Stay up to date with the latest news at our Essex based recruitment agency. We hire for immediate starts, temporary and permanent roles. Start your next career now!

,

REMOTE/HYBRID WORKING – HEAVEN OR HELL?

Originally posted by Cas Carrington of KLC Employment Law

We’ve heard so much lately about the benefits of remote or hybrid working.   How it improves work-life balance because it saves on all those hours wasted commuting, which can be put to better use and of course it makes popping out to collect the children from school or nursery so much easier. I think that all sounds great but, but without wishing to appear naïve or out of step, what happens to the children once they have been collected from school?  Do they look after themselves?  Do they make themselves snacks and drinks and settle down to do homework? And what happens during the school holidays?  Will children organise interesting and healthy activities for themselves to do all day at home?  If that sounds like your domestic arrangement then well done, you have achieved a great thing.

But are we really achieving a better work-life balance, or are we just blurring the lines between work and home in a way that could lead to some unhealthy unintended outcomes?

What about the gender work split that is almost inevitable in a move to remote working?  Research shows that women with young children are far more likely to opt for home working than men with young children.  And as much as we tell ourselves that being present at work shouldn’t make any difference to career advancement opportunities, in many work environments, it really still does.

There’s also the matter of age to consider.  Young people who are living in shared accommodation, and/or have limited space with no bespoke office space, will probably want to escape and go back into the office, whereas older, more financially established, employees will more likely have a home office (or maybe two), to choose to work from.

Please feel free to challenge me on this but from what I’ve seen, less experienced employees benefit immensely from just being around their more experienced colleagues and just watching and listening to them, and if they’re not mixing on a day to day basis, no amount of video meetings will plug that gap. The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated the same just recently when he called for young people to return to the ‘office’ when they were able to.  His view is that if he had had to rely on video meetings earlier in his career and not had interaction with mentors and been able to make business connections in the office, he would not have advanced through the ranks. Well that’s all well and good but if the more experienced employees continue to work from home, there won’t be any such interactions.

Employers who are embarking on hybrid working models suggest that it’s the best of both worlds as employees have the opportunity of attending the workplace a couple of days a week and interacting with others.  They suggest that video meetings will be held at regular intervals to keep the team spirt alive.  But will that work? By their very nature video meetings inhibit full communication and I have my doubts that they produce that spontaneous creativity so prized by most organisations.

For decades we have acknowledged that diverse workforces are an integral part of organisational success and yet we appear to be prepared to throw that all away in an eye-blink, and set up the possibility of cliquey homogenous work groups forming.

In this move to a brave new way of working, some employers don’t appear to be addressing the issue that work output may not be quite so efficient, effective, easily measurable, or inspirational, or that employees might face alienation, loneliness, unfair treatment or discrimination.  So what if standards slip a little?  Is saving money on expensive work space and utility bills, while keeping employees ostensibly happy, a win/win situation?  Perhaps, but only time will tell.

My misgivings go further than just work and I wonder that in pursuing remote or hybrid working on a grand scale that we are in danger of widening the socio-economic divide. After all, there can be no luxury of work-life balance for the likes of bus, or delivery drivers, or supermarket workers.

Remote or hybrid working may seem at first glance to improve work-life balance, and there’s no doubt that in some circumstances it certainly can, but unless we take measures to mitigate the downsides now, employers and employees may see that the short-term gains give way to far more division and discrimination than we ever bargained for and the strides we have made for workplace equality and fairness are pushed back a long, long way.

,

SECTION 44 ERA AMENDED TO PROVIDE MORE PROTECTION FOR ‘WORKERS’

Originally posted by Cas Carrington of KLC Employment Law

A reminder that the new Regulations providing protection for workers who are subjected to a detriment because they leave their place of work without permission, or refuse to return, or take other action, because they have a reasonable belief that they are in serious imminent danger, came into force on 31 May 2021.

Employees were already protected from detriment and dismissal under section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 but until the pandemic this was a claim rarely made.

,

GOVERNMENT TO CREATE NEW WORKERS’ WATCHDOG

Originally posted by Cas Carrington of KLC Employment Law

Responsibility for tackling modern slavery, enforcing the minimum wage and protecting agency workers will be brought under one body to create a ‘comprehensive new authority’ according to the Government announcement made earlier today.

As well as enforcing the existing powers of the three separate agencies, the new body will be able to ensure vulnerable workers get the holiday pay and statutory sick pay they are entitled to without those workers having to resort to making an employment tribunal claim.

Quite why the Government has announced this today is unclear, since primary legislation will be required to establish this new enforcement body. We’re assuming that the ‘primary legislation’ referred to is the Employment Bill which was not mentioned at all in the Queen’s Speech last month so it’s anyone’s guess when we’ll see it get through Parliament!

 

Partnering with Chelmsford College – Working with the Future Workforce!

In addition to our usual marketing efforts, Employment Law Seminars and of course… placing candidates, we have also been working with the future workforce on their career development!

On Tuesday 11th May, Chelmsford College held their annual Progression Fair where 4,000 students can access advice from employers and recruitment agencies in preparation for making the transition from education to employment. Chelmsford College, under normal circumstances, hold their annual Progression Fair on site, with stands that students can come too, however, due to Covid, this took place as a digital fair, whereby students could message us directly for advice covering:

  • Interview tips
  • CV writing tips
  • Cover letter writing tips
  • And much more!!

Chelmsford College asked Lorraine Phair, Managing Director and Sharon Burnham, Business Development to headline as one of their guest speakers, check out the full video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIwVAHf6VKQ

As part of our on-going conversations with Chelmsford College, we have also started discussing how Pursuit can get involved with their Business and Entrepreneurial students. As a result of these discussions, we are now in talks of implementing a Recruitment Consultant module within their studies for aspiring Recruiters!

We’re continuously looking at ways to give back to our local community, and what better way than working with the future workforce!

Over the next week, Lorraine is meeting with Chelmsford College’s careers team to discuss how Pursuit can further help students from providing coaching and mentoring through to participating in lecturers. Our next blog shall provide you with an update on the discussions and the next steps that we are taking!

Another fantastic turnout to our latest Employment Law Seminar with Cas Carrington of KLC Employment Law!

We are pleased to say that we had yet another fantastic turnout to our latest Employment Law Seminar with our favoured guest speaker Cas Carrington of KLC Employment Law. Unlike our usual seminars to ensure that we were Covid safe, and keeping to the latest Government guidelines, we split the seminar into two sessions which we are pleased to say ran very smoothly.

Throughout the seminar, Cas covered:

  • Covid Vaccinations: The legal implications of a ‘no jab, no job’ policy on businesses.
  • New Definition of Gender Reassignment: What it means in both principle and in practice.
  • Non-Compete Clauses: Would you be prepared to pay for them, or live without them?
  • Collective Consultation: Case law changes.
  • EU Retained Case Law and Legislation: How tribunals and courts must make their decisions.
  • Case Studies: To put the law in context.

Lorraine Phair, Managing Director, has been overwhelmed by the response from all of our attendees since the seminar! After such a long period, it has been great to see all of our clients after 18 months, let’s hope that this is all behind us now!

Our next seminar has been booked with Cas and the Lion Inn, Boreham for 21st October, invites shall be going out early September, so save the date!!

,

How to Impress a Prospective Employer During a Video Interview

The impact of Covid-19 on the recruitment process has resulted in more and more video interviews, with often only a face-to-face interview taking place in the final stages.

When meeting in person, it’s very easy for the interviewer to see how you portray yourself through your body language, facial expressions and even how interested you look! Interviewing over Teams, Zoom or any other video platform however, does make it harder for the Interviewer to see this, especially if there is lots of background noise, or even distractions on your end! (I.e. Don’t leave the TV on and glance across because something interesting has popped up on the screen!)

With the percentage of Employers opting to conduct initially interviews drastically increasing recently, we have put together a few tips for you in order to help you excel during your next video interview!

Managing your Environment

As mentioned above, managing your environment is a key element to you succeeding with a video interview. Aside from managing easily avoidable distractions such as televisions, radios etc. You should also think about the lighting and the setting that you are in. For example, you should try to avoid, where possible interviewing in your bedroom. Preferably, you should aim to interview in your living area or kitchen… or study if you have one! Make sure that the room is bright enough for the interviewer to see you, but not so bright, that the sun is shining on the camera and you cannot be seen!

If you have young Children, that are at home when you’re interviewing, it’s always best if you can get someone you know well to keep an eye on them whilst you’re interviewing. In the event that this isn’t possible, and you need to be interviewee and parent, try to keep them occupied with their favourite television programme or film, and move into another room leaving the door open. Naturally, this is not the ideal situation, but it would be advantageous for you to inform the interviewer of your situation before the interview!

Your Appearance

It sounds pretty self-explanatory doesn’t it, you wouldn’t turn up to an interview in your pyjamas, so don’t do it for a video interview!

You’ll often hear of how people wear a shirt on their top half, but joggers on their lower half when on Teams calls, however, this really is not advisable. By dressing as you would for an onsite interview, you will automatically be in the right frame of mind for interviewing, helping you to come across well to the interviewer.

Another thing to mention, is that if you’re using a video platform that you use personally too, make sure that your display name is something professional and simple, I.e. your name.

Body Language and Facial Expressions

Just like a face-to-face interview, you should be mindful of your body language and facial expressions, just because you’re interviewing in the comfort of your own home, doesn’t mean you should be sitting with your feet up!

In addition to maintaining a good posture, smiling, you should aim to keep eye contact with the interviewer. This can take a little practice, so you may wish to do a few dummy runs with a family member or friend, but spend the majority of your time looking into the camera and not in the persons eyes on the screen! Due to the way in which we communicate, your eyes will naturally be drawn to the eyes of the interviewer, but by looking into the camera it will make you look even more engaged in the conversation.

As with all interviews, ensuring that you prepared rather than referring to notes throughout will allow you to deliver coherent responses to the questions you’re being asked.

If you have any questions about an up and coming interview, and would like some guidance on how to come across well, give us a call on 01245 362 500 to have a chat with one of our experienced Recruitment Consultants!

Looking forward to our first in person Employment Law Seminar since pre-Covid!!

Lorraine Phair, Managing Director & Wendy Carpenter, Operations Manager are looking forward to our first Employment Law Seminar with Cas Carrington of KLC Employment Law since before lockdown!! To ensure that we are adhering to the Government Covid-19 guidelines, we shall be holding two seminars on Wednesday 19th May, the first between 09:15AM – 11:00AM and the second between 11:15AM – 13:00PM at our usual venue; The Lion Inn, Boreham.

On the day Cas shall be covering the following topics:

  • Covid vaccinations: The legal implications of a ‘no jab, no job’ policy on businesses.
  • New Definition of Gender Reassignment: What it means in both principle and in practice.
  • Non-Compete Clauses: Would you be prepared to pay for them, or live without them?
  • Collective Consultation: Case law changes.
  • EU Retained Case Law and Legislation: How tribunals and courts must make their decisions.
  • Case Studies: To put the law in context.

With the seminar fast approaching, we do have a few places remaining, if you’d like to attend you can click here to register.

,

WE’RE ALL EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

Originally posted by Cas Carrington of KLC Employment Law

When the Government announced their decision not to re-open schools (not even junior schools) after the Christmas break, I was astounded that no discernable concern was raised at the time by the Government, or in the immediate aftermath by the mainstream press, about the devastating impact that decision would have on many working families. Of course, there are arguments for and against the closing of schools, but whichever camp you fall into, it doesn’t detract from the fact that working families with young children were thrown overnight into panic about childcare arrangements (and some employers too!).

If both parents work, and neither can work from home, what are their options?  At least one parent has to be at home at all times with the child, which means they must rely on their employer having the financial headroom to pay them to stay at home and not work, or be granted paid or unpaid leave (not that helpful for struggling families).

The Government has been clear that employers may furlough an employee who has to stay at home with a child, but to date there is no obligation to do so.  While certain groups are lobbying for furloughing in this situation to be mandatory, I suggest we should consider the employer’s point of view as well.  The employer will still have to pay NI and pension contributions, and may still need the job to be done. While this may not be an insurmountable problem for large organisations, spare a thought for small to medium ones which might have fought to keep their businesses afloat for the past year and just can’t afford any further financial burden, or find a replacement with the necessary skills.

It may be that one or both parents can work from home, which makes matters slightly easier, but young children can’t just be left to their own devices (although that’s quite literally what is happening to many of them).  In theory, parents might be able to fit their work around looking after their child’s daily basic and educational needs, and some are able to undertake some of their work when the child has gone to bed, but this must be exhausting for the employee and, almost inevitably, strain will show on their work, in quality and/or quantity, because, good people will not be putting their work before their child’s welfare.  Responsible employers will hopefully be showing concern for their employees and offering flexibility where they can.  Merely demanding that the same amount of work be done in the same time and at the same time would clearly be unreasonable,  and any disciplinary sanction imposed almost certainly be held unfair.

What has possibly disturbed me the most about this situation, however, is the inequality that still appears to exist between working men and women. Statistically, we know that women are the primary childcarers (the tribunals and courts just take that as read) and between most working parents it’s usually the woman who is most likely to undertake part-time work.  Society understands that is the case, but under these extraordinary circumstances, I’m amazed to discover that in the main it’s ‘mum’ who is taking on the role of home schooling even where both parents are in full-time work.

We’ve seen huge changes in equality for the better during recent and not so recent years, and so I’m truly surprised to discover that society still considers men’s jobs to be more important than women’s. Perhaps I’m being naïve, and it’s merely because women want to take on part-time work to balance childcare? But, just because a woman’s job is part-time does not make it any less important than a man’s full-time job. Or perhaps it does, and I am being naive, and if I am, I think it’s a sad day for anyone who wants to see true equality of the sexes.

Recruitment Levels Rise for the First Time Since March 2020

It’s safe to say that the last year has been turbulent for many of us, however, according to recent research by KPMG and REC, permanent recruitment is on rise. We’ve also seen this with a large increase in the number of permanent positions that have been allocated to us over the last month.

With increased market activity, and the rollout of the Covid vaccines, many organisations are now pressing on with their recruitment plans. In addition to the increase in permanent placements, temporary positions have also had their largest hike in two years, primarily as a result of uncertainties surrounding Brexit, and Covid rules. Naturally, we’re delighted to so busy, but we wanted to share some of the key highlights from the research undertaken.

Redundancies and the Employment Market

Throughout the year, we encountered a huge increase in the registration of candidates that we’re looking for opportunities having been made redundant as firms took action amidst the pandemic. Often meaning that for those hiring, they had the pick of the bunch with many talented candidates now being available.

Whilst permanent recruitment is now on the rise, there are still an abundance of talented individuals available for either permanent or temporary positions. Our clients are seeing this with the level of candidates that we’re passing across in this candidate driven market.

Increases in Starting Pay Rates

December brought about an increase in starting pay rates for both temporary and permanent positions since March 2020.

From the study, and many conversations with our clients, many businesses are facing that now that recruitment levels are on the rise, and there is an abundance of candidates, in order to get the crème de la crème, starting pay levels are needing to increase.

At Pursuit, we work very closely with our clients to ensure that they have all of the tools available to them in order to hire the very best candidates available to them. Often, when discussing a new role with a client, we have a very open conversation surrounding starting pay rates, consulting on how the market is currently, and the pay range that may be considered in order to hire the best talent.

In Summary

It’s a positive outlook for those recruiting, and whilst it may be early days with the Brexit agreement, and the vaccine rollout, it is clear that many businesses are pushing on with their recruitment plans and business growth.

If you would wish to discuss any of these areas, or recruitment trends, please do get in touch directly with Lorraine Phair at [email protected] alternatively, why not give us a call on 01245 362 500.

 

Happy Thanksgiving 2020

Firstly, we would like to wish everyone who is celebrating Thanksgiving this year a very happy celebration!

What is Thanksgiving and where did it come from?

Thanksgiving is a national cultural holiday within the United States celebrated each November and consists of families, or friends, coming together to celebrate what they’re thankful for.

The 400-year-old celebration is in honour of the first thanksgivings in America in 1619 in Virginia, and two years later when colonists in Plymouth, Massachusetts shared a meal with the Native Indians. The second thanksgivings were to honour the Native Indians who had helped the Pilgrims in cultivating their crops and helping them to survive their first harsh winter. This second celebration is known to have lasted a whole three days!

How is the holiday celebrated now?

The annual celebration of Thanksgiving is typically celebrated by families or a group of friends coming together to enjoy food with one and other. Some people also write down on a piece of paper what they’re thankful for and each paper is read out loud; although this is a personal choice and not a tradition that is followed by all.

The iconic Turkey is the famed food of the celebration, with an estimated 46 million Turkeys being consumed each Thanksgiving!

There is of course the world renowned Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade within the heart of New York City which consists of large floats, giant balloons and marching bands and dancers.

However, you chose to celebrate this year, we at Pursuit wish you the happiest of celebrations in a year that there is much to be thankful for. Our families and friends have been a pillar of support throughout the struggles of 2020 and what better way than to celebrate being thankful! Whilst we may not be able to come together at the moment, you may wish to take a moment for yourself to reflect on what you’re thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!