Job Market Insights – Summer 2023

Unlocking insights

We’ve got our tentacles on the pulse of the job market and we’re here to bring you the latest on the job market landscape.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) have just dropped their latest report on the current state of the job market, and we’re here to break it down for you. 

  • Permanent placements fall at quickest rate since June 2020.
  • Upturn in candidate availability gathers pace.
  • Pay pressures ease only slightly amid rising cost of living.

Cloudy with a chance of sunshine

The REC has reported on a dampened job market but with some sunny spells brightening the outlook. Businesses are not yet confident enough in the economic outlook to commit to permanent hires. This has led to the steepest pace of decline in placements since June 2020.

  • While the demand for temporary workers remains strong, the availability of workers has shrunk in recent months as job hunters hold out for permanent roles.
  • Labour supply has risen substantially. The overall availability of staff has risen at a substantial pace amid the slowdown in recruitment and reports of redundancies. This means that there are now more people available for work than there are jobs available overall in the UK. But that doesn’t always make it easy to find the right fit.
  • Competition for skilled workers is still high, and employers are willing to pay more to attract and retain skilled workers. However, the pace of wage growth is slowing down as the economy cools.

What does this mean for businesses?

  • Businesses should be prepared for a slower pace of hiring in the coming months. It will take longer to find the right person for your vacancy. We can take the pressure off by searching and first interviewing candidates, so you only have to select from our recommended shortlist on your client portal.
  • Businesses may need to be more creative in their recruitment strategies, such as offering more flexible working arrangements. In a recent Hays poll on LinkedIn, flexible working came second only to pay for people searching for jobs. Think about what you offer your employees and remember to tell us so we can shout about it in our advertising.
  • Businesses should be prepared to compete for talent, as the number of available candidates is increasing. Strategies such as our video recruitment to attract candidates could be key in getting your job vacancy noticed by the right people.

What does this mean for job seekers?

  • Job seekers should be prepared for a more competitive job market. Those who adapt and are open to trying new things will be more successful. Consider temping to try out a new industry. Hospitality and construction are industries that are experiencing shortages, so now is an opportune time to find work in these areas.
  • Job seekers should be proactive in their job search and should be prepared to negotiate on salary. Start thinking about what could put your application ahead of the rest or have a chat with Anna or Katherine to see what you can do to supercharge your CV.
  • Job seekers should consider taking on temporary work while they look for a permanent role. So many of our temp jobs end up in permanent employment, it really is a great strategy when looking for work. Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive, said ‘Temping keeps people in work when firms are uncertain about the future path of the economy – it is a huge UK success story.’

There is opportunity out there.

The UK job market is facing some challenges in the short term, but there are still opportunities for businesses and job seekers who are prepared to adapt. Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive, commented in the report ‘Hiring overall is still at a good level, and some sectors remain under pressure from significant labour shortages, including hospitality and construction – so there is opportunity out there for job seekers.’

Finding the right people for the right jobs.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help make your recruitment outlook sunnier in the current job market.

 

 

Source: The REC Report on Jobs Market

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

Embracing “overqualified” candidates

Embracing overqualified candidates: Unlock the hidden potential in your team.

Today, I want to address a topic that often sparks debate among employers: overqualified candidates. It’s a phrase we frequently encounter during our team meetings, where we discuss potential candidates for your job vacancies. Many times, I’ve heard comments like, ‘I sent this person over for the role, they are a superb candidate but were rejected because they are overqualified.’

This got me thinking: ‘How can a candidate be overqualified?’

Why am I getting overqualified applicants?

In a candidate-driven market, that has persisted for quite some time now, job hunters have an abundance of opportunities to choose from. Recently, I came across a newsletter from ALP (Association of Labour Providers) authored by Gillian Haythornthwaite, and it surprised me to learn that there is an average of two job vacancies for every unemployed person. Candidates have the upper hand in the current market, and are likely invited to interview for more than just your job vacancy. This statistic begs the question: Are employers missing an opportunity by dismissing overqualified applicants out of hand?

When it comes to considering overqualified candidates, there are two sides to the coin. You’ve probably come across this yourself – CVs showcasing an impressive array of qualifications and experiences that far exceed the requirements for the role you’re hiring for. Naturally, this raises questions. Will the candidate only stay for a short time? How motivated will they be? How will they feel being managed by staff with less experience? Will their salary and promotion expectations be too high?

It’s understandable that these concerns arise, but instead of immediately dismissing overqualified candidates, think about how you could benefit from their skills and experience.

How can I find out if they’re the right fit for my vacancy?

At Octopus Personnel, we frequently encounter candidates who apply for positions they are clearly “overqualified” for. During our registrations and catch-ups, I use my time with them to really find out what their motivations are. Here are some of the questions I’ve used to find out more, and you can use them too!

  • ‘What has caught your eye about this role, when there are more senior roles out there that you could apply for?’ The answers I receive are often surprising and sometimes quite poignant. Life can take unexpected turns, and there are instances when people yearn to be part of a team that values them, to wake up in the morning and genuinely enjoy going to work. Their motivation isn’t solely driven by financial gain but rather by the desire to feel like they can make a difference, feel valued, and come home without a huge weight on their shoulders.

 

  • ‘How would you feel about being managed by someone with less experience than you?’ By and large, the response is positive, and when it’s not, we’ll know whether they’re going to be a good fit for your team. It’s crucial to remember that in a candidate-driven market, individuals apply for roles because they genuinely want them, not because they couldn’t secure a higher-level position elsewhere.

 

  • ‘Do you see this role as a stopgap?’ At the moment, people have a lot of options open to them – they don’t need to settle for less, so it’s more than likely your vacancy is really what they’re looking for long term. However, it’s worth noting that people do experience burnout and believe that a lower position is the solution. Should we dismiss a candidate based on a preconceived idea? There may be more to their story than meets the eye.

 

  • ‘What are your long-term plans?’ Don’t be afraid of responses like: ‘I want to go to work, do a good job, and go home without the baggage and worry’. The days of staying in one job your entire career have long gone. Workers now switch jobs several times, so the likelihood is, whatever the answer to this question, you’ll have to recruit again no matter how over or under qualified your new employee is. Why not get some extra skills within your team in the meantime?

Food for thought.

So, here’s some food for thought: If we send over a candidate who initially seems “way too qualified” for your requirements, I urge you to read the profile we have attached to their CV (we might even send you a video on why we think they’d be perfect!). It will shed light on why we believe the candidate is an excellent match for your team and why you should, at the very least, meet with them – we’ve already asked the hard questions for you!

Consider the advantages: they can hit the ground running, require less training, and bring valuable skills and experiences to your team. Remember, statistically candidates have at least two jobs to choose from, and they’re interested in yours!

Embracing overqualified candidates may just be the key to unlocking hidden potential within your team. Don’t let preconceived notions or concerns hold you back from discovering exceptional talent. Give them a chance to prove themselves, and you might be overjoyed by the positive impact they can make.

Stay open-minded, stay curious, and never underestimate the potential of a candidate, even if they appear to be “overqualified.”

 

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

Does a 4-day week work?

The world’s largest 4-day week trial is complete, and they’ve just released their report.

61 UK companies participated in the trial by reducing their employees’ working hours for 6 months without any loss of pay. The report is now out with interesting results for the future of work. Ninety-two percent of participating companies have said they will continue with the new working pattern, at least for now.

What is a 4-day week?

The 4-day week trial was the brainchild of 4 Day Week Global in partnership with Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, and researchers at the University of Cambridge and Boston College. 61 companies participated in the 6-month UK pilot, with participating companies operating in a wide range of industries including professional and financial services, housing, online retail, food and beverage and hospitality, digital marketing and sustainable homecare.

Think tank, Autonomy and top academics from the University of Cambridge and Boston College have released a much-anticipated report on the trial.

Highlights from the report include:

  • 56 of the 61 participating companies have said they are continuing with the 4-day week for employees.
  • 18 of these companies have already committed to making this a permanent change, with the others continuing with the trial to monitor longer term results.
  • Most companies are satisfied that productivity has been maintained, despite employees working fewer hours.
  • 71% of employees reported lower levels of burnout.
  • There was a 65% reduction in sick days.
  • Companies’ revenue stayed broadly the same, rising by 1.4% on average.
  • There was a substantial decline (57%) in the likelihood that an employee would quit, dramatically improving job retention.

Source: 4dayweek pilot programme

Would a 4-day week work for my business?

 Offering a 4-day week to your staff can have several potential benefits for both your employees and your business.

  • Improved work-life balance: Employees have more time to focus on their personal lives or pursue other interests, which can lead to reduced stress levels and improved overall well-being.
  • Increased productivity: Workers have fewer outside distractions and can better focus on their work during their working hours, leading to a more productive time at work.
  • Enhanced employee retention and recruitment: Offering a 4-day week can send a powerful message that you value employees’ wellbeing and can be a huge tick on the pro list when recruiting for people who value work-life balance and flexibility.
  • Cost savings: Depending on your business model, a 4-day week could potentially lead to cost savings on things like office costs and other overhead expenses.
  • Positive impact on the environment: A 4-day week could also help reduce your company’s carbon footprint by reducing the number of commutes your employees need to make each week. Another big tick for you not only with potential employees but with your customers as well.

Ok, I’ll take a look, what should I do first?

Change is often a thorny field, particularly in the world of work. A 4-day week will not be feasible or appropriate for every business, and it may require some adjustments to workloads, schedules, and expectations.

For those who want to consider how it could work in their business, think about some initial changes you can make first.

  • Do you really need that meeting? – Who hasn’t been in an unproductive meeting at some point? Before setting a meeting, think about what you want to get out of it and create an agenda. Set a time limit and don’t forget to nominate someone to follow up on the action points.
  • Can your email be dealt with on a phone call or message? Reading through emails can take a large chunk of someone’s working day, particularly if its part of a lengthy email chain. A quick phone call can often get the answer you need immediately or consider using communication software such as Teams or Slack for instant messaging.
  • Encourage your staff to use focused time. Go on DND for a set amount of time to crack on with a project or answer communications without unnecessary distractions.
  • Review your job descriptions to focus on outcomes, not tasks. Give employees the freedom to achieve outcomes in the most efficient way rather than following a possibly outdated and time-consuming process.

​For businesses that can make it work, offering a 4-day week can be a powerful way to attract and retain top talent while also improving productivity, reducing costs, and promoting employee well-being. However, there are lessons that all businesses can learn from watching the trial with interest and continually reviewing its ways of working. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for more results.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

7 Key Benefits of using Temporary Workers

What are the Key Benefits of using Temporary Workers to meet the challenges of the new normal?

As businesses begin to push forward into the new normal, flexible resourcing and ensuring your team are optimised to quickly respond to new challenges is key.  Using temporary workers can help meet many of these challenges.  Here are seven key benefits of using temporary workers which can immediately give your business a boost.

 

  1. Scale up your workforce quickly

    Using temporary workers is a fast and efficient way of scaling up your workforce at short notice.  Rapid growth can be extremely exciting, but you need the right people with the right skills to ensure success.  When a company needs to expand quickly in response to change in demand, temporary workers can help to add the capacity and skills necessary to scale quickly.

  2. Fast-track hiring

    Recruitment agencies keep pools of pre-assessed workers with verified skills who want to temp.  We personally interview every candidate, face-to-face or online, to understand their experience, skill set and aspirations.  This means you will only see temporary workers who meet your specified selection criteria and who we believe will gel with your existing team and ethos.

  3. Quickly reduce stress and pressure

    Increased workload can hamper productivity within your existing team. Temporary workers can help reduce strain, ensuring you can adjust with your existing trained and experienced staff and maintain maximum productivity.

  4. Increase adaptability and responsiveness

    Flexibility is key to rising to the new challenges in this climate.  Temps are adaptable and can switch roles with ease according to your business needs.  Temps are focused on opportunities, often more confident to navigate change and learn new skills.

  5. Try before you buy

    Using temporary members of staff is a bit like a working interview, you can see their skills and experience in action, see the impact they make on the business and decide if you need them as a permanent member of the team – with no risk!

  6. Bring in fresh skills to respond to new challenges

    Temporary staff bring new, valuable skills, new perspectives to existing processes and ideas from different companies and experiences.  Breathe some fresh air into your business with a different kind of employee, embrace the new ideas they carry with them and enthuse your team. You may well find your next team member or future leader!

  7. Control your costs

    Temporary workers allow you to add staff without increasing your permanent headcount and costs.  You can hire multiple temps to cover spikes in demand, with no long-term commitment should demand or workload decrease.  Temp staff are provided at an hourly rate which includes pay, National Insurance, holiday and pension so there are no hidden costs.

Experts in Temporary Recruitment

From urgent cover to planned project work, Octopus Personnel are a great choice for reliable, skilled, flexible workers.  We have a pre-screened workforce ready to cover your staffing needs and the dedicated back office staff to manage all aspects of administration and payroll with efficiency, allowing you to focus on driving your business forward.  We are committed to building a valued and diverse temporary workforce, enabling us to find the best candidates for you.

 

How can Octopus Personnel help?

At Octopus Personnel, we are here to help and support you.  From helping you explore the key benefits of using temporary workers for your business to finding the right temporary staff, to fully briefing them on health & safety and procedures for your company, to ensuring you remain compliant with all legislation, even as it evolves, we are here at the end of the phone to help you utilise flexible resourcing and maintain your key services.

Whatever challenges you are facing, whether you need temporary staff, advice, or simply a chat, Octopus Personnel are here to support you.  Call us on 01747 825568 or visit the website to request a call back.

Anna Wiklinska

About the author

I’m on hand for our industrial and hospitality recruitment here at Octopus – think warehousing, production, construction, kitchen and technical type jobs. I also run our seasonal event work – this is a great option for those wanting to earn some extra money without commitment.

I really enjoy meeting our job hunters and helping them to find work. It’s been lovely to talk to local people and find out what matters to them.

Bloopers Reel

This is what has made us #smile on a dreary Wednesday afternoon ?

Check out our bloopers reel! We LOVE video recruitment!

Keep an eye out for the polished, professional version coming soon…

#GoOctopus #happiness #wednesdaymotivation #shareasmile

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

Successful Recruitment during the Pandemic

We’re in this together

Despite the news continuing to report challenges for individuals, families and companies alike, successful recruitment during the pandemic is still possible.  We are working with our candidates and clients closely to safeguard the health and safety of all.  We take our responsibility to support our communities, those who are vulnerable, and the healthcare providers who are on the front lines of this pandemic extremely seriously.

Following the Prime Minister’s recent announcement, people living in England will be asked to work from home where possible and pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to close at 10pm each night under a series of new restrictions. Under these new rules, the requirement to wear face masks has now been extended.  If you need to attend the office for any reason, please make sure you wear a face covering at all times.

Successful Recruitment in the Pandemic

Moving forwards

We have initiated some changes to ensure we remain one step ahead and that we continue to do the right thing for our team, candidates and clients.

The Octopus office will remain open, but we will be offering virtual appointments only for the time being.  You can still meet with us in lots of different ways: using #Zoom#Facetime or #WhatsApp.  Our policies and provision for ensuring we help reduce the spread of Coronavirus have proved effective so far and we will continue to liaise with our clients to ensure we prove the best support and advice to our candidates.

If a virtual appointment does not suit you, we are, as always, on the phones (01747 825568) ready to discuss alternative arrangements with you.

Digital Innovation: Successful Recruitment during the Pandemic

Exciting Announcements

This year has changed the focus of many businesses and allowed us as a recruitment company to bring forward our digital plans. Our commitment to meeting with each candidate at the start of their journey remains at the heart of what we do, so we are very excited to share with you that we have now integrated the latest video software into our recruitment process!

We have already found this gives clients a better insight into the team and cultural fit of a candidate, whilst reducing the time to hire and supporting an accurate first stage screening process. For candidates, it provides a great platform to sell themselves within a matter of seconds, getting your personality, experience and USP across, bringing your CV alive!

So keep an eye out on our social media and website, where we will be revealing all over the next course of the next month!!

The Octopus Team: Successful Recruitment during the Pandemic

Here for you

As mentioned, we are at the end of the phone to support you in any way we can.

For job seekers, our website offers a wide range of resources to help you efficiently navigate the job search, advice on redundancy, making sure your CV and interview skills are up to date, improving your LinkedIn Profile and much more.

For clients, we have the latest advice on recruitment, from flexible resourcing with temporary workers to benefitting from the switch to an employer driven market.

Recruitment during Pandemic

Do you have symptoms of COVID 19?

The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following;

  • A new continuous cough
  • A high temperature
  • A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell

For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above, stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 – go to testing to arrange.  Please see all the latest guidance here.

If you are experiencing any symptoms whilst working for Octopus Personnel you must notify us immediately.

Further Information

Further information about preventing the spread of COVID-19 is available on the PHE blog and NHS.UK.

Advice from the NHS on when to self-isolate is here:  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

Advice from the Government to Employer, Employees and Business can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Advice on travel and returning from travel is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus and from the Foreign Office Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice You should notify Octopus Personnel if you have been abroad in the last month.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public provides further information, including symptoms and the latest advice.

Whatever your needs, we are here to help! You can contact us via phone on 01747 825568, drop us an email or contact us so we can answer any questions you may have.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

Navigating the change to an Employer Driven Market

Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel Director, explains how COVID19 has flipped the candidate driven market on its back, and what the implications are for candidates and employers as we approach recruitment post lockdown in an employer driven market.

For the last couple of years, with unemployment at record lows, we have been operating in a candidate driven market.  Put simply, this meant that high calibre candidates were often receiving multiple job offers, as well as their current employers trying to offer more for them to stay on as their employee.

The focus was on the whole package: more competitive salaries, flexible working patterns, stronger study support and a full career development plan. If a client couldn’t offer what a candidate was looking for, a competitor was.  Clients had to invest heavily in the packages they were offering, but also in selling their culture, brand and reputation to attract top talent.

Thanks to the unprecedented challenges which the business world has met during the Coronavirus pandemic, suddenly the market has become saturated with candidates again, and, make no mistake, many are extremely high-calibre talent. However, during March, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that as a result of the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus crisis, confidence in making hiring and investment decisions fell by 21 percentage points compared with the previous month.

So how does this affect recruitment?  How can you position yourself as an employer to benefit from this situation, attracting these high-quality candidates to your business, what effect will this have on those people seeking employment now, and how can recruitment agencies work to best serve both and ensure the right people are hired for the right jobs?

Image shows connected people icons - Strategic Recruitment in an Employer Driven Market

Strategic Recruitment for an Employer Driven Market

In a employer driven market, it is the companies who call the shots. They hire at their own pace, can focus wholly on their needs, and face little or no competition from peers in the industry.  Due to the COVID19 impact, there are many high-calibre people seeking employment right now and, for those companies who are able to, recruiting now may bring many dividends.

Now, more than ever, we are working closely with our clients to understand how they are managing the crisis, and their strategic operations and workforce planning for the future.  We are there to advise on successful recruitment strategies in practice and the flexibility of different types of recruitment.

We have continued to register high-quality candidates throughout this time to ensure we will be able to present the best qualified candidates, who we believe will dovetail with the company’s culture and vision, ready for virtual interviewing and, where required, digital onboarding to enable our clients to move swiftly and decisively.

Picture of Sandra Smart - Sandra's advice to navigate an Employer Driven Market

Sandra’s advice to clients

Now isn’t the time to abandon all your hard work on culture, brand and reputation, but it is a perfect opportunity to find the right person with a depth of experience and drive who can fully fulfil your role.   Be clear about the job role so candidates can visualise what a typical day at work might be like. Break responsibilities into short, clear job duties.  Be clear about KPIs and decide which qualifications and experience you need.  Think about the teams which this role works within and needs to gel with.  All this information will help your recruitment consultant work hard, better, faster for you in finding the right person.

Image of a star on the floor - How to secure the best talent in an Employer Driven Market

Working with the best talent

For candidates seeking employment, this is the toughest the employment market has been in a long time; it’s going to involve a lot of hard work, rejections and perseverance.  But an employer driven market is not without hope.

As a recruitment agency, this is where we go above and beyond for every one of our candidates.  We are there for the journey, not only talking them through roles, but advising them on changes in the market and how to most effectively self market through CVs and interviews.  As many of our candidates are currently at home, or working from home, we are taking this opportunity to work even more closely with them, coaching them through the job hunt, helping them improve their CVs and keeping them focused and motivated.  These quality relationships mean we are better able to advise our clients about the suitability of our candidates.

Picture of Sandra Smart - Sandra's advice to navigate an Employer Driven Market

Sandra’s advice for candidates

Whilst the market is tough, there are still plenty of things you can do to make yourself as attractive as possible to a new employer.

Be ready

Work with your recruitment consultant to improve your CV, and make sure you tailor it to each application.

Be active

Spend this time learning new skills, becoming part of professional discussions on LinkedIn and networking.

Be bold

Your recruitment consultant can advise you on the challenges of the current market.  This could mean you may need a new direction, be ready to work on a short term contract or explore temping to find that perfect fit.  Be open to new suggestions.

Be resilient

The challenges of this market will mean many candidates, even those exceptionally well-qualified and experienced, are going to experience some nos.  That’s ok.  Ask for feedback, learn what you can and move on.  It will be a yes soon!

How can Octopus Personnel help?

At Octopus Personnel, we are here to help and support you as you navigate these challenges.  Whether you are looking for work or looking for workers, we are here at the end of the phone to help you.  Call us on 01747 825568.  Visit the website to request a call back or click on the send CV button to register with us.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

The bounce-back of recruitment post COVID 19: frozen or skating on thin ice?

Sandra Smart, Company Director of Octopus Personnel, responds to questions about recruitment post COVID 19, the challenges currently faced by the sector, the opportunities for growth and the long-term changes likely to become sector-wide.

How has the recruitment industry been impacted by the measures introduced to tackle the COVID 19 pandemic?

The impact of COVID 19 has quite simply been unprecedented, with companies either putting a recruitment freeze in place or shifting start dates significantly.  However, this freeze isn’t due to recession; it isn’t due to lack of demand or funds.  Many companies and clients still want to recruit but are frozen themselves due to the nationwide lockdown.

Like many businesses, recruiters have worked extremely hard to adapt to lockdown conditions and provide continuity and the same high-quality service to their clients and candidates remotely.  With more recent news from the Prime Minister and the furlough scheme open, there is definitely some light at the end of the tunnel, unfortunately no-one is clear how long the tunnel may end up being.

Person analysing data in graphs - How has recruitment been impacted - The Bounceback of Recruitment after COVID 19

What is the biggest challenge for your clients?

The biggest challenge for our clients currently is the unknowable.  How long will this go on for?  Between February and March, employer confidence in the economy dropped by 22%, according to the specially-commissioned COVID-19 REC Jobs outlook survey.  With regard to recruiting permanent employees, things have become harder with a clear, short-term slow-down across most sectors.

However, the recruitment industry is vast and wide and when employers think longer-term, it’s clear that recovery is on the cards and they are still looking to hire staff.  So whilst some areas have been extremely hard hit, others have prospered during this time.

The REC survey showed that short-term demand for temporary workers increased by 15%.  Whilst some roles for temporary staff, such as those in retail, hospitality and leisure, simply vanished overnight, other jobs including those in supermarkets, food production, delivery and cleaning increased in demand.

Person holding freshly picked red and green tomatoes - There will be important roles in agriculture - The Bounceback of Recruitment after COVID 19

Another area that in the South West which will continue to create jobs is agriculture. With international workers unable to travel there is a fear that crops will rot in fields and greenhouses, and food very much remains an essential service.

How has Octopus Personnel dealt with the crisis?  What have been your priorities?

Recruitment as an industry is extremely vibrant.  It is high energy and highly social, with dynamic flow between needs of the clients and the candidate.  Our focus during this time has most certainly been the wellbeing of our clients and candidates, supporting our clients with advice and reaching out to our candidates to make sure that nobody feels isolated in these days of self-isolation.

The Octopus Team - The Bounceback of Recruitment after COVID 19

We have a fantastic team who were able to transition to remote working extremely well.  We are used to supporting each other in the office, and we have found new ways to offer than same level of support at home.  Microsoft Teams, Zoom and email have kept us in touch in real time and allowed us to focus on short-term productivity goals which have kept the whole team driving forward.

We have worked hard, wherever possible, to reassign our brilliant temporary workers to those companies and industries which are fulfilling key worker roles, areas where there is still demand for workers.  For those individuals seeking permanent roles, it is about helping them to use this time as productively as possible, to reskill, or upskill, to be ready once lockdown is lifted.  Recruitment post COVID 19 may look quite different, with a dramatic shift from a candidate-driven market, to a client-driven market

Registering and connecting the right candidaates and businesses - The Bounceback of Recruitment after COVID 19

What do you anticipate might be the long-term changes to recruitment moving forwards?

I have been incredibly proud of the way the Octopus team has risen to the challenges of this time, using technology, team spirit and hard work to achieve.  I know we will take many lessons forward from this time and it will alter the way we work.

On a larger scale across the industry I would expect to see wider changes too, such as:

  • much of the interview process moving online
  • development and utilisation of recruitment technology
  • a much greater availability of flexibility and remote working options
  • a review of employment contracts and employee benefits
  • candidates who are open and actively seeking to reskill and upskill
  • a more long-term focus on recruitment strategy and conscientious budgeting
  • a greater focus on flexibility and dynamic team members with proven response to challenge and change
  • the focus to be on retainment and development of staff, as well as ensuring the right people are recruited

When might things get ‘back to normal’?  When might recruitment post COVID 19 bounce back?

I think we can all agree there will be a new ‘normal’, but I do believe that the Government’s measures, especially the furlough scheme, will have a significant impact on businesses’ ability to retain their staff. This will make it quicker and easier for companies to return to previous levels of productivity, something which will be vital for the recruitment sector, opening up the funds and the focus for staff who can continue to drive businesses forward.

For us, we are ready for the bounce-back of recruitment post COVID 19 and prepared to support our clients & candidates effectively.  We have continued to register high-calibre candidates during this time as well as funnelling our quality temporary staff into roles within the key worker industries.   Whatever challenges you are facing, whether you need temporary staff, advice, or simply a chat, Octopus Personnel are here to support you.  Call us on 01747 825568 or visit the website to request a call back.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

Resourcing and Recruitment during COVID 19

Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel Director, outlines how flexible resourcing will be a vital part of business strategy whilst navigating the challenges presented by COVID 19.

As each day presents new challenges caused by business disruption due to COVID 19, many companies are reviewing their contingency plans daily to try and channel vital employees and resources toward key services.  How can you strategically plan to address workforce issues to ensure your business remains operational?

Flexible resourcing strategies

As part of your contingency plan, introducing more flexible resourcing strategies to maintain essential services or production in case of staffing shortages due to people becoming ill and/or self-isolating is vital. If roles can’t be performed at home and are essential, consider more innovative resourcing solutions that may need to be deployed, such as split shifts to cover essential operations or services.

Identify the level of skill needed for each role.  Could deploying a temporary member of staff here reduce the strain on skilled employees who may need to be deployed in multiple roles?  Having a flexible team that you can allocate and deploy differently as people need to self-isolate is vital.

Use technology to bridge the gap

Maximise the use of technology to facilitate remote contact, for example, video conferencing to facilitate remote meetings. Use Microsoft Teams or other online software to facilitate communication between departments or shifts, reducing the need for face to face communication wherever possible.  This allows personnel switching between departments to quickly get up to speed on issues they will be facing, or contribute ideas to challenges which others may be facing in a role they have previously undertaken.  Create an online knowledge ‘pool’ that all team members can access.

Utilise Technology - Recruitment and Resourcing during COVID 19

 

Manage transitions between staff

Carry out a resourcing risk assessment of the organisation, identifying essential areas of the business where few employees have the required skills. Training additional employees in these skills should be considered. Ensure that procedures are developed to ensure smooth handovers for employees who are filling in for colleagues in unfamiliar roles.

It may be necessary to provide additional training and a risk assessment if individuals are moving to roles where there may be a healthy and safety risk.  Create an induction pack for new temporary workers with key information, health and safety briefings and risk assessments.  These can be shared with temporary staff before they come onsite to ensure they are safe and quickly familiar with key procedures.

Managing Transitions between staff - Flexible Team Management- Recruitment and Resourcing during COVID 19

 

Evaluate current projects and create clear priorities

Develop plans to enable your organisation to operate on a skeleton staff if necessary. Identify key services and roles that are essential and can’t be put on hold, as well as projects or roles that could be temporarily stood down.  This will allow you to funnel your workforce to the key areas to maintain service.

Identify those individuals and managers who have transferrable skills, who can fulfil more than one function and could be allocated to more essential roles.  This can allow you to identify roles which can either temporarily be suspended or filled with temporary workers – using flexible resourcing to drive the business forward.

Legislation Compliance

If you have daily briefings with your contingency team to ensure all preparations are still fit for purpose and have completed the induction and risk assessments highlighted above, you should already be making excellent provision to safeguard your workforce.  One other area to bear in mind is ensuring you remain compliant with all legislation.  For example, increased sickness absence may create a need for other employees, if willing, to work longer hours to keep your business going. If this happens, you will need to comply with the Working Time Regulations 1998 to ensure appropriate length of daytime working hours, night shifts and rest breaks.

Legislation compliance - Recruitment and Resourcing during COVID 19

 

How can Octopus Personnel help?

At Octopus Personnel, we are here to help and support you as you navigate these challenges.  From finding the right temporary staff, to fully briefing them on health & safety and procedures for your company, to ensuring you remain compliant with all legislation, even as it evolves, we are here at the end of the phone to help you utilise flexible resourcing and maintain your key services at this time.

Whatever challenges you are facing, whether you need temporary staff, advice, or simply a chat, Octopus Personnel are here to support you.  Call us on 01747 825568 or visit the website to request a call back.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

Recruitment and the impact of Coronavirus

Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel Director, outlines our approach to limiting risk from Coronavirus for candidates and clients during recruitment, and how we are currently adapting our business model.

At Octopus Personnel, we take the care of our candidates and clients very seriously and are taking a government guided common sense approach to preventing the spread of infection whilst continuing to operate as an effective business.  This will be updated and changed in line with changes in Government advice as they arise.

Woman using hand sanitiser - the impact of Coronavirus on Recruitment

Responsible Risk Management

Advice for employers from the Government can be read here.  Following our own internal risk assessment in line with this advice and advice from Public Health England (PHE), we have decided to enable the team to work remotely.  At home, they are still taking the following measures to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Covering mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not hands) should they cough or sneeze. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away
  • Washing hands with soap and water often – see hand washing guidance
  • Avoiding contact with people who are unwell and providing all candidates with the government guidance about when to self-isolate
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, including desks, kitchens and toilets
  • Trying to avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth if hands are not clean
  • try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with or anyone not in your support bubble
  • wear something that covers your nose and mouth when it’s hard to stay away from people, such as in shops or on public transport

Advice to Clients and Candidates about Temporary Working and Coronavirus

We have provided all our candidates currently working with guidance on prevention of transmission of Coronavirus, when to self-isolate and where to seek further information when needed.

We have contacted all our clients to establish if they have deployed any new Health & Safety measures in their workplaces related to Coronavirus (COVID 19) to safeguard employees and businesses to ensure all our candidates are fully briefed before assignment and following all procedures.

We are keeping abreast of Government guidance, which is updated regularly here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Further information about preventing the spread of COVID-19 is available on the PHE blog and NHS.UK.

We have also used the useful information for employers provided by ACAS:  https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus.

 

Person washing their hands - impact of Coronavirus on recruitment

Changes to the interview process

Some clients have asked us if they should be utilising Skype and video conferencing for interviews moving forward, instead of meeting with candidates at their offices.

Skype interviews often allow candidates to fit the interview into their schedule much quicker, as they can be conducted within lunchtimes or before or straight after work.  Whilst Skype is a fantastic tool and undoubtedly the next best thing to meeting with candidates in person, it does still leave a small disconnect.  A candidate doesn’t have the same experience of the business, the culture or the people, which means it’s harder for them to be so invested in the process, not having seen the building, or explored the vibe of the team, or imagining how they might fit in.

So if you are interviewing via Skype, you need to be a little bit creative.  Perhaps allow a second round of interviews where the team dial in for a chat?  Do you have site video candidates could watch?  Do you have a company blog?  Any good candidate will already have researched what is available online, but you might be able to flesh out more of the details of the company ethos whilst you talk, and use the examples they have seen to illustrate your points.

 

Two women looking at a laptop

Will we continue to interview candidates?

Our business model has always included meeting candidates face to face,  but in line with the changes in governmental advice, we are moving to utilise Skype, Zoom and Facetime to enable us to interview candidates online.  All our systems are up and running and we are able to offer the same robust, indepth service we always have.  In order to continue to really understand our candidates and what makes them tick, we use the same methods to interview them comprehensively so we can ensure the best fit for client and candidate, whilst protecting the health of all.

What will happen if the Government’s advice about Coronavirus changes?

We are confident that we can continue to provide an excellent standard of service throughout this challenging period and we are here to offer our clients and candidates the best possible support. Preparations have been made to enable the business to continue to function effectively, with a skeleton team working in the office and others working remotely.  In the short term, face to face meetings will no longer take place.  However, we are fully equipped for conference calls through Zoom and Skype and other modes of online communication, and are exploring platforms to speed up the process and flow of online interviewing.  The telephones lines and emails are working and we plan to continue to operate our service as close to normal as we can possibly can achieve.

We continue to follow government guidelines and updates as they are received.

Image of the Sign of 10 Downing Street

Where can I access more information?

Advice from the Government to Employer, Employees and Business can be read here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Advice from the NHS on when to self-isolate is here:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

Advice on travel and returning from travel is here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

We are here to help!

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role.  Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role or to the right employee who will drive your business forward.  You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

If you do have further concerns about the interview process or working through Octopus Personnel during the Coronavirus (COVID-19 outbreak, please do contact the office on 01747 825568 and we will support you in finding further information or support.

 

Last Updated 18th March 2020

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

Reduce employee turnover – the mounting costs of Recruitment

Sandra Smart, Company Director of Octopus Personnel, explains how to reduce employee turnover and recruit efficiently to attract and retain top talent.

Unfortunately, it is incredibly rare for an employee to work for the same company for their whole career, retiring after 50 years with a good pension and a golden watch. Redundancy is a permanent feature of the modern economy and employees all too often find it too expensive to be committed to one employer for years on end. Wage increases are minimal, hovering at 3 percent on average, while jumping to a new job might mean a significant pay increase. The result is that staying at the same place for too long could cost workers thousands of pounds with little reward in terms of job security. So how can you reduce employee turnover?

Four office workers having a discussion - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

What are the costs of losing an employee?

According to research by Oxford Economics and Unum, the average cost of turnover per employee (earning £25,000 a year or more) is £30,614. That means if you replace three employees on this wage in one year, the cost of employee turnover will be close to £92,000.

Therefore, it is no surprise that employee turnover is a big concern for many businesses. The investment and the cost to replace workers can often be overwhelming. So how can you make sure that you are attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry?

Employees are an investment

From the second you invite them to interview, the costs for an employee start accruing. Training, equipment, payroll are contributing to the mounting costs and are carried out under the presumption that the time spent will ultimately generate value for your business. When your company has a high turnover of employees the repetition of this process, plus the cost of recruiting a replacement, costs your company significantly – spending an average of £5,433 on the process of finding a replacement employee, according to Oxford Economics and Unum.

Why is reducing employee turnover important?

The long-term implications of turnover don’t just affect the company’s profits; it reduces the level of experience within the company, leading to decreased productivity and, often, a reduction in quality, ultimately having a negative impact on the reputation of the company.

While you’re busy advertising, interviewing, finding a replacement and getting them up to speed, other employees can become stressed, unhappy and overworked. The potential for others to leave as well increases, and to have to pay overtime. To be precise, Oxford Economics and Unum say that, on average, it takes 28 weeks and it’ll cost you £25,182 for loss of productivity.

So the benefits of reducing employee turnover are clear. So what can be done?

Multiple hands all placed on top of each other - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

Establish genuine communication

It may sound obvious, but this is often the most important tools in retaining staff: encourage genuine communication. People leave or stay for their managers, not jobs or companies. This idea is supported by the Gallup report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, which found that the 61% of millennial workers who feel they can talk to their managers about anything expect to still be with their employers one year from now. Many aspects of any business can be improved through internal communication, as well as ensuring employees feel heard and valued.

So how can you encourage ‘staff voice?’

You can use engagement tools to keep your employees talking to you. These can include a satisfaction survey administered by a third party, clearly defined training opportunities and/or committee creation for certain aspects of your firm. You can even ask for feedback and opinions on a relevant matter to help reinforce the channel of communication, and establish their position as an active participant.

Anything that adds value to an individual’s experience as an employee will help reduce employee turnover. Even the smallest gestures and rewards help to improve the work environment.

Staffing provider, LaSalle Network, surveyed 6,000 recent graduates about the most important factors they consider when evaluating a company to work for. And while 69% ranked remuneration as the number one factor, a surprising 61% listed company culture as the second most important factor.

Once you determine fair pay for a role, you’ll improve your odds of attracting the best talent and keeping the great talent you already have by promoting and refining “positive culture and values” within your business.

Women working at a large table in an office - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

How does training help to reduce employee turnover?

According to the Gallup report, 87 percent of respondents said development opportunities are an important job feature. Additionally, the LaSalle survey found that 71 percent of respondents said opportunity for growth was the number one factor when considering a new role.

Training your employees is investing in them as people – and can help to improve employee satisfaction. Training shows that you see them as part of a long term strategy for your business, and gives them the encouragement and tools to improve in line with the direction of the company.

Not all employee turnover is negative

If your talented individuals are getting itchy feet, then it can be a good idea to consider moving them within your business. This can help you to retain the most talented individuals, while helping to quench their desire for a change of scenery.

A woman sitting at a desk looking out of the window on a phone - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

How can Octopus Personnel help?

We know you fully recognise the value of top talent – those individuals that can drive your business forwards and boost the bottom line, but HR departments face a tricky task when it comes to ensuring a flow of continual talent into the business, and making sure they hire individuals who are suited to the job and the culture of the organisation. In the current buoyant jobs market, where employers are competing with one another for the most skilled and experienced staff, this becomes even more difficult.

Using Octopus Personnel to identify and attract talent, and negotiate terms, can relieve a huge amount of pressure. We can help you find the right people to drive your business forwards, bring them to interview, and secure their services within budget.

The trick is making sure that a candidate’s skills, qualifications and personality match your requirements; this match making ability is our key strength. As a consequence, we are one of the fastest growing recruitment and employment agencies in the South West of England.

What makes the Octopus difference?

We personally interview each and every candidate to assess their suitability. This isn’t just in terms of skills and experience, but also in terms of career development and personality. It is this attention to detail that ensures you will only see candidates that not only meet your specified selection criteria, but who you can be confident will gel with your team and achieve within your business culture.

To save you time, we include a resume and synopsis of every CV we send you, providing you with information fundamental to the selection process. We assess our candidates’ skills using a range of tools and provide this information to assist your shortlisting process.

To ensure that perfect match, we get to know your business and the requirements of the role like the back of our hands. We know about the challenges of the role, the Health & Safety requirements of your site, the rhythm of the work and we fully brief all our candidates prior to interview. Knowing exactly what the jobs entails prior to interview means you are not faced with ill-informed applicants who subsequently withdraw because of the ‘surprise elements’ of the role they discover during the interview.

Infographic of how Octopus Personnel can help you recruitInfographic of how Octopus Personnel can help you recruit

Excellent value for money and a money-back guarantee

Where other agencies use a system of scaled percentages, which increase costs dramatically in line with high value candidates’ starting salary, instead we offer a flat rate of 10% of starting salary across all permanent placements. We are dedicated to providing a first class service and we are so confident in our abilities that we offer a unique 100% money back guarantee if our candidates don’t meet your expectations.

Our service is quick, efficient and above all cost effective! What’s our secret? We love what we do and we get a genuine kick out of changing people’s lives for the better and by helping our clients to grow and expand their businesses.

Sandra Smart - Director of Octopus Personnel

Have I convinced you? What have you got to lose?

At Octopus Personnel, we have years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, understanding the ever-changing needs of their businesses. We are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to the right employee who will drive your business forward. Call the office on 01747 825568 to discuss how we can help you or click here to register.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

Octopus Personnel Recruitment Agency: A Year in Review

Happy New Year to all our clients and candidates!  2018 has been a fantastic year, working to drive our clients businesses forward by finding the right people for the right jobs.  From the Recruiter Awards to supporting School in a Bag, the team has grown and evolved this year and can’t wait to face the challenges of 2019.  Recruitment has never been so exciting!

The cornerstone of our success is our knowledge and special relationships we have forged with the businesses that lie within the communities that we serve. We know instinctively what many of our clients require and can act immediately to fill these vacancies regardless of whether they are temporary or permanent positions.

Whether you need one person for short-term cover, or a team to help you meet a deadline, Octopus Personnel is here to help. We provide temporary staffing and recruitment services right across the South West of England, covering a variety of economic sectors including office & administration, manufacturing, agricultural , warehouse and other positions. Small or large volume, last-minute or planned in advance, we understand your needs and we’re ready to help you.

We continue to be one of the fastest-growing recruitment and employment agencies in the South West of England because we ensure that a candidate’s skills, qualifications and personality match those required by clients.  To ensure this perfect match, we personally interview and reference check each and every candidate to assess their suitability.

This attention to detail means for our clients that they only see candidates that have met the specified selection criteria. For our candidates, it means we can find you the most appropriate job that meets your skills sets, quickly and without fuss.

Our service is quick, efficient and above all cost-effective! What’s our secret? We love what we do and we get a genuine kick out of changing people’s lives for the better and by helping our clients to grow and expand their businesses.

Whether you’re looking for work or looking for workers, we’re here to help so give us a call.  Bring on 2019!

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.