8 Challenges Faced By Employers (And How To Face Them Head On)

by Andre on August 31st, 2015  

Recruiting the best staff to your company is always going to be a top priority for you as an employer, whether you are a small and medium enterprise or part of a large, corporate firm. It sounds simple doesn’t it: You get job vacancies in your company, you advertise for new staff, you recruit the staff and then they come to work for you and remain with the company, happily ever after. Problem solved – in theory, that is.

We all know it is not quite as easy as all that, though, don’t we. The UK workforce, the setup of different companies, the changes in work culture, the introduction of new initiatives by the government of the day; all of these factors, and more, can contribute to the challenges for the employer in both the recruitment of staff and the retention of staff.

So, what are the top challenges facing employers today? Perhaps you can even think of other challenges to add to the list with regards to your own company but these are just a few. Let’s take a look at those challenges – and let’s also look at how those challenges could be tackled. In previous blog posts, we’ve addressed some of these challenges at length so we’ll be linking back to some of those posts for further reading. The following challenges are listed in no particular order.

  • Employer Challenges – Number 1: A vacancy arises within your company and after advertising it, you receive hundreds of CVs and completed applications…from completely unsuitable candidates.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 2: Completely the opposite to challenge number 1. You get a vacancy within your company, advertise it and you receive hardly any applications to fill the position at all.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 3: You think you have found the perfect person to fill a role within your company but then you check out their social media presence and start to wonder if the candidate if suitable after all.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 4: How to get your hands on the best young talent out there when there are so many other companies out there trying to chase down the same staff you are.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 5: How to retain that fabulous young talent once you’ve got it. It’s one thing tempting the United Kingdom’s best bright young thing to your company in the first place but what are you going to do to harness that and make sure those people want to stay around for a while?
  • Employer Challenges – Number 6: How to keep productivity high within your company. Are all of your staff working at optimum levels to drive your company forward and, if so, how do you encourage them to keep up that momentum? How do you get the most from your employees?
  • Employer Challenges – Number 7: How to improve employee morale. What is the mood like within your workplace? Is your team of staff motivated and happy or is your staff turnover and staff sickness level high?
  • Employer Challenges – Number 8: Encouraging women to apply for your vacancies. This is a challenge that isn’t faced by all employers – obviously it depends on the type of company you are working with and the types of job vacancies that might arise. However, some firms struggle to encourage women to apply for top posts within their company so we will take a look at this challenge, as well.

As I said above, you might well be reading this and thinking you could easily add a whole host of other employer challenges to this list but as E4S focus on trying to match young school leavers, students and graduates with employers like you, we are focussing on the recruitment of these people.

Employer Challenges – Number 1: A Pile Of Unsuitable Applications And CVs

As an employer, the chances are this has happened to you scores of times when you have advertised job vacancies within your company. The advert goes out and then all of sudden, you are drowning in a sea of CVs and applications. Whilst this might seem like the perfect solution, you can become disheartened very quickly as you sift through each application form, CV and / or covering letter, only to find each one relatively useless.

Yes, your candidates might be super enthusiastic in their applications, which is great, but maybe, for your particular job vacancy, enthusiasm is not quite enough. You start to wonder, “Did anyone even read this job advert?”

Well this is where you might want to take a look at the information that has gone into the job advert. Because as well as unsuitable applicants for vacant positions, another challenge faced by employers is getting an effective job advert out there – one that not only attracts lots of applicants but attracts lots of suitable applicants. What a luxury it would be to have the headache of trying to choose between a handful of fantastic, keen young people looking to work for your company.

Writing for different audiences and different purposes is a skill that not all of us has and, if you think this is you, why not get someone else within your company to either write the job advert for you, give you some pointers or at the very least, proofread what you have written. And if you really are wondering where on earth to begin with the whole process of writing your job advert, take a look at these E4S tips about how to write a great job ad so that it’s tailored towards the people you want to attract to work in your company.

Employer Challenges – Number 2: Tumbleweed. Your job advert falls flat and fails to attract any applications.

There can be a number of reasons for why your job advert has attracted zero or hardly any applications:

  • The nature of your company mean jobs are difficult to fill because those jobs are seen as unattractive.
  • Perhaps jobs vacancies are difficult to fill because your company is seen as dull and unattractive.
  • Jobs with your company are difficult to fill because there is a skills shortage in the field that you operate in.
  • And / or we could shoot back up to the solution offered in number 1 – perhaps you might need to look at how you are writing those job adverts and presenting the firm.

Recruiting new staff and advertising your job vacancies can be a time where you can sit back and really have a good look at how your company is seen by school leavers, students and graduates. After all, they are the people you are trying to attract. If they see your company as a bit dull, they’re not going to apply for your vacancies and you could be missing out on the best talent.

If you are struggling to find young people with the relevant experience or qualifications to fill your traditionally difficult to fill vacancies, some employers remedy this by introducing apprenticeships or school leaver programmes as part of your company recruitment strategy. This means you can train young people up to the standards you need them to be at. Internships or work experience programmes could also be an option where students are given a taster of what it is like to work at your company.

Employer Challenges – Number 3: The Social Media Profiles

To peek or not to peek, that is the question. And if you are going to have a little delve into the social media presence of your candidates, do you do it before they reach the interview stage or afterwards?

More and more employers are looking at the social media presence of potential candidates, these days, and it’s down to you to decide where you draw the line between someone coming to work for you and not.

This will depend on the nature of your company. These days, students and school leavers are more savvy about what they allow to be public on social media but for some roles, there could be more room for leeway where you can perhaps more relaxed about what potential candidates are choosing to share.

Employer Challenges – Number 4: Getting Your Hands On The Best Young Talent

You are in competition with all the other companies out there who are looking to get their hands on the best of the United Kingdom’s young talent, so how do you get in there, ahead of the rest. This can be a particular challenge for SMEs who might be in competition with the larger corporations.

If you are reading this article, there is a pretty good chance you are interested in employing young people – after all, getting young people into employment is what we focus on at E4S.

Offering jobs to students during the holidays or on a long term basis at evenings and weekends can be a good way to spot talent early. These days, a lot of students choose to stay on with companies they have worked with during their time at university once they have graduated. If you can offer quality staff development and promotion, for example, you might be able to persuade your former star student worker to stick around.

And again, how are the students and school leavers viewing your company? When you place your adverts for job vacancies are you appealing to them as a fun, forward thinking company to work for, or do you look a bit stuck in your ways as a company? Think about different ways to promote your vacancies – we’ve addressed this in a previous blog post – and add videos and testimonials of all the great young staff you have working for you. If you want to attract young talent, then you need to look young and exciting as a company.

Advertising your job vacancies on E4S is a great start because we have so many students, school leavers and graduates visiting the site on a daily basis. E4S is the most visited website specialising in undergraduate jobs and you can read more about this on our About Us page.

Employer Challenges – Number 5: Keeping Hold Of That Bright Young Talent

So you have gone to all that trouble to write a great job ad and you have promoted it in all the best ways possible to attract that bright young talent. Your labours have paid off and you’ve bagged yourself what you believe to be the perfect person or people for the roles. I’ve written in the past about the job for life being a thing of the past, with more and more employees feeling more confident about hopping from job to job but there are a number of strategies you can implement within your company that could see your new star remaining with your company for the longer term and driving the firm forward.

Small & Medium Enterprises – Traditionally, small and medium enterprises have faced the bigger challenges with staff retention because there is sometimes limited room for growth. However, SMEs can adopt a strategies to make sure their staff stick around, including a celebration of the fact that you are an SME. If you are an SME and are looking for recruitment ideas and staff retention strategies, take a look at some of these tips from a previous article.

Staff Holidays – What is the mood in your company when it comes to taking time off work? Is there a culture of everyone remaining glued to their desk throughout lunch hours and breaks, feeling the need to keep up with demanding workload? Are all of your staff taking the holidays they are entitled to? As I said in a previous article, rather than increasing productivity in the workplace, a culture where staff feel they need to be in work at all times can actually be counter productive and people are more likely to apply for other roles if they feel undervalued and tired all the time.

There are lots of reasons why staff don’t take breaks or the time of that they are entitled to and it’s an increasing problem in the UK. You could improve your staff retention by addressing the work life culture within your company.

Staff Development – Making young staff feel like a valued part of the company, whether they are doing part time student jobs or they are school leavers, is a great way to make sure they stay around for longer. If you have in house training and opportunities for more responsibility within the company, involve your younger staff in this, too. Where appropriate, the implementation of apprenticeships could be a good way to apply structure to this and get some help with funding, in the process.

Employer Challenges – Number 6: How To Keep Productivity High Amongst Employees

How do you go about making sure all your staff are working to the best of their ability and therefore keeping productivity high within your company? This is just another of the challenges faced by employers.

Well, we can go back to your company culture, here, with regards to staff taking time off. Ensuring that all your staff take a break when they are entitled to one and also making sure they use their full holiday entitlement means they return to their desk or workstation feeling refreshed. People who have taken a break also often have new ideas which can really benefit your company.

Staff incentives are also a good way to keep productivity high within the company. Again, if you are employing students just on a part time or temporary basis, you could also involve them in your incentive schemes, too, so that they feel a sense of belonging within your company. Apart from this being good experience of the workplace for young people, you might also find, in the future, that they stay with you on a more permanent, full time basis.

Employer Challenges – Number 7: How To Keep Staff Morale High

Employers often state staff morale this as one of the challenges of their job. And how do you keep staff morale high so that they enjoy coming into work every day or for every shift? Again, it depends on the type of company you are as to the details of what you might be able to do to improve staff morale but one thing is for sure, if your staff are buoyant and happy, then your staff retention is going to be much higher.

So what can you do? This is a similar employer challenge to those mentioned above. The culture and atmosphere of your workplace is likely to be the determining factor that affects staff morale.

Are you approachable as an employer? A good relationship between management and staff can do wonders for morale. Staff who feel valued for what they do for the company are more likely to remain with your company.

One way to do this is by offering employer perks. There are lots of different perks employers offer to boost staff morale and staff wellbeing and these are all great not just for staff retention but also for attracting staff to apply for your vacancies in the first place. And the best thing about offering employer perks is you don’t have to be a huge multinational corporation that can afford hotel breaks of high-tech gyms in the workplace. A little bit of imagination and companies of all sizes can offer quirky perks that also attract the attention of students and young people. Here are a few ideas for you if you missed our last article on this subject.

Employer Challenges – Number 8: Attracting Women To Your Posts

Yes, this depends on the nature of your company but if you are company specialising in mechanical engineering, for example, chances are you are struggling to attract women to apply for your roles. This is a huge problem facing the UK at the moment and one the government is continually trying to address.

Some jobs and professions are not seen as traditionally female roles, and for to jobs in any sector, there is a struggle to find women with the drive and ambition to reach those positions. There are lots of reasons for these issues, discussed in this article, recently. For solutions to this problem, it might well take you, as an employer, to take the initiative in the beginning and, for those roles that are seen as traditionally male roles, actively try to attract females into them.

Again, apprenticeships are a good option here. If you have female staff already in one of those roles, perhaps see if they can be a type of ambassador for the role to encourage more females.

So, these are just seven of the challenges facing employers today. As I said above, you can no doubt list a few more than these. But, if you do want to try to reduce some of those challenges, you can make a start by registering with E4S and posting your job vacancies with us. Your first step in attracting students and school leavers into your current vacancies.

How To Write The Perfect Job Ad

by Andre on July 30th, 2015  

Over the past few months, we’ve looked at many different ways of attracting young school leavers, students and graduates to not only apply for your job vacancies, but to also attract them into sticking around once you have employed them. Recruiting the best talent to your company can take up valuable time and money so you need to get it right. Whatever the position, be it full time careers or temporary student jobs, you need to attract the most suitable candidates for your job vacancy and, also, your company needs to be the best environment for your candidates.

So, in the past, we’ve talked about different ways of promoting your job vacancies online, we’ve considered interview questions and also looked at ways of improving your staff retention by offering employer perks that make your staff feel a valued part of the company. But what about that very first stage of actually letting everyone out there know that your company is looking for new staff?

Of course, this is where the perfect job ad comes in and, whatever the type and size of your company, clearly, you want to attract your next star employer to move the firm forward. Writing a perfect job ad is the very first step and it’s important to make it a worthwhile step – a quickly written job advert that hasn’t been well thought out can lead to a couple of possible outcomes:

  • You might get a flood of applications to read through – all from candidates who are unsuitable for the role you have on offer. Perhaps they don’t have the right qualifications or experience you are looking for. The candidates have no real information to go off and are applying blindly and for you, you are wasting time reading through application after application.
  • You might have a tumble-weed situation on your hands – Very few people – or even worse, no people – apply for your job vacancy. Well, if you haven’t taken the time to write an informative job advert, perhaps potential candidates are put off because they wonder if you are going to invest the time in them if they worked for you.

In the past, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, options for advertising job vacancies were limited to small newspaper ads or perhaps a quick post in a shop window. For newspaper ads, you were limited to a short word count depending on how much you wanted to pay and your job advert was very much based around that. These days, however, you have the beauty of online advertising – but so does everybody else, too. Your ad needs to stand out above all the others so that you attract the best young talent to your job vacancies. As well as visuals such as photos and videos, the wording around all that needs to be carefully thought out and well written so that job seekers know exactly the type of person you are looking for.

Top Tips For Writing A Perfect Job Ad

Tip Number 1 – Come up with a clear job title that also includes where that job will be based

What is the exact job vacancy you are advertising? You need to be clear and specific on this and treat your job title like a newspaper headline. If you are clear, potential candidates will know exactly what you are looking for and if they are interested in the position, they should continue reading.

These days, young people don’t want to have to scour through lots of irrelevant information and they could move onto the next job vacancy if they can’t find what they want from you. So if you have vacancies for student jobs in hotels for example, which hotel jobs are they? Are they seasonal or long term?

Also, where are your particular hotel jobs? If you are looking to recruit locally, a raft of applications from people all over the UK are of no use to you. And, if you are looking to recruit nationally, you can go into this in more detail in your job description.

So, “Hotel Jobs” could then become “Summer bar jobs – _____ Hotel, London.” And if you need to recruit lots of students for summer jobs, for example, then a catchy headline could really do the trick. “Calling all students…” And then you need to sell the position.

Tip Number 2 – Be clear and to the point in the rest of your job advert

Writing a great job advert is not about flowery prose. While you write the rest of your advert, stick to the point so that potential candidates know what you want from them. If you are going down the route of using clever, catchy language that you think might appeal to younger people, make sure it does appeal to them and doesn’t leave them wondering what the heck is going on. Make sure it matches the ethos and image of your company, too.

Tip Number 3 – Make sure your job advert flows

Being and clear and to the point is important – but it is also important to make sure all the information in your job advert flows in a logical way so that potential job applicants know exactly what you are offering. They should also know what they need to offer you in return.

If needs be, you can break your job description down into completely separate sections and use headings and bullet points to guide candidates easily through the nature of your job vacancy. This also makes it look easier on the eye and encourages those interested in your position to continue reading. One long, unbroken stream of writing can look daunting to many and you may put off potential young talent from reading on.

Tip Number 4 – Sell your company to the candidate

So you’ve captured the candidate’s interest with your clear, simple job title. Now you need to think about why students and young people would want to work for you over everyone else who is advertising job vacancies. Why are your summer jobs or part time jobs, for example, more attractive than those at other companies?

This is where you think about your job description and sell what is fantastic about your company. Maybe you’ve already got an existing team of young staff (possibly students) who love working for you. Do you offer any quirky company perks that are also offered to students or younger staff? Perhaps there’s a uniform or a clothing allowance included with the job or some specific training that could lead to apprenticeships or graduate roles. We considered employer perks as a way of attracting staff and retaining them in a previous post.

If you are advertising your job vacancies online via E4S, for example, we give you the space to highlight what is great about your company for particular vacancies.

Tip Number 5 – Expand on your job headline

So now, a potential candidate knows exactly what the job position is you are offering and they also know what a great company you are to work for because you have told them in the second part of your job ad. The next stage in how to write a job vacancy is to start to go into more detail about the role. Clearly, there is no one correct way to do this because each company has different expectations from, and duties for, their employees.

What is relevant for your company? If you are advertising summer bar jobs, for example, what are the exact duties of your bar staff? Will they work fixed shift patterns or are you looking for flexibility so that you can call on them at busier times? Will they be offered any training so that they can learn about the wider aspects of working in catering and hospitality? Is there a chance of a permanent job or promotion within the company? These days, lots of companies have a ‘promotion from within’ policy where staff are encouraged to work their way up. This can be attractive to students and school leavers alike, so include it when writing a job advert if that’s the type of thing your company could offer.

And let’s say you are recruiting nationally to fill vacancies at your company. If you are really looking for the best talent, not only do you need to sell the company to potential candidates, but if you are looking for someone to relocate, then you also need to sell your location to them.

Obviously, if your firm is in the middle of a large industrial estate or business park, although you can describe all the fantastic facilities there, this is not going to convince anyone to leave home. If you are offering jobs with accommodation, make sure you let candidates know this and also tell them about the local area and nearby attractions, as well as ease of commuting and neighbourhood facilities.

Tip Number 6 – Who do you want to apply for your job vacancies?

This is the part where you need to tell potential applicants exactly what you are looking for.

  • Are you looking for particular skills – perhaps with certificates or licenses to prove that candidates have those skills.
  • Are you looking for any particular qualifications such as a degree, A-Levels or industry-based qualifications that can be achieved in via Apprenticeships.
  • Are you looking for previous work experience in that field –  or a similar field – or is an enthusiasm for the post more than enough? Lots of students and young people are looking to get a foot in the door of the world of work and if you can offer them entry level jobs where they can gain a bit of experience (and perhaps training), emphasise this in your job description to attract more applications from them.
  • Are you looking for particular qualities in people? Able to work as part of a team, able to work under own initiative, do you need people who are friendly and outgoing and who can deal with your customers confidently?
  • Depending on  the nature of the vacancies you have, do you need people with their own transport or accommodation, candidates who are willing to travel around the UK or even go to work abroad occasionally?

Tip Number 7 – The Wage Or Salary

Applicants are going to want to know how much you are prepared to pay them in return for their hard work. Are employees paid weekly or monthly? Is it an hourly rate, is there commission or the opportunity to earn extra tips? This is all part of selling your role to candidates so even if the financial reward isn’t substantial (depending on the roles you are advertising), make sure you have sold the job to candidates. Perhaps the life experience and perks your job provides outweigh the possibility of a high salary. Summer activity camp jobs are an example of a situation like this.

Tip Number 7 – Never Forget The Call To Action

In any piece of writing, if the main aim of the piece it to encourage someone to do something, then you need a call to action and, certainly, with job vacancies, this is no different. It will be a wasted effort going through all the steps above and carefully writing your job description if there is no call to action at the end of it all.

Depending on the nature of your company, it could just be a direct ‘apply now’ call to action. For some companies it might be further direction with clear instructions of how to begin the application process by attending open days around the country or completing a preliminary form or attending recruitment dates. Whatever the case is for your company, it needs to be a direct and obvious call to action so that those students, graduates or school leavers who are interested in your vacancies know exactly what to do to take their application to the next stage.

Tip Number 8 – Time to proofread

Read through your job description. It might even be better to take a complete break from your writing task and return to it a day or two later so you can look it with a fresh pair of eyes.

Does your job advert reflect the ethos of company and does it attract the potential applicants you are looking for? If not, be ruthless and change it. If so, ask someone else within your company to read through it, too. You never know if you have missed something out – or perhaps that person could word something better than you have.

Teamwork on a piece of writing is invaluable so no need to take anything personally if someone else starts to suggest lots of changes. The eventual aim is to employ the best talent in your company and make sure they stick around for a while. Writing a job advert is the first step in achieving all of that.

Ask other people in your company to read through it, too. Would they apply for that job if they read your job description? Would they think your company looks like a great place to work?

Once everyone is happy…

And finally – Post your job advert

We’ve already discussed killer ways to promote your job vacancies online in a previous blog post and let’s assume you will be using online resources to get your job vacancy, or vacancies, out there so that you can find the best candidates.

When using E4S, you are given space to have a company profile where all of the information above can be included. Take a look at our typical audience – the type of visitors that come to E4S looking for work – and read our About Us page to find out more about our ethos, what we are trying to achieve and what other people have said about us. We know you will find E4S an effective way of advertising your job vacancies.

The Top Perks Employers Can Offer Their Employees

by Andre on June 28th, 2015  

I’ve written posts in the past about the challenges companies can face when it comes to staff retention. We are now in a culture where, for many reasons, the notion of a job for life is increasingly fading. Many employees feel the need to move on to other workplaces for a number of reasons including career progression. However, other reasons for your staff handing in their notice and going to pastures new could be because they don’t feel valued in their current role.

As we all know, high morale is very important in the workplace and when there is high morale, you have much more chance of hanging onto those young, talented members of staff you spent so much time and money trying to recruit. And staff who feel happy and valued in their roles are more likely to perform better, thus increasing the productivity of the firm. These days, companies are coming up with more innovative ways to keep morale high and boost their staff retention.

Offering company perks has always been both a recruitment strategy and a way of increasing staff retention and in the 21st century, as well as the more traditional perks, many others are becoming fun, innovative and quirky. In this post, we’ll look at some of the perks out there on offer to the United Kingdom’s employees.

Top Perks Offered By Employers Are Not Just Limited To Large Companies

The great thing about company perks is that they are not just reserved for the big, multinational corporate firms who have the money to spend on attractions such as paid holidays with all travel, accommodation and food and drink expenses paid.

Yes, those types of perks are definitely going to attract new applicants and boost morale within the company but there are also lots of other ideas out there that can be adapted to companies of all sizes. Just because you are a small or medium enterprise, for example, doesn’t mean you can’t treat your staff to company perks, because not all perks offered by employers are going to cost the earth. Quirky, simple ideas can also attract and retain the best staff by boosting morale and demonstrating to staff that the CEO values what they do.

Increasingly, companies are becoming famous not just for the products they offer or the services they provide, but also for all those little extras they offer their employees on top of their standard pay packet, breaks and holidays. More and more employers are realising the benefits and value of rewarding their staff and, get these perks right, and you could have a constant stream of applicants eager to work for you and a team of happy and fulfilled staff already working hard for you. It’s a win win situation for both employer and employee.

Does your company currently offer any perks to full time employees, part time employees or maybe even both? If not, some of the ones listed below could be worth your consideration. They are all extras that are in operation across some of the world’s largest companies and also smaller ones, too, and for some, it’s these perks that always get them listed in ‘best company to work for’ compilations.

Google, for example, are always right up there when it comes to innovative ways of keeping their employees happy. Google CEO, Larry Page, has the belief that when you treat people well, you get better productivity – and their performance speaks for itself. As a company, they have food on tap for their employees – served meals and a pantry where staff can use food to prepare their own dishes. Other perks include bowling alleys where employees can go and wind down for a while and they also offer massages at the desk.

This is just a sample of what’s on offer at Google and obviously, SMEs are not in a position to go out there and buy themselves a bowling alley to keep staff amused. But ideas can be adapted and scaled so that perks can be offered to employees.

Employer Perks

So what are some of the top perks out there which can benefit both you and your staff? And could you incorporate some of these into your own company?

Paid insurance

We all know how expensive insurance can be and how time-consuming it can be trying to find the best quotes. Some larger companies are able to offer their employees perks such as free car insurance, home insurance or even pet insurance. Pets are a much-loved part of many families so this one could be a good draw both for attracting new applicants and also for your staff retention.

Allowing pets in the workplace

Isn’t this a quirky one? Clearly, it depends on the type of company you are as to whether you have a suitable environment but, as mentioned above, pets are much-loved members of many families. Most pet owners don’t like to leave their little animal friends at home alone so if they can bring them to work, they feel much happier. Some tech companies operate a bring-your-pet-to work policy. Have you got the space or the ability within your company to allow pets? This is an employer perk that could suit SMEs as well as larger companies.

No-tie policy and casual dress code

Some employer perks have no financial outlay and operating a no-tie policy and a casual dress code is used by many firms, especially SMEs. This type of employer perk can be good if you are looking to attract students and young people into student jobs or training positions. Young people like the idea of working for a fun, forward thinking company and a casual dress code can give that impression. While this employer perk isn’t suitable for all companies, for those who could consider implementing this, there is no financial cost; just happy, relaxed staff.

Offering clothing advances

Particularly if you are employing graduates, students or young school leavers, if you are a company that requires staff to be smartly dressed in a more formal business suit, for example, a clothing advance can show that you are a company willing to help and support. To students and graduates straight out of university, the prospect of having a big (to them) cash outlay for clothing just to go to work can seem daunting and a clothing advance, or even paying for that first suit outright, can go a long way to making new young talent feel valued and wanted.

Investing in staff fitness

Exercise can clear the head and make you feel fresh and energised and a team of healthy, energised staff can only be a win win situation. For larger companies, some are in a position to offer their staff yoga and exercise classes within the workplace or even a fully kitted out gym. If this isn’t possible for your company, then it can still be possible to offer quirky or low cost employer perks that employees can really appreciate.

Investing in staff welfare and fitness means you can have a more productive, healthy workforce and possibly decrease the likelihood of staff needing to take sick leave. If you are a smaller company other fitness perks you could offer are:

  • Pedometers & phone apps. Whether it’s individual pedometers or phone apps, this can be done as a company where staff can not only monitor their steps but also encourage each other by having an online system where results are pooled for everyone to see.
  • A weekly running club. Again, this is cost free and can bring people together in your workplace who perhaps wouldn’t meet otherwise. If the funds are there, choosing a charity to support and paying for entry to organised local runs such as the Great North Run or local marathons can be a good incentive for staff to keep up with their running.
  • Bike rides. These could be a weekly event after the workday has finished and, as well as everyone keeping fit, it can help build team spirit. If you have recruited young people or graduates, chances are, they have moved away from home for their new job. Activities like this can help them to settle in and bond more with workmates.
  • Football or other sports teams. It can just be a regular kick around, 5-a-side or, if there are other companies in your area doing similar, perhaps a mini league. Team sports can really boost the camaraderie amongst staff within your workplace and can also help to attract and retain young talent as they feel more of a sense of belonging.

Games rooms

Some companies – both SMEs and large corporations – offer games rooms with arcade games or traditional pub games such as pool and darts. Table football or air hockey are also ideas to consider. Lots of people benefit from being able to take time out and just chill, away from their desks or work station and playing games is also said to encourage creativity and increase people’s attention span. Providing this space to relax also gives your staff members a chance to interact in a different environment and it can build team spirit within the company as a whole.

Food offerings

Food is more than just fuel for the body. It also encourages chat in a more informal setting and employer perks in the way of food can be really good for both staff retention and in attracting staff. Young talent out there on the jobs market can be attracted to your company, even if you’re an SME competing with larger corporations for the best staff, because of your foodie perks. Again, these give students and graduates the impression that you are a fun and modern company to work for. Here are some of the top employer perks when it comes to food.

  • Meals for staff meetings: Some companies have staff quarterly or monthly staff meetings, for example. Whenever your staff meetings are, could you incorporate food into them? This could be fast food with a bit more of a young, modern feel to it such as getting a delivery of sushi and noodles or a mini buffet.
  • Pizza Day / Doughnut Day / Cupcake Day Especially for smaller companies, a lot of time is spent working at desks and working lunch hours. As a bit of chill time where staff can just come together and talk about their week, some firms will finish earlier or take a longer lunch break once a week. In this time, staff can come together for doughnuts, cupcakes or pizza. Whatever everyone prefers – and it doesn’t need to be expensive. These are the types of perks where you can also include those doing student jobs or part time temporary jobs. It helps to make everyone feel part of the team.
  • Summer barbecues. Again, staff perks such as summer barbecues could be incorporated into staff meetings or more informal get togethers.
  • Subsidised organic drinks and foods This can relate back to the encouragement of staff to keep themselves fit and healthy. As well as fitness and exercise classes, some companies can offer subsidised organic or healthy drinks and foods. Again, this can reduce the number of days staff are taking on sick leave.
  • Free restaurants and canteens So that employees don’t feel they have to bring a packed lunch in to work and also to encourage staff to make sure they take a lunch break and fuel their bodies for the day ahead, some larger companies are in a position to offer free restaurant or canteen facilities to staff. With an assortment of healthy dishes, staff are refuelled and feeling valued by the company, too.

Time off work

I’ve mentioned in a previous post about British workers not taking the time off they are entitled to. When staff take a break, they come back feeling energised and many employers are realising this by offering company perks centred around time off. Here’s what some firms are adopting and maybe some of these can be added to your recruitment strategy or adapted t fit your company’s needs:

  • Unlimited holidays: staff can take off as much time as they need to. As mentioned in that previous post, however, there needs to be an existing culture in the workplace where staff are encouraged to feel that is acceptable to take time off.
  • Financial rewards: And how better to make staff feel it is okay to take time off b y offering financial rewards or other incentives to those members of your team who use up their holiday entitlement.
  • Birthdays: How about company perks where staff can take an extra day off each year (especially if that’s paid) for their birthday or other special days.
  • Early Finish: It depends on the nature of your company but some firms are in a position where they can alter their working week slightly so that an early finish is possible on Fridays, for example. This gives staff a feeling that management cares about work life balance.

Company Retreats & Getaways

Some companies own holiday cottages around the United Kingdom that employees can use when they book their holidays. This is either free for the employee and their family or at least subsidised. This is a win win because employees get a good break in quality accommodation, and they come back to work feeling refreshed and more productive. Also, many graduates come out of university in lots of debt so company perks like this could be a draw for them because it means their breaks are subsidised whilst they pay off student loans and overdrafts.

Free Treats

We all love a freebie and, as company perks go, they don’t have to cost the earth for the employer. Freebies can be something related to your company – the services you offer or the products you sell – or it can be something completely unrelated but which suits individual staff members. Some free treats can be quirky (but not expensive) that can make your company look fun and young – perfect for attracting and retaining young talent.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Doughnuts, cupcakes and pizza were mentioned above. Why not add a free beer to this, for those employees who don’t drive. A treat.
  • Tickets to sporting events. Some companies can get tickets to top sporting events and pass them on to employees but there can be other events you could attend as a group where the entrance is paid for by the company.
  • Make-overs and massages or other treatments can be offered.
  • Free gym membership for employees and subsidised membership for spıses. This ties in with the investment in the health and fitness of employees and, as mentioned above, if this isn’t financially possible, then running or cycling clubs could be arranged.
  • Free tuition and exam fees. If you want to show school leavers and graduates how committed you are to their future development and education, paying for future courses and training demonstrates this. Of course, existing staff will feel valued, too, if they feel you are committed to their career growth by encouraging them to go on courses.
  • Free clothing and footwear. These types of company perks can be good in the retail sector where sales assistants need to look the part as a representative of your company. Free or subsidised company clothing – especially in fashion retail jobs – can be a good draw for students and other young people.
  • Free oil changes or car washes. Yes, there are lots of employer perks out there that you might not have thought about previously. Keeping a car clean can be an unwanted chore for many people so if you can offer a car wash or a valet every once in a while to employees, this could be really appreciated by them.
  • House cleaning. Household chores can be difficult to keep on top of for full time workers, especially if they have a family, too. You can imagine how grateful those employees would be if your company could offer a perk of providing a cleaner to clean the house every so often.

Assistance With Childcare

Childcare can be very expensive and, for working parents, it can also be difficult to juggle family life with the work day. Depending on the size of the company, there are different employer perks out there that can ease some of the difficulties working parents face.

  • Creche – Some companies are able to offer perks for employees such as a free onsite creche.
  • After School Clubs – For parents with no one to look after their children between school finishing and the end of the work day, after school clubs are offered by some companies so that parents know their children are being looked after and are doing meaningful activities.
  • Time off (as an extra to holidays) for parents to be able to go to school events such as parent’s evening. These types of perks could be offered by SMEs as well as larger companies. As mentioned in a previous post, SMEs often have the luxury of being able to be flexible with occurrences like this as other employees can cover the absence and take their time off when needed, too.

These are just a few of the employer perks that are being used out there in the world of work and many employers value them as a way of building camaraderie and team spirit within the workplace. What types of perks are you offering your employees and do you find they help with both staff retention and recruitment?

Is Your Company Losing Out Because Staff Are Not Using Their Holiday Entitlement?

by Andre on May 29th, 2015  

As an employer in the United Kingdom, you will be fully aware that your team of staff are entitled to take annual leave from their positions and perhaps, you might even be aware that not all of your staff are taking off the full amount of time that they are entitled to. Maybe the amount of holidays staff are entitled to at your firm is the statutory minimum or perhaps you have different holiday entitlements for staff depending on their position or length of service.

Whatever the situation at your company, according to a recent YouGov survey, almost a third of UK workers are not using their full holiday allowance and this is a concern because it appears there is an increasing culture in the United Kingdom where work life balance and staff wellbeing is being neglected. And this is not just a problem for employers; it’s a problem for staff, too.

Why people don’t take time off work

What is the culture in your business when it comes to staff taking time off work? Does everyone use their full allowance and feel comfortable in doing so, or have you got people who you just know are going to be there, in the workplace, every day? If you have got a team of those people, there could be a number of reasons why they aren’t using up their annual leave each year. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons cited in the survey – and therefore, some of the reasons why your staff might not be taking time off work:

  • Heavy workload – This was one of the reasons cited in the survey as to why staff are not taking time off work. They feel like they haven’t got the time to take a holiday because they have so much to do. Some staff worry about booking holidays because while they are not in work the emails and the To Do tray piles high in their absence. They feel it is simply not worth taking the time off because the workload will be even greater on returning to work.
  • Felt they couldn’t take time off – In some workplaces there is a culture where staff feel they can’t take time off work and so they don’t even bother asking. Of course, this might not necessarily be the case but if it is made to seem like a difficult task – like the staff member feels they are asking for a special favour rather than their entitlement – many staff just ignore their ignore entitlement and come into work each day.
  • Worried what work would think – This is similar to the reason above but it can also be applied to colleagues as well. It’s not just all about employers and if there is a culture where it is commonplace that staff do not take all of their annual leave, those staff who do want to take their holidays might worry about what their colleagues would think of them when they do so.
  • Schedule clashes – This is perhaps a common reason as to why staff are not taking their full annual leave and perhaps you have had the same issues in your business. If too many staff want to be off at the same time, then employers can only give the holidays to so many people. Those staff who are unable to get those particular dates often do not reschedule their time off and end up working through the year. Clashes in the holiday schedule can be a particular issue for employers and employees during the summer months, especially when it is school holidays. Other schedule clashes can arise when a staff member’s spouse, children or friends can’t get the same time off from their respective workplaces or school so the holidays are not taken.
  • Don’t feel they need to take the time off – Yes, this is definitely not just a post about employers and the culture they create in their workplace. It’s also about staff taking responsibility, too. Many staff in workplaces simply do not take their annual leave because they feel they don’t need to take the time off.
  • Holidays can roll over into next year so some leave that for a longer break – Perhaps you have this type of rolling system in your company where, if staff don’t take their full holiday entitlement in the year, then they are able to carry it over into the following year. Some staff like to save days, especially if they know they will need extra time off work, for whatever reason, the following year.
  • Staffing shortages – This can be a problem for small and medium sized enterprises, especially. Staff are not taking annual leave due to staffing shortages and SME’s often don’t have the numbers to play with when it comes to covering people’s absence from work because of holidays. If it is a company where a close-knit team operates, staff often feel they don’t want to leave their colleagues in the lurch by taking off for a fortnight in the sun.
  • Not giving enough notice – Depending on the nature of your business, there might be times when you, as an employer, need all hands on deck and no staff away on holiday. Perhaps there are important projects where strict deadlines need to be met. Sometimes, if staff – especially new staff, for example – are unaware of this, they might not give you enough notice about their holidays and then you are unable to give them the time off that they want. These staff are then not choosing alternative dates for their holidays.

And it’s not just about not taking holidays from work that is a problem in British work culture. It’s the fact that many British workers can’t seem to take a break; a little quality time out from work to recharge the batteries. Perhaps, as an employer, you’re guilty of this, too, as well as your staff.

Even if staff do take time off and use their full holiday entitlement from work, these days, laptops, tablets and smartphones mean we are constantly connected with whoever we want to be in touch with. Many staff, when they go on holiday to the sun, still take at least one of these appliances with them and will, at the very least, check emails and reply to them. They are never fully switched off from work.

And what about in the place of work, itself? Are your staff taking a break from whatever their role is? During the actual work day, these surveys have also found that many of Britain’s workers are not taking a full lunch hour or the full breaks they are entitled to throughout the day. Again, if there is a culture of this in your workplace that has just developed over time, staff who want to take their full breaks might worry about what you or their fellow colleagues will say if they are away from their desk or workstation for what is perceived to be too long. They don’t want to be seen as shirking their respınsibilities. Other staff might not take breaks because they feel their workload is too heavy.

How Many Holidays Are Your Staff Entitled To?

First of all, as an employer, you have the right to refuse a request for leave if it is inconvenient for the company in some way. For example, perhaps it is summer and too many staff want to take the same days off from the workplace. Whatever the case is for the refusal, your company still needs remain within the terms of your leave policy and staff should be given alternative available dates.

Following a European directive, United Kingdom staff entitled are entitled to take 28 days holiday per year including bank holidays. Did you know that this is actually the lowest amount of holidays throughout the whole of Europe? British workers are working more days than their European counterparts and the norm throughout Europe is actually 33 days. The reason for this is that the United Kingdom has fewer bank holidays than other countries.

Some British companies work to that minimum entitlement whereas others – perhaps your company – offer other holiday entitlements in the staff contract depending on the role or length of service for example. If this is written in the employee’s contract, they are entitled to take that leave.

Famously, Richard Branson introduced a no-limits system at Virgin last year whereby staff who control his finances can take as much annual leave as they like. While this probably looks good on paper – and very generous of Mr Branson, of course – a work culture like the one that appears to exist currently in the UK, where staff feel they can’t afford to take the time off work for various reasons, could mean staff take off less time than they would actually do normally.

Other companies have introduced similar systems and maybe your company is considering introducing this type of system, too. For companies that do operate these type of no holiday limit policies, perhaps the employers need to take as much responsibility as the staff do in ensuring workers take a break.

Staff Not Using Their Holiday Entitlement – Is It Beneficial To The Employer?

It could be easy to assume that if your staff are not using their full holiday entitlement, that this is happy days for you as an employer. After all, you don’t have the headache of staff being absent and having to arrange cover. Your life becomes much easier because you’ve always got your regular team of people on the job, knowing exactly what they are doing and therefore, this increases your productivity, right?

Well, according to studies, this assumption is incorrect and if your staff are not making use of their holiday entitlement, it could actually be detrimental to your company in the long run.

  • Staff burnout – We all need to take time out occasionally and those people who remain constantly on the job can eventually burn themselves out. This is now a bad situation for the company and the member of staff.
  • Increase in sick leave – Workers who don’t take a break, especially if your company is the type of business where jobs can be demanding and stressful, can eventually end up making themselves ill. This could result in your company having lots of staff on either short term and even long term sick leave. Interestingly, the recent YouGov survey also found that, as well as genuine illnesses, some staff even faked illness to take sick leave because they didn’t want to ask for holidays. This is clearly not good for the productivity, financial situation or effectiveness of your company.
  • Increase in staff turnover – I’ve written in the past about how the notion of a ‘job for life’ is becoming a thing of the past. There are many reasons why staff choose to leave their current post to move on to pastures new but one of those reasons is because they feel they can’t take time off from their current post. So, if your staff are not using their full holiday entitlement, rather than it being beneficial for you, you could find yourself with a lot of ‘comings and goings’ in the workplace with valued staff leaving and lots of training up of new staff.

What Can Employers Do To Make Sure Staff Use Their Holiday Entitlement?

It’s all about communication and looking after staff by ensuring they take their full holiday entitlement. What is the culture in your company? Do staff feel able to – and comfortable in doing so – ask for holidays? Staff taking holidays is beneficial for your business because research has shown that those workers who do take a break, they come back into the workplace feeling refreshed, batteries recharged. Their performance is much better.

  • Stress to your staff that it is okay to ask for holidays. A healthy work life balance is essential and workers need to be made to feel that it is perfectly acceptable to ask for time off as part of their holiday entitlement. It is beneficial both for your company and for your staff if you stress the importance of using holiday entitlement. More and more, British workers are feeling under pressure to be constantly at work and this situation could be happening in your company, even if you might not be aware of it.
  • Factor in the situation that not all of your staff are going to be in the workplace at any one time. If this becomes a culture in your company then staff will feel relaxed in asking for their holiday entitlement and you will be organised for their absence either by employing staff to do temping jobs or by arranging for other staff to cover their leave. If the nature of your company is such that students and young people can do entry level jobs to cover staff absences due to holidays, you could have a recruitment policy where you employ students. This could be summer holiday jobs so that your own staff can take holidays or Christmas jobs, for example. There are lots of advantages for employers who take on students and young people.
  • Make sure all staff know the company holiday policy. Are all your staff aware of their holiday entitlement whilst working at your company? Make it a focal point in your business so that, not only are they aware of how many days they are allowed to take, they are also made to feel that it is acceptable to ask for those days. A visible diary – either physical or online, which shows which staff are on holiday and when not only makes the idea of using holiday entitlement acceptable but it also encourages staff to choose alternative dates if there are other people off on the dates they wanted.
  • Can you cater for individual needs? A good employer relationship with staff means they will be comfortable in asking for particular requirements. Larger companies might find this easier than others as there are lots of other people to cover absence but SME’s can also offer flexibility, too.
  • Keep staff informed about leave – If holiday entitlement is a focal point of your company then open communication about taking holidays should promote more understanding. As mentioned above, as an employer, you are entitled to refuse someone holiday leave if there really is a genuine reason why you need them to be in the workplace at that time. Perhaps there is an important deadline to meet or a company project where you need all hands on deck. If this is the case, being open about that and letting all staff know why they need to be there and why that’s important for their jobs and the company will more likely result in staff being willing to work around that and rearrange holidays for another time.

What Are The Benefits To Your Company When Staff Use Holiday Entitlement?

It’s a win-win situation when your staff take their full annual leave. After a break, whether it’s a break in the sun or just some time out, most staff are refocussed when they return to work and they feel re-energised.

This means all that young talent you harnessed via apprenticeships, or through graduate programmes, for example, is more likely to stay around in your company for a while longer. A break means they should continue to have all of those innovative ideas that you employed them for in the first place and they will feel happier and valued at work.

Taking time out, both you and your staff, is vital for well-being and for your mental health and your company will benefit in the long run if all staff are encouraged to take their holidays.

Youth Employment UK – Is The System Letting Young People Down?

by Andre on April 23rd, 2015  

As the UK general elections draw ever nearer, the various political parties are outlining their manifestos and, as is the norm, employment figures and the state of the British economy are one of the main points that are hammered home by each party, whether in a negative or a positive light.

In my previous post we looked at the current state of the gender pay gap in the United Kingdom and looked at both the positive and the negative reasoning behind the facts stated. As Mark Twain remarked:

“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”

The facts are there and politicians will happily share these but the statistics will be used to benefit their party manifestos.

In this blog post, we will have a look at young people in the workplace. Youth unemployment in the United Kingdom is often on the agenda and, as an employer, maybe you have existing systems in place to make sure you are employing or training young people. Or maybe you are aware there is more room in your company for creating more graduate jobs or student jobs, for example, and are considering your recruitment strategy for getting more young people on board and being a part of your team.

As E4S are a company that focus on getting young people into work, chances are, if you are reading this now, you are interested in employing young people.

Youth Employment UK – Are Young People Being Let Down By The System?

The jobs market is looking rosy in the United Kingdom at the moment. As I mentioned in a previous post about the outlook for 2015 for the jobs market, the prediction was for more full time jobs than part time jobs and short term temporary jobs to be available and, as the year progresses, it certainly looks like that is the case.

Lots of new jobs out there means lots more young people can benefit from the vacancies and get themselves into the careers they are looking to go into, right?

But are young people – students, graduates and school leavers – benefitting from the number of jobs available on the market right now? Are they benefiting at all or are they being let down by, or even left behind, by the current systems that are in place to get people into full time employment?

Yes, the full time vacancies are there – in some sectors, there are more specialist skilled vacancies than there are people to fill them, according to some reports – but are young people being given the tools, qualifications and opportunities to help fill those vacancies and drive the British economy forward through the 21st century?

What young people can do to help themselves get into employment

Depending on the qualifications they are studying for, whilst at university, many students will do internships and other work experience placements in the hope of giving themselves a better chance of securing the graduate jobs they dream of when they qualify. Perhaps your company runs similar programmes and maybe you have even offered graduate jobs to those working with you for after they qualify.

Other students take on part time student jobs whilst they are at university. Student jobs are taken on for many reasons; to help fund studies, to help fund general living costs and socialising, to pay for travel and also, to build up work experience and transferable skills that they can hopefully take with them into future graduate positions.

Employers place a whole variety of jobs that might be suitable for students and young people on the E4S website; from seasonal work such as temporary events jobs, hotel jobs and supermarket jobs to full time roles that will suit graduates and school leavers looking to build a career.

I’ve written in the past about how employers can benefit students and young people by offering temporary holiday jobs such as summer jobs or Christmas work and it’s a win win situation. Young people have a lot to offer, they can often bring new and innovative ideas to your firm and inject new life into ongoing projects. And naturally, as an employer, you have then got the chance to harness any young talent you spot and develop that to the benefit of your company.

What is the reality for many of the United Kingdom’s young people?

At the moment, not all young people are benefitting from there being more jobs available across the United Kingdom. This is not just the case for school leavers but also for graduates, too. Many young graduates struggling to get graduate jobs find themselves at the Job Centre where they are then finding themselves sent to jobs that are not what they are looking for.

Do you have experiences of this as an employer where you have taken on young people recruited from the Job Centre? Perhaps it has been beneficial for you but one concern is that by having this system, the United Kingdom’s young people are not being given the opportunity to flourish in their areas of expertise.

Yes, unemployment figures go down if there are so many people in work but is this a long term solution for both reducing youth unemployment and also for benefitting the future economic growth of the United Kingdom? Young school leavers and graduates are likely to find jobs more rewarding if they themselves have chosen to apply for that particular role because it’s in a field where they really want to work. They are also more likely to stick around for longer and feel more loyal to the company; a benefit for your staff retention figures and therefore your firm.

And surely, as employers you also benefit because you have happy recruits who want to be there, working for your company, rather than having to be there because they risk losing state benefits otherwise. If you have unfulfilled, unhappy staff, both they and you are failing to benefit and in the future, the long term growth of the British economy could be held back, also.

2015 General Elections – What do the different political parties have in store for employers?

So, with elections looming large, what have the different political parties got in their respective manifestos that is going to affect you as an employer? Hopefully, lots of benefits that will assist both you and the high levels of youth unemployment that exist in some areas of the United Kingdom.

Youth Unemployment

  • The Labour Party have said they will tackle youth unemployment by sending those who have been unemployed for more than one year to a paid starter job. If this is not taken, that person will lose their benefits.
  • The Conservatives have said they are going to create an extra 2 million jobs in the next parliament should they be elected. They will also create three million new apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are increasingly seen as a way of investing in young people, giving them the skills they need to work in particular industries. You can click here to read more about apprenticeships if your company is not already using them as part of their recruitment strategy.
  • The Liberal Democrats have also said they will invest more in the expansion of apprenticeships and will go further by developing national colleges for vocational skills. If you are an employer in a firm that is in a field where there is a skills shortage, perhaps your company would benefit from being able to choose from more young people with relevant vocational training. You can read more here about why employers can benefit from the implementation of apprenticeships.

National Minimum Wage

Both Conservative and Labour have said they will raise the National Minimum Wage to £8 per hour by the end of the decade. This will hopefully encourage more people into the workplace and make those already in the workplace, working for the National Minimum Wage, feel more valued.

As an employer, it depends what industry you are working in, but maybe you have staff working for you who are earning the National Minimum Wage. Young people will obviously benefit financially but we will have to wait for the outcome of the general election before we know how this would be funded and how this would affect your company as an employer.

Benefitting Young People In The Workplace

So, getting young people into the workplace and onto their respective career ladders continues to be an issue within the British jobs market and for the British economy. In the long term, the British economy needs to remain up there and competitive with other world economies and to do this, young people need to be in the workplace doing jobs and careers which match their skills and aspirations.

For some industries, such as electronics and engineering careers for example, it remains a struggle to get qualified people into those positions. The Liberal Democrats have said they would like to see immigration policies that help fill those vacancies but we also need British students and graduates coming through and qualifying to fill those roles, too.

And perhaps the situation is not so bad as it seems for this field of work when it comes to filling roles. According to this point of view put forward in Electronics Weekly, now is a great time to be looking for careers in this area. It says there are more job vacancies because the field is experiencing a period of growth and therefore there are more roles in design, manufacturing and services available – this is an ideal situation for those with relevant qualifications who are looking for graduate jobs not just because of the number of vacancies but also because it means starting salaries are increasing, too.

Traineeships and Apprenticeships

As an employer maybe you already take on young people on traineeships and apprenticeships and, depending on your personal experience of them, you might be fully behind them or maybe you are disenchanted with them. Whatever the case, whether you are a thumbs up or a thumbs down, political parties are big fans of them and they are here to stay.

More regulation in the future should hopefully mean a similar experience for all employers and apprentices in their respective industries and those industries that traditionally struggle to attract school leavers and students could become more attractive via apprenticeships.

Student Jobs and Weekend Jobs

Whether it’s part time work at evenings or weekends or temporary seasonal work such as summer jobs in events or Christmas jobs, school leavers and students benefit from time spent in the workplace and this will help them in their future careers.

Of course, as I’ve mentioned in the past, it also gives you the opportunity as employers to spot young talent before other firms do so. Many students and young people go on to develop full time careers from their seasonal jobs and weekend work. For those who are looking to go on and do graduate jobs and other work, as an employer offering jobs to students and young people, you have been a part of their development in the workplace and given them transferable skills that can help them gain employment in their chosen field in the future.

Advertising Your Job Vacancies With E4S

As an employer looking to fill your vacancies by offering student jobs and roles suitable for young people, E4S can be an ideal place for you to do this. We advertise many types of roles such as part time and holiday jobs, gap year jobs, internships, entry level jobs and graduate careers as well as roles for school leavers such as apprenticeships.

If you would like to place your advert with E4S, take a look at what we have to offer and some reasons why you should advertise your jobs vacancies with us. You can also read our ‘about us’ section to find out what we are all about as a company – we aim to get young people into work. Here’s the link to our dedicated employers’ area on E4S where you can find out all you need to know…

Women & Employment – The State Of The Gender Pay Gap In The UK

by Andre on March 28th, 2015  

With general elections in the United Kingdom fast approaching, the various political parties are doing the rounds, trying to convince us all that they are the best choice when it comes to running the nation. Each party will have their own spin on a variety of situations including the state of the economy, levels of employment and pay and conditions. Although there is a coalition government right now, made up of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives will no doubt be keen to highlight the economic success of the United Kingdom under the Tories and will be trying to demonstrate how they intend to continue with Britain’s economic recovery.

Following the recession, compared to other European countries, Britain’s economic recovery has been swift and, according to government figures, the jobs market is buoyant and is forecast to continue improving with more full time, permanent jobs set to become available throughout 2015. Back in December 2014, I wrote about 2015 employment and recruitment strategies and mentioned Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke’s statement that there are now more opportunities out there for those wanting to work full time and, in fact, there are now more full time opportunities than part time jobs out there.

On the surface, this is all great news for both employers and employees. School leavers and graduates looking for full time jobs and careers should, in theory, have a better chance of landing the roles they are looking for and employers, meanwhile, should have more job vacancies as their businesses grow. It’s a case of tweaking recruitment strategies to make sure the best young talent is found and developed in the best ways.

The United Kingdom And The Employment Gender Gap

So, the picture that is painted by the Conservatives is that everything is going swimmingly for the United Kingdom economy and the jobs are out there for the people who want them. But, what about females in employment? For many years, the position and treatment of women in employment has been a hot topic of discussion and, unfortunately, that does not look set to change any time soon; certainly in 2015, at least.

As an employer, how many women do you have working for your company? The nature of your company could well be a factor in the ratio of male to female workers, for example. Are the women who are working for you in full time or part time positions, and what are their roles within your company structure? When considering recruitment strategies and employing the best staff, asking these types of questions coıld prove both revealing and valuable.

Despite the government saying there are now more women in employment, other sources argue that this fact is almost irrelevant because those women are often in part time roles and poorly paid jobs that are not well valued. These same sources also argue that as a nation, Britain needs to act to reverse this trend if the economy is going to truly improve so that Britain can remain competitive in the future.

In fact, some argue that because Britain is not addressing the gender pay gap and the role of women in employment, it is actually slipping behind the rest of the world and the World Economic Forum Report appears to show this with its recent results.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Report

When it comes to women in employment, the statistics displayed in the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) Report, for example, paint a pretty bleak picture of the situation in Britain. Not only is Britain failing to bridge the gap between male and female pay, the situation is getting worse and the nation has fallen down the rankings rather than climbed.

According to this report in The Guardian about the World Economic Forum rankings, Britain fell to 26th place in the Global Gender Gap Report rankings. 26th position is Britain’s lowest ever position and overall score since 2008 and it means Britain is no longer amongst the top 20 countries in the world. When the World Economic Forum rankings were first launched in 2006, the United Kingdom was in 9th position but it has shown a decline each year and now, in the most recent WEF report, Britain is behind countries such as Nicaragua, the Philippines and Rwanda. Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden are in the top four places and this was the case last year, too.

What Is The World Economic Forum (WEF) Report?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Report is broken down into four categories of:

  • Economy
  • Education
  • Health
  • Politics

Although some critics of the report’s findings say the United Kingdom’s position in the rankings is low because of how child care and other areas are funded, the fact is that the nation still failed to achieve a top 20 position in any of the above categories. Employers, firms and the government can work together to improve the positions of women in the workplace in companies throughout Britain.

For example, Britain only managed a low score in ‘economic participation.’ Economic participation assesses the areas of women in the nation’s workforce; how many women there are in the workforce, are they paid the same wage or a similar wage as their male counterparts who are doing a similar role, and also, how many women there are in senior roles within companies. And this topic is seen by many as a serious problem for Britain because, with so few women in top roles, the nation is not making full use of the talent that is out there to drive the economy.

This recent article in The Guardian about why women are still missing out despite the rise in United Kingdom employment figures highlights the fact that although more women are in work, many of these women are in low paid jobs such as social care and nursing. Also, as they start families, a lot of women choose to return to work but on a part time basis. This means their pay is lower and often, they miss out on the training they might have had the opportunity to receive if they had been working full time.

In the legal profession for example, the majority of the members are women but yet, less than one third of those women are in roles at the top level. Also of the companies in the FTSE 100 index, only five company chief executives are women. In academia also, women outnumber men but they only make up 20% of professorships and fewer make it to the position of head of department.

Possible Reasons For The Gender Pay Gap

More women do jobs that don’t tend to be valued –

As an employer, maybe you are aware of these types of scenarios in your company or maybe your company or business bucks this trend and you have many women in top roles or highly skilled jobs. Whatever the case, there are can be a number of reasons for the gender pay gap. As mentioned above, many women tend to be in low paid jobs – they could be working part time after starting a family, they might be doing temporary work or are working in jobs with zero hour contracts. More women tend to do this type of work. Perhaps the government’s claim that there are now more full time permanent roles available than part time can start to speed up the narrowing of the gender pay gap.

Also, due to maternity leave or career breaks for whatever reason, women who are choosing to continue in their full time careers are finding it harder to reach the top.

A lack of drive and ambition –

The lack of drive and ambition by women to get to these top spots is considered to be one of the problems. Could this be the situation in your company with your graduate recruits or school leavers?

This is about the many women who are not reaching the top because of a lack of encouragement in the workplace and also because of a lack of role models that they can aspire to. If more women were doing these top roles, then there would be more incentive for females in less senior roles to feel that they can take exactly the same route and also work in those top positions themselves. It’s a knock on effect and companies can address this issue by looking at their recruitment strategies and also staff development programmes so that all staff are not only given the opportunity to progress but positively encouraged to progress. In some cases, with regards to staff development, maybe different strategies are required for males and females. That could depend on the nature of your company and the field you work in.

A lack of interest for certain professions –

And the previous point leads nicely onto this point. Some highly skilled careers which are well paid – such as engineering positions, for example – are traditionally seen as a male-orientated domain. Many young women don’t enter university to do degrees and other courses in these types of subjects. Nor do they apply for roles like this in high numbers. Obviously, this is not just a task for employers to tackle alone but employers in these types of fields can look at their recruitment strategies and, if need be, change them to make these jobs more attractive to females so that they are encourage to apply. By women not entering certain professions in high numbers, the British economy is losing out by ignoring the talent of a significant proportion of the population.

Is The Gender Pay Gap Greater When Women Reach Top Positions?

Although the government can point to the fact that the UK has indeed had faster economic development than other countries, Anne Francke, chief executive of the trade body, The Chartered Management Institute, says a United Kingdom economy where women benefit less than men in unsustainable. As well as stating the fact that women tend to work in lower positions during their work life, she says that those women who manage to make it to the top roles within their profession are still earning much less than their male counterparts in similar positions. The gender pay gap in these top roles, she says, is ‘alarmingly large.’

Research has shown that up until the age of 34, the difference between earnings in men and women is not a significant one. However, by the age of 40, the gender pay gap sees women earning 30% less than men and, in management roles, women over 40 years of age are earning 35% less than their male counterparts. Obviously, this is a situation which needs to be addressed.

It’s not all bad news for women in the workplace

The gender pay gap is starting to narrow, slowly, in some industries, but there needs to be a continued concerted effort to make sure this narrowing continues; and continues across all professions. One reason, offered for the narrowing of the gap, by lecturer and researcher in Organisational Psychology at City University, London, Ruth Sealy, is the reporting of figures showing the numbers of women (or lack of) in top posts in the workplace. This continual push for transparency, she says, is leading to the number of women on boards growing and is also seeing an increase in the number of female chief executives.

Saadia Zahidi, the lead author of the World Economic Forum Report says that more women are entering the workplace and the narrowing of the gender gap is a result of women entering the workforce and politics in countries all over the world. In effect, transparency in the reporting of figures and more visible high profile women, encourages others to feel they can likewise. And Nicky Morgan, Minister for Women argues that women are now making huge strides in the workplace and they should never have to choose between family and career. The extension of the right to ask for flexible working from next year, so that both parents can share the leave, she argues, will continue to benefit Britain and help to narrow the gender pay gap.

This increase of women in the workplace can be good for your own company’s school leavers and graduate recruits if they see a higher proportion of women in top jobs; especially roles that are traditionally seen as male orientated. And if more of your female staff feel motivated to apply for more of your top posts, this means you have a better chance of finding the best talent because you will have more applicants to choose from when positions become vacant.

What employers can do to encourage women into top jobs

It’s probably fair to say that some employers will have a more challenging task on their hands than others to encourage more females into their top positions. As mentioned above, there is a certain group of professions – and preceding qualifications that are needed to enter that group of professions – that tend to attract far more males than females. As well as engineering fields, these types of roles include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Natural Resources
  • Tech Intensive Roles

In these types of industries, the problem is not just getting females into top roles within their field of expertise but, first of all, creating a climate where women aspire to be in those top roles and, indeed, feel inclined to enter these types of careers in the first place. The projected image of the profession to young school leavers and graduates and, later, the culture within the workplace is all important. At E4S, we focus on offering advice and employment for students, graduates and school leavers and if employers can project a positive image of women working in what is seen as more traditionally male roles to young people, this can make all the difference.

Whatever type of industry you work in, how does your company utilise its recruitment strategies and staff development programmes to make sure young females feel encouraged to apply for top roles and move through the firm. Are there already policies in place or is it something that could be addressed within your company?

Obviously, encouraging more young women to aspire to work in top roles within your firm is not just down to you as an employer. These days, government initiatives are in place (and others will no doubt be developed) that companies can make use of so that young women are attracted to the types of roles you have on offer.

On top of graduate programmes for those looking for graduate jobs, more and more employers are getting involved with School Leaver Programmes and Apprenticeships and these types of schemes can be a great way to leverage the encouragement of young females into roles where they can have structured career development so that they eventually reach the top of the career ladder. For more information about why employers are benefiting from the implementation of apprenticeships and school leaver programmes within their staff development programmes, take a look at this previous blog post on apprenticeships and school leaver programmes.

Another way to encourage inexperienced young school leavers to take their first steps on the career ladder and get experience of the workplace is to offer traineeships for those who perhaps are not ready to commit to apprenticeships. Employers who offer traineeships could make strides in really encouraging young women into roles they might not have considered in the past. If your company isn’t currently offering this type of short programme and you would like more information about them, you can read more here about what traineeships are and why they can be beneficial for employers.

In 2015, it is unfortunate that Britain is still faced with a gender pay gap but hopefully, the not-too-distant future will see this pay gap erased and young school leavers and graduates will feel encouraged to progress to the top of their respective career ladders, and earn equal salaries while doing so, regardless of gender.

National Apprenticeship Week And Beyond

by Andre on March 9th, 2015  

9th – 13th March – National Apprenticeship Week

This week, 9th -13th March, is National Apprenticeship Week and there are events taking place all over England to promote both the week but, more importantly, the benefits of apprenticeships both to employers and to those employees learning their craft via the scheme. As more people undertake apprenticeships, the government is keen to stress that there is increasing evidence that apprenticeships have a positive impact on the people who undertake them, the businesses that offer them an on the UK economy as a whole.

So, it seems as though apprenticeships can be a win win for everyone. What do you think? Is your company currently running apprenticeship programmes for staff? Or perhaps you are thinking about introducing them as part of your firm’s recruitment strategies, maybe as a way to boost your staff retention but also to invest in your staff to make sure they are performing to their best of their ability for your company and feeling fulfilled in their role. Talented staff who feel valued and fulfilled in their role are much more likely to stay around with your firm rather than a team who feels ignored and unappreciated.

The Government And National Apprenticeship Week

So, what is National Apprenticeship Week all about and where do the government come into this? If you are an employer, it is likely that you are already more than aware that the government are really investing a lot of energy into apprenticeships. They provide funding and for them and see apprenticeships as crucial to the future success of the British economy – that’s why they would like more people to get involved (they want to see more apprentices in the workplace and more companies offering them) and they are also keen to stress the benefits of apprenticeships to businesses who adopt them.

National Apprenticeship week is an ideal opportunity to promote apprenticeships and from a government point of view, this is also an opportunity to highlight apprentices and those businesses that offer apprenticeship programmes whilst also inspiring further businesses to get involved. As apprenticeships provide a way to earn and learn within a structured framework where qualifications and skills are nationally recognised, they can be a cost-efficient way for businesses to train the best talent in the knowledge that that training is valuable and effective.

Apprenticeships Facts – Did You Know… ?

So with young people and employers gaining mutual benefit from apprenticeships, let’s take a look at some facts and figures around apprenticeship schemes that might be of interest to employers:

Apprenticeships Have Benefits For Employers

Many employers, almost 90% in fact, have stated that taking on apprentices has benefited their business in some way. Because apprentices are committed to learning new skills within a company, employers are reporting an average increase in productivity by £214 per week. As well as financial gain, some employers have also said they have seen improvements to the quality of the products and services they offer.

Apprenticeships Can Benefit Lots Of Different Types Of Businesses

If you are an employer who owns or works within a small or medium sized business, there is no need to be put off thinking about implementing apprenticeships within your company. Businesses of all sizes and sectors – not just large firms – are now offering apprenticeships. In the past, apprenticeships were traditionally associated with young men learning a trade such as plumbing or joinery. That has all changed, now. Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of sectors and women take up 55% of available apprenticeships. Could your company be one of those firms that benefits from the introduction of apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships Have Financial Incentives For Employers

As well as the financial gains from productivity, by investing in staff via apprenticeships, employers benefit financially in other ways, too: There is government funding – an investment of 1.5 billion pounds in the year 2013-2014, for example. And also, from April 2016, employers will no longer need to pay National Insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25 who are earning less than the upper wage limit. This is more financial incentive for employers who are considering taking on apprentices to get involved.

Apprenticeships Can Have Financial Incentives For Small Businesses

As mentioned above, taking on apprentices is not just exclusively for the larger businesses throughout England. If you are running a small business and think you have something to offer to apprentices while benefiting your own business, too, you could be eligible for a monetary grant to help you with that. This could mean you do not miss out on harnessing the best young talent just because you are a small business.

Apprenticeships Now Offer More Control For Employers

Some employers might have been put off introducing apprenticeships to their companies in the past because of a lack of control. Reforms have been, and are being, undertaken the apprenticeships which take this into consideration and now, you as an employer, can be more in the driver’s seat if you do decide to take on one or more apprentices.

Have You Seen The National Apprenticeship Service Pledge-o-meter?

National Apprenticeship Week is all about encouraging people and businesses to embrace apprenticeships and, where possible, to encourage employers to commit to taking apprentices on in the future. If you are a company who has not yet dipped your toes into the world of apprenticeships but you are seriously considering it, this week could be the week where you decide to bite the bullet and commit.

The Pledge-o-meter could be a great way of doing that. Last year, over 20,000 businesses wrote their pledge to get involved with apprenticeships in England and the National Apprenticeship Service is now working with those businesses who commit to pledging to offer apprenticeships make it happen.

This is the link to the pledge-o-meter form, if you wish to get involved. And, if you would like your pledge to go public and be one of the companies shouting loud and proud that you have committed to apprenticeships, at the end of National Apprenticeship Week, the National Apprenticeship Service will publish the list of employers and their pledges. (There is an option to opt out of the publicity if you wish.)

I’m Interested In Apprenticeships But Want To Do More Research First

Apprenticeships require both a commitment from you as an employer and from the apprentice themselves so of course, you are going to want to be fully versed on what is involved if you do decide to go the apprenticeship route. The overarching purpose of National Apprenticeship Week is to raise awareness by challenging how much we really know about apprenticeships so if you are looking to do more research, now could be the time. Let’s look at some useful links:

In the past, we have written about how more employers are benefiting from getting involved in apprenticeships and other programmes for young people. Click here to read about the possible benefits of offering apprenticeships.

If you want all the basics, or a general outline on the subject of apprenticeships you can read our article on our E4S student page, What Is An Apprenticeship.

If you are an employer who wants to commit to taking on one or more apprentices to your company but you aren’t sure if there are apprenticeships on offer within your business sector, you can see a list of the types of apprenticeships here. This link is also useful for further links that are of use to employers. And if you are committed and know you want to get involved, here is information about how to employ an apprentice.

Wherever you company is based, your local council could well have information about this week’s National Apprenticeship Week such as local events that might be taking place as well as other apprenticeship information that might be particularly relevant to your local area.

There can be a tendency with specially organised ‘days’ and ‘weeks’ to forget all about them once the event has passed us by but National Apprenticeship Week is all about awareness of apprenticeships for the future. So, if you are thinking you have already missed the boat, you haven’t. Use this week to do your research so that you can decide if you can really benefit young people and harness the best young talent by offering apprenticeships with your company.

Do More Job Seekers Add Up To More Difficult Staff Retention In 2015?

by Andre on February 8th, 2015  

In a previous blog post, I said about  how 2015 could be a good year when it comes to the number of United Kingdom jobs available out there for job seekers. As an employer, perhaps your company is expanding and has created more jobs as result. This is good news for you and good news for the British economy as a whole as more and more companies create jobs.Staff Retention 2015 - Thumbs Up Or Down

However, more jobs and career opportunities in the UK, coupled with increased confidence, can be a double edged sword for many employers. While you might have more jobs to fill, as an employer, you could also be facing a problem with staff retention. Increased confidence in the jobs market means a more ambitious workforce; a workforce that could be planning a move to pastures new. Is your company prepared for the fact that, in 2015, some of your team could be planning a move elsewhere, either to a different company or perhaps to go self-employed?

More appetite and more ambition for new challenges

With the concept of the job for life being a thing of the past, employers already face challenges with retaining their most talented staff but this problem could be set to increase in 2015. According to this recent survey conducted in the new year by the Institute of Leadership and Management, over one third (37%) of workers are planning to leave their jobs and move on to pastures new in  2015. This figure is up from 13% in 2013 and up from 19% in 2014. Almost double the amount of employees are planning a move in 2015 than in 2014 – and some of the people in those figure could be members of your current staff.

What Causes People To Change Jobs And Careers?

New Year Syndrome

Well, first of all, the arrival of the new year is always going to be a time when people finally bite the bullet and change jobs. New Year’s resolutions see us all feeling positive about being proactive in making changes for the year ahead. We hit the gym to get fit, we change the foods we eat to get healthy…and new year could also be the time we make that career change we’ve been promising ourselves for the last six months. That is more likely to happen in the current economic climate where people are feeling more confident about their future prospects.

But what are the reasons that have revealed themselves in the Institute of Leadership and Management survey? What are the factors that employers need to be taking into consideration to maintain their staff retention levels in 2015? Interestingly perhaps, an increase in salary is not top of the wish list for employees when it comes to job satisfaction and therefore sticking around with the same company. Let’s take a look at what those in UK jobs and careers are looking for in 2015.

Employees are looking for more opportunity for progression

With 59% of those surveyed saying opportunity for progression is what they most want in their jobs and careers, this was the number 1 wish for workers. In 2015, employers need to make sure they have systems in place to develop staff and move them up or sideways through the company. This could improve staff retention at the firm. Implementing graduate programmes and apprenticeships, for example, could be a structured way of doing this so that staff can see their own progress and have an idea of possible promotion or pay rise upon completion of their particular programme.

Employees are looking for higher wages

56% of those people surveyed said they would like to see higher wages. We all know high wages are a good draw for people and they could be good for staff retention, too, when combined with other factors such as the one mentioned above. Higher wages for more responsibility within the company can be a good way for employers to not only harness the best young talent but in also making sure that talent doesn’t want to go looking elsewhere for more attractive opportunities. As wages are set to increase in 2015, perhaps your company is already addressing this issue.

Many employees would like a more interesting job

While not every task in the workplace is going to be mindblowingly interesting – we all know there are those menial tasks that have just got to be done – employers could go a long way to making sure their staff don’t go walkabout in 2015 by taking action to make employees more fulfilled in their work. 50% of the people surveyed said they would like a more interesting job. As an employee, are you passing on the right tasks to the right people? While your bright young stars definitely need to learn the ropes and understand that basic tasks need to be carried out on a daily basis, are they also being kept fulfilled and stimulated within their role? And this leads nicely onto the next item on the wish list for employees.

Employees feel unappreciated or under valued in current role

25% of employees said they feel unappreciated or under valued in their current role. With more of a feel good factor about the jobs market and therefore, more ambition and confidence amongst employees, this could be a factor which determines whether or not your best young talent decides to get out there and go job hunting for something better.

Situations like this could arise in large companies where those in higher positions might seem like a faceless entity to younger or inexperienced staff starting out in entry level roles. What is your company doing to ensure staff feel valued and that their hard is not going unnoticed? This is perhaps where small and medium enterprises could have a slight advantage over larger companies in retaining staff because the personal relationships between staff and management might be easier to maintain and staff feel like a valued member of a team that contributes to the success of the company.

Staff feeling unappreciated can even go right down to part time jobs for students. Make your student recruits feel valued and appreciated in their part time jobs or seasonal jobs and they could be your next graduate star who chooses to stay on with your company once they have completed their course. I have have written in the past about how employers can benefit from having jobs for students and young people such as holiday jobs and seasonal jobs.

Some employees are unhappy with current management

30% of workers surveyed said they were unhappy with the current management at the company they work for. With surveys such as this, it can be difficult to separate the issues out as mutually exclusive. For example, staff could be unhappy with management because they feel undervalued or unappreciated, as per the previous item on the wish list. But, as a company, if you are looking to maintain your staff retention levels throughput 2015, this could be one of the issues that needs addressing within your firm. Indeed, are managers happy in the role they are in. A company wide strategy for staff retention which includes making sure that staff at all levels feel valued and have sufficient training to carry out their roles could go a long way to preventing dwindling numbers of employees within your firm. Again, this point leads nicely on to the next.

Employees would like more training and development

In the survey, 27% of people asked said they would appreciate more training and development within the company and this includes training and development even in their current role. Even if this is in the company’s policies, employees need to question whether staff really are being trained in the practical skills necessary for them to carry out their roles to their full potential. Some staff could feel like they are unable to give their all in their current role because they haven’t got the skill set to do so.

For young people and school leavers, apprenticeships could provide this structure, as we said above. But even for student jobs, whether that’s part time jobs or seasonal work, investment in training can help staff retention levels and, if your company recruits lots of temporary staff for events jobs, for example, those in temporary jobs who have received meaningful training and development may be more likely to return when you have more vacancies available. This reduces your training costs and can be an effective part of your recruitment strategy.

Some employees would like more flexibility

These days, many companies, and perhaps your company have already introduced more flexibility into their work day with regards to flexitime, days where staff can work from home and job share options. 18% of those surveyed said they would like more flexibility within their current job. If your company is already offering flexibility in work life this can not only be a plus point in your current recruitment strategy but also for your staff retention levels.

Some employees would like better parental leave options

At 3% of those surveyed saying they would like better parental leave options, as with the flexibility issues mentioned directly above, many companies could be already addressing those issues in an effective way.

Looking forward to the rest of 2015…

Companies are always going to experience staff moving on to pastures new at some time or other but this year could see more than usual taking the plunge. Many of the points listed above can be merged with others rather than them being standalone issues but there is still lots to take into consideration for employers in 2015 if they are to reduce the number of their staff deciding to bite the bullet and taking off to look elsewhere for other challenges.

Effective recruitment strategies such as essential interview questions need to be in place so that the most suitable employees for your company are taken on in the first place. Once staff are in their roles, an effective system needs to be in place to make sure those employees feel valued and want to continue working for your company for some time to come and this is true of all types of roles from part time jobs for students to apprenticeships for school leavers and more senior roles throughout a company.

Killer Ways To Promote Your Student Job Vacancies

by Andre on January 28th, 2015  

As employers or someone in charge of recruitment for a company – the man or woman in charge of filling student job vacancies – there are many different ways to tweak recruitment strategies so that you can go a long way towards not only finding the best young talent and harnessing that talent, but also giving yourself a much better chance of improving staff retention by encouraging new recruits to stick around in the future and benefit the company in years to come.

In the past, we’ve suggested how you can make life easier for yourself and increase the possibility of employing the most suitable candidate for job vacancies by looking at essential interview questions. These questions could also help you gage whether or not you think your bright new recruit is intending on building a career within your company.

There are also many initiatives out there to help employers who are investing their time in employing young people such as school leavers or those young people who either don’t want to, or are unable to go to university. Running apprenticeships might be a viable option for your company or, depending on the type of field you are in and the size of your firm, setting up School Leaver Programmes could also prove invaluable. These types of initiatives can run alongside existing graduate programmes you might already have in place – it doesn’t always have to be choice between one or the other.

E4S is all about providing students and young people with opportunities to find work – anything from part time student jobs at evenings and weekends to seasonal work, both in the United Kingdom and abroad, to graduate jobs and other full time roles such as apprenticeships. If you are considering ‘what’s the point of giving young people a job’, we’ve looked at how employers can benefit by employing students and young people by offering holiday jobs and we’ve also seen that 2015 is projected to be a year where job vacancies will be on the increase. So, with this being the case, it’s all well and good having systems in place where students and young people can feel themselves to be a valuable part of the team in the workplace, but, when student job vacancies do arise, how do you go about attracting graduates, school leavers and other young people to apply for your vacancies?

How To Attract Young People To Apply For Student Job Vacancies

Student Looking For Jobs

Job Vacancies Are A Chance To Promote Your Business

As well as recruiting staff, when you have job vacancies to advertise, this is also where you get a chance to market your company to others. Whatever type of job you are advertising, how do you want your company to appear to job seekers?

You can go a long way to attracting the best young people if your company comes across as dynamic, forward thinking in your job adverts. And, especially where students and school leavers are concerned, does your company come across as somewhere where they will have fun while working hard and receiving training? Just as companies want to know potential interview candidates are taking their job application seriously and are committed to working for the company, in return, young people want to be given the impression that their student jobs, apprenticeships or other roles will be both rewarding for them and beneficial for them in the long run.

A job vacancy description that is a few lines if generic text is not going to have a very good chance of catching the eye of young people. Mix up your fonts, text size and colour; use images; and, it goes without saying, make sure your company logo is clearly visible. After all, you are the company demonstrating to young people that your recruitment strategy is tailored to them. If someone has been looking for student jobs, apprenticeships or graduate careers for some time, you need your company to stand out above the rest in order to hook in the best young talent.

Tailor your job vacancies to the people you are looking for

If your company is investing in young people and has vacancies in student jobs such as summer jobs or other seasonal work available, is your recruitment strategy tailored to attract those students and young people?

When it comes to university students, many students live away from home, on campus or in student accommodation. During the summer holidays, Christmas break or Easter, for example, some will need to return home. If your company has branches around the United Kingdom, could you offer students holiday jobs and seasonal work closer to their home during those periods so that they can return to their positions in the area where they are studying during semester time? If that is a possibility for your company and you can make this clear in your recruitment material, this could be a good way of encouraging young talent to stay with the company after graduation to develop a graduate career and perhaps move into management or head office positions further down the line.

If you are offering apprenticeships or school leaver programmes to young people and you are looking for young people and students with particular skills or a particular type of personality, how is your recruitment strategy tailored to attract those people? How are you making your company look open and welcoming to new, young talent?

Use Social Media To Promote Job Vacancies To Young People

We all know that these days, used well, social media is a powerful tool for promoting your company, and it can also be used to attract young people to apply for your student jobs and other positions you might have available. Obviously, most younger people are very active on various social media outlets and how you are represented on those social media outlets can make a difference in the types of people you attract into applying for your jobs.

Many companies are represented on Linked In and this plays a big part in their recruitment strategies. While Linked In is clearly important for recruitment, especially for recruitment for graduate jobs and possibly School Leaver Programmes, other social media outlets shouldn’t be neglected. Have you attracted students and an all round younger audience to like your page on Facebook or follow you on Twitter? Have you dipped into other social media outlets such as Pinterest or Instagram? Again, how you are making use of these outlets can entice the best young talent to apply for your job vacancies, whether that is graduate jobs, student jobs or other employment opportunities.

Use Video To Attract Young People To Apply For Job Vacancies

Video is increasingly popular in the United Kingdom, especially amongst younger people, so visuals like this can be a great way to promote your company and your job vacancies. If your usual job vacancies are posted as a ream of text, this can get lost amongst all the other companies who are posting their job vacancies as ream of text, too. Video asks people to watch and listen rather than read through paragraphs of the type of candidate you are looking for.

This links to the social media point above. Has your company got a YouTube account and, if so, how is it being used? YouTube can be a valuable asset in your recruitment strategy and you don’t even need to be an expert film producer or director. If you are hoping to encourage young people or students to apply for summer jobs or Christmas jobs, for example, yoıng staff who are already a part of your team can be a part of informal videos, talking to the camera about their role and why they like working for your company. And when it comes to staff retention, if you have got managers or staff in other senior roles who perhaps started out in student jobs or as young apprentices, they could also do informal videos to describe their career path through your company.

Video can of course be incorporated into your other social media and online presence elsewhere, too. None of these need to be mutually exclusive methods of attracting young people to apply for student jobs and other roles.

Use Job Boards Such As E4S To Attract Students And Young People To Apply For Job Vacancies

Yes, so where do sites such as E4S fit into all this? E4S are dedicated to getting young people into jobs such as student jobs that could could be seasonal work or part time jobs at evenings and weekends. Apprenticeships, School Leaver Programmes and graduate jobs are also advertised on our site, as well as other vacancies. And the good news is, young people and students use E4S to look for jobs and careers.

Within the E4s site, it is possible to have your company profile – with your company logo – which tells job hunters a little about your company, the types of roles you might have available and the types of people you might be looking for to work within your company. The text of your company profile isn’t too long (around 600 words). Just enough to give students and other job seekers a flavour of what your company is all about.

A promotional video from your company, your Facebook page, Twitter feed or links to the career section of your website – everything mentioned in the points above; these can be included in your company profile on E4S so that you can promote your job vacancies and target them to the right people.

E4S is the most visited student job site and, as we say in our About Us page,  we are passionate about helping clients find students to fill their vacancies, and we are totally committed to helping students find jobs. A win win situation for both parties.

There is no one way to attract students and young people to view job vacancies and apply for roles when they arise; rather, it should be a combination of factors, some of which are mentioned above. The type of role you are advertising and the type of candidates you want to attract can be reflected in each individual advert. Whatever type of roles you have available, whether that’s summer jobs, part time vacancies, graduate careers or other positions, if you are looking to invest in students and young people, why not take a look at our E4S About Us page, and our page showing the E4S services, for more information about what we do for you and what you can do to try to fill your vacancies with the most suitable candidates.

2015 Employment & Recruitment Strategies – Are We Looking At A Rosy Picture?

by Andre on December 28th, 2014  

Well, it’s probably safe to say that the answer to the question as to whether or not it is a rosy picture for the British economy and employment figures in 2015 depends on which sources you read and the point of view they are writing from. The current government, and its supporters, is very upbeat about the future growth of the number of people in employment and for the growth of businesses (good news for employers?), while other sources highlight the fact that it’s not just about getting people into the workplace and therefore reducing the numbers of those registered unemployed. It’s about the quality of those jobs, the training and the wage levels.

Let’s take a look at some of the views put forward and what that could mean for employers looking to recruit graduates and young people into their companies in 2015 and beyond.

The Optimistic Viewpoint About Britain’s Economic Growth And Job Creation

According to government figures, after the recession, Britain is now experiencing a recovery which means employers have increased optimism and are looking to employ more people into their companies in 2015 and into the future. And this is not just an increase in the number of people in work. Employers are adapting their recruitment strategies and are now looking to recruit more people into full time positions rather than part time jobs and temporary jobs.

In December 2014, Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover and Deal, says that more people who want to work full time are now getting those full time jobs because there are more opportunities out there. There are currently more full time opportunities than part time and wages are set to increase faster in the coming year. And according to this article in The Scotsman, business group, CBI, along with consultancy Accenture ran a survey and its results suggests permanent jobs will outstrip temporary jobs in 2015. As an employer, are you finding this is the case for you? Maybe you are adapting your recruitment strategy and are looking to create more graduate jobs, school leaver programmes or maybe you are designing more apprenticeships to recruit more school leavers.

Minister of State for Employment, Esther McVey also wrote in December 2014 that every single region of the United Kingdom has witnessed a fall in the numbers of people who are unemployed. This suggests there are more openings there for people looking for work and for employers looking to employ young people, students and graduates, sites like E4S can be ideal platforms for recruiting the best staff to fill vacant positions. She states that there are over 80,000 more young people now in jobs and also that the UK now has the lowest unemployment levels since 2008. This definitely sounds like good news for both employers and those looking for work.

Recruitment Strategies – Women and Employment

And figures also suggest that the situation for women in the workplace is looking better than it might have done previously with more women now in employment. Scotland has seen the biggest rise in the number of women in employment with a narrower gender gap in employment than other countries in the United Kingdom. And more women in employment means the economy benefits as a result of this. As for women’s pay, Charlie Elphicke MP says the gender pay gap is now at it’s shorted since records began in 1997.

So, 2015 looks set to be a beneficial year for both employers and for those looking for work and, it seems, particularly beneficial for women and young people who are looking for jobs. But there is another side to this coin, of course. Some sources are challenging these positive government figures and are showing a different story around those statistics and as employers, no doubt you have your own first hand take on these numbers, too.

The Alternative Viewpoint On The UK’s Increase In Jobs And Wages

Opposition parties challenge the government’s figures, as do some employment surveys that have been carried out which survey employers, those already in jobs and also the unemployed.

The position of women in employment

With regards to the number of women in employment, there is still lots of discussion around the standard of that employment and also wages. Although Scotland can boast a big boost in the number of women in employment, for example, and the gender pay gap is said to be decreasing, Jackie Baillie MSP, Scottish Labour Finance, Constitution and Energy Spokeswoman has said that over a quarter of a million women in Scotland are paid less than the living wage (the UK living wage is currently £7.85 per hour. She would like to see a minimum wage in Scotland and also the abolishment of zero hour contracts.

And a lack of women in top jobs is also a longstanding issue, as well as the gender pay gap when men and women are in similar roles. The government have worked hard to encourage employers to promote women into top roles within companies but have, themselves, been criticised. According to this article in The Guardian, the government have set themselves a target of 50-50 employment of men and women within government departments but in December 2014, the percentage of women in Whitehall posts was less than 40% with only five women in a cabinet of 22 MPs; a cabinet that is two thirds male. In particular, the Ministry of Defence only awarded six appointments to women out of a total of 40 opportunities.

The problems facing young people in employment

Naturally, the main focus for E4S is to get young people into jobs such as student jobs, apprenticeships, internships or graduate jobs, for example, so it is good news that employers are starting to employ more young people and get them into the workplace.

However, as with the roles of women in employment, some analysts question the quality of these roles and also the wages paid for jobs for young people (and indeed, issues facing women and young people in employment are not mutually exclusive). According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, more and more young people, especially 16-25 year olds are, living below the breadline as they are often working zero hour contracts or are even self-employed but working for low rates of pay (there are currently around 1.4 million zero hour contracts out there). The Joseph Rowntree Foundation see it as worrying trend that so many working people are still struggling to make ends meet and are not earning a living wage. They see it is a threat to the future growth of the British economy. For 16-25 year olds, they say the poverty rate has risen from 25% to 31.5% a decade later and this has been caused by a low minimum wage and high unemployment.

The skills gap as a threat to future economic growth and competition in Britain

The skills gap is also seen as a problem; perhaps the biggest threat to the the British economy in the long term. For example, in Scotland, construction is on the increase but there is a skills shortage in this sector so it is difficult for employers to fill vacant positions.

Solutions for employers and employees

So what does all this mean for employers in 2015 and beyond? Katja Hall, CBI’s deputy director general says the solution is for companies and the government to work more closely together to increase the skill level in employees and therefore get them into more highly paid jobs to carry firms forward.

Employers can do this by creating government backed apprenticeships and school leaver programmes to boost specialist knowledge and practical skills in young people and also create specialised graduate programmes to attract more university leavers into graduate jobs. As an employer, you may have already tweaked your recruitment strategy to invest in young people and attract more young people into your company in this way. If this is not a recruitment strategy you have considered previously, take a look at how employers can benefit from the implementation of apprenticeships and school leaver programmes to see if you could implement something like this in your company.

Of course, another issue regarding skills shortages is that school leavers, students and graduates need to actually want to do the types of jobs where there is a skills shortage. Perhaps government, employers and education institutions need to work together closely to make careers in those fields not only more visible but also more dynamic and attractive to young people.

Staff Retention

Once your company has recruited the ideal candidates for vacant roles, the challenge is then to retain those staff to further progress the company. Even if you do have more permanent, full time positions available throughout 2015, how do you retain the best talent? This can be especially challenging for SMEs and we have written blog posts in the past about the challenges small and medium enterprises face with recruiting and retaining the best talent. This post contains tips for how small and medium sized enterprises can attract and retain the best staff. Because there is also the viewpoint of the employee. Employers need to constantly think of more inventive ways to boost their company’s staff retention levels as more and more employees, these days, are choosing to move between multiple jobs throughout their working life. Attitudes have changed and employees are less fearful about moving jobs as they would have been in the past.

It is often said that the ‘job for life’ is a thing of the past and people will have on average nine different jobs in their working life. Some people even opt for a complete career change or go self-employed. As we mentioned in our blog post about the job for life being a thing of the past, this has repercussions for both the employer and the employee and it’s about working together to make sure both parties can benefit from the situation.

If, as the government have stated, more and more job vacancies are now for permanent positions – and this trend looks set to continue through 2015 – employers will be hoping to keep hold of the talent they have scouted and employed. As vacancies arise, it’s important for employers to recruit the right type of candidates for the roles available because the recruitment process can be both time consuming and, depending on where you advertise your vacancies, expensive, too. In giving yourself the best chances of getting it right first time, the interview process is an important part of the process and there are some essential interview questions you can ask to make sure your candidate and your company are the best for each other.

Part time jobs and temporary holiday jobs for students and young people

And this blog post has focussed mainly on full time, permanent jobs but when it comes to skills shortages and lack of work experience amongst students and young people, there is a role employers can play, too. Student jobs such as part time jobs at evenings and weekends or seasonal work such as Christmas jobs and summer jobs can be highly beneficial for students not just in a financial sense but also in providing and developing transferable skills; preparing them for the workplace.

And what’s in it for you as an employer?  Apart from knowing you are investing in youth and playing your part in preparing young people for the workplace, you could also harness the fresh ideas that young people could possibly bring to your company. And if you have the roles available, if you spot a true talent, help that person develop a full time career with your company before someone else snaps them up. Here are some of the other ways your company can benefit by employing students in holiday jobs.

So, the government have lots of initiatives in place to get young people into the workplace and statistics show more jobs and higher wages will be available in 2015. E4S have many employers advertising vacancies on the site and many young people visiting the site each day, looking for work. If you have vacancies in your workplace and would like to employ school leavers, students and graduates, why not place your adverts with E4S? Read more here about working with E4S.

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