Cuts in vocational learning, temp-to-perm, the world’s oddest job ad | Recruiters Weekly News

Funding cuts, better rights for lower-paid employees, and an exciting opportunity for aspiring henchmen. It’s the recruitment news round-up. Staffing cuts hit vocational courses Cuts to educational budgets in Britain are not only making the recruitment of new teaching staff problematic at the present, but risk creating a skills vacuum in future generations, teaching unions […]

Spring Budget Round-up: Reshaping Recruitment

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his début budget speech this Wednesday lunchtime. Amidst a broadly optimistic tone and a prognosis of good health for the nation’s economy, there was a controversial change to National Insurance contributions for the self-employed. We consider how the amendment could shape attitudes within the recruitment market of 2017 – and explain why enterprises should learn to adapt.

Responding to changing

It has been called “the Gig economy”: the proliferation of workers in the United Kingdom for whom the greater part of their income is earned through self-employment – either as self-starting entrepreneurs, or as independent contractors within a larger organisation.

This week, that growing section of the national workforce found itself the target of chancellor Phillip Hammond’s first budget speech, as he announced an increase in national insurance contributions (NICs) for the self-employed.

The 2% rise in NICs for class 4 – those earning more than £8,060 in profits per annum – equates to around 60p extra per week, on average. The chancellor described the move as a way to level the playing field between those in full time work and those who earn their income as part of the gig economy: “Employed and self-employed alike use our public services in the same way but they are not paying for them in the same way. Such dramatically different treatment of two people earning essentially the same undermines the fairness of our tax system”.

Yet the move may seem counter-intuitive to those with an eye on the long term. Last year, journalists and recruitment commentators were contemplating a future where the gig economy could provoke a swing in popular opinion towards lower taxes and changes to welfare: principles that are the traditional domain of Conservative policy-makers. Furthermore, some critics have already suggested this week’s rate hikes will make self-employment a less attractive proposition, and that the government is stifling innovation by causing potential self-starters to think twice before choosing to go it alone.

Recruitment: time to adapt for the Gig Economy

But is it realistic to suggest that a 60p per week increase would drive entrepreneurs away from self-starting, and into the waiting arms of employer contracts? It would seem unlikely. Rather than wielding taxation as a stick to drive self-starters into a steady wage, the Chancellor has simply acknowledged these workers as increasingly significant contributor to the national wealth.

Since 2010, the gig economy has grown 72% in London alone, and many recruitment experts believe that this so-called “Uberfication of labour” will continue. If self-employment is here to stay, governments will need to find a way to extract revenue from this group. This week’s budget is a clear indication of precisely that.

So we should not expect to see long lines of former self-starters queuing up outside recruitment offices for salaried positions just yet. Instead, we in the recruitment community should recognise the chancellor’s move for what it tells us about the government’s own expectations for the future. The gig economy is only going to get bigger.

Semantic search recruitment software: Proven solutions to a less certain world

So far, the disruptive impact of the gig economy has been seen primarily from the workers’ perspective. But what of employers and recruiters? The growing influence of gig workers may, in due course, create an employment culture of very different values to those of the present: one where the average candidate will have come to expect a hyper-flexible working arrangement.

When every candidate has a unique set of individual expectations, the search for suitable recruits becomes ever more scientific: where big data, recruitment software, and precise, semantic search operations will play a vital role. Tomorrow’s recruiters will have to assess not only the competence of candidates, but also that their outlook represents a cultural fit that is compatible with employers’ needs.

It means that recruiters will have to become more technically-minded; more adept at processing high-volume pools of data and executing fast, qualitative assessments of every candidate: each of whom represents one in an almost infinite number of permeations of values, ethos, and expectations.

The spring budget confirms what many of us in recruitment have known for a long time: that the gig economy is here to stay, and that recruiters – just like the exchequer – must find new ways to address the changes to our working culture.

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Can Online Giants Change the Face of Recruitment?

It has been a week of considerable activity in the world of online recruitment services. But – cosmetic alterations aside – how much has really changed?

As of last week, Facebook has officially entered the online recruitment space: announcing that its own Facebook Jobs feature is to be rolled out across the entire social network. The facility, which has been online as a live beta since November 2016, aims to standardise many of the existing techniques employed by businesses who have been using social media profiles to advertise job vacancies for years.

Facebook Jobs will allow HR personnel to create posts with a designated “Jobs” format, sort and retain applications, and establish contact directly with candidates via the site’s internal messenger service. The update has been seen by many within the industry as a move by Facebook to encroach upon territory traditionally held by LinkedIn. But, unlike the recent Microsoft acquisition, Facebook Jobs lets commercial entities post advertisements free of charge; it is also actively targeting the lower-skilled placements that LinkedIn has traditionally neglected.

Speed and simplicity are the yardsticks by which Facebook is gauging the success of its new service: “It took three minutes to fill out the information and put it out there”, said one recruiter, in the social network’s own promotional copy. “Then someone saw the post, we talked, and it was done.”

Heated Competition

Elsewhere, LinkedIn has given its user interface (UI) a dramatic makeover: to look – quite coincidentally – a lot like a Facebook timeline.

Among other changes rolled out since the new year, many of the site’s advanced search and networking facilities have been removed for all but premium account holders who are running either the Sales Navigator or Recruiter suites.

This re-definition of the basic service is the clearest indication yet that Microsoft sees their LinkedIn acquisition as a crucial element of its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) value offering to business clients in the years ahead.

New Ground – or New Clothes?

The sudden proliferation of free at the point of use services has been a topic that we have touched upon in some depth over the last year. At the time, we warned that money saved on a one-size-fits-all recruitment product will always come with a hidden cost: one for which performance would be picking up the tab. And, as our professional world becomes more complex, it is efficiency, and precision searches – not volume – that will produce the candidates that business is searching for.

It is a lesson that Facebook will have already learned. They are keenly aware of BeKnown, Branchout, and countless other platforms that have attempted to harness the social media giant’s enormous reach for their own products, yet failed to gain traction on either side of the recruitment market. Budget solutions that achieve results by playing a numbers game of wide reaching, high volume searches are never likely to impress employers in the long run – and may indeed place greater demands on resources.

It is still too early to tell whether Facebook’s – or LinkedIn’s – updated facilities will provide anything beyond a repackaging of everything that was already possible within the existing services. And, as the competing tech giants look to influence the way employers and candidates discover each other, we can expect to hear a lot more about how they are changing the face of recruitment.

But whether these changes amount to anything substantial will be the key. For companies with real world vacancies to fill, a facelift to existing services will prove unsatisfactory. If these latest alterations are to hold lasting value, the results will have to be more than skin deep. The eBoss recruitment software already has facebook search built in as part of its global social media search module and we are actively monitoring facebook updates for news of an API facility that will allow our clients to post direct to facebook within eBoss.

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Recruitment – It’s All About Relationships

Recruitment is one of those fields that looks very different from an outsider’s perspective as opposed to an insider’s one. If you don’t know what it’s really like in the industry, it seems optimal to move from client to client as quickly as possible, maximizing the number of commissions you can get in a certain period of time. Experts, however, know that recruitment is all about playing the long game in regards to contact with clients.

 

’One and Done’ Is Not Enough

On a surface level, a recruiter’s goal is to match a good candidate with a company who needs their talent. Once that task has been accomplished, our job is technically done. However, no one ever got to be the best in the business just by following their job description, and that same principle applies here. Instead of simply chasing monetary rewards, a good recruiter seeks to establish a link between themselves and each client they assist.

To illustrate the reasons for this, it’s helpful to compare it to the workings of the more well-known industries: sales. If a salesperson has the option of selling a single product to a customer or getting that customer to set up a recurring order, no one would suggest that the first option was the better one, even if that single product would yield more initial profit. This is why the concept of brand loyalty exists and why companies try so hard to establish it in their customers. Being able to count on a customer’s repeated patronage gives them the baseline financial security upon which commercial empires like Kraft Foods and the Walt Disney Company are built. The value of sustained relationships in recruitment is a little less transparent, but they’re just as important.

 

Keeping Them Coming Back

So far, tumultuousness has been the defining feature of the 21st century job market; job churn is accelerating on both sides of the employer-employee relationship. Corporate restructuring is happening constantly, and many workers are always on the lookout for more prestigious or lucrative positions. This means that there is a lot of potential demand for recruitment services – assuming that the people involved bother to contact a recruiter rather than try to go through the process on their own. Many who have no existing connections with the recruitment industry will not necessarily think to do this, or may not want to go through the hassle of trying to find someone to work with who isn’t purely self-interested. This isn’t a problem when they already know and trust a good recruiter – in that case, it only makes sense to contact them first.

 

The Difference Strong Relationships Make

If you can build relationships with your clients that last beyond the initial placement, those people will think of you first when they need a new hire or a new job. That will probably happen several times over the course of the years, and they may also refer you to friends or colleagues who are also in need of your services. Conversely, if you make a quick match for someone and fail to follow up on that contact, they likely won’t even remember your name, and certainly won’t bother to seek you out again. Winning a client over and taking a continued interest in them is what forges those strong bonds of trust – it’s brand loyalty for recruiters.

Having a few clients who use your services many times is almost always more lucrative in the long term than having many one-time ones, and it’s unquestionably more stable. You’ll rarely have a huge influx of money all at once, but you’ll also rarely have to weather the long, difficult dry spells that many recruiters face when they leave themselves at the mercy of the market. The bottom line is that recruitment is not an industry for those looking to make fast, easy money; in order to be a truly excellent recruiter, you must make long-lasting client relationships your top priority.

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Study: Australian Recruits Seek a Challenge

When it comes to retaining new recruits, it is excitement – and not rewards – which plays the greatest part in keeping Australians happy, a new survey has found.

It is a challenge for the modern age of recruiting: how to retain a loyal workforce and keep motivation high over the long term? In an era where recruitment database software and cv parser technology is making the search for staff an ever more efficient process, many larger businesses have begun to shift their focus towards addressing why workers choose to leave – and to discovering ways of retaining their key employees.

Now a new survey, carried out by the recruitment experts at Hays plc in Australia, appears to have found at least one answer to the puzzle. It is excitement and a challenge – and not rewards or a cash incentive – that proves to be the most popular motive for workers to begin searching for a new place of employment.

In a poll of more than 1,500 individuals who were quizzed on their reasons for changing employers, Hays found that 61% of respondents had moved jobs because they were seeking more excitement and greater challenges in their work. The second most popular factor – cited by 60% of respondents – was a lack of career development in their current role. These results would suggest that push factors are every bit as powerful as pull factors in instigating a change in employment.

Other reasons given included an improved work-life balance (54%), a lack of recognition in a current role (43%), or the sense that a role had become repetitive and stagnant(41%); a lack of clear direction (30%), and not being included in the decision making process (24%) were significant, though less common, considerations.

Perhaps surprisingly, the promise of greater financial reward and a higher salary only featured as the third highest motivator, affecting 58% of those polled and suggesting that – when it comes to the workplace – money really isn’t everything.

Nick Deligiannis, the managing director of Hays plc in Australia and New Zealand suggested that the findings could be interpreted as a comment on the changing nature of the workplace, and that today’s recruits are keen to learn new skills to remain competitive in the employment market.

Adding context to the survey, he said: “Rapid technological change, and the digitalisation of the workforce, will make upskilling your existing staff even more important if you are to keep up with the rapid rate of change.

“This includes artificial intelligence and robotics – which are expected to take over the routine and repetitive functions of a job – leaving staff free to focus on higher-level duties. How this will play out in your organisation should certainly be factored into your talent management strategy.”

Deligiannis’ words will provide food for thought for recruitment firms and employers alike, as they consider the changing nature of their own roles in the modern working environment. Specialist recruitment software tools like semantic search software may allow recruiters to discover talent more swiftly and accurately than ever before. But, with time saved in the search process, it will be the organisations that shift their focus – and hire with an eye on the long term welfare of workers – that make the most effective recruitment decisions in the future.

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Mixed Fortunes for Scotland’s Recruiters

Recruitment to full time positions in Scotland may be in the midst of a “substantial decline”, according to one new survey of industry experts, it was revealed this week.
Research carried out by industry analysts Markit points to a mixed picture for recruiters in Scotland, with demand for full time workers increasing in several key industries, but overall numbers of full time placements falling for the fourth month in a row.
The study, as reported by The BBC discovered a rapid decline in both the number of full time vacancies available north of the border, as well as the number of workers available to fill them.
The findings will be seen as a counter-point to the recent forecasts which have returned a largely positive picture of health for recruitment in the United Kingdom, post-Brexit referendum. The process of exiting the European Union is increasingly being seen as one that may not produce an equal outcome for all – and that regional differences in recruitment, employment, and wages may become more pronounced as the uncoupling process begins.

Strong Foundations Remain

However, it has not all been bad news north of the border. A report released on Wednesday by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has suggested an increasing demand for personnel in the building and construction industries. The CITB forecast predicts a one to two per cent (1%-2%) growth in house building and services in Scotland – a figure that could require up to 12,000 construction recruits to fill new and existing roles within the industry.
Take-home pay was another area to strike a positive note in the Markit report, with recruitment data showing an overall rise in the starting salaries of both permanent staff and temporary workers. Demand for temporary staff also continued to rise – reaching its highest level for more than a year.
There is also the wider employment context to consider. Coming less than twelve months after a Office for National Statistics (ONS) report which recorded employment in Scotland at a record high, these latest figures may perhaps suggest a mere readjustment and slow down to recent growth, as opposed to an employment market on the verge of slipping into reverse. The total number of vacancies in Scotland have remained in growth, even though recruitment rates fell slightly. Some industry experts have therefore theorised that the current climate of caution can be attributed directly to the current period of political uncertainty. As Britain’s role in the future of the single market becomes clearer, renewed confidence may see a bounce back in the recruitment market.

Permanent Changes

The data may also illustrate a more permanent change in the recruitment and employment landscape: a leaner industry where both vacancies, and available workers, are an increasingly finite resource. Recruitment database software is helping businesses to retain data and gain a clearer picture of the health of the recruitment landscape – both locally, and on a wider, national level. At the same time, other recruitment software tools, such as CV parser technology and semantic search software are making it easier for recruiters to discover personnel in possession of the appropriate skills, before their competitors.

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