Eloise’s November 2023 News – Recruitment Update, Employee Trends, Hybrid Working, Happy Living

Hybrid Working Vanilla Consulting


I’m hoping you’ve been thinking, ‘well that’s strange, I’ve not seen Eloise’s blog come out yet this month’? And there is good reason for that, well, a reason…

I always like to include data from the KPMG and REC about the recruitment market, but their report has been coming out later and later each month, meaning my blog post has been pushed further into the month.

So, I’ve been toying with the idea of this just being a ‘blog post’ rather than a ‘welcome to the month blog post’. I’m still undecided. But for now, it’s going to be coming out later in the month so I can tie in with the latest industry data, as I think that’s really important.

The Recruitment Market

With that in mind, let’s start with the industry data. What are the KPMG and REC data telling us? …

The great news is that permanent staff availability has risen again. There are a number of factors causing a surge in job seekers; company restructures, redundancies, concerns over job security, moves to secure better pay or remote working etc. All areas of England have reported accelerated numbers of available candidates, but numbers are strongest in the North of England.

The mixed area of news is that temporary recruitment is up, but permanent recruitment is down. In stable years, this tends to happen with seasonality, but at the moment the report is telling us it’s because businesses are being cautious.

Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive, says “… the labour market is marking time waiting for the brakes to be taken off growth by the Bank of England.”. Where there are gaps in employment businesses are tending to fill them with temporary or contract workers instead of permanent staff, they are managing their risk.

The recent changes in government, the impending Autumn statement, the Bank of England Monetary Policy Summary, and next years’ general election, will all impact on business confidence and consumer spending.

However, if you are looking to recruit permanent staff, now is a great time as there is less competition and more available talent in the market. The challenge for smaller businesses is competing with salaries offered by larger companies. But you just need to know your strengths. Look at what you can offer that larger companies might not or might struggle with. Sell your employer brand USPs. Job seekers, more than ever before, want lifestyle perks over a few extra pounds.

People trends and adapting to the changing landscape

I want to explore more about employees wanting lifestyle perks over a few extra pounds, and what this actually means. Remote and homeworking are still top of people’s lists when job searching. But, along with this, there are other things that are starting to go hand in hand, and a lot of them are technology-based.

We’re starting to see more companies move away from a standard technology offering for employees. Instead of saying a role comes with a laptop and a phone, they are giving the employee their choice of Apple MacBook or Windows laptop. Their choice of Apple or Android phone. Their choice of being office-based or a contribution to creating a homeworking set-up.

It’s an employee-centric way of thinking, instead of giving people what you want. This can be a very powerful recruitment tool and a way for smaller businesses to gain the edge.

I’ve been reading in the latest Linney report (Linney Insight Report, Think. Eat. Spend. 2023/24) that the pandemic pushed many of us to adopt healthier habits. To focus more on mental health, exercise, and wellness. We got used to incorporating these elements into our daily lives in a flexible way. This has resulted in people not wanting to let go of this healthier way of living and working. The pandemic is gone but not forgotten.

If you can offer options for discounted gym membership, flexible but full-time working hours, discounts on electric car leasing or home charging points, discounts on wellness coaching or mental health apps. Even food subscription discounts and subsidised memberships. These are the new currency. These are the lifestyle perks that Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z are looking for.

Hybrid working

This all leads neatly to talking about hybrid working. More and more job specs are specifying that a role is office-based. I get it, I know lots of management things are/seem to be easier when everyone is in the office. But applications are seriously impacted if a role doesn’t have hybrid working.

A recent survey of global CEOs by KPMG showed that 64% expect staff to be back in the office full-time within three years, and 87% said they would give those in the office pay rises and favourable assignments over those staying remote.

(source: https://kpmg.com/xx/en/home/insights/2023/09/kpmg-global-ceo-outlook-survey.html)

However, people are voting with their feet. As I’ve said, the pandemic is gone but not forgotten. And the opportunity to remove commutes for a couple of days per week is hugely important for employees. Why sit in the office on calls and video meetings that you can do from home with no impact on performance, whilst also avoiding 2-3 hours of driving per day and making fuel savings? From an employee perspective, it’s a no-brainer.

We have a clashing of thoughts and expectations, and I think it could get messy. There has already been a 50% rise in tribunals related to hybrid and remote working. The US is seeing employees sue for ‘geographical discrimination’, (geographical discrimination isn’t a protected characteristic in the UK).

In a People Management article Jonothan Scollen, employment solicitor at Howarths, advised employers to “avoid broad-brush approaches” to remote working because it was often “incredibly nuanced” and usually depended on personal circumstances. “Naturally, everyone’s personal circumstances are different so trying to pigeonhole all staff into a single, rigid approach to WFH creates the perfect environment for conflict,” he added. (Source: https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/article/1840943/number-hybrid-working-tribunals-rises-50-per-cent-%e2%80%93-hr-avoid-them)

I’d be using hybrid/remote working to boost recruitment rather than boost the need for recruitment.

Read more about workplace tribunals linked to remote working here: https://www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2023/10/rise-remote-working-tribunals-firms-encourage-workers-back-office

Graduate recruitment opportunities could be fruitful

The Telegraph recently reported that graduate job openings have fallen by a third in the past year. Do you offer graduate placements? Have you in the past but have stopped?

The report stated there were 23,264 graduate roles available in September this year. Compared to 32,277 in September 2022.

Rather than see this as tricky news for graduates hoping to get placements and start working on their graduate debt. I see it as an opportunity for smaller businesses to invest in their future talent. Being open to graduates in your job descriptions, and having progression opportunities, could well boost the number of applications you receive.

(Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/careers/graduate-recruitment-hit-by-30pc-fall-in-vacancies/ar-AA1j4lLp)

And finally, what is the key to happy living?

This seems like an unanswerable question. Something that would be different for everyone. Something unfathomable.

It seems not…

I stumbled upon a McKinsey & Company article with research from Harvard study director Robert Waldinger. He has just published a book that tracks a selection of people over 85 years to hunt for the correlations of good living – The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness (Simon & Schuster, January 2023), co-written by Marc Schulz.

There were just two main contributing factors to well-being and good living that were identified over the 85 years.

The first wasn’t a surprise, which was to take care of our health.

But the second was a surprise. They found that the happiest people, who stayed the healthiest as they grew old, and who lived the longest, were those who had the warmest connections with other people.

It turned out that good relationships were the ‘strongest predictor of who was going to be happy and healthy as they grew old’. That you were even ‘less likely to get coronary artery disease or type 2 diabetes or arthritis’ if you had good relationships.

This has blown me away and I’ve really enjoyed reading this article. I think it’s also made me think about my relationships and friendships and appreciate them all the more.

Read the article for yourself here: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/mckinsey-on-books/author-talks-the-worlds-longest-study-of-adult-development-finds-the-key-to-happy-living?cid=other-eml-rld-mip-mck&hlkid=97a7e5a634074cecbd336ba360421cb0&hctky=15053622&hdpid=3454f24e-9a3e-4aa6-81d8-ab0b37704fc4

And that’s it for another month

And that’s it for now. I’ll be back in touch next month. I wish you all health, happiness, and good relationships.


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