Eloise’s February 2021 News – Recruitment Trends, Homeschooling, Recruitment Report, Employee Needs

Hello and welcome to February 2021

January is finally done and dusted. I’ve seen all the memes about it seeming like January has 794 days, and it is a long month which hasn’t been helped by home schooling and a national lockdown, so at times has really felt like it.

What is absolutely lovely though, is that the evenings are now lighter for longer and although it’s cold and we have had snow, there is a sense of spring being just around the corner and I love seeing all the bulbs and snowdrops coming through in my garden.

Recruitment Trends

Business confidence in the UK economy continued to deteriorate in October – December. Despite this, employer confidence in making hiring and investment decisions made further strides into positive territory according to KPMG and RECs Jobs Outlook report in January 2021. Also, hiring intentions for permanent and temporary staff have risen for both the short and medium term this quarter which is great news for the employment market.

In December 2020 just 17% of employers said that recruiting new staff would be one of their biggest challenges for 2021. Meanwhile 42% said that ongoing health restrictions would be one of their biggest challenges.

With hiring intentions for permanent staff at a higher level than last year, the fact that just 36% of employers anticipated a candidate shortage – compared to 49% for October – December 2019 – highlights that there are more candidates available for hire. Levels of concern were higher, however, about the shortages of Health & social care, Engineering and Technology talent.

Home-schooling – here we go again

It has really ramped up for lockdown 3.0. Four weeks in and my kitchen table looks like a bomb site covered in laptops, headphones, pens, books and pencil shavings! I’m still not sure how much of what they are learning is actually being absorbed by my two children, but I am learning a lot about myself and how I like to work.

No doubt you’ve gained some of your own home-schooling tips through helping your kids learn during the last lockdown. You know the key pointers – keeping a good daily structure, setting up a special, separate space for your child to work in – but now it’s time to make sure that things are kept fresh so your kids don’t slip into a slump. I’ve shared some (researched) tips below on how to keep things fresh when working and studying from home which we could benefit us all.

1. Get outdoors

At least once a day, try and find a way to get a lesson going out of doors or get your children outdoors. Spot colours in different languages; practice creative writing, philosophy essays or newspaper articles about incidents you see occurring in the street; learn the science behind the flora and fauna around you. This is a great way to hook up their learning to real life. It gets darker earlier, so make sure to get outside at least once a day before the light goes.

2. Get others involved

Asking for a bit of help by enlisting a friend, loved-one or relative is a home-schooling tip people are often afraid to pick up, but it can help all parties. Thankfully my parents were Maths and Geography / History teachers, so I have a bit of an advantage here which I fully exploited when we were struggling with algebra.

3. Re-appraise your praise

When it’s time to dish out some praise, think about what you’re emphasising. Our kids take on board a lot from the way we praise them, so highlighting more sustainable and self-reliant aspects – such as by saying ‘you played so well in that game’, rather than just ‘you won’ – will stick in their heads and subtly shift the way they value themselves, as well as how and why they’re learning.

4. Help them to read freely (and every day)

Encouraging reading – whether it’s their favourite novel series or non-fiction they’re interested in – is a simple but massively effective home-schooling tip. Crucially, let them read something they want to, something they enjoy naturally. You’ll be surprised how quickly kids can turn to books just as much as other devices when they’re allowed to pursue their own interests. Getting in at least a little bit of self-selected reading time every day is important: it’s a contemplative, stimulating quiet time that leaves them relaxed and refreshed all at once.

5. Bring in passions unrelated to schoolwork

If there’s something that your child is particularly passionate about, it’s often surprising how easy it can be to find a way to draw the academic out from the seemingly unrelated. Allowing your child’s natural passions to act as a lens onto the wider world is a top home-schooling tip – it’s something we all do as we get older, anyways!

6. Unplug, switch off (to switch on)

A home-schooling tip that applies for all of us, really, but especially for kids who are now spending more time on their screens than ever. While apps and digital learning are great for some, most children will still be unused to the amount of screen time potentially available whilst learning from home. This can lead quickly to burn-out and low concentration spans. Our top tip: try and intersperse on-screen activities with off-screen ones, getting them toward an equal ratio. For every hour spent on the screen, spend a good half hour off it, even if that’s just catching up on some reading, or doing something creative, like drawing. If you sync up your screen time with theirs, you can do something together whilst you both take a break.

None of us know how long it’s going to go on for, so hopefully at least one of the tips above will help you and your family in some way.

The State of Recruitment Report

If you’ve not yet seen our special report which takes a look at how COVID-19 and the first lockdown affected companies and recruitment in the East Midlands, I would very much recommend you download your free copy. The report includes topics such as vacancy trends, salary implications, productivity and employee working preferences. In particular, which sectors were hardest hit, which were able to rebound the fastest, and what lessons can be learned as we continue to face the challenges ahead.

To touch on one of the topics covered in the report, take a quick look at the graph titled ‘Permanent Vacancies Index’. In general, there still seems to be a reluctance in the market for many businesses to commit to long term placements, and this is understandable given that the short to medium term future still holds a great deal of uncertainty. If you’ve read the report you’ll know the data collated by REC and KPMG from ‘The State Of Recruitment Report 2021’ shows the only two sectors with a marked increase in demand in permanent placements is that of IT/computing and engineering.

Unsurprisingly, the industries with the lowest number of vacancies remain retail and hospitality, with many candidates who have lost their jobs in those sectors applying for vacancies in other sectors. However, as pointed out in the report this does have the benefit of introducing an entirely new selection of candidates and skills sets that may otherwise not have been in the employment market.

There is definitely a diversity of expertise and experience currently available in the candidate market which is unusual to see, with a large number of job seekers looking for either temporary or permanent positions.

So, if you are unsure of the long-term business prospects in your business, but right now you need some extra help, get in touch with Jodie our temps consultant and we can provide that fantastic, flexible, temporary worker for you.

If you would like to book a 15-minute chat with me to discuss any issues you may be facing with recruitment and the general employment market then please email me at [email protected].

What employees need right now

Just when we thought that the crazy year that was 2020 was coming to an end, we were faced with a harsh new reality. 2021 wasn’t going to start off any easier, not with the second wave of infections in the pandemic and a third lockdown. This has not only affected employees in how they work but also how they feel. And it’s important for managers and business owners to recognise this and be able to give employees the support that they need.

Most people talk about motivating and equipping staff and that can be incredibly hard when working remotely. But there are things that you can do. In a recent webinar, with Gavin Drake of Mindspan Global, he talked about 5 psychological needs that can help employees navigate the challenging environment that we find ourselves in currently. It’s these five psychological needs that we discuss in the context of managing employees. Read the full bog: What are the 5 things your employees need most now?

Increases to statutory pay from April 2021

The government has published the proposed statutory rates for maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay, adoption pay, parental bereavement pay and sick pay from April 2021.

The current weekly rate of statutory maternity pay is £151.20, or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate.

The rate of statutory maternity pay is expected to rise to £151.97 from April 2021. The increase normally occurs on the first Sunday in April, which in 2021 is 4 April.

Sunday 4 April 2021 also sees the first annual increase for statutory parental bereavement pay. This follows the introduction of the right to parental bereavement leave, available to the parents of a child who died on or after 6 April 2020.

Also, on 4 April 2021, the rates of statutory paternity pay, and statutory shared parental pay are expected to go up from £151.20 to £151.97 (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate).

The rate of statutory adoption pay increases from £151.20 to £151.97.

This would mean that, from 4 April 2021, statutory adoption pay is payable at 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, with the remainder of the adoption pay period at the rate of £151.97, or 90% of average weekly earnings if this is less than £151.97.

The rate of statutory sick pay is also expected to increase from £95.85 to £96.35 on 6 April 2021.

To be entitled to these statutory payments, the employee’s average earnings must be equal to or more than the lower earnings limit.  However, the lower earnings limit from April 2021 has not yet been published – it is listed on the government’s announcement as “TBC”.

Our next HR Huddle Webinar is live and available to book

Employee Benefits – what do employees actually want & how to avoid the common pitfalls

With Gareth Carroll of Beckett Financial Services on Wednesday 10th February 2021 at 2pm.

It’s a challenge to get compensation and benefits right whilst maximising return on investment. Talent is still in short supply, so it’s essential to understand what compensation and benefits employees’ value. A younger workforce is entering the market with higher expectations. Oh, and there’s a pandemic on.

Join us in this interactive webinar to understand what employee benefits your people actually want and what benefits will help to retain your best people. Click here for more info and to book your free place on the Employee Benefits Webinar. Reserve your place now to avoid disappointment.

That’s it for another month

Drop me a line if you have any recruitment questions, and I’ll be back in touch in March.


PS If you’ve not already done so check out the ‘The State Of Recruitment Report 2021’ to see what impact has COVID-19 had on the recruitment market in the East Midlands?

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

Please find below some helpful links:

Gain a new skill in 2021

Study in your own time and at your own pace to get a verifiable qualification with New Skills Academy. With over 700 courses to choose from you’re sure to find a course that interests you. All of the online courses can be studied from your PC, MacBook, tablet or smartphone device. Click here for more info.