Tag Archives: jobs

Permanent Recruitment rising at its highest rate in 6 months

The latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation / KPMG Labour Market survey is published today.  It evidences the number of people securing permanent employment rising at its fastest rate in 6 months.  Permanent hiring grew to 57.4 on January’s index (anything above 50 represents growth), up from 54.9 in December (no surprises here, December has always been a slow month for permanent hires).  The previous high had been 56.3 in August 2010.

The number of people securing permanent employment has been rising for 18 months.  What this report doesn’t tell us is what percentage of these hires are full-time versus part-time.  However the number is growing.  Sure, if you are out of work it is not growing fast enough, but it is growing.  Sure we have yet to feel the impact of the Governments Austerity measures on public sector employment, but the number of people gaining permanent jobs is growing and has been for 18 months.

So who is hiring?  IT, Accounting, Engineering and Construction were highlighted as those sectors growing permanent hires at the fastest rate and in the highest numbers.  Boardroom Hiring was also evidenced as on the increase.  So business is hiring.

The more we hear about a jobless recovery, the more we are likely to have one.  The more people hear the economy is weak, the less confidence they have to hire.  I am not suggesting that the media should lie ( heaven forbid! ) I just think more attention, column inches and air time needs to be given to the positives when they appear.

On the strength of this survey, there is good news to be found in the employment market.  Lets not hide our light under a bushel.  We don’t know for how long it may last but for now, shout it loud, permanent employment is rising at its fastest rate in 6 months.  Long may this trend continue.

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Apprenticeships and The Apprentice the answer to jobs creation

To kick of Apprentice Week, Business Secretary Vince Cable is to announce the UK Government is committing £1.4bn to Apprenticeships in 2011.

This is a great move and part of an overall strategy to encourage 100,000 additional apprenticeships by 2014.  This at a time when UK Manufacturing is growing at record rates and 70% of employers in a recent survey claiming skill shortages as one of the biggest barriers to future growth.

Apprenticeships have been undervalued and undermined for years.  For too long successive Governments have espoused the virtues of higher and further education to the detriment of practical, hands on learning, giving Apprenticeships second class status.  They are not.  They are of enormous value.

Not everybody is academic, but everybody has something to offer.  If you are practically minded, the opportunity to further your career with a combination of practical skills and theoretical learning is not to be dismissed.

Apprenticeships are crucial to encourage the skills needed to facilitate future growth and to ensure the UK has the skills we need to remain competitive globally.  The more done to encourage those best suited as to the virtues of such a pursuit the better.

At the same time Entrepreneurship is also essential to encourage the creation of jobs.  This is one area of Economic policy that is yet to be sufficiently addressed by Government.  Sure, the rhetoric is that we cannot afford tax cuts.  Can we afford not to?

Business is mobile.  If you do not create the conditions, the environment, in which talented people with great ideas are encouraged to start business, this essential fuel of economic prosperity will soon start to dry up.

Don’t get me wrong, the successful entrepreneur will find a way to make his or her’s business work regardless of the circumstances.  It is that determination regardless of circumstances that contributes to their success.  That is my point, if it can’t be done here, if it is easier to do elsewhere, then elsewhere it will be done.

Who will create the jobs, the Apprenticeships of tomorrow?

Todays announcement is a great step in the right direction.  Encourage Apprenticeships and encourage The Apprentice.  The next generation of Lord Sugar‘s are just as essential to future prosperity as the skilled trades.

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Employers Charter – A step in the right direction.

Yesterday saw David Cameron announce The Employers Charter, measures announced to give businesses added confidence to grow and create jobs.

Something had to be done to stem the flood of applications to Employment Tribunals witnessed in 2010, which increased 56% on 2009 to 236,000.  The average cost to employers to defend themselves was £4000.

it is absolutely right that legislation exists to protect hardworking, dedicated employees from those less scrupulous employers.  However the balance had been lost, the power placed squarely in the hands of the employee.  Employers of all shapes and sizes had become nervous, fearful even, of dismissing an under – performing employee for fear of the repercussions.

That is not healthy.  It certainly does nothing to encourage employers to hire.  Quite the opposite.  It costs nothing for the under-performing employee to launch a claim.  That in itself encouraged a whole host of “chancers” to pursue a payout, having been advised by the no – win no fee brigade that they had nothing to lose to pursue a claim.  The wasted management time was enormous, the legislative cost vast, nobody wins.

The answer to this has been to introduce the prospect of a fee for employees to fight an unfair dismissal claim.  A great idea, certain to prevent any such chancers from trying their luck.  Those that know or can be advised that they have a genuine case for unfair dismissal will pursue such a claim and have every chance of winning, rightly so.  Employers are afforded a greater degree of protection and will as a consequence feel more confident about the prospect of hiring.

To add to that confidence is the proposal that companies would have greater freedom to dismiss under – performing workers, extending the current period from one to two years.  I am not convinced this measure is necessary.  If someone is not performing in your business, you know early enough.  If they have been performing and after a period of say 12 months that performance starts to tail off, it is managements responsibility to look at the reasons behind that decline and to performance manage that employee back to “health”.

After all, you have invested enough time, money and resource getting them through the door, getting them trained and in to the DNA of your business that it is absolutely right to support them.  Still the principle behind the move strikes me as a positive one, business friendly, jobs friendly.

If you are a committed, motivated, hardworking employee you have nothing to fear in the new legislation.  I for one applaud these steps.  We have allowed an entitlement culture to develop.  If something goes wrong, who can I blame?  How much can I get?

A nonsense.  If you are a responsible, hardworking, decent, honest person then you have nothing to fear in this change.  If you are the kind of person who thinks life owes them a living, then I am afraid you are wrong and you will get what’s coming to you.

I am all for the Employers Charter.  The reaction from business and employers groups would appear to be broadly supportive.  A step in the right direction.  Next step, tackle the cost of employing someone and reduce the cost of Employers NIC’s.  Now there’s a thought!

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Davos 2011 – Fondue, Cheese, Chocolate and Jobs.

This week sees the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  Amongst the fondue, cheese and chocolate, their is important work to be done by the great and the good in Business and Government to take advantage of rising business confidence as evidenced by the Business Confidence Survey from Global Accounting Firm PWC.

PWC interviewed 1,201 CEO’s from 69 countries over the last three months of 2010.  The headline finding from the survey evidence that business confidence has returned to levels not seen since before the economic crisis that started to engulf the world in 2007.  48% of those surveyed are “very confident” their business will grow in 2011, an increase of 30% on the same period in 2009.  Such confidence levels have not been seen since January 2007 (when they sat at 52%).

Yet more encouraging is the fact that this confidence is not driven by any specific region.  Confidence levels are up across the globe.  Unsurprisingly, the most bullish of those polled were to be found in India and China followed by the perhaps less obvious Thailand, Columbia and Paraguay. The least confident were found to be business leaders in Western Europe.

The exception to this rule came from Austria and in particular Germany, where a staggering 80% of CEO’s polled were “very confident”as to the performance of their business.  What is clear from the survey is that this confidence is driven by a belief in the growth of the global economy as opposed to more localised markets.  A presence in emerging markets is essential for sustained success.

So what does all this mean for jobs?  More good news in so much as just over half of those polled plan to hire new staff in 2011, with just 16% expecting to cut headcount.  This is up from 39% on the prior year.

Just where those jobs will be created is the big shift and it keeps shifting.  Increased skill levels globally mean that global business can select talent in the region that best meets its customer need.  The war for talent is truly global.  Those countries that offer high standards of education and develop rich pools of talent, that create the conditions to encourage inward investment, that retain flexibility of labour and offer working terms and conditions that protect employees and give them the freedom to flourish will win.

Employers know this.  At no other time in history has business been so mobile, so global.  Governments that are experiencing rising unemployment must get out from behind the fondue at Davos and listen to those Business Leaders, engage with them, debate with them.  Those that don’t will lose out, those that do will enjoy economic prosperity for years to come.

So much of business and economic growth is about confidence.  That confidence is there.  Time to seize it.

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Green Shoots for Graduates

A report out this morning from the Association of Graduate Recruiters shows significant improvement in the Graduate Jobs market.  The survey of 200 employers evidences an 8.9% increase in graduate jobs in 2010 for the first time since the recession.  That trend is expected to continue in 2011 with a predicted 3.8% increase on 2010.

It is still an employers market, as evidenced by the median average salary for Graduates remaining fixed at £25000 per annum for the second year in a row.  That is expected to remain at this level in 2011, an unprecedented third year in a row that this number has remained static.

http://www.agr.org.uk/Content/Brighter-outlook-for-graduates-as-vacancy-numbers-increase-for-first-time-since-recession-began

Despite the fact that salaries remain static, there is still much by way of discrepancy between sectors.  The best starting salaries for Graduates remain Investment Banking, offering an average starting salary of £42,000.

If you want to get ahead once you graduate evidence is yet further increasing of the value of work placements.  Ernst and Young recently highlighted more than one-third of its latest graduate came from those who had undertaken internships with the firm.

“In this tough jobs market, getting access to these placements is absolutely invaluable for young people, because it is increasingly a foot in the door to a future career.” Microsoft.

As the war for the very best future talent hots up, there is increasing evidence that employers are looking to form links with the most talented stars of tomorrow whilst they are still at University.

All this is reported as if it might be a new phenomenon.  It isn’t.  Getting ahead has always been about putting yourself out, sticking your hand up, volunteering, pushing yourself forward and doing what you need to do to succeed.  Internships are not new.  Work experience is not an invention of the modern age.

Employers have always wanted people who are prepared to do above and beyond the norm, who are prepared to make personal sacrifices to evidence their commitment, motivation, talent and skills.  Anything that can give you an edge in a crowded market is clearly a positive.  Expect to see the trend for internships continue.  I for one applaud their return.

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Where will the new jobs we need come from?

All over the developed world we hear a similar story.  Rising unemployment in the face of improving (in various degrees) economic conditions.  Take the United States.  It’s gross domestic product has recovered from the recession far better than in Britain, Germany, Japan and Russia, yet the unemployment rate in the US remains significantly higher than in those countries, particularly Germany and Japan (where admittedly labour laws make it much more difficult and costly to lay workers off).  America is producing more and relying on fewer people to do so.

Last week Steve Ingham, CEO of Michael Page, the UK’s second largest recruiter, attributed a 40% increase in permanent job orders to “jobs churn” ie people moving jobs as opposed to new jobs being created.  The unemployment numbers in the UK are, in the grand scheme of things, flat.

A 6% fall in GDP ought to have caused a similar fall in employment numbers, but it didn’t, mainly due to employees being prepared to take pay cuts and cuts in hours rather than face unemployment.  Unemployment in the 3 months to November 2010 in the UK was 7.9%.  In the same period 2009 it was 7.8%.

There are some encouraging headlines to be found in private sector jobs growth.  In the nine months to September 2010, the private sector in the UK added 184,000 employees.  In the same period public sector employment fell by 77,000.  We had net jobs growth, surely a good sign?  Those organisations that are hiring are only replacing headcount that was cut, and in many cases cut too fine, during the recession.

Youth unemployment in the UK is perhaps the most worrying sign.  A record 951,000 young people aged between 16 and 24 are out of work.  Where will the jobs come from that will stimulate the employment market and prevent a generation of disaffected young people?

For as long as I can remember the drive in business has been for more and more and more efficiency.  Improving productivity has been the name of the game.  Do more with less.  We have invested (rightly) so much in technology that we no simply no longer require the same number of people to produce substantially more.  That trend is only going in one direction.

It is innovation that will drive new jobs growth.  The jobs we need are going to come from new and emerging industries, companies that today don’t exist will appear tomorrow and grow to employ thousands.  10 years ago we never had Facebook.  Twitter didn’t exist.  Google was an infant.  Between them they employ today thousands of people.  The Ipod, the Ipad, the Blackberry.  They have all come about in the last 10 years.  What will be the product developments of tomorrow?

We need governments across the globe to create the conditions to encourage entrepreneurs.  We need to make it easy and inexpensive to employ someone.  We need the law to continue to protect the rights of individuals in employment.  Those rights must be balanced with the flexibility employers need as the business grows.

Emerging technology, new energy, healthcare?  What are your predictions?  Where will the jobs growth we need come from?  I would love to know your thoughts.

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On the road to recovery – the outlook for the jobs market.

A number of good signs for job seekers and recruiters alike this week.  On Monday Michael Page, the UK’s second largest recruiter, announced gross profit for the fourth quarter of 2010 of £119.8 million, up 32% on 2009.  When you dig in to the numbers, there is yet more encouragement to be found.  Permanent job vacancies were up 40%, with temporary vacancies up 10% in the same period.

Further investigation suggests confidence slowly returning to the jobs market.  Interesting to note comments from Steve Ingham, CEO at Michael Page, talk of the increase in permanent job vacancies being driven by “churn” in the employment market place, that is employees moving jobs, as opposed to new jobs being created.

Why should this be cause for optimism?  This points to people being less concerned about moving jobs.  Taking the leap to a new employer and the “last in first out” fear that can engender in tough times appears to be on the wane.  That’s a good sign.  Confidence has a huge part to play in the employment market just as it does in all areas of the economy.

This morning we had the results of the KPMG and Recruitment and Employment Confederation Jobs Market Survey for December.  Demand for permanent staff rose at the fastest rate for four months.  Demand for temporary staff rose at its fastest rate for six months.

The greatest demand for permanent staffing was in IT, professional services, engineering and accounting.  One of the areas to evidence skills shortages, sales, offers yet further encouragement.  Demand for Executive Talent amongst Transcend customers has been greatest for Sales and Marketing Directors.  Typically these have been newly created appointments in circumstances where employers, having cut back on sales and marketing during the recession, now feel they have opportunities to grow but realise they lack the talent to fulfil them.

Other areas where talent is in increasing demand but skills are short include project management and engineering.   Both evidence good signs.  So many projects over the last 3 years, unless under the auspices of “business critical”, have been shelved.  Companies are starting to re – invest, slowly but surely, to spend money again, having horded cash in tough times.  Projects are being kicked off and once again talent is needed to fulfil requirements.  An increased demand for Engineering talent endorses the positive results being enjoyed by the manufacturing sector.  Long may it continue.

We have yet to understand the full impact of the austerity measures on the employment market.  Public Sector job losses we know are inevitable.  More needs to be done in to encourage jobs creation in the private sector if the impact on overall unemployment is to be minimised.  At least the rhetoric from government supports this, we now need to see the evidence.  More needs to be done from a legislative viewpoint to encourage employers to hire staff, indeed to make it easier and cheaper to hire staff.  A reduction in the rate of Employers NI would be a good start.

I am encouraged by what I see, what I read, what I hear from customers.  There is real cause for optimism, cautious optimism maybe, but optimism nonetheless.

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