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Round-up of the week

Posted on 26th August 2016

Employers to grow or maintain headcount

Fears that businesses might make cuts to their workforce following the Brexit vote appear to be largely unfounded.

According to the latest figures from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), 24 per cent of employers plan to take on more permanent staff in the next three months.

Meanwhile, 64 per cent said they will maintain their existing headcount during this period.

This is despite a slump in business confidence in the wake of June's referendum on EU membership.

Whereas 51 per cent of businesses felt more confident about economic conditions in May, this figure fell to 45 per cent in June and dropped again to just 21 per cent in July.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, said it is not surprising to see that confidence took a knock following the referendum result.

However, he said there are reasons to be "cautiously optimistic".

For instance, he noted that hiring intentions remain particularly strong among small and medium-sized enterprises, which is important as they represent the "lifeblood of our economy".

"They have taken the referendum result in their stride," Mr Green observed.

"In general, employers have avoided knee-jerk reactions to staffing and this business-as-usual approach bodes well for the UK jobs market in the next few months."

Mr Green went on to note that while employers are taking longer to confirm permanent appointments, vacancies have continued to increase in the months following the referendum.

"As business continues to do its bit, we now need government to show the same level-headedness to restore economic confidence," he added.

Employees who work with different age groups tend to be happier

Employee morale is often best in workplaces staffed by people of different age groups, a new study has found.

This is the conclusion of a study by McDonald's, which revealed happiness levels are ten per cent higher among those who work with a cross-section of ages, rather than just people in the same age group.

More than half of those polled cited the opportunity to work with people of different ages as a priority for them.

Interestingly, this sentiment was strongest among 16-year-olds and those born between 1900 and 1964.

Claire Hall, chief people officer for McDonald’s UK, commented: "The younger people benefit from the experience of their older colleagues, while the older employees like to pass their knowledge on.

"Older people enjoy having their younger colleagues teach them about technology. They have said that it helps them to stay young themselves."

Speaking to HR magazine, Ms Hall added that teams that bring together a mix of people of different ages and at different life stages are "fundamental to creating a happy and motivated workplace and to delivering a great customer experience".

Managers' behaviour a big contributor to employee stress

Almost seven in ten workers have experienced stress as a result of their manager's behaviour, according to a new study.

Research by Metlife revealed this is a particularly big problem among 18 to 24-year-olds, with three-quarters of those in this age group saying bosses have made them feel stressed at work.

Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director at MetLife UK, expressed his concern at the findings, especially as nearly half of those polled said the stress caused by management behaviour has forced them to take extended time off.

"Complaining about your boss is not unusual, but when the behaviour of management is increasing stress in the workplace, there is an issue to be addressed beyond trivial moaning," he said. 

"It is very worrying that nearly half of all employees say management behaviour has meant people taking time off because of stress in their organisation."

Biggest ever annual decline in GCSE results

GCSE results have fallen by their highest ever amount year-on-year.

The latest figures indicate the pass rate is now at its lowest level since 2008, with the overall proportion of A* to C grades dropping from 69 per cent to 66.9 per cent.

Alan Price, HR director at Peninsula, responded by insisting that academic qualifications should not be the only requirements when employers are looking for suitable candidates.

Speaking to HR Grapevine, he acknowledged that they can be vital for professions such as teaching, law and medicine.

As a result, it is reasonable for academic qualifications to be considered by recruiters and used to support an application.

However, Mr Price said employers should not forget the "vital, softer skills required that employees gather with work experience rather than through an academic qualification".

"These are skills that include communication, organisation, time management and flexibility which can make up a major proportion of a job role," he commented.

Mr Price went on to state that some employers largely seek qualifications for kudos, such as first-class degrees or degrees from red brick universities.

"Employers should think seriously about requesting qualifications for this purpose only," he said.

"It does not make sense to do this if the job role is not dependent on this criteria and an employer may overlook the perfect person for the job."

To discuss conditions in the labour market and operating environment further, speak to one of our experts here at The Maine Group!