Recruitment Matters - Nov/Dec 2021

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Looking ahead to 2022 p3 B I G TALKI N G POI N T

What counts most for candidates now? p4 Issue 95 Recruitment NovemberMa ers December 2021


Carrying over annual leave next year p6 W H AT I KN OW

Employees must be seen as individuals p7

The talent pipeline

We need a skills and training revolution A

s all of us in the recruitment industry know, the issues that have been caused by labour shortages since pandemic restric ons were li ed are not new. There have been shortages in sectors such as logis cs, IT, healthcare and hospitality for many years. So now more than ever it’s vital that, while shortages are at the front of everyone's thinking, we act to ensure we have a pipeline of talent to take up those roles. When REC Chief Execu ve Neil Carberry gave evidence to the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy commi ee last month, he emphasised the vital role that the skills system should play to solve these issues both now and in the future. “We need a revolu on in how we offer training for work,” he said, if the UK is to recover fully from the pandemic and prosper in the months and years to come. Last month’s Budget and Spending Review was a chance for the government to start to put some of this into ac on, pulling the right levers to enable businesses to invest in their workforce. But while the announcements on skills were a step in the right direc on, the opportunity to start a real skills revolu on was missed.

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One major element of the required overhaul is to broaden the appren ceship levy into a wider training and skills levy, to allow funds to be used on other types of accredited training. This would help businesses to fill vacancies and increase produc vity, while also improving career prospects and the earning poten al of workers across the economy. Agency workers, who are locked out of benefi ng from the current system, would be included.

Making great work happen

This is just one of many changes which could help to revolu onise the way that skills training is offered in the UK, and this will con nue to be at the forefront of the REC's campaign work in the future. It will also be a key aim for the cross-departmental forum that we are campaigning for – an aim that was included in the REC's partnership agreement with the Department for Work & Pensions which was re-signed in October. 16/11/2021 17:14

Leading the industry

the view... Why we should be posiঞve about the future of the market and our industry, explains

Neil Carberry,

REC Chief Execuঞve


can't believe this is my last column of 2021. Where did the year go? I know others will feel the same – this year has been a whirlwind, from the third lockdown in January to the busiest market many of us have ever seen. The REC’s role is to be at our members’ sides whatever the economic weather and I prefer the issues we are facing now to the ones we had in March 2020! Our guiding principle is to put member interests at the heart of everything we do, to help the sector thrive. That's how we make a difference for you, and for the clients and candidates you help every day. The early part of 2021 was dominated by our Recruitment for Recovery campaign, which set out how important the sector is to the UK and why we should hold our heads high and be confident about the future. Most of what the REC has done this year has benefi ed from that posi vity – from lobbying wins (such as digital right-to-work checks) to new business advice support, the legal advice that lies at the heart of our support to you and our increased regional profile with teams across the UK. I am looking forward to ge ng back out on the road next year. Our recent work on labour shortages perhaps shows most clearly why what the REC does ma ers to the industry. It infl uences government – we've met more ministers than ever before this year – but, as one member noted, it also makes client discussions easier as they see the picture we are pain ng. That’s what it is all about. And so to 2022. There will be more market change, more regula ons and an uncertain economy. But we're ready to support you every step of the way with work on business development, the recruitment workforce and inclusion, as well as the best data and the most powerful voice in recruitment. A wonderful Christmas and a prosperous new year to you and to your business. If you want to keep up to speed with all things recruitment then follow me on Twi er @RECNeil 2


REC and DWP renew partnership Shazia Ejaz, Director of Campaigns at the REC


ast month, a delega on from the REC and a group of our members were pleased to meet Mims Davies MP, Minister for Employment, to re-sign the partnership agreement between the REC and the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP). The REC-DWP partnership has existed since 2012 and sets out how we will work together with one of our most important government stakeholders to help people to access and progress in work – which is even more vital given the events of the past 18 months. This update to the agreement focuses on suppor ng those furthest away from the labour market, as well as sharing intelligence, championing diversity and inclusion, and leading the debate on the future of work. That includes preparing the jobs market for a “greener” economy in the future and understanding the needs of employers as they work to meet the challenges of tackling climate change. The renewed partnership will also help us to achieve one of our key campaign aims – tackling skills shortages – as we look to establish a joint forum with DWP, the Department for Educa on and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This forum would allow the recruitment industry to work with mul ple departments in a coordinated way and ensure there is a comprehensive and joined-up approach to delivering the right skills programmes for the jobs that employers need to fill. It will put recruiters at the heart of workforce planning and avoid further supply chain “crunches”. It is crucial that business and government work together in the months and years ahead to help business grow and the UK to level up. By renewing this partnership agreement, we hope to kickstart that process.

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Leading the industry

the intelligence... Quesঞons for the labour market as furlough comes to an end. By Atanas Nikolaev, Research Manager

On 30 September 2021, the Coronavirus Job Reten on Scheme (CJRS) closed a er almost 18 months. Over the course of the pandemic, the scheme was a vital support for employers and their employees. It covered the wages of 11.7 million workers, and as many as 2.3 million days of work were spent on either full or par al furlough. In many ways it was the star policy of the Coronavirus crisis. Cos ng almost £70 billion (in gross terms), the CJRS, alongside other support measures, ensured that the rise in unemployment was far lower than that ini ally feared – peaking at 5.3% in the UK. The latest figures from HMRC show that at the end of August there were s ll 440,000 employers with 1.3 million workers on furlough. Since the peak in January 2021 (5.1 million), those numbers have steadily decreased as the economy re-opened. The Resolu on Founda on es mated that a million workers could be s ll on furlough when the scheme ended, with half of these fully furloughed.


billion spent on CJRS.

We must wait for the next CJRS bulle n to give us the final o cial sta s cs on the scheme, but early signs suggest that there won’t be a significant rise in unemployment when furlough ends. In early November, the ONS es mated that 87% of furloughed staff returned to work. But there are other significant challenges to the labour market that threaten to slow down the economic recovery. At the me of wri ng, the number of job vacancies is at an all- me high with expansion in nearly every sector and there is uncertainty about poten ally low re-employment rates for those made redundant during the pandemic. The latest KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs showed that at the end of October recruitment ac vity rose sharply, fuelled by robust demand for staff. However, at the same me candidate availability deteriorated at a near record rate, pushing up star ng salaries. The current challenges


million days of work were spent on full or parঞal furlough over the course of the pandemic

around shortages are driving a sugar rush in the labour market, but this won’t last forever. It is impera ve for the government and business leaders to work together to find a way out of the current situa on with policies that support sustainable economic growth. That means inves ng in skills, especially at lower levels, suppor ng younger people into work, and helping firms to compete interna onally.

440,000 employers with 1.3 million workers on furlough at the end of August

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Focus on candidates

big talking point Chronic sta@ shortages are in the headlines, but recruiters are seeing a far more fundamental shi[ that is increasing their workload, but also creaঞng opportuniঞes

Reputation and relationships S

ome crises shake the founda ons of our lives and Covid-19 may prove to be one of these. No recruiter – or employer – could be unaware that the UK is dealing with unprecedented labour shortages, and the CBI and REC have told companies that this situa on could last for another two years. However, there is a deeper and possibly more permanent shi going on that is changing the rela onship between employers and their staff. Many company bosses are finding that simply offering more money is not a rac ng the people they need. Candidates in some sectors can pick and choose their opportuni es and the pandemic has made them reconsider what ma ers most in a job. This could be good news for those who have long advocated increasing diversity and inclusion. Employers who cannot find staff in their tradi onal pools must think more broadly about who they could employ, which a ributes or qualifica ons are essen al and which can be developed, and what makes their workplace special. They may need to look in new places or raise their corporate profile with a different audience – and recruiters can help them do this. However, recruiters may also need to deliver di cult messages to companies that have not demonstrated an inclusive culture, care for staff wellbeing and


fl exibility in the pandemic. Most companies have a list of values, but if their staff and customers know that these are merely words on their website they will have limited effect. Worse s ll, staff working for organisa ons that proved uncaring during the crisis may jump ship now – and those firms will struggle to replace them. So what is on candidates’ wish lists, and how can recruiters help them and their poten al employers to find each other? “Home or Agile working is now a standard request from many candidates for a number of roles and industries – many of whom didn’t work this way before the pandemic,” says Kelly Dunn, Managing Director at KD Recruitment. “Another common requirement is the opportunity for upskilling and personal

development within the job. They want to know what the culture of the company is like, so corporate reputa on is important, along with sustainability, community engagement and health and wellbeing, even for employers who never had to look far for people in the past.” She adds that the candidates are there – some looking to move because they did not feel valued or looked a er in the past 18 months – but you need to find them. “The way people look for jobs has changed. You can’t wait for them to come to you – we’re in a digital age and you need to be proac ve and find different ways to look for them,” Dunn adds. “You can’t just post a job advert and expect people to apply.” Reputa on is important for recruitment companies as well as for

Statistics 1.2 million job vacancies in September – a record high 29.2 million people on payrolls in September – a record number 134,000 jobs adverঞsed by the hospitality industry –

almost double pre-pandemic levels

4.5% unemployment

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employers. Recruiters need to have a strong presence on the right social media pla orms and ensure their brand is known and trusted. Dunn says that many of the people she places have come via referrals. “We ask successful candidates who else they know and whether they would recommend us or suggest that friends and family talk to us about opportuni es,” she says. Similarly, those who have a good experience with a recruiter are likely to come back when they want to move on, so it’s worth playing a long game. Recruiters are in a good posi on to educate candidates and employers about poten al opportuni es. Now is a great me for a candidate to move into a role that may have been di cult for them to consider in the past. A good recruiter can help them to see opportuni es and to iden fy and highlight the skills they could bring to the job. Similarly, they can explain to the employer why that person would be good even if they lack one or more of the tradi onal requirements. “We were approached by someone working in a care home who wanted to know what alterna ve jobs she could do. She came to us because we’d helped her in the past and we facilitated her move into a job as a recep onist. She hadn’t worked in an admin role for years, but she had fantas c people skills which her new employer really appreciates,” Dunn says.

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Nadeem Ahmad, Founder and CEO at Templeton & Partners Recruitment, agrees that culture and corporate reputa on are more important than ever. “Employee engagement is a huge issue. Candidates want to be treated as individuals and they are less afraid to be honest about what they want. At the same me, Covid has been a leveller. Managers have had to trust staff working from home and this has reset the way that companies interact with their people. The rela onship has become more equal,” he says. This could have a posi ve effect on diversity, but Ahmad warns that true diversity comes from recrui ng people with different backgrounds and experiences who think diversely. “Many companies have increased the number of women, LGBT people and people from BAME backgrounds they hire,” he points out, “but they have been less good at considering candidates who are disabled, neuro-diverse or from a different social class.” Some are keen to do this, but they are nervous of making mistakes or being accused of posi ve discrimina on, he adds. “A good recruiter can help them to put together a recruitment strategy that looks at bias in, for example, their job ads and recruitment processes, and at making sure their company is talking to the

right people and is known in the right places,” he says. They can also encourage the company to assess its rela onships with exis ng staff. Are they ac vely pro-diversity and do they encourage their employees to be open about who they are and how they feel at work? Companies that can demonstrate that they listen to staff and learn from what they’re told will be able to differen ate themselves when they seek new employees, Ahmad says. “It’s not just about colouring your logo with a rainbow in Pride month,” he explains. “It’s about knowing your staff, listening to their needs, removing barriers and helping people with diverse backgrounds to progress up the career path. It has to be real.” All of this requires a lot more work from employers and from recruiters, Dunn points out. “We need to know candidates’ full back stories, who they are and what they can do, and we need to help companies understand what they need from staff and what they can offer in return. We have to consider corporate culture and candidate ap tude rather than a set list of skills or qualifica ons.” For those keen to switch careers, or for employers seeking the best people from the deepest talent pool, this me of change is a golden opportunity – and recruiters could hold the key to the door of possibili es. November-December 2021 Recruitment Ma ers


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Working Time Regulaঞons

legal update Carrying over annual leave to 2022 By Leo Isce-Taylor, Legal & Compliance Adviser


any employers allow their sta@ to carry a small number of holiday days over to the next working year. For example, some permit sta@ to carry three or four days of annual leave over to the next year, but urge them to take any other remaining leave before this, so they don’t lose it. This encourages sta@ to use their holiday enঞtlement to rest for the benefit of their health. At the end of March 2020, the government announced that it would amend the Working Time Regulaঞons 1998 to give employees/workers the right to carry over up to four weeks of annual leave over the following two years. Employers can decide whether to allow sta@ to carry over the remaining 1.6 weeks of statutory annual leave, and any addiঞonal leave they provide. However, the employee/worker must fulfil certain criteria if they wish to carry


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leave over. Employers must consider whether the pandemic created a situaঞon where it was not reasonably pracঞcable for the worker to take leave. Factors for employers to consider include: • Whether the business faced a significant increase in demand because of Covid-19 that reasonably required the worker to conঞnue to be at work, and could not be met through alternaঞve pracঞcal measures. • The extent to which the business’s workforce was disrupted by the pandemic and the pracঞcal opঞons available to the business to provide temporary cover for essenঞal acঞviঞes. • The health of the worker and how soon they need to take a period of rest and relaxaঞon. • The length of ঞme remaining in the worker’s leave year (to enable the worker

to take holiday at a later date within their leave year). • The extent to which the worker taking leave would impact on wider society’s response to, and recovery from, the pandemic. • The ability of the remainder of the available workforce to provide cover for the worker going on leave. When considering these factors, employers must take all reasonable pracঞcable steps to ensure their sta@ can take as much of their leave as possible in the year when it is accrued. Where leave is carried over, it is best pracঞce to ensure that the workers/ employees take it sooner rather than later.

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What I know

Two recruiters on how they plan to beat the candidate shortage

Aimee Treasure, Head of Markeঞng, Templeton & Partners Employers are more aware of the value of employee engagement.

However, many adverts focus on the company’s values, but don’t explain what makes that company unique and a great place to work. For example, everyone says they are innova ve, but what does it mean in prac ce? Has anything fundamental changed?

Candidates are being braver about asking to work different hours or more flexibly to fit around family, health needs and interests.

This is good for diversity – but more needs to be done.

Diversity is about thought and background, not just the way you look. More employers are proudly displaying their diversity and Be authenঞc. inclusion creden als, Your people are your but many are s ll business. Companies reaching a restricted need to put as much talent pool and need analysis into their hiring programmes and help to provide relevant reputa on as employers role models, create a suppor ve environment as they do into their and reach candidates R&D programmes. in different places. We can help them to create People are being more honest about a posi ve conversa on with exis ng staff, to what they want. listen and learn from Employers must assess them, and find out how them as individuals. they can a ract a wider Covid has humanised variety of applicants us all because we’ve with a bespoke seen people at all recruitment strategy. levels in their homes.

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Paul Hipkiss, Managing Director,

The Recruitment Group How did you fare during the pandemic?

We started two years ago with a plan to buy and amalgamate established regional recruitment companies. We now have seven businesses and rebranded as The Recruitment Group this year. We bought three firms in the first lockdown. We took the opportunity to gain trac on and posi on ourselves in the market while li le business was being done.

What next?

We are s ll growing and focusing on building the brand and consolida ng our businesses. Keeping our momentum is vital. I recently launched our strategy, three-year plan and company values via branch roadshows. I don’t

want our values stuck on the wall. I want people to know that we live them. What we’ve got now is special and if we don’t have this in 10 years’ me, we’ll have failed, even if we’re successful financially.

What are the main challenges?

The shortage of labour is acute and that affects everyone. We aim to differen ate ourselves by living up to our slogan “Powered by people”. We say we will always put candidates and staff first – without them we don’t have a business. If you look a er your staff and candidates, you look a er your clients. The recruitment sector tends to have a high staff turnover and we hope that pu ng staff at the centre of our business will make a difference.

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REC Awards

REC Awards 2021 Winners Individual awards

Company awards

Recruitment resourcer of the year Winner – Jessica Harber, Rthirteen Recruitment

People development business of the year Winner – Amoria Bond Highly commended – VGC Group

Temporary recruiter of the year Winner – Haseena Mooncey, Hyper Recruitment Soluঞons Highly commended – Ilya Donets, Carrington West Permanent recruiter of the year Winner – Chrisঞna Giakou, Hyper Recruitment Soluঞons In-house recruiter of the year Winner– Abigail Farnham, Pertemps Business leader of the year (turnover up to £2m) Winner – Jim Roach, ARV Soluঞons Highly commended – Nik Pratap, Pratap Partnership Business leader of the year (turnover more than £2m) Winner – Nadeem Ahmad, Templeton & Partners Temporary worker of the year Winner – Brashanthiy Vijaragavan, Hyper Recruitment Soluঞons Highly commended – Gezim Elezi, Enhance Catering

Diversity champion of the year Winner – Urban (STR Group) Highly commended – Bruin Financial (The FISER Group) Start-up of the year Winner – Enhance Catering Best company to work for (up to 20 employees) Winner – Ashdown Group Best company to work for (up to 50 employees) Winner – Contract Scotland Highly commended – Osborne Appointments

COVID champion of 2020 Winner – Tracey Beecham, Ethical Recruitment Agency

Best company to work for (over 50 employees) Winner – Harvey Nash Highly commended – Carrington West

Recruiter of the year

Lifetime achievement award

Winner – Tracey Beecham

Winner – Louise Hewe

Recruitment Ma ers


Recruitment team of the year Winner – ASAP Pertemps

The oLcial magazine of The Recruitment & Employment Confederaঞon Dorset House, 1st Floor, 27-45 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NT Tel: 020 7009 2100

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Membership Department: Membership: 020 7009 2100, Customer Services: 020 7009 2100 Publishers: Redac ve Publishing Ltd, Level 5, 78 Chamber Street, London E1 8BL Tel: 020 7880 6200. www.redac Editorial: Editor Ruth Pricke . Produc on Editor: Vanessa Townsend Producঞon: Produc on Execu ve: Rachel Young rachel.young@redac Tel: 020 7880 6209 Prinঞng: Printed by Precision Colour Prin ng © 2020 Recruitment Ma ers. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, neither REC, Redac ve Publishing Ltd nor the authors can accept liability for errors or omissions. Views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the REC or Redac ve Publishing Ltd. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts or transparencies. No reproduc on in whole or part without wri en permission.

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