Eloise’s August 2022 News – Lionesses, Commonwealth Games, Recruitment Update, Hybrid Working

Hello and welcome to August

I absolutely must kick off this month’s blog with the England Lionesses. They have brought football home with their historic win over Germany in the finals of the UEFA Euro Championships 2022. Being a woman and having a daughter, this truly feels like a pivotal moment for women’s sport.

I’ve seen research figures in the past showing that by the age of 13, one in two young women drop out of sport. The reasons being body image, puberty, pressure to prioritise future goals, low self-worth, and not feeling good enough to take part. Girls are three times more likely to drop out of sport than boys.

Being a sporty woman, someone who exercises regularly, this breaks my heart that so many young women, girls growing up, often take part in sport at primary school and then not again, or not again until they are adults.

It’s also made me mad this week looking into the history of the women’s football game. Women playing football is far from a new thing. In fact, during the first world war, the women’s game was huge, attracting 50k strong crowds at some of the big games.

The Football Association was cited as fearing the women’s game would ‘overshadow’ the men’s game in post-war Britain. So, in 1921 they announced that “the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged”. And they banned women from playing at FA-affiliated grounds. This inhibited media visibility and subsequently led to the women’s game losing its allure.

It wasn’t until 1997 that the FA started to embrace and encourage the women’s game and they announced plans to develop it from grassroots to elite level. This was 25 years ago. The average age of the Euro-winning Lionesses team is 27. Their oldest player is Jill Scott at age 35. They are the proof that investing in the women’s game paid off.

Hopefully, the lessons here are clear. And hopefully, the change is in full swing. If children see men and women in sport, they grow up knowing it’s an option for them. This is the same across industry, in boardrooms, on the TV etc. You have to see images you can identify with to know it’s achievable. Well done Lionesses!

The Commonwealth Games

My sporting stirrings haven’t started and ended with the football this week. It has also filled me with joy how this year’s Commonwealth Games are being delivered. There isn’t a ‘Commonwealth Games’ followed by a ‘Para Commonwealth Games’, it’s one games. Sports/events are being contested alongside each other.

This just makes sense and is one of those ‘why haven’t we always done this’ type of moments.

The vision of the 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee was ‘Making a world of difference at the Games for everyone’. Their aim was to ‘deliver an inclusive and accessible Commonwealth Games experience for everyone’. And this has been plain to see.

The beginnings of the Commonwealth and the Games are obviously from a dark period in history, which needs to be acknowledged. However, as Birmingham history teacher and Commonwealth games history podcaster Marcia Dunkley says:

“I want to see the Games create an ever-lasting legacy which recognises the fact that, as a country, we have gone on a journey… We have to look at the positives from our history which show that we are all united. We all are one people.”

Birmingham made for the perfect choice of host city for the Games. Its rich diversity has been captured throughout the coverage, from the opening ceremony, the presenters, the music etc. Everyone has been included and represented.

There’s a lot that businesses can learn from these Games. Success factors being one of them. Birmingham 2022 is going to be measured by its legacy and the equality, diversity and inclusion priorities are leading this:

  1. Developing a workforce reflective of the West Midlands (View the Games latest workforce diversity data here)
  2. Delivering a highly accessible and inclusive Games
  3. Creating a fair, supportive, and open culture throughout the Games’ delivery
  4. Connecting communities to the Games through engagement and participation
  5. Educating and developing our shared understanding on issues of inequality

The Commonwealth Stories podcast is very much worth a listen: https://podfollow.com/commonwealthstories/view

The same applies here as with the football, if children grow up seeing people like themselves included and represented, they grow up knowing it’s an option for them.

Recruitment update

So, moving away from sports now. Let’s talk about the recruitment market. As expected, things (not the weather) have cooled for the summer. This is the way every year, there are always fewer jobs being advertised as people buckle up to get through the annual leave-taking season.

With the cooling, you’d think the stats for candidate availability would be looking slightly more favourable. But, no, as the number of jobs being posted has cooled, so has the number of people looking for a role over the summer.

However, if you are preparing to recruit, now is a good time to get a job out there as there is less competition.

Starting salaries had been going up and up as competition to secure candidates has been fierce. However, that has eased slightly. I’ll be interested to see how this progresses though with the pressure of inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, has commented that “… we are likely to be past the peak of the post-pandemic hiring spree.” He also went on to say that “Whether we will see the market settle at close to normal levels, or see a slowdown, is unpredictable at this point.”

I would say the main takeaway here is that we can expect our usual September surge in jobs coming to the market and that it would be advisable to start advertising now rather than wait so you can try and beat the rush for the limited number of candidates.

Summer holidays and temp cover

How is your summer holiday season going? If you are finding you are short staffed or struggling with workload/projects etc, through annual leave-taking or sickness etc, remember that we provide a temporary worker service.

We can help you with planned leave cover and short notice cover. Our assignments could be for half a day, right through to a few weeks or months. We have a bank of committed and highly motivated workers who could help your business through the busy summer months.

Maybe you’ve used temps in the past, or you are new to it and are wondering how it all works. Jodie can help guide you through the whole process or just provide a quote and more information.

Do get in touch if you’d like to explore temps as an option, contact jclements@vanillarecruitment.co.uk

Hybrid working, does it work for everyone?

I feel like we are at a crossroads with hybrid working. Whilst it’s still the main thing candidates are asking for, more and more businesses want their employees back in the office full-time. So where should we be heading with hybrid working?

Because it’s still a pretty new phenomenon in terms of the scale we’ve seen it on since the start of the pandemic. There isn’t a great deal of useful research out there yet. There are anecdotal reports of people being happier and achieving a better work/life balance. But there are also anecdotal reports of business productivity and commitment sliding.

So, I was very interested when I heard about a research paper by Nick Bloom, reported for Bloomberg by Reade Pickert.

It focussed on a controlled trial of 1,612 employees from Trip.com. This included engineers, marketing and finance teams – so a great mix of creative and collaborative roles, not just a study with call-centre workers who can work pretty independently with a phone and computer system.

Workers taking part in the trial were split into two groups. The first worked in the office full-time. And the second had the option to work from home for 2 days per week.

The results found that there was no negative impact on home workers’ performance. And that those employees in development teams actually produced more lines of code – an increase of 8%, compared to their in-office colleagues. Hybrid workers were also seen using messaging and video calls more, even when in the office, improving communication overall.

Workers in the trial claimed an improved work/life balance from reduced commutes, and work satisfaction scores up 35%. The business also saw reduced attrition rates, saving recruitment and training costs.

Overall hybrid working was proven to be beneficial to both the employees and the business.

There are plenty of other business benefits to be taken into consideration too. I know of employers locally who are downsizing their office space due to hybrid working patterns – lots of cost saving to be made there.

As we navigate this new way of working there will be more studies that come out. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled. What I would say to employers is don’t write off hybrid working too soon. It’s still candidates’ number one request as I mentioned before and it’s likely to help with your staff retention as well as your recruitment.

Read the full study here.

That’s us for another month

And that’s it for another month. I hope you’re having a great summer and have been able to spend time doing things you love.

Eloise

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

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