Eloise’s March 2021 News – Recruitment Trends, Flexible Working, Success, Employee Engagement

Hello and welcome to March 2021

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost exactly one year since the dramatic restrictions were brought in to UK life following the then “new” virus that was sweeping the globe. This last year has been mostly described as ‘unprecedented’, and although that word has been used countless times by everyone (including me), I still can’t think of a better way to describe the last twelve months.

It’s been a dramatic year of highs and lows, with a mix of positives news stories, and of course so many negative events that have dominated our lives. Leaders from everywhere, whether they be government or business have had to make tough decisions with few facts, and many unknowns. With hindsight, some of those decisions have proved better than others. I myself have had to make some very tough decisions over the last year, and I know from speaking with many of you that you’ve needed to make them too.

A lot of people have suffered in many ways due to the decisions made (and sometimes forced) by this pandemic. A huge number of people have found themselves out of work through no fault of their own. We have tried to be here to help throughout this journey, and now at long last, it does feel like the recruitment market has taken a positive turn here in the UK.

Following the recent updates from the government and the road map’ out of lockdown, the past weeks have been extremely busy at Vanilla with seemingly more belief in the economy which has resulted in more job vacancies and businesses looking to a positive future. We are working hard to do all we can to help our clients fill vacancies and our candidates get back to work. If you need help with a permanent or temporary job role then just pick up the phone and call us on 01858 898058 or email hello@vanillarecruitment.co.uk and we can work together to help us all move beyond the past year.

It’s been said that although we may all be on the same journey, we’re very much in different boats. That has certainly been true from my experiences, and I have personally spoken to hundreds of people over the past year, and no two individual’s experiences have been the same. Our strapline at Vanilla is ‘unique recruitment’, and that has always been there to highlight that we acknowledge that YOU are unique! What you offer is unique, what you need is unique and the service we offer you will therefore be unique.

It’s been a tough year, but it feels like we’re almost at the end. Stay positive everyone and here’s some other useful news for March…

Recruitment Trends

The KPMG and REC UK report on jobs have shown that after falling at the start of 2021, overall vacancies across the UK were broadly unchanged in February. Underlying data showed that permanent vacancies were close to stabilisation, while demand for temporary workers increased solidly. Permanent worker availability was little-changed on the month, whereas temp candidate numbers increased at a softer, but still marked pace.

The Total Vacancies Index rose from January to February, indicating broadly stable demand for staff. This contrasted with a solid drop in vacancies at the start of the year when a tightening of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 led to a renewed lockdown. Demand for temporary staff increased for the seventh successive month, with the rate of vacancy growth quickening since January.

The availability of staff for permanent roles was little-changed in February. This contrasted with notable increases in each of the prior ten months. Redundancies stemming from the pandemic have increased candidate numbers, but the latest lockdown, and greater market uncertainty, have meant that many workers are less willing to put themselves forward for new roles.

If you’d like to discuss any of this in more detail, or if you’re facing recruitment problems then please let me know.

Why what you value influences your success

Have you seen our recent blog post highlighting the three psychologies that impact on how successful you are?

At the heart of it really it’s about what you value, what you focus on and how a person’s thinking influences their behaviour. Have you ever wondered what the missing puzzle pieces are and why some people seem to be able to achieve so much more in their day? Gavin Drake from MindSpan Global had some interesting perspectives on this which we share in the article that you can read here.

Why does remote working take a toll on our mental health?

Working from home has many psychological effects that a lot of people simply weren’t prepared for. This is something that freelancers and existing remote working employees had to cope with even before the pandemic, but it’s only recently coming to light due to the huge influx of remote working employees now. We’ve got a great new blog post which highlights some of the most common problems that remote workers face when it comes to their mental health, including pressure to work extra hours, difficulties unplugging from work, loneliness, isolation, stress, and depression. Read the full article here.

How to engage employees during the recruitment process

At Vanilla we know how important it is to keep a candidate engaged between getting their job offer to their first day in their new role. Placements can ‘fall out of bed’ during this time for several reasons:

  • The candidate is persuaded to stay in their current role
  • They get offered a different role
  • They lose confidence in the role they have been offered

If a placement doesn’t work out it can mean that all the time and money you invested in interviewing, negotiating and planning, all needs repeating. We work really hard to help keep the candidate’s levels of engagement as high as we can so we can smooth the way. But there are some things that you, as the employer, can also do to help. Now more than ever it’s so important to get this part of the recruitment process right. Read our full article on the subject to ensure you’re keeping people engaged through the recruitment process which is essential for a successful hiring process and sets your new employee up to be engaged and productive in their new role.

How are you finding it working from home?

We decided to create our own quick survey for people who are currently or have been working from home. The questions are fairly light and just to help get an idea of how you are feeling about working from home at the moment. It’s totally anonymous and should only take around a minute to answer the ten simple questions. We’d really appreciate you taking 60 seconds to fill it in if you can.

HRHuddle – Managing flexible working requests in the age of COVID-19

We are excited to be able to offer you a FREE place at the next virtual meeting of the HRHuddle. The topic of the next HRHuddle is Managing flexible working requests in the age of COVID-19 with Keeley Baigent of KsabLAW and will be taking place on Wednesday 24th March.

Visit the Eventbrite page for all the details and to book your place.

Budget 2021

Rishi Sunak has held his first budget of 2021 yesterday (there should be another one in the autumn). I have picked out some of the main points which were very kindly sent to us by Paul Marks from www.mpaccountants.co.uk.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The CJRS has been extended to September 2021, funding 80% for hours not worked. From July employers must contribute 10%, increasing to 20% for August and September.

Recovery Support

To help businesses affected by the pandemic, from 6 April 2021 a Recovery Loan Scheme is being introduced with a government guarantee of 80% on loans between £25,000 and £10 million. There will be restart grants for non-essential retail premises of up to £6,000, and up to £18,000 per premises for leisure, hospitality, accommodation, personal care, and gym businesses.


The 5% special rate for tourism and hospitality will continue until 30 September 2021. After September an intermediate rate of 12.5% will apply until 31 March 2022 before reverting back to 20%. VAT payments for periods to June 2020 which were deferred until 31 March 2021, can now be spread over 11 months from March 2021 rather than being made as a single payment.

Business Rate Relief

100% relief where eligible, will continue until 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021, 66% relief will apply until 31 March 2022, capped at £2million. This applies to businesses that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021

Corporation Tax

The Corporation Tax rate will remain at 19% until 31 March 2023.  It will then increase to 25% for taxable profits in excess of £250,000 whilst staying at 19% for profits up to £50,000. Taper relief will be available for profits between £50,000 and £250,000 which means these will be charged at a rate between 19% and 25%.

That’s it for another month

Get in touch if you have any recruitment questions, and I’ll be back with another update in April.


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.