Eloise’s March 2022 News – Restrictions End, HRHuddle, Minimum Wage, Is A Degree Worth It

Hello and welcome to March,

When I think of March, I always see yellow in my mind – daffodils, sunrises etc. And looking into this further, it’s a really positive colour association to be making.

Yellow represents a feeling of enlightenment, mental clarity, enthusiasm, there are also links to healing properties and a boost in mental health and even metabolism. Colour therapists recommend yellow for lifting the mood and enticing organisation and positive energy. So, let’s embrace all that yellow and maybe inject a little bit more into our lives – the world needs it right now!

Working arrangements

How are you feeling about the lifting of Covid restrictions and being, or potentially being, back in an office?

Is there an expectation for you to be in the office full-time?

Speaking to businesses and candidates every day, we get a great insight into how people are feeling and what they would like to be happening with workplaces. The overwhelming feedback is that the majority of office workers want to keep an element of homeworking. The first thing candidates ask about a job role is if it’s got a hybrid working pattern.

From a recruitment perspective, businesses who are moving to permanent hybrid working are going to find employee retention and recruitment far easier this year. Businesses who are demanding people return to work in offices full time will lose employees in the longer term for more flexible employers.

Restrictions ending

The end of the Covid restrictions means it’s over to us to self-manage from now on. Out and about, there are still lots of people choosing to wear masks. But where are we in terms of testing and isolating? It seems to be a personal choice now – not ideal for those who are vulnerable/anxious.

Businesses are needing to carefully think about their own inclusive provision and policies for this. Plus, test kits are going to be chargeable very soon, which adds another layer of complication.

With this in mind, we are hosting an HR Huddle on this topic later this month, where HR professionals can explore this area…

HR Huddle

On 24th March, we’ll be welcoming back Keeley Baigent of KsabLAW discussing the topic of How will you be dealing with the easing of the Covid restrictions?

It’s worth considering a review or implementation of a Covid policy dealing with matters including areas like:

  • Whether you will be requiring employees to test and if so, how often and what the associated costs of this to the business could be
  • If you will require employees to self-isolate if they have Covid and if so for how long
  • Whether you will be paying any sick pay for the first three waiting days of a Covid related absence (SSP will no longer be paid by the Gov during this time) (clearly any contractual right to sick pay will need to be considered).

If you’d like more information and to book a spot for your HR professional, please visit the Eventbrite page.

HR Huddle

Thursday 24th March


Keeley Baigent – KsabLAW

How will you be dealing with the easing of the Covid restrictions?

The recruitment market

Rather than look back at the previous month’s recruitment data, I have chosen this month to explore more of the predictions for the rest of 2022. Business Leader magazine has gathered all the recruitment market thought leaders’ views on what’s to come…

The main emerging themes are:

  • Globalisation – taking advantage of the shift to flexible and remote working to build a diverse workforce. Thinking bigger than just recruiting from your local area to open up a much bigger talent pool.
  • Talent shortages / Retention / Employer branding – focus on retaining your workforce by reviewing training, development, benefits, promotions. Grow your people with the business and in tandem benefit your employer brand. These elements will give the best chance of securing talent against stiff opposition and the jobseeker led market.
  • Professional services – recruitment services are going to be a must, with time and skills to headhunt and to drive a recruitment process. The technology recruiters have at their disposal will also help to get jobs in front of the right people.

This year possess a new opportunity for many businesses to be able to recruit from anywhere in the world. The workforce is changing, people don’t need to be in the office or live down the road. Businesses that are able to adapt will be able to buck the talent shortage trend.

Minimum wage increase preparation

Just a reminder that the National Living Wage (for those aged 23 and over) and the National Minimum Wage (for those of at least school leaving age) rates change on 1 April. 

The changes are shown below:

23 and over 21 to 22 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
April 2021 (current rate) £8.91 £8.36 £6.56 £4.62 £4.30
April 2022 £9.50 £9.18 £6.83 £4.81 £4.81

Is a degree still worth the money?

I have seen a fair bit on LinkedIn recently about the rising costs involved in gaining a degree and if it’s worth it. This has sparked a lot of healthy debate in my household. Even though my children are still only 12 years old, this is already a hot topic.

Is the best thing to encourage our children into further education with the rising level of debt that entails, or is there a better way?

We do still see degrees as a requirement for certain job roles, but experience often trumps a degree or at least equals it. Traditional roles that always required a degree are in areas like engineering, medicine, sciences, finance and law. Some of those still require degrees but there are other, credible routes into law, finance, engineering etc with higher-level apprenticeships.

LinkedIn has reported that the average cost of doing a 3-year bachelor’s degree, including living costs, is about £60,000.

The Guardian lists the average student loan debt for a graduate to be £45,060 and the average annual tuition fee to be £9,000. So, students could be leaving university to owe a staggering £72,060.

Student loans now start being paid back when the person hits a salary of £25k. And the length of time before any debt is written off has gone from 30 to 40 years.

A very interesting picture is in the example below of the average costs/debt involved with becoming a lawyer:

Traditional law degree route:

  • £60k in debt by graduation at 21 years old
  • 3 years earning £14-22k completing training
  • Qualified by 25 onto a salary of between £30-60k
  • (6-year training earnings = average £54k and £60k student loan debt)

Law apprenticeship route:

  • Earning £12-19k per year for 6 years doing a law apprenticeship
  • £0 in student loan debt when fully qualified 25
  • Qualified by 25 onto a salary of between £30-60k
  • (6-year training earnings = average £93k and £0 student loan debt)

Plus, the government have announced recently that students who don’t score at least a Grade 4 (A-C in the previous grading system) in GCSE (or equivalent) Maths and English or at least two Es at A-Level (or equivalent) will be blocked from accessing student loans if they apply for university. Something else to consider.

Is this the end of universities being the best route into a well-paying career? Some would still argue that having a degree could open more doors in the early days and be a fast track to higher earnings. And that an apprenticeship could be frowned upon.

What do you think?

Some more reading: https://www.linkedin.com/news/story/is-a-degree-still-worth-the-money-5252204/

That’s us for another month

And that’s it for March’s blog post, except to say that my thoughts are obviously with all those affected by the horrific events in Ukraine. My family and I are donating to a local collection for supplies and clothes being sent to Ukraine. We all have things that we don’t need or use anymore that could benefit a family in need. So, I urge everyone to look up what collections are happening locally to you to see if you can contribute or help in any way.

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

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