Eloise’s August 2020 News – New Baby, Employment Updates, Eco Village, HR and Business Growth Groups

Welcome to August

Apologies that I am a little late welcoming you to August, but I’ve been holding back this months’ blog so that I can share some great news with you all. I am thrilled to let you all know that Sarah (and Justin) Clarke have welcomed to the world a beautiful baby boy! Joseph Oliver Clarke was born on 8th August weighing a healthy 8lb 1oz, and both mother and baby are doing well. It’s great to be be able to share such positive news and we’re soooo happy for Sarah and Justin and can’t wait to meet little Joseph. Here are a couple of pics of the newest member of the Clarke household:

It’s been pretty hot weather wise recently and it’s been a struggle to work effectively at times. For those of us in the office at Vanilla HQ it’s been every window in the building open and slightly cooler casual clothes (the one time we’ve been thankful for no visitors seeing us in the last six months!) 🙂

I’m afraid the rest of my monthly news is not as exciting as my opener, so I’ll crack on and let you know about the ups and downs of the recruitment market, the local Ecovillage, some super useful HR advice (including loads of new videos), and some information about the fantastic HR and Business Growth Community groups I’m involved with.

UK employment falls by biggest amount in over a decade

Employment in the UK fell by the largest amount in over a decade between April and June, official figures show. Employment decreased by 220,000 on the quarter, said the Office for National Statistics. This was the largest quarterly decrease since May to July 2009, the depths of the financial crisis.

The youngest workers, oldest workers and those in manual occupations were the worst hit during the pandemic, the ONS added.

The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.9%, largely unchanged on the year and the previous quarter, as millions remained on the government-backed furlough scheme.

This, of course, is a concern but obviously not unexpected given the current circumstances. The UK economy has been majorly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, but unemployment has not surged as much as feared because large numbers of firms have furloughed staff.

However, analysts said unemployment was set to worsen in coming months as the furlough scheme wound down, warning of a looming “cliff-edge” and a “lull before the storm”.

The BBC website has more information and delves deeper into the subject, and if you know someone who has been impacted by the job losses and need help with finding new employment then please do get in touch with us.

Also, remember that we have hundreds of great training courses available which offer fantastic opportunities to gain a new skill and allow you to study anywhere at any time. Now is a great time to learn something new as we are currently offering a huge 65% discount on ALL courses. Gaining a verifiable qualification can certainly improve your career prospects, and help you stand out from the crowd in this tough employment market.

UK report on jobs

The downturn in recruitment activity eased considerably during July, according to the latest KPMG and REC survey. Permanent staff appointments and temporary billings both fell at the softest rates for five months as more parts of the economy reopened, but the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic still weighed heavily on hiring decisions. Vacancies therefore continued to decline, albeit with the rate of reduction easing further from April’s record pace.

Widespread reports of redundancies meanwhile drove a substantial increase in the availability of workers, with the latest upturn the second-sharpest on record. Rising labour supply and tepid demand for staff led to further marked falls in starting pay.

The key findings from the report are:

  • Notably softer falls in both permanent placements and temp billings
  • Redundancies lead to near-record rise in candidate supply…
  • resulting in further downward pressure on starting pay

Commenting on the latest survey results, James Stewart, Vice Chair at KPMG, said:

“With the softest rates of decline seen for five months, it’s encouraging to see the downturn in recruitment easing as parts of the economy reopen.

However, we are still a long way from being out of the woods, with hiring plans remaining on ice and the uncertain outlook still weighing heavily on business’ recruitment decisions.

As the furlough scheme unwinds, unemployment is likely to rise further, proving both an opportunity and challenge for government to create training and skills programmes for jobseekers – and help bring confidence back to the UK workforce.”

Hiring activity falls at much slower pace

The latest survey showed that recruitment activity moved closer to stabilisation in July, with both permanent placements and temporary billings declining at much softer rates than in the prior four months. Nonetheless, reductions remained marked overall amid reports that the COVID-19 pandemic continued to weigh on clients’ hiring decisions.

Redundancies lead to sharper rise in staff supply

Recruitment consultancies signalled a steeper increase in overall candidate availability at the start of the third quarter, driven largely by redundancies stemming from the pandemic. Furthermore, the supply of temporary workers rose at the fastest rate in over two decades of data collection, while the upturn in permanent labour supply was the second-sharpest on record.

Starting pay continues to fall markedly

A combination of rising staff supply and subdued demand for workers added further downward pressure on starting pay in July. Starting salaries and temp pay both fell markedly in the latest survey period, despite rates of decline easing since June.

Vacancies contract at softer rate

Overall vacancies fell for the fifth month running in July, with marked falls signalled for both permanent and temporary positions. That said, the rates of contraction were notably slower than those recorded in the prior three months.

Market Harbrorough Eco Village

Have you visited the fantastic Eco Village in Market Harborough? If not then I very much recommend that you pop in the next time you’re in town. The Eco Village is a new venue featuring carefully selected small local businesses, each with an individual focus on sustainability. They are “working to establish an alternative to the supermarket: a place where you can enjoy your weekly shop with the reassurance of knowing that the goods on offer will be as low impact as possible.”

Now, more than ever, it feels like we should be focusing on changing our shopping habits. The difficulties of the last six months have proved the importance of supporting local producers and small businesses, whilst appreciating the benefits of shorter supply chains and paying a fair price for our food.

There’s a great selection of sustainable and local produce and they provide an outlet for some wonderful businesses including Waterloo Cottage Farm, Andy Pearman fruit and veg’, Dozy Dog pet supplies, Proganic milk vending machine, Pudding Corner (by Sarah Ruth Cakes), Windowsill indoor plants and Refill Revolution.

Vist their website for more info https://www.eco-village.co.uk

HR Huddle and Business Growth Community Group

With the success of the virtual HRHuddle events, we started a Facebook group. The group has been extremely useful and a tremendous resource that continues to really help with advice, content, and peer to peer learning within HR. Due to the success of that HRHuddle group we started a brand new Facebook group called ‘Business Growth Community’.

The Business Growth Community aims to bring together talented business leaders and business owners from across the East Midlands, to learn, to support each other, to encourage business growth and success. As Business Leaders, we face many common challenges. It can be reassuring to know that we are all here to support each other – especially if you’re in a standalone leadership role.

If you’d like to join the Business Growth Community (Leicestershire & Northamptonshire) Facebook group please visit:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/vrbusinessgrowthcommunity (Please note this is a closed group, and not accessible to the public.)

If you’d like to join the HRHuddle or Facebook group please visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HRHuddle (Please note this is a closed group, and not accessible to the public. It is only open to HR professionals)

Vanilla YouTube channel

We’ve been sharing sooo many videos over the last few months on our official YouTube channel, have you seen any of them yet? We’ve been recording all the virtual HRHuddle events this year, and have been sharing the full videos with additional links and info so that people can either recap if they were at the Huddle or to catch up on what they missed if they were unable to attend. We’ve then taken those videos a stage further and broken them down into small clips to highlight the most important parts of each presentation. We have loads of these videos available to view, embed and share whenever you need. There’s also some new ‘HR One to one’ videos which is an additional series of videos we’re recording alongside the HRHuddle. Check out our YouTube page and let us know what you think.

Continue to stay safe

That’s all from me for this month. I appreciate the heavy employment facts and figures can be a bit overwhelming, so I hope the balance of other positive news helps to break up my monthly news for you all. I’ll be back in touch with more Vanilla goings-on and recruitment news next month. Until then, remember that we are here for you now and in the future and I hope you have a safe and healthy August.

Best wishes


We recruit throughout the East Midlands covering Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and the surrounding areas, especially Market Harborough, Lutterworth, Leicester, Corby and Kettering. We help people find their perfect job and match suitable jobseekers with businesses looking to hire the best candidates across our five specialisms – SalesMarketingAccountancy & FinanceHR and Office