adult learning and education between 2015 and 2018. Low-income countries reported the largest increase in ALE participation (73%), trailed by lower middle income and upper middle income countries (61% and 62%).

Most increases in adult learning and education participation were in sub-Saharan Africa (72% of respondents), followed by the Arab region (67%), Latin America and the Caribbean (60%) and Asia and the Pacific (49%). North America and Western Europe reported fewest increases (38%) though starting from higher levels.

The data shows persistent and deep inequalities in participation and that key target groups such as adults with disabilities, older adults, minority groups as well as adults living in conflict-affected countries are not being reached.

Women’s participation must improve further

While the global report shows that women’s participation in ALE has increased in 59 per cent of the reporting countries since 2015, in some parts of the world, girls and women still do not have sufficient access to education, notably to vocational training, leaving them with few skills and poor chances of finding employment and contributing to the societies they live in, which also represents an economic loss for their countries.

Quality is improving but not fast enough

Quality ALE can also provide invaluable support to sustainable development and GRALE 4 shows that three-quarters of countries reported progress in the quality of education since 2015. Qualitative progress is observed in curricula, assessment, teaching methods and employment conditions of adult educators. However, progress in citizenship education, which is essential in promoting and protecting freedom, equality, democracy, human rights, tolerance and solidarity, remained negligible. No more than 3% of countries reported qualitative progress in this area.

Increase in funding for adult learning and education needed

GRALE 4 shows that over the last ten years, spending on adult learning and education has not reached sufficient levels, not only in low-income countries but also in lower middle income and high-income countries. Nearly 20% of Member States reported spending less than 0.5 per cent of their education budgets on ALE and a further 14% reported spending less than 1 per cent. This information demonstrates that many countries have failed to implement the intended increase in ALE financing proposed in GRALE 3 and that ALE remains underfunded. Moreover, under-investment hits socially disadvantaged adults the hardest. Lack of funding also hampers the implementation of new policies and efficient governance practices.

The UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE) monitors whether UNESCO Member States are putting their international commitments on adult learning and education into practice. These commitments are set out in the Belém Framework for Action (2009), the outcome document of the 6th International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI, Belém, Brazil), and the Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education (2015). In addition to this monitoring function, each issue of GRALE examines a particular topic, the 2019 edition focusses on participation. GRALEis published every three years. The Report combines survey data, policy analysis and case studies to provide policy-makers and practitioners with recommendations and examples of good practice. It presents evidence on how adult learning and education helps countries address current challenges and contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.