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Job Site Created for Special Educational Needs Sector
October 30, 2019
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Senploy, the UK’s first recruitment website dedicated to uniting prospective employers and candidates within the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) sector, has been launched by a charity worker.

Amy Allen, who works as the lead school administrator at Cheshire’s The Seashell Trust – an organisation which supports children and adults with severe and complex learning disabilities – decided to create the SEND niche jobs site as an antidote to a myriad of generalist job sites that did not reflect the specialist needs of the sector.    

Following a year’s planning to build and launch the online platform, the 39-year-old from Wilmslow hopes that Senploy will provide an easy solution to recruiting the best possible individuals to work within SEND, saving time and money for employers in the process.

With a guiding ethos that “niche generates quality” Allen believes that the site is set to become the industry’s go-to jobs destination which will, in turn, reinvigorate the sector with an influx of high-calibre talent.

Employers, including educational establishments, agencies, care homes, local authorities and families will be able to reach experienced professionals quickly and easily via a CV database of quality candidates and will also be able to manage their own recruitment processes through Senploy’s back office function.

Meanwhile, those working in fields such as occupational therapy, special needs teaching, social work, rehabilitation therapy, speech and language therapy and developmental psychology, will be able to access a large number of relevant job opportunities on one straight-forward portal.

Senploy founder, Amy, said: “There are hundreds of generalist job websites out there, but I’ve seen first-hand how they tend to generate too many irrelevant CVs… or not enough relevant ones depending on how you look at it!

“A niche sector needs its own dedicated site, since roles within SEND tend to be extremely specialised. It takes a certain type of person with a specific skill set to work in this area. The industry as a whole will benefit from having instant access to a rich pool of candidates with the right experience and jobseekers won’t have to upload their details to hundreds of different job boards. 

“Our mission is to help cut costs, save time and promote targeted two-way recruitment – we want to simplify the entire process and breathe new life into the sector by helping to match the right people to the right SEND role. At the end of the day, individuals with special educational needs and disabilities deserve to have professionals with the right skills working with them, so that they can achieve their life goals. We’re here to help make that happen. 

‘Alexa, Help Me Get a Job at McDonald’s…’

McDonald’s has launched the world’s first voice application process, to help attract curious but time-poor candidates from all walks of life.

The following article is by Harriet Hounsell, chief people officer at McDonald’s UK

We are a restaurant business, but we are also a people business. We have

more than 120,000 employees, and every day they welcome almost four million people into our branches up and down the country. Over the past few years roles in our restaurants have changed – our self-order screens have freed up our people from behind the counter to focus on hospitality. We’re employing more people, from all backgrounds and all life stages, but in slightly different roles.

Used in the right way, we’ve found that technology can be both an enabler for current employees and a way to attract and recruit new staff. It can also help simplify the job application process.

Research from CareerBuilder found that 60% of jobseekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity. Jobsite Indeed also found that the average application form can include a vast 63 screening questions. As employers we should not be creating barriers for prospective employees and the application process should reflect the brand or business they are applying to. For us that means the process should be quick, convenient and fun.

So we are launching the world’s first voice-initiated job application process, giving candidates the ability to start their application simply by saying ‘Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s.’ Users will jump-start their application by answering a few basic questions including their name, job area of interest and location. Potential applicants will then receive a short text message with a link to continue their application process.

This isn’t about simplicity for the sake of it. There is a business imperative behind making it easier to attract younger time-poor recruits; they help to foster diversity in the workplace and have the potential to refresh old ways of working. We must be ready for Generation Z – those aged 16 to 24 and the first fully-digital generation – who are finishing their education and joining the workforce.

Voice assistants have more than seven million daily users in the UK, according to Deloitte. So we think they’re a fun and powerful way to reach candidates from all walks of life – whether they’re looking for their first job or to return to the workplace after a career break. The fastest growth in users is actually among 55- to 75-year-olds, who are using voice assistants on a daily basis to do things like getting weather updates or playing music. By utilising Alexa and Google Assistant we will be reaching an audience who might not have previously thought about a job at McDonald’s.

Regardless of background, we hope this initiative encourages people to get in touch about a wide variety of roles in our 1,270 restaurants across the UK and Ireland. We believe it’s important to look at new ways to recruit and understand if that’s what people want from us.

There’s never been a better time for businesses to embrace how we use technology in our daily lives. This marks the next step in how we are redefining the application process, casting our recruitment net wider as a result.

Harriet Hounsell is chief people officer at McDonald’s UK

How To Attract, Motivate and Keep IT Staff – A Candidate’s View
August 29, 2019
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Every day, tens of thousands of people stream into some of the biggest offices in the country, wearing one of two coloured ID badges. One identifies the person as a permanent employee, while the other shows the person is a third-party contractor.

The following article is by Graham Smith, Head of Marketing at Microsoft recruitment partner – Curo Talent.

Curo Talent

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary. The cost of hiring a contractor can be equally high. Your hiring strategy needs to work; getting it wrong can be costly, and getting it right requires informed decisions.

In Curo Talent’s latest report: IT Talent Acquisition; the candidate’s view 2019, 875 IT contractors and IT permanent workers from across the United Kingdom gave their opinion on employment issues. There is some distinction between temporary and permanent staff viewpoints but also some common ground, enabling important conclusions to be drawn, backed up by data.

When asked what attracts them to a company, pay was the number one priority for both IT contractors and permanent staff.

Yet this was very closely followed by a desire for interesting work in both groups. 23 percent of IT contractors put interesting work as a close second, and 20 percent of permanent staff agreed.

The cerebral nature of IT work means that members of the IT Department need to be kept busy and engaged on projects. Too much downtime leads to boredom. This is underlined by numbers showing that 57 percent of non-IT staff have been in their current job for more than 5 years, compared to just 29 percent of IT workers.

So, while the salary and day rate may be the first thing a candidate looks at in your recruitment advertisement or job description, it’s equally important to make the job sound interesting and something that will look good on their CV. Invest time in crafting recruitment adverts that excite IT candidates, and maybe get your existing IT staff to critique the first draft.

For both permanent and contract staff the first port of call when seeking work is a recruitment agency, followed by job boards for contractors and company websites for permanent staff. What is revealing is that on average 30 percent of candidates have never applied to a job advertised on social media. While platforms such as LinkedIn may be valuable for hiring managers researching CVs, it would appear it’s not the first place candidates go to when hunting for new work.

So, what would push an IT worker to start job hunting? In both groups, poor management came out on top. 30 percent of IT contractors would leave due to poor management, compared with 19 percent of IT permanent workers. Without jumping to conclusions on the subtext of these responses, humans cannot help but draw on past experiences to answer questions like this.

Does this indicate that 30 percent of IT contractors have felt the effects of poor management in the past? Potentially. Clearly, it’s important for all staff to be onboarded at new companies effectively, before being supported and assessed fairly. It’s equally important that managers are trained to motivate their team and identify concerns in order to reduce staff churn.

When candidates were asked about their greatest challenge over the next 12 months there was a difference of opinion. Permanent staff stated increasing their salary and a better work life balance were the top of their list.

For IT contractors, concerns over IR35 and work life balance were the big challenges.

The extension of IR35 reforms into the private sector is due to take place in April 2020 and is already starting to cause confusion and chaos. Essentially, if any contracting work is classified as ‘inside’ the IR35, earnings will be taxed as if the contractor is a permanent employee.

For IT contractors, concerns over IR35 and work life balance were the big challenges. The extension of IR35 reforms into the private sector is due to take place in April 2020 and is already starting to cause confusion and chaos. Essentially, if any contracting work is classified as ‘inside’ the IR35, earnings will be taxed as if the contractor is a permanent employee.

So, do hiring managers have to make any changes in the present to accommodate for a mass exodus of contractors? Apparently not. IT contractors were also asked if IR35 will change their mind about doing contract work and only eight percent stated that it would. 

This underlines that IT experts choose contracting for a better lifestyle, not just for tax advantages. Working when and where they want, on projects they select, at negotiated rates, gives them the freedom and choice they value.

Employers Turn to Training as Businesses Struggle to Recruit
July 10, 2019
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More than two-thirds (68%) of UK employers have struggled to find skilled workers this year, with Brexit uncertainty making talent scarcer.

An annual report on the skills landscape of the UK, The Open University Business Barometer 2019, reveals that organisations spent £4.4 billion on temporary staff, recruitment fees and increased salaries in the past 12 months due to difficulties finding employees with the right qualifications and experience.

Nearly half (48%) hired temporary staff to plug gaps, while 44 per cent spent more than intended on recruitment fee

Others (38%) took a different approach, increasing salaries in order to make roles more attractive, and nearly a third (31%) were forced to hire at a lower level than intended.

Approach to addressing the skills shortageExpenditure 2019Expenditure 2018Percentage Change
Extra spending on recruitment fees£1.6 billion£1.2 billion+33%
Training to boost skills of those hired at a lower level£1.2 billion£1.5 billion-20%
Increasing salaries on offer£0.9 billion£2.2 billion-59%
Spending on temporary staff while role remained vacant£0.8 billion£1.5 billion-47%
Total£4.4 billion£6.3 billion-30%

The skills shortage comes as the UK employment rate stands at the highest level since 1971, while unemployment is at its lowest since 19741. The dearth of skills in the labour market means that recruitment is taking one month and 27 days longer than anticipated, forcing many to seek external help – leading to a 33 per cent rise in spending on recruitment fees in total.

Three in five (63%) employers report that their organisation is currently facing a skills shortage (up from 62% in 2018). And while spending on recruiters is on the rise in an attempt to attract necessary skills, there is also a greater focus on re-training existing staff, with more than half (53%) of organisations increasing their training and development budgets in the past year – by an average of 10 per cent.

In the past, many employers have relied on buying talent rather than building it, but with more than three in five (62%) expecting it to become harder to find the right skills in the next year many are now looking internally.

Three in five (61%) think that they will have to focus on developing talent from within their organisation if they want to guarantee access to the skills they need in order to be productive and efficient. And the benefits of this approach can be felt throughout an organisation, with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills citing training as one of the most commonly cited channels through which spillovers of knowledge and productivity can occur2.

While one in five (21%) employers think that Brexit will open up new growth opportunities for their organisation, the current uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU may be a key driver of this sudden change in gear. Three in five (59%) senior business leaders agree that the skills shortage will worsen after the UK officially leaves the European Union, which may explain the shift to focus on home-grown talent.

While seven in 10 (71%) employers agree that developing the skills of the existing workforce is a more sustainable approach, it is crucial that any training helps to support business objectives, while offering as much as value as possible. The Open University’s flexible, technology-enabled degrees and apprenticeships, allow employees to fit learning around work and personal commitments, whilst being able to stay local and contribute to their community – and at the same time nearly three in five (58%) employers believe is less disruptive than other forms of training.

David Willett, Corporate Director at The Open University, responded to the findings: “It’s encouraging that employers are looking to invest in the talent of their existing workforce, with businesses increasingly turning to strategies that will serve their skills requirements for the years to come. While many are starting to focus more on building up skills from within, rather than buying them in, it is essential that training ultimately delivers results, while fitting around employees’ existing commitments.

“Current uncertainties may see businesses understandably focusing on the short term, but initiatives like work-based training are essential for those looking to remain agile and competitive throughout in a rapidly changing business environment. Training, such as apprenticeships, provides a long-term solution to UK organisations looking to adapt to challenges on the horizon such as Brexit, digitisation and new technologies.”

Further findings, including specific skills shortages by region and sector and employers’ expectations for the year ahead, as well as details of The Open University’s offering, are available in The Open University Business Barometer 2019.

Methodology: The Open University Business Barometer was developed using the expertise and experience of The Open University in conjunction with quantitative market research amongst a range of businesses across the UK. A full methodology, detailing all extrapolations and calculations, can be found on The Open University’s business website.

The Open University commissioned PCP Research Limited to undertake a survey of 950 senior business leaders across the UK between 9 and 21 May 2019. The data was weighted by UK nation, region, business size and sector. Data for financial calculations was analysed and extrapolated by Third City.

About The Open University: The largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 2 million students, and it currently has almost 175,000 current students, including more than 7,000 overseas.

Over 75% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and 78 per cent of the FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses. The OU has been delivering work-based learning to organisations since the mid-90s, and has an employer satisfaction rating of 98%, according to the Skills Funding Agency. The OU launched its higher and degree apprenticeships offering in 2016 to provide employers with flexible, technology-enabled apprenticeship training for new and existing staff in leadership and management, digital, policing, healthcare and nursing.

In the latest assessment exercise for university research (Research Excellence Framework, 2014), nearly three quarters (72%) of The Open University’s research was assessed as 4 or 3 star – the highest ratings available – and awarded to research that is world-leading or internationally excellent. The Open University is unique among UK universities in having both a strong social mission and demonstrating research excellence.

Regarded as the UK’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units, as well as games, videos and academic articles and has reached audiences of up to 9.8 million across a variety of online formats including OpenLearn, YouTube and iTunes U.

How to Help Your Clients Ace a Video Job Interview
July 1, 2019
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Job interviews done by video, for example, using Skype, are becoming more common.

You need to prepare for video interviews differently than you would for normal face-to-face interviews.

Plan where you’ll do the interview

Choose a quiet place with no distractions, and use a computer or laptop computer with a webcam and good internet connection.

A business-woman doing a video job interview
  • Have a plain background that won’t distract your interviewer.
  • Dress like you would for a ‘normal’ interview.
  • Sit comfortably.
Get used to talking to someone using a computer
  • Practice talking to the webcam, not the people on-screen, so you’re more likely to be looking your interviewer in the eye.
  • It’s OK to look at the screen when you’re listening.
  • Try using a headset – it might keep you from talking too loudly or quietly.
Body language is important

Body language is important in video interviews.

If you look off to the side of the computer or fidget, it will stand out to your interviewer.

  • Be upbeat and smile during the interview.
  • Try not to slouch in your seat.
  • Keep your hands down, you may even want to rest them in your lap.
The advantage of a video interview

Your interviewer won’t be able to see any helpful notes you stick to the edge of your screen.

You can stick a few things on there, as long as your body language and eye contact aren’t affected too badly. A note could:

  • remind you to smile or talk more slowly
  • be a question you want to ask at the end of the interview.
Do a test run

Ask a friend to help do a test run a day or two before the interview.

That way, you can check how you look, sort out any technical issues that come up and generally make sure things go smoothly.

  • Use an account name that’s professional and easy to remember such as your first initial and last name.
  • Make sure your background and face are well-lit so the interviewer can see you clearly.
  • Make sure your picture isn’t shaky.
Civil Service Recruitment: New Framework
June 26, 2019
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Success Profiles are the new recruitment framework used within the Civil Service. 

The Success Profile Framework is being introduced to attract and retain people of talent and experience from a range of sectors and all walks of life, in line with the commitment in the Civil Service Workforce Plan.

The Success Profile Framework moves recruitment away from using a purely competency-based system of assessment. It introduces a more flexible framework which assesses candidates against a range of elements using a variety of selection methods. This will give the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job, driving up performance and improving diversity and inclusivity. Read more

ViewPoint: Top Tips for Recruiting the Best Apprentices
March 14, 2019
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With the end of the academic year approaching, recruitment for apprenticeships is likely to be the focus of many L&D managers. FrancesFrances Nicholson NicholsonHead Of Operations at National Skills Academy for Health,  shares her views on “how to get the cream of the crop”.

Be modern, social and mobile friendly
The young people of today have grown up in the digital age and are incredibly tech savvy so you need to engage with them through online platforms. You can reach out to the post-millennial generation through social media rather than simply relying on the Find an Apprenticeship website.

Use your recruitment strategy to try to engage people who might not have even considered apprenticeships yet. Link your social media posts to your careers site so prospective candidates can find out more about the culture of your organisation. Read more

ViewPoint: Is Age Just a Number?
September 11, 2018
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Written by John-Claude Hesketh Managing Partner at global executive search firm Marlin Hawk.

The plight to increase workplace diversity has gained incredible momentum amongst companies of all sizes and sectors over the past decade.

What’s more, we are seeing business leaders working harderJohn-Claude Hesketh, Managing Partner at global executive search firm Marlin Hawk than ever to tackle the issue right from the start of the hiring process.

There is still a long way to go, but while we drive the diversity conversation forward, there remains an entire demographic we are in danger of leaving out of the picture even though they make up over 30% of the UK’s workforce: the over 50s.

According to the Chartered Management Institute, the UK will need “1.9 million new, well trained and highly skilled managers” in key leadership positions by 2024. Yet recent government research has revealed that there are up to one million individuals in the 50-64 age bracket whose potential to fill these roles are going unrealised, despite their ambitions to get back into the workplace.

In an increasingly digital age it is only natural for these patterns to emerge as organisations look to entice the younger CEOs and CTOs, believing that because of their age they can drive innovation, and focus more on making workplaces ‘Millennial-friendly’. However, this is not necessarily the case, and it is becoming clear that things need to change in order for us to truly begin tackling the issue of age bias from the top down. Read more

Struggling to Recruit Apprentices? The Importance of Social Media
June 26, 2018
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The following article is by Emma Stallwood, Digital Media and Marketing Executive, GPRS Recruitment.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 12 months, you’ll be aware of the struggles we are having as a country to sell apprenticeships to the emerging workforce.

Emma Stallwood, Digital Media and Marketing Executive, GPRS Recruitment

In fact, since the introduction of the government’s Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017, apprenticeship starts have been in decline. New figures from the Department for Education released on the 14th June 2018 reveal that the number of apprenticeship starts have fallen significantly, with a drop of 27.92% from last year’s figures (261,200 apprenticeship starts in 2017/18, down from 362,400 in 2016/17 academic year).

Ben Rowland, Co-Founder of the UK’s leader in digital, IT and HR apprenticeships says that “We firmly believe employers need to look beyond the apprenticeship levy and embrace apprenticeships as an integral part of developing the UK talent pool, keeping us a competitive nation.”

Now more than ever, the promotion of apprenticeships and making your programme a ‘sought-after’ scheme is imperative.

Over 1,400 people applied for eight spaces on the BBC apprenticeship programme – making it more competitive per place than many Oxbridge colleges. This approach shows that, with a dose of innovation, there is a way to reverse the fall in apprenticeship numbers.

Try our Top Tips for Engaging with the Apprentice Demographic

Today’s job marketplace is predominantly online, therefore maintaining an online presence is of the utmost importance, not only for company exposure but because it can be used to create or strengthen your employer brand and to attract talent to your organisation.

Read more

Skills Shortages Costing UK £1.7B
June 4, 2018
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Delays and skills shortages are making recruiting staff with the right skills for the job so difficult, it is costing British businesses £1.7 billion a year[1], highlights the first of a series of Skills Shortage bulletins published by the Edge Foundation.

The latest data from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Quarterly Economic Survey of over 7,100 businesses shows that skilled manual labour is the most problematic area of recruitment; 68 percent of firms are struggling – the highest since records began.

Edge’s Director of Policy and Research, Olly Newton, who compiled the report, said:

‘All the evidence indicates that UK plc is facing a recruitment crisis. Altogether, 203,000 people with Level 3+ engineering skills are needed to meet expected demand, but we are seeing skills shortages right across the board and in all kinds of jobs. In construction, the next three to five years will see a 90 per cent increase in demand for management skills while 68 per cent of building firms are struggling to recruit bricklayers.

‘The closure of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) last year, has left a data vacuum. Edge will be bringing together the best available evidence in a series of regular reports to present a comprehensive picture of skills shortages in the UK economy.’

Access EDGE BULLETIN 1 HERE