In 2015, the UK government, along with 200 other countries, signed the legally binding Paris agreement. This committed the UK to reduce CO2 emissions and adopt a clean energy strategy by 2050. Since then, the term ‘net zero’ has been at the forefront of our news bulletins creating a great deal of confusion as to what this actually means, and what impact it will have our future.

Going ‘net zero’ is a radical concept of eliminating the use of fossil fuels as an energy source and replacing them with renewable energy such as ‘green’ electricity and gas alternatives like hydrogen. 

Future Homes Standard

The UK now produces less than 1% of all global CO2 emissions, with industrial processes, agriculture, and waste management accounting for 19% of all the country’s greenhouse gas discharges.

However, that still leaves 14% of all UK greenhouse gases coming from domestic consumption, mainly gas boilers. That is why, in 2019, the government announced they were banning gas boilers in domestic homes from 2023. However, that date proved to be unsustainable and has now been replaced with the ‘Future Homes standard’ that sets energy efficiency standards for new homes and extensions.

Effective from 2025, the new regulations enhance the current building regulations with the additional caveat that all new homes built from 2025 will have to produce up to 80% less carbon emissions than at present. In the short term, Building Regs will be updated next year to include that all new homes must produce 31% lower carbon emissions in readiness for the new 2025 standards.

In addition, from this date no homes will be connected to the gas supply and will require energy efficient insulation and a low carbon heating source such as a heat pump. According to the Committee on Climate Change, once the gas boiler ban is operational, it is estimated that 2.5m heat pumps will need to be installed to meet the government’s net zero target.

What impact will this have on the building services recruitment sector?

If the government is serious in its commitment to achieving net zero, then the opportunities for anyone currently working in the industry, such as mechanical & electrical engineers, or anyone considering a technical career in the sector, are going to be huge.

There are many reasons for this. To start with, out of the 27m homes in the UK, only around 1m use a low carbon heating system. That means, around 80% of UK housing stock is connected to the National Grid and receiving high carbon natural gas – and that’s before we start considering non-domestic buildings.

It’s quite clear that that to achieve net zero, there has to be a sea change in the way we power our buildings, and we have a long way to go if we want to achieve the net zero target date of 2050. 

As we have seen in recent months with gas and fuel shortages, the government must do more to enable this to happen. Even the UK ban on new diesel and petrol car sales from 2040 and the prohibition of new gas boilers is only going to scratch the surface.

After all, 78% of all current CO2 emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels to generate our electricity, transportation, energy consumption in industrial buildings and plant and domestic heating.

Undoubtedly, the UK has achieved significant improvements, over the years, in reducing emissions in the energy supply sector with its increased use of renewables such as solar and wind power. However, much remains to be done just to meet even its previous target of 80% less emissions by 2050.

Having said all that, achieving net zero will bring major benefits to the UK, both from a social and financial angle. It does, however, come at a cost. In 2019, it was estimated that going 100% net zero would cost the UK taxpayer around £70b per year or over £1 trillion by 2050. Figures that will, undoubtedly, be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

How is all this going to be achieved and how many jobs might the programme create?

The first step is to consider all the options currently being put forward.

The Climate Change Committee say that if the UK embarks on a programme of retrofitting heat pumps, we will need around 60,000 extra plumbers and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning engineers. That’s in addition to the upskilling of 350,000 technical staff by 2028.

As we said earlier, all this depends on the government maintaining its commitment to the net zero challenge. They were, after all, going to publish in the first half of this year, an updated strategy for heating both domestic and non-domestic buildings through the Renewable Heat Incentive – a scheme that rewards users for using renewable energy to heat their premises. This has now been delayed until next year.

However, this should not put us off from preparing for the introduction of low carbon heating, as this is just one of the options available. We have also seen, from the recent demonstrations by the Insulate Britain eco warriors, there is a growing appetite from UK’s residents to decarbonise their homes.

In fact, according to former political advisor to the conservative party and founding member of ‘Public First’, Rachel Wolf, ‘around 50% of surveyed adults (2000 interviews) were in favour of an outright ban on domestic gas boilers in the next ten years. The survey also discovered that 75% of those polled were keen to switch from their gas guzzling gas boiler to an alternative greener air, ground and water source heat pump, or other renewable energy source such as solar, thermal and biomass etc.

The proviso being that there were government grants to offset the extra cost of such installations. This response from the UK public should give the government the confidence to introduce a staged programme for achieving ‘net zero’.

Upskill and retrain

This reinforces the need for current technical staff to upskill as well as opening up new opportunities for those wanting to enter the industry. We welcome you contacting us to discuss this further.

While achieving net zero in the agreed time scale is indeed a challenge, the cost of creating renewable energy is falling all the time. Wind and Solar being two examples where production costs have reduced over the past two years.

Of course, net zero is not just about money, despite the fact, there are significant savings from investing in a low carbon fuel supply. The population’s well-being will be boosted by the improvement in air quality which in turn should lead to a reduced strain on the NHS.

The colour of the future is definitely green. As a nation, the UK is committed by law to achieving net zero by 2050 along with Sweden, France, Denmark, and New Zealand, with the EU, Chile and Fiji expected to follow shortly.

This means the potential for re-trained technical staff in the buildings services sector as well as new employees is almost unlimited. We are in no doubt that we will require an ‘army’ of highly skilled tradespeople to decarbonise the UK over the next 30 years.

This not only includes the conversion of individual users to alternative fuel sources but also the potential of using hydrogen as a domestic fuel utilising the existing gas supply network.

According to the government’s ‘clean growth plan’ there’s a very real prospect of being able to replace oil, coal, and LPG heating from off grid properties with renewable energy alternatives before the end of this decade.

If you are also planning ahead and are looking into ways to keep your qualifications up to date, or to even re-train, we can help. Our vast network of training providers can set you off in the right direction so our recruiters can find you the perfect job to match your skills and experience.

Contact us on 01709 820102 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk to discuss your options in more detail.

Multitask Personnel, the South Yorkshire based specialist recruitment consultancy, have grown the client base of their trades and labour department by adding twenty new accounts in September 2021.

The client wins come as part of a key internal drive to develop new business in the construction, M&E, building services and fit out sectors, to meet growing demand for skilled labour as businesses open their doors for new recruits across the UK.

Led by Clive Bateman, Managing Consultant of the Trades & Labour division, the team at Multitask Personnel help tradespeople find suitable employment in temporary, contract and permanent positions, ensuring clients can fill their vacancies quickly and efficiently, with the right people for the job.

Clive comments: “We’re really pleased to bring so many new clients on board. It’s a fantastic achievement for our hard working Trades & Labour team, but it’s also a great sign that recruitment, up and down the country, is as active as ever in these specialist sectors.

“We’ve taken on a range of job roles for our clients, anything from groundworkers, dryliners and ceiling fixers, through to joiners, electricians, labourers and painters, to support businesses who are actively recruiting in the shopfitting, interior fit out, civils and construction sectors.

“As a nationwide recruitment consultancy, we are placing candidates in roles from the north west to the south east, and everywhere in between, so it’s great to see recruitment picking up on a national level as well as regional.

“Recruitment can be a daunting task for hiring managers, particularly if they have numerous roles to fill, so it is our job as specialist recruiters to make the process as straight forward as possible by submitting the right people for interview that match the brief. As a proactive agency, we have a large talent pool of candidates who are ready to work meaning roles can be filled in a timely manner.”

Multitask Personnel strategically align their recruitment divisions to provide an all round service for businesses that have a mix of blue collar, white collar and support staff. This means employers don’t have to go out to multiple agencies for different types of employee.

Read more about Multitask Personnel’s services to employers here.

Multitask Personnel, the Rotherham based specialist recruitment consultancy, has strengthened its’ Construction desk with the appointment of Mark Taylor as their new Recruitment Associate.

Mark, who has a number of years’ experience working in industry in construction and building maintenance, brings an additional ‘client side’ skill set to the team as it continues to grow amid renewed activity across the sector.

Working on permanent construction positions, Mark will be responsible for growing the candidate database as he works towards becoming a 360 recruitment consultant.

Mark comments: “I’m delighted to join Multitask Personnel and to develop a career in recruitment. My experience of working within the construction industry gives me additional knowledge of how businesses in the sector operate, which will not only help employers as I know how they operate, but also help candidates as I will be able to identify the key personality traits and skill sets required to work in the industry.

“My aim over the next six to twelve months is to become an all-round recruitment consultant by utilising my contacts and understanding of the sector, whilst learning from the experienced recruiters here at Multitask, to repay the faith Claire and the team have put in me. I’m relishing the opportunity.”

Claire Lee, Managing Director at Multitask Personnel comments: “Mark joins the construction desk at a key time as the industry starts to experience rapid growth again. We always need to stay ahead of the game in recruitment to ensure we can meet demand and exceed our client’s expectations, and with the forecast of increased growth in the sector we have identified the need to strengthen our team.

“Mark brings a new skill set to the team because he has worked on the client side, so whilst the wider team will be able to teach him about recruitment, he can also advise our more experienced recruiters on some of the key traits of the industry.

“We’re looking forward to developing our combined knowledge to the benefit of both employers and job seekers and would like to wish Mark a really warm welcome to the team.”

Mark Taylor becomes the fifth new recruit to join the Multitask team in 2021, and can be contacted on 01709 820102 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk

September and October have, traditionally, always been a good time for job hunting. Schools are back, summer holidays are over, and people have had plenty of time to re-consider their current position, especially if they’ve been lazing on a beach somewhere.

This year, however, is somewhat different

It goes without saying that the Coronavirus has had a major impact on the jobs market.

Almost 11.6 million jobs from approx. 1.3m UK employers suspended as many businesses were forced to close or slim down their operation.

From the initial national lockdown in March 2020 and the additional localised measures through to the autumn and beyond, staff were transferred on to the government’s job retention scheme (furlough) and, in some cases, even made redundant.

Furlough has now come to an end and when combined with the fall out effects of Brexit, and the future uncertainty of the Covid pandemic, there is no denying that the jobs market has changed dramatically in the last 18 months.

So, if you’ve recently returned to work and are now considering a new role elsewhere or are someone looking for first time employment, the question is, how is this affecting the current employment situation and how do you identify a job that’s right for you?

Demystifying the job specification

As the UK economy bounces back, businesses are now looking to recruit staff, either to fill vacancies or to enable them to expand as confidence grows in their sector.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 77,500 more jobs on offer between April and June 2021 than there were in the same period pre-Covid. This is reflected in the fact that we are now seeing the jobs market starting to open up and businesses re-commence hiring.

How do you know what the employer is looking for?

As we’ve said in previous blogs, the traditional ‘job for life’ is now a rarity. Anyone who started work in the mid-2000s will probably experience at least 10 different roles before they retire.

Also, especially over the last 18 months, there has been a massive expansion of the ‘gig economy’ with its myriad of short term contracts, freelance work and hybrid working. This is something that is likely to be the future way of working as we come to terms with the ‘new normal’.

In all cases, the prospective employer will produce a recruitment document that defines what they are looking for and contain all the ingredients needed to perform the job. This document provides a valuable insight into the advertised role and is usually divided into two parts.

The job specification and the job description

Despite their importance in helping elaborate on the requirements needed to perform the job effectively, we find that many applicants spend little time interpreting their content and researching the job vacancy.

First. Let’s explain the difference between the two.

Job Description

An employer will usually draft a job description first. This will give prospective candidates a feel for both the position and the company as it provides a wealth of information about the vacancy and what is expected from the applicant should they be appointed.

If it is an existing position, it will state the (previous) job title – e.g. Gas service engineer. If a newly created role, the job title may be more ambiguous. The remainder of the document will then go into more detail so make sure you read on. Also, with many vacancies now being posted on the internet, you may find job titles are ‘standardised’ thereby allowing them to be picked up by search engines.

A detailed job description should enable a prospective candidate to understand what type of person they are looking to attract, but not necessarily why. It will also avoid referencing any negative points – see later.

What does a job description contain and why are they relevant to job recruitment?

A fully detailed job description outlines the company’s expectations, such as targets, goals, and aspirations. It also helps provide a framework for the recruitment advert by providing a certainty of purpose. This enables candidates to be fully aware of what the job entails and what it involves.

The job description, therefore, will cover the responsibilities of the job. If an existing position, this may be a fairly standard response but if it’s a newly created role (say due to expansion or change in trading) it might be more fluid and flexible.

A 21st Century job description will also now feature details about the culture of the organisation. Many applicants are (rightly) concerned about their prospective employer’s eco-friendliness, working conditions (hybrid working) and management structure.

The job description will also give you a guide to remuneration and rewards. This might be a salary range and will include incentives and ‘perks’ such as social events, bonuses, birthday off etc. This should give candidates a good feel for how financially rewarding the position is.

By the time you’ve finished reading the job description, you should know what the job is (title), what it involves and who you report to (responsibilities) and what rewards you will receive for carrying out your duties (remuneration).

Job Specification

On the other hand, a job specification is a more succinct statement that defines the job criteria. This is almost a tick box exercise where you check off the necessary attributes to apply for the position.

This will include qualifications, skills, experience, educational standards etc. In most cases it will also include the required level of competence and / or amount of experience.

In addition, some employers will add additional criteria such as those considered necessary and / or desired. These can include physical requirements (heavy lifting / working at heights), professional qualifications, and previous experience (e.g. minimum 5 years on the job experience).

These will either be included in the job specification or, more likely, as part of a separate person specification.

Applying for a job

One of the most important aspects of applying for a new job is interpreting the content of both the job description and job specification.  However, it’s also a good idea to dig deeper and discover more about the role before you start the interview process.

As we said earlier, a job description will not usually include negative aspects, especially why there is a current vacancy. Is it a new position or replacing a member of staff who has left?

A good place for exploring is LinkedIn. This is a goldmine for information, such as company and employee profiles galore, and all with a story to tell. How long do people stay at the company, is the post vacant due to internal promotion or have they moved on, how long were they previously in the job and did they have the experience and / or qualifications you are being asked for?

All this information is freely available on social media platforms, and you can delve even deeper if you subscribe to LinkedIn Premium under the job section tab. By doing your research and comparing the content of the job description and job specification with the information gleaned from LinkedIn, you should be able to build up a clear picture of the role and whether you should submit your CV for consideration.

For further information on what it takes to identify the best jobs, contact us on 01709 820102 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk

According to latest government figures, UK businesses are facing their worst staff shortages in over 20 years. This has been brought on by a combination of Brexit, Covid and a lack training opportunities a fact confirmed by the latest survey undertaken by the Institute of Employment Studies.

Despite what you may read in the media, it’s not just the haulage and hospitality sectors that are reporting a staffing crisis. Other industries such as Construction and Building Services are also reporting a lack of skilled labour as the aftermath of Brexit and the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic starts to bite.

However, it’s not the fact that there is a shortage of jobs, it’s quite the opposite. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) this month showed vacancy levels at an all-time high, with July 2021 job opportunities surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

This is obviously great news for the UK economy as we start to recover from the recent lengthy lockdown. However, this also means that some key industries we work in at Multitask Personnel are now struggling to meet the current demand. After hitting a 24 year high in June, these sectors are now failing to recruit enough skilled workers to fulfil their expanding order book.

Skills shortage?

Skills shortages are nothing new. In 2016, the government was so concerned about safeguarding the future of the industry that they commissioned the ‘Farmer Review’. This was to report on the impact that the shrinking workforce and lack of skills training was having on the sector.

It concluded, even back then, that there was a massive skills shortage looming and predicted a 20-25% decline in the available skilled workforce by 2026.

Has the situation changed in the past five years?

It would seem not. In recent months, we’ve heard Richard Harpin, founder and MD of home repairs business, Homeserve and trades people finder, Checkatrade, voice his concern that the construction industry skills shortages were having a major impact, particularly on the smaller building firms.

Thanks to the ever widening skills gap, this is a huge incentive for tradespeople to upskill and reap the benefits of ever rising salaries (average increase of 9% in the past year) and prolific job opportunities in the construction industry.

It is said that one of the reasons for this lack of skilled manpower is the declining number of young people entering the industry combined with an ageing workforce. We estimate that almost a quarter of today’s trades’ force are in their 50’s. 

What can be done to level out the current shortage of skilled labour in the construction / building services industries?

Upskilling and re-training is the answer according to industry leaders. This is something crossbench peer, Lord Bilimoria, founder of Cobra beers and president of the CBI, made very clear at the recent (virtual) Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) annual conference.

He said that the government must do more to fill the skills gap by directing people to obtain qualifications for jobs that we know are in short supply. Investing in employment skills is vital for the future of the UK, he confirmed.

We fully agree. So much so that, over the years, we have partnered with local providers to provide subsidised training for those working in the construction and building services industries who want to upgrade their skills, re-qualify, or renew their existing qualifications.

Thanks to these close links, we can provide registered candidates with discounted training that suits their particular needs, enabling them to apply for vacancies that were previously unavailable to them.

What kind of training is currently available?

Our partnered training providers offer a wide range of training programmes. All are designed to improve the attendee’s job opportunities with many tailored to the specific needs of the candidate.

Construction Site Safety Scheme (CSSS)

This covers on site health and safety and is certified by Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). It is also recognised by Build UK who represent over 40% of the UK construction industry. It is also an integral part of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.

Although having a CSCS card is not mandatory to work on site, we have yet to find an employer who does not require employees to hold this accreditation. It does, after all, prove that they have received the required appropriate training and have the level of qualifications necessary to carry out the work safely and efficiently.

Asbestos Awareness

Another popular area that is relevant to many of our prospective candidates, these short courses are designed to give our candidates the information they need for working in situations where they may disturb the fabric of the building.

More in depth courses leading to professional qualifications are also available through us.

We have ongoing vacancies for qualified professionals in the construction and building services sector at Multitask Personnel. These industries are, however, experiencing major skills shortages as they fail to attract young people and have an ageing workforce that, in some cases, have been reluctant to enhance their skills.

The challenge, for our longer term economic recovery, is for the construction industry to attract a higher skilled workforce in the future.  We have over ten years’ experience in the recruitment of staff for this sector and understand the need for a highly skilled workforce.

We recommend that anyone looking to obtain a position, or change jobs, in the construction and building services sector should, if they haven’t already, consider registering with us.

This will enable us to identify suitable vacancies and the skills level required to carry out the job description. Should there be a need to upskill, we can then use our close links with training partners to source relevant and in many cases subsidised training support.

For further information about subsidised training provision, please contact us on 01709 820102 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk

On average, employers will typically interview six to ten candidates for every advertised vacancy and applicants will undertake between two and three interviews before being shortlisted.

Of course, Covid has had a massive impact on the recruitment process, and in many cases, this means the traditional job searching process may not necessarily apply to some industries and sectors.

Also, as lockdown restrictions are lifted, more staff return to working in the office or site, and we get back to some sort of normality, many people are also now questioning their current career choice. In fact, having had over a year to consider their current position, we are now finding an increasing number of people are wanting to do something different.

The question is what? It’s not simply a case of ploughing through the job vacancies anymore, it’s more about finding the right job, and increasingly important, one that’s relevant to you.

Where do you start?

As the furlough scheme starts to wind down, combined with the strength of the economic recovery, it’s no surprise to see an increasing number of jobs being advertised. Understandably, many of these are in industries that were hit hardest by the Covid lockdown. However, we are also seeing a growth in other professional sectors.

The latest UK government statistics indicate that over 750,000 jobs were publicly advertised from March to May 2021, no doubt due in many parts, to the increasing success of the Covid vaccine programme.

Could now be a good time to find that dream job?

Let’s face it. We spend a considerable amount of time at work. In fact, about a third of our life is spent working, based on an average 35 hours a week, so it’s important that we not only earn a living but also enjoy what we are doing.

But with an increasing number of vacancies, how do we cut through the job lists and find a job that, not only fulfils our monetary requirements, but also motivates us? This is especially relevant if we have been working off site during the recent lockdown.

Register with an agency

Traditional job searching, especially in the current environment, is a long and laborious slog. However, one way of making your task easier is to sign up with a recruitment partner, such as ourselves.

Registering your details with us means you will hear of any suitable vacancies in advance of them being publicly advertised. Also, as an independent recruiter with many years’ experience, we provide a flexible, tailored service that’s responds to your specific requirements.

Having specialist recruitment divisions also helps. Our team members, all have time served experience in their specialist field and can sit down and discuss your options with you when you are ready.

How do you know when you’re ready, and where do you start?

The first thing to consider is, what is it that motivates you to get up in a morning and go to work?

Some would say instantly that it’s the money, while others, especially those that have been furloughed and / or working from home this past year, would say that there’s more to work than the pay packet.

And we’d agree. From our experience, we find that everyone responds to different motivations when it comes to work. There are some who have a secure and well paid career but suffer from work fatigue, while others dread the looming of Monday morning and the thought of another miserable week at work.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be like this.

Yes, we fully understand the practical reality of paying the bills and keeping a roof over our heads is very real, but we also find that most employees rank job satisfaction and personal fulfilment above salary when it comes to what motivates us to get up and go to work.

Your career, your choice

We believe there’s no point being miserable at work and feeling lost and forgotten when there are increasing opportunities for pursuing a different career, post lockdown. So, unless you have little choice in taking the first job offered, now could be a very good time to cut through the plethora of vacancies and start focussing on your next career choice.

It could be the first step on the employment ladder, a completely new career change based on existing skills and experience, a slight deviation to your current career or even a fanciful idea that’s been brooding for some time.

Over the years we have reiterated that nothing is impossible. You only have to ask Mexborough born, Craig Senior, who in 2019 quit his job in the hospitality sector to become CEO of Herm, one of the smallest of the inhabited Channel Islands.

He is still using his skill set and experience but has applied it to a dream job he saw advertised while on holiday with his family.  So, in our opinion, the answer to a fulfilling career is to focus on the things you love doing. This could be a professional skill set, a hobby or interest, or something truly off the wall as with Craig.

Having said that, we do, of course, fully understand the challenges involved in finding the job that’s relevant to you. We are, after all, doing this every day for our registered clients. One thing we always suggest, is to jot down all the things you dream of doing in a job, possibly stuff you’ve dreamed of in the past – no matter how inconceivable it might sound.

We’re sure Craig Senior never thought he would be moving lock stock and barrel to the tiny island of Herm when working as a retail manager in the hospitality sector. Many times, we overlook how our skills and experience (including hobbies and interests) can be transferred to a sector we had not previously considered.

We can help you identify transferable skills and sectors that match your accomplishments

Also, don’t just focus on job titles. Delve behind the advertised description to see if it offers (or could offer) ingredients that enable you to not only earn a living but also fulfil your passion and values.

There is no doubt, that the jobs market in 2021 is very different to pre-Covid. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) comes to an end in September and while 2.4m workers (down 50% since January) continue to rely on State payments, it is expected that the change in employer contributions will encourage more people back to ‘normal’ working.

Also, despite unemployment estimated to peak at around 5.5% over the next 18 months, we are certainly seeing an optimism in the jobs market, as UK firms boost investment in their workforce.

Strategic planning

For those looking for their dream job or just simply for a way to cut through all the current job vacancy lists, the key is to create a strategic plan. For example, start by identifying ‘growth’ sectors that are currently experiencing a shortage of professionally qualified staff.

These include engineering, customer service, hospitality, construction, and transportation. Even if you don’t have experience in these fields, on the job training is usually available.

Finally, don’t forget with the jobs market starting to bounce back, now is the time to identify your transferable skills (not just work related) that could just open up the doors to that dream job.

For more information on cutting through the job lists, contact us on 01709 820102 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk

With the increasing uncertainty in the jobs market, it is no surprise to find that many employers are becoming swamped with applications, while at the same time, struggling to filter candidates for their suitability. This is especially critical if there is a deadline looming (such as lockdown easing).

So, how do you ensure you select the most appropriate candidate for the position while at the same time ensuring legal compliance and fairness?

Shortlisting is the answer. But where do you start?

If you are replacing a staff member, you may consider a simple ‘like for like’ criterion but what if they’ve been there some time; things have changed, not just from a job description point of view but the increasing number of legal obligations now involved in the recruitment process?

So, you’ve identified a vacancy, produced a job description, and embarked on recruiting the best person for the job. What do you do first?

Step one is to define your criteria. In other words, what kind of person do you wish to recruit and what skills and experience do they require.

Start by using your job description and person specification to create two lists – Essential and Desirable. These are the requirements you’ve decided a candidate should have before being selected for interview. However, the key to success, when creating these, is to be strict and not inflate them with ‘it would be good if they could also etc.’ Aim to identify half the number of essential requirements compared to desirable qualities.

The first part of shortlisting is fairly straightforward. This is where you sort through the applications and score each one against the set criteria. Those that meet all (or most) of the ‘essential’ criteria can then be moved forward to the next stage.

At this point, it’s also worth mentioning that if more than one person is involved in this part of the selection process, it is crucial that they are working to the same format and terms of reference.

Also, remember when sharing information with colleagues and be aware of the implications of GDPR when disclosing personal data. Even though we are no longer part of the EU, the full GDPR act still applies in the UK.

To manage the shortlisting process, we find it easiest if employers create a spreadsheet with both criteria listed and what they involve.  Also, when deciding what skills / knowledge a candidate needs, it’s worth considering what ‘on the job’ training will be offered. This may have an influence on the final selection, where any missing ‘essential requirements’ are compensated from the ‘desirable’ list.

The essentials

Essential requirements are the must haves, and depending on the sector or industry, this could include:

This list will be the easiest to filter by eliminating those that don’t fit the criteria.  This is another reason why it is important that everyone involved in the process is working from the same template.

The desirables

The desirable list is more complex and comprises attributes that candidates may possess that give them the edge and bring something extra to the organisation. This could include:

Scoring the candidates

Once you have created a spreadsheet with essential and desirable qualities, you can then score each candidate based on your criteria and whittle your list down to a manageable number. 

This is probably the hardest part of the whole process. In fact, even with a comprehensive shortlisting process in place, most employers would agree that choosing the most appropriate candidate from the pool of applicants can be somewhat daunting.

There’s no doubt that having a shortlisting process in place does make the hiring process easier and ultimately more effective in helping you select the right person for the job. A desirable outcome can often be determined by the criteria chosen in the first place.

As we said earlier, if you are replacing a staff member on a like for like basis, it’s fairly straightforward. Ask them what skills and attributes they feel are necessary to do their job. However, do bear in mind depending on how long they have been with you, as there will be changes that now affect the position.

Employment law

For example, employment law has been amended several times in recent years, especially in the context of the UK leaving the EU and employment rights in respect of the Coronavirus pandemic.

This means that, before embarking on the shortlisting process, it’s undoubtedly prudent to have an awareness of the legislation that could affect your decision making. The equality act (2010) covers ‘protected characteristics’ such as disability, maternity, race, religion and sexual orientation, and should be a major consideration when drawing up the shortlist criteria.

It cannot be underestimated how important this is in when creating a shortlisting criteria. As we say, job descriptions and hiring practices might have changed dramatically since you last made the appointment.

Discriminating against someone because of their protected characteristic (not always obvious) even if inadvertently, is against the law and could have serious repercussions. This is another reason for having a strict selection process template in place so that your decision making is carried out objectively and individual perceptions do not influence the process.

Employment law can be a minefield, but our team of specialist recruitment partners will be happy to provide any help or support you require to stay on the right side of it.

A numbers game?

Finally, one of the questions we often get asked when clients are creating a shortlisting process, is how many candidates we should invite for an interview. Unfortunately, there is no real answer to this. Much will depend on your timescale, the quality pool of candidates submitted, and the number of candidates you are looking to recruit.

However, using a recruitment partner such as ourselves, will provide the support you need at this critical time. As a general guideline, we suggest you invite up to a maximum six candidates for a first interview, scaled down to half this number for the second.

Also, as a benchmark, on average around 12% of applicants will be invited to a first interview. Any more than that and your job description and / or shortlisting criteria may need amending.

We are here to answer any questions about effective shortlisting. Contact us on 0845 478 5009 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk to discuss your next vacancy and we will be happy to share our knowledge.

We’re delighted to become a member of Constructionline, meaning we are now a preferred supplier for construction buyers across the UK!

As a key supplier of skilled staff into the construction sector, it’s important for our clients to know they are getting quality staff that are fit for the roles they need to recruit for.

This is something we pride ourselves on at Multitask Personnel, so it’s a great accolade for us to become accredited with Constructionline to provide this additional layer of reassurance to our clients.

We’re looking forward to becoming an active member!

Read more about the benefits of using a Constructionline partner here.

Earlier this year, we wrote about the high cost of staff turnover and the importance of staff retention. Now, as an increasing number of people return to work after a prolonged time away from the office, employers are facing a new challenge – how to re-build workplace confidence and ensure that, once again, it’s a great place to work.

As we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, feeling safe and cared for has overtaken much of what we would term ‘perks of the job’ such as gym memberships or Pizza Friday.

Pre-covid, company culture would most likely involve activities that lighten the spirits of employees. This includes social activities after work, or long weekends, and early finishing. All notable parts of the employment package but, of course, for many members of staff, especially those working from home, this has been their experience for the past 12 months.

What do we mean by company culture and how important is it for attracting and retaining valued employees?

The problem with trying to define company culture is it means different things to different people. A positive shared culture can lead to lower staff turnover, less absenteeism, and a higher calibre of recruitment – all vital ingredients of a return to ‘normal ‘working.

What is company culture, and does it involve every size of business?

It’s probably best described as the personality of the business. This, of course, depends on the type of organisation, e.g. fast paced and dynamic (sales and marketing) or more methodical and static (professional services).

It will also include company policies and procedures, and the organisation’s management style, as well as the way employees feel about working for the company, along with their responsibilities.

It’s this shared ethos that determines whether current and potential staff feel they are a good fit and, of course, vice versa. We are aware that a high percentage (over 40%) of job seekers would not apply to organisations that did not possess their shared values.

We also know that staff who currently work for an organisation that has a company culture that aligns with their own beliefs and mind-set will work harder and stay with the company for longer. On the other hand, conflicts with their personal feelings will reflect on their work performance or result in them leaving.

Company culture is, therefore, high on the list of considerations for new job seekers. But as we said before, building the right employment package based on a single culture style is no longer a guarantee of high calibre recruitment.

Employers need to fully understand what makes their business a great place to work and of course, as we say, it will be different things to different people. For those that have been working from home over the past 12 months, a priority could be the office working environment. We’re not suggesting replicating their home layout in the office, but it is certainly worth discussing if there is anything that can be done to improve their respective workplace. We do, after all, spend almost a third of our life at work!

It could be simple things like more comfortable office furniture, a personalisation of the work desk and a selection of greenery to bring the outside in. Other considerations could be transparent windows that open, rather than relying on air conditioning, to create a brighter and less intimidating environment, as well as a comfortable and acceptable (to other colleagues) temperature etc.

Over the past few years, we have seen significant changes to the office environment. From closed doors and narrow corridors to open plan workplaces able to adapt to the needs of the business, something where employees can influence the layout.

Of course, despite further lockdown easing, there is still a great deal of uncertainty and concern regarding practices such as hot desking or shared kitchen facilities, but this will become clearer as time goes on.

Culture is driven from the top

There is no doubt, that the values of a company culture are driven from the top down. Also, the one thing that has become clear over the past 12 months is the fact that the word ‘care’ keeps recurring when we asked recruits what makes a company a great place to work.

Even before the pandemic, LinkedIn reported that 66% of job seekers consider the culture of the prospective hirer to be a major consideration when looking for employment. It was also reported that businesses who actively manage their company culture achieve 40% higher staff retention.

This means that having a transparent company culture that goes beyond a basic job description, as not only does it help to attract high calibre talent, but also goes a long way to retaining the staff you have already.

How do we build the right employment package, especially in these uncertain times?

If any of your staff have been furloughed or working from home, they will have become used to flexible working practices. Therefore, flexibility becomes a valuable component of the ‘culture of care’.

The one thing that returning staff will have appreciated whilst remote working, is being able to manage their own work-life balance. This could be flexible working hours, juggling childcare duties, or avoiding peak hours if travelling.

Reflecting on this, the one key influence of the pandemic is that working hours don’t have to be the traditional 9-5 if the style of employment can accommodate these changes. With the advancement in technology, it could even include hybrid working with a mix of office and remote working that suits both the employee and employer.

A great place to work is, therefore, a place that puts the individual staff member at the heart of the business. This includes a recognition that an emphasis on competitive performance might now be undervalued by employees, and rewards based on a team spirit might be more appropriate.

And talking of rewards, traditionally, social activities and fun events have generally been the backbone of company culture. In addition to Pizza Friday’s, this includes simple things like chats around the boiling kettle, interaction between colleagues, and celebrating occasions such as birthdays etc.

OK, some of this could be done over Zoom but this is definitely something that remote workers have missed, so it becomes an important part of the company culture as things get back to normal.

Building or re-building a company culture that inspires employees and encourages increased job satisfaction and productivity, is absolutely crucial as we work our way out of the covid pandemic.

As we said earlier, what makes people happy at work is very individualistic, but there are several steps employers can take to create an environment that will inspire an employee to feel secure with their employment.

Here are a few:

One of the main reasons for leaving a company (and no, it’s not money) is because employees don’t like the work environment. A negative workplace culture leads to a toxic workplace, which results in high absenteeism rates, increased staff turnover, low productivity, and unpleasantness between colleagues.

On the other hand, a positive culture fit with the individual encourages an atmosphere that leads to a happy, fulfilled and more productive workforce.

If you would like to discover more about building a post-covid employment package, please contact us on 0845 478 5009 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk

The way we view employment has dramatically changed over the past 50 years. Previous generations grew up with a ‘job for life’ mentality. All that has changed, and today’s working population are accustomed to a fluid employment market. Something that involves, especially in response to the ever expanding gig economy, working for different employers over our working lives.

However, it’s the Covid-19 pandemic that has had the biggest impact on the current flexible jobs market. In fact, some sectors, such as travel, retail, and hospitality, have been hit especially hard and will take a considerable amount of time to recover.

Ultimately, this has created a mass unemployment and reduced opportunities for staff working in these areas. Despite the easing of Covid restrictions, we are still experiencing the repercussions of this fall out – across all industries and sectors.

Could a change of career be the answer?

This is something that many people will consider during their lifetime and not just in times of hardship. In fact, the average person will change careers up to seven times during their working life.

However, according to a recent Covid-19 survey, around 32% of respondents were now considering a change of career as a direct result of the pandemic. And it’s not just those that have been made redundant; there are many who are currently on furlough or working from home that have exactly the same thought going through their head.

Is now really a good time to be thinking about changing careers?

There is no doubt, the last 12 months have been difficult for all of us. Being stuck inside, unable to go away on holiday and with all the doom and gloom plastered all over the media, it’s no surprise that many of us are despondent about our future and wondering whether now is the time to try something new.

On the other hand, even before the pandemic hit, many thousands of people changed careers. However, it is not something to be taken lightly and involves a great deal of thought and family discussion. It can, however, offer many advantages as we will see later.

A trade to the trades?

There are lots of reasons why you might think about a change of career. As we said earlier, you may be currently unemployed or working in an industry that has been decimated by Covid and has dramatically downsized its employment pool.

Or it could just be that you have reached the limit with your present employment and now wish to re-apply your skills and experience to a different industry. In fact, transferring a skill set to a growing industry such as construction, building trades or mechanical and engineering can be a transformative experience.

The challenge of adopting a new career by exploiting current skills and experience is, undoubtedly, life changing for most people. However, as the Covid pandemic starts to re-shape the way many of us do business, this expertise will help drive many businesses out of the current pandemic recession.

And while past generations saw work primarily as a way of paying the bills, today’s working population recognise that a rewarding career can be both enjoyable and fulfilling. This is probably why we are seeing an increasing number of current employees reflecting on their employment situation, with many taking a career change leap of faith.

Unquestionably, lockdown has encouraged people to take a step back and re-assess their current career. For some, it could be a desire for a better work-life balance, something they may have experienced during the past 12 months. For others it could be the need for a new challenge, a less stressful position or even a way of overcoming a lack of enthusiasm in their current role.

Whatever the reason, there are several steps that can be taken for a successful career change

Here are our five.

  1. Write down all the reasons for wanting to change careers

It could be that you feel your talents are not appreciated and you’re despondent about the future – even when things return to some sort of normality.

After all, what was relevant when you first started work, may not apply today. Priorities change and areas such as job satisfaction may now override promotion, bonuses, and perks of the job etc.  These changing values, needs and priorities could indicate you are ready for a change of career.

If this is the case, it’s time to evaluate your current job satisfaction. One of the best ways is to write down, what you like / dislike about your current job. Then apportion it to specifics such as the company, the type of work, the industry or sector, or the people you work for / with.

After all, we spend a considerable amount of time at work. Under normal circumstances, it amounts to around 35 hours a week or 1,795 hours a year which adds up to 84,365 hours over a working lifetime.

That’s equivalent to spending 3,515 full days at work!

It’s a long time if you’re unhappy or lacking motivation. It, therefore, comes as no surprise to discover that job satisfaction is the number one priority for many of today’s employees. And being unhappy at work is one major reason that many consider a career change.

  1. List your professional skills

Once you’ve done that and you still feel a change of direction is for you, then make a list of your professional skills, work experience and any interests that may have a bearing on future employment (such as charity work / leisure pursuits etc.). Also make sure you include your professional qualifications.

And don’t forget, it’s never too late to retrain in a new field, or update your skills. Unlike in the past, when academic qualifications and professional skills were learned for life, today there is a plethora of flexible online courses that enable you to fit your studies around a busy lifestyle.

  1. Talk to a professional recruitment partner

Professional recruiters, such as ourselves, can help you discover job options based on your skill sets and experience. You may be surprised how marketable you are in the current climate. We can also discuss current / potential vacancies that provide a fit.

  1. Find suitable roles

Once you have identified an industry and / or position that marry with your skill set, experience, and core values, we recommend finding out as much as you can about the role and how easy it will be to transfer your talent to an unfamiliar working environment.

We can help with this too, although we’re sure you will also find plenty of information available on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or YouTube.

  1. Test it out

Sometimes, there may be an opportunity to test drive a new role, before committing yourself full time. If this is not possible or desirable, have a look to see if there are any first-hand experiences or videos online.

A new direction may be exactly what you need

There are many benefits to changing a career. As we said earlier, we spend around a third of our lives at work. If we are unhappy or unfulfilled then this will, undoubtedly, have an impact on our personal and family life.

Changing careers could also give you a new direction. Rather than restricting yourself to a time-served career, possibly one you have worked in since starting work, now could be the time to apply your skills and experience to a completely new sector.

However, a career change doesn’t have to involve moving out of your current industry. It could, for example, be a horizontal move, taking on a different role or reducing the hours worked. This could also offer you the chance to try some part time or short term contract work. Our specialist team of recruiters can advise you on this, just give them a call.

Of course, as with most changes there can be a reluctance due to the fear of the unknown. A new working environment is always going to be a daunting experience to start with, and yes it will take time to build new relationships.

However, with the help and support of friends, family, and professional recruiters like us, this could be just the right time to broaden your horizons by either transferring your skill set and experience to a different industry or taking on a different role within your current sector. If you would like to discover more about changing careers, give us a call on 0845 478 5009 or email enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk

We have recruiters who focus on each area of a business within our specialist sectors, including Business Support, Blue Collar, White Collar & Executive level appointments.
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