• How much better would the Apprenticeship Levy be, if recruiters had access to the funds? That is what one industry body is petitioning the government to find out.
• What are the most attractive skills for entry level positions? Employers are increasingly playing the long game with every hire – see how this is reflected in the candidates they pick.
• We have found the internet’s most searched for jobs. But do web searches correlate with actual, real-world applications?
REC Petitions Government to Release Apprenticeship Funding
With apprenticeship money unspent, the industry body requests access to existing funds to train temporary staff.
Almost one million temporary workers are missing the chance to develop new skills, a recruitment industry body has claimed.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said this week that mismanagement of the government’s Apprenticeship Levy is squandering resources – and opportunities – for thousands of agency workers.
REC data suggests that 960,000 temporary workers could develop new skills, if the scope of the scheme was broadened.
At a time when skills are in short supply, the trade body suggests that the current system is failing to live up to its objectives. This week, the confederation used the change.org website to launch an online petition, calling on the UK government to expand the scope of the funding.
Under the rules of the current scheme, funding is only released to cover costs of apprentice workers. However, as we have seen in the past, some firms have been accused of using levy funding to upskill existing employees.
The REC believes that an extension of the scheme to allow funding for temporary workers would relieve pressure on the recruiting sector.
Apprentice Scheme fails to meet demands of modern skills market
The REC focuses in particular on the way finances are flowing out of companies that are willing to train employees. However, because levy funding is reserved solely for apprentices, it means that temp workers do not qualify. The REC says that the scheme is squandering vast pools of reserved cash, because it is not structured to adapt to changes in the current skills market.
According to REC data, 670 of its members are contributing to the apprenticeship levy at present. Together, these enterprises hold £104 million in unspent funding – because potential trainees are not considered apprentices.
The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has commented that one of the key failings of the existing apprenticeship funds is that they “cannot be accessed by employment agencies, and the employees they place.”
The RSA goes on to point out that “these employees are among those who would most benefit from additional training”
REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry said: “there are skills shortages in areas that training temps using levy funds could help to address, like hospitality, and health and social care.”
Mr Carberry, concluded that:
“The Apprenticeship Levy was designed with the best of intentions, but everyone knows it is not working as intended. It’s time for reform.”
“As we redesign the levy, keeping support in place for apprenticeships matters, but we must end the scandal of locking temporary workers out of the system. Employers are paying a levy for them – but can’t use it to support their development. 95 per cent of REC members who pay the levy cannot use the funds available to them to train their staff.
Britain’s most sought after entry skills
Which skills and characteristics are most likely to win a placement?
Technology is making candidate screening ever more sophisticated. It means that shortlists are improving across the board. And, seemingly, employers are growing increasingly confident when it comes to stipulating those “nice-to-have” extras in the ideal candidate.
But what are the nice-to-haves that win the greatest favour among HR departments today? The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has compiled its own list of top candidate traits – based on research from leading recruitment firms.
The results are a balanced range of technical competencies and interpersonal soft skills. It confirms the often-stated message that organisations are keen to acquire well-rounded individuals who can operate in a variety of company-wide roles.
According to ACCA, the ten most desired character traits and competencies for entry level posts were as follows.
1) Strategy and decision making
As businesses grow, it becomes important for departments to co-ordinate their objectives in order to maximise productivity. Having a team of highly skilled strategic thinkers helps an organisation to grow at a steady rate.
There is long-term value, too. With a growing move towards flexible working, permanent hires are frequently considered with an eye to future management candidacy. By developing and proving core strategic thinking at an early stage, candidates are proving their value as long-term investments.
2) Industry-specific knowledge
Complete expertise is gained only through experience. However, there is nothing to prevent a successful applicant to an entry level post or trainee position acquiring the business fundamentals before applying.
A broad comprehension of the existing market, and the direction of movement within any given industry, is highly valued among heads of recruitment.
3) Technical Know-How
The future of work is digital. The way our own roles will change within the next decade is all but impossible to predict. So having key personnel in place that possess basic technical skills is seen as one of the best ways to ensure a smooth digital transition.
4) Communication Skills
When multiple departments are co-ordinating their objectives, communication is key to ensuring plans progress smoothly. But, more than that, the virtual world opens up communications on all levels. Having strong communicators within an organisation helps an enterprise to promote its message, co-ordinate its planning, and present its ideas in a clear, coherent manner.
That is why top communicaotrs – be they bloggers, broadcasters, of savvy social networkers – are in high demand.
5) Initiative and Independent Working
Flexible working arrangements have led to more work being done outside of the standard 9-to-5 – and away from the office. It means that key workers must demonstrate resourcefulness in the way they work. Independent working means the ability to identify an opportunity – and concoct an effective method of making the most out of it once you have found it.
6) Adaptability and Responsiveness to Change
Individuals who are open to new ways of working and fast to adapt to changing possibilities are in short supply. And that is why, as we face the digital transformation of the workplace, adaptable workers are being snapped up in all sectors.
7) Punctuality and Meeting a Deadline
Nobody wants to be the cause for delay when an organisation puts its plans into effect. But punctuality actually goes beyond deadlines. In a high pressure working environment, hitting a tight deadline can demonstrate an individual’s aptitude for prioritising workloads and organising their daily routines. Both factors are proving valuable for businesses’ long-term hiring choices.
8) Loyalty and Commitment
Loyalty and commitment are also invaluable in an age where upskilling on the job is becoming the norm. It can be difficult for an organisation to justify pouring resources into upskilling a candidate, if they are likely to move on to a competitor for higher pay in the near future.
Which brings us on to…
9) Willingness to Learn
With skills in short supply, and digitisation changing the fundamental duties of many jobs, a willingness to learn is increasingly valuable.
It can be easy to get set in your ways at work. But when this is apparent in a trainee or entry level candidate, that is seen as a red flag to recruiters.
10) Customer-facing Skills
Just as we saw with communications skills, the world is increasingly open and interconnected. It means that people in unexpected departments can find themselves on the frontline in customer-facing situations. The ability to deal with members of the public – whether they are clients, customers, or potential future sales – is one of the most important skill sets for business leaders.
Broader Lessons about the future of work
The study data was tailored specifically to roles within the financial and accounting jobs market. However, the broad appeal of these qualities means that the research is like to be applicable across multiple sectors.
It is perhaps interesting how weighted this shopping list of characteristics is towards change and adaptability. If anything, it tells us the degree to which business leaders see the future with uncertainty. With preference given to adaptable, independent workers and fast learners, it seems that even those in the top jobs are unsure about where the digitisation of the workplace might take us.
The world’s most wanted jobs
Which professions remain popular around the globe?
Industry insight can be vital for setting goals – and expectations – in the recruitment sector. So a handy slice of job-search data arrives this week from Brother UK. The retail enterprise has used Google traffic data to identify the most sought-after positions among job searchers, over the past twelve months. In the extensive study, the company has focused in on regional data, and come up with popular searches for every country on the planet.
But what did they find out?
In the UK, teaching assistant posts were top for the mainland.
England, Scotland and Wales all set high figures for classroom assistants, with 288,000 searches made annually.
In Northern Ireland, however, it was nursing that took the top spot.
‘Estate agent’ (105,700 searches) claimed the runners-up spot in the UK. The more open-ended ‘project manager’ title took third place with 99,300 searches.
Despite the insight that the data provides us, it also shows that searches do not necessarily correlate with applications. We can conclude this because the fourth most searched-for profession is prison officer. However, with Britain’s prisons remaining dangerously under-staffed, it is clear that web searches will not always match real-world events. In fact, 98,400 searches were made for prison officer jobs in the last 12 months: more than six times the total number of prison officers currently working in the UK. If each search had resulted in an application, the staffing shortfall would have been solved in an instant.
Britain’s most Googled jobs from the last 12 months:
Rest of the World
Data from further afield found a broad spectrum of jobs finding demand. In Spain, being a translator is the most searched for position. Italians are most likely to seek out “music jobs”; and, in Germany, Ikea came top of companies that are best to work for.
However, mechanical engineering took the top spot when data from the rest of the world was taken as a whole. Careers in mechanical engineering were searched for more than a million times in the last year – with India accounting for a large portion of the total.