Employment and the Law – Recent Developments

June 11th, 2010 No comments

Coalition – key issues

After forming the first coalition Government in Britain for 70 years, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats recently published their programme for “partnership government”, stated to be “more radical and comprehensive” than their individual manifestos. 

The programme has a number of implications for employers, including the following:

Equalities

• The Government will promote equal pay and take a range of measures to end discrimination in the workplace.
• The right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees and the Government will consult with businesses on how best to do this.
• Gender equality on the boards of listed companies will be promoted. 

Europe

• The Government will work to limit the application of the Working Time Directive in the UK.
Families 
• The Government will encourage shared parenting from the earliest stages of pregnancy, including the promotion of a system of flexible parental leave. 
Government transparency
• The Government will introduce new protections for whistleblowers in the public sector.

Immigration 

• An annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work will be introduced. The mechanism for implementing the limit will be considered jointly.
Jobs and welfare 
• The Government will end all existing welfare to work programmes and create a single welfare-to-work programme to help all unemployed people get back into work. 
• The programme outlines the Government’s support for the National Minimum Wage (although no statement is made about increasing it).

Political reform

• The Government will reform the Civil Service Compensation Scheme to bring it into line with the practice in the private sector.

Retirement age

• The default retirement age will be phased out and the Government will hold a review to set the date at which the state pension age starts to rise to 66, although it will not be sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women.

Legislation

• The Government will cut red tape by introducing a ‘one-in, one-out’ rule, whereby no regulation is brought in without other regulation being cut by a greater amount. 
• The Government will review employment and workplace laws, to ensure they maximise flexibility for both parties while protecting fairness and providing a competitive environment.

By Louise Fernandes-Owen of Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP.

Skills shortage during recovery

According to a recent report from the CBI, employers fear that they will be unable to find people with appropriate skills during the recovery.

Half of employers (51%) are concerned they will not be able to fill posts requiring the right graduate level or higher skills in the coming years, and a third (32%) don’t believe it will be possible to fill intermediate level jobs, requiring skills equivalent to A level. A third (30%) of employers predict the need for lower-level skills will decrease, while just 17% say it will increase. 

Nearly half of employers (45%) say they are already having difficulty recruiting staff with skills in science, technology, engineering and maths, with manufacturers and science-related businesses having the most difficulty finding highly-skilled people to fill their posts, in spite of the recession. Even more companies (59%) expect to have difficulty finding people with such skills in the next three years.

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With the rising numbers of an older generation of workers, what impact will this have in legal issues in the staffing industry?

June 11th, 2010 No comments

Age has been grabbing the headlines over the past few months, most recently with Harriet Harman bestowing a rather annoying new label on the cohort of healthy, active, older people, the wellderly.
Last year it was the finding of the High Court, following years of wrangling which went all the way to the European Court of Justice and back, that the default retirement age in the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2009 was lawful. The Age Regulations allow employers to retire employees against their will at 65 as long as they follow the correct procedures.
While employers are not compelled to retire employees at this age, the law certainly makes it easier.

Boom time
In the next few years we will see the baby boomers reaching retirement age. There are already nearly 10 million people in the UK aged 65 and over and it is no longer uncommon for people to spend up to a third of their life in retirement. Combine our ageing population with the unprecedented economic challenges now facing the public purse, businesses and individuals, and it is not surprising that the working life of older people has become a hot topic.
The High Court noted in its judgment that there was now a ‘compelling’ case for setting the default retirement age higher than 65 and that it had taken into account the Government’s decision to bring forward its review of the default retirement age to 2010. The Government is currently calling for evidence to feed into the review. Where this review will lead is anyone’s guess, particularly given the proximity of the election, but Harriet Harman’s recent comments on the subject suggest that the Government is minded to increase, if not abolish the default retirement age.
So, from 2011, changes to the law may mean that forced retirement will be unlawful but will the old but fit be welcome in the workforce?
Aside from forced retirement, the Age Regulations allow employers to refuse to hire someone over 65, or the employer’s normal retirement age, without having to justify it and to refuse to consider an application from anyone who applies for a job within six months of their 65th birthday (or the employer’s normal retirement age if this is over 65).

Discrimination remains
Even if the law is changed, it can only do so much to prevent age discrimination. In order for there to be equal opportunities in the workplace, including in terms of ensuring that older workers have the same access to training, stereotyped assumptions about older people and concerns over the difficulties of dealing with a reduction in productivity over a number of years, will need to be dispelled.
Whilst older workers may wish to continue working, they may not want to be bound to work in the same way. To have the right to request to work flexibly – already available to some employees, including those with young children, would no doubt be of assistance. If this right could be extended to older workers, as Harriet Harman has recently suggested, it could offer a less abrupt end to working life. The option to be involved in a coaching or mentoring role, or a transition to contracting or consulting could offer further flexibility and encourage older workers to remain in the workplace.
But what does the future hold for those, wellderly or not, that would like to retire? One of the most significant potential barriers to people living a happy and fulfilled later life is the uncertainty about the financial future, will they have enough to live on after they stop work? A series of legislative changes will have consequences for those wishing to retire.
Pensions are one area which will get significant coverage over the course of the next Parliamentary term.
Both the current Government and the Conservative Party have proposed the restoration of the link between the State Pension and earnings. The Government has pledged to do this by 2010 or the end of the next Parliament at the latest.
Given that, according to the Government, adding an additional year to working lives could increase UK Gross Domestic Product by around two per cent, the value of older workers will not go unnoticed whichever party finds itself in the driving seat. What older workers will no doubt be looking for are developments which give them the choice as to how they spend their time but the involvement of the old but fit should ideally be encouraged rather than compelled.

Monday 7th June        The Recruitment Consultant

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Sneaky job seekers turn to spying

June 11th, 2010 No comments

A staggering eight out of ten IT workers (79%) would try to gain inside secrets about an organisation and its recruitment process to help them get a job.

That is the astonishing finding of a survey by The IT Job Board.

The research also discovered that 62% of IT workers would keep details about a job they were applying for secret from their colleagues to avoid competition for a role.

Meanwhile, 58% of candidates would flatter or compliment their boss to get a pay rise or promotion over their colleagues and just over a fifth (23%) would claim colleagues’ ideas as their own.

A third (32%) of people would even create a problem so they could fix it and “save the day”, giving them extra kudos with their boss and direct colleagues.

The respondents had mixed views on participating in underhand activities.

While 38% of respondents took a dim view of using “out of the ordinary” tactics to boost their chances of getting a job, stating such tactics were morally wrong, some 23% of people said these tactics were fine as long as they didn’t hurt anyone.

Other surprising statistics the survey showed were as follows:
* 15% of respondents said that using out of the ordinary tactics to secure a role was necessary as it was a tough market out there;
* 35% of respondents said they would telephone a recruiter continuously to try and secure an interview, and;
* 13% of respondents said they would visit a recruiter’s premises and refuse to leave until they were seen.

The IT Job Board managing director Alex Farrell said: “Getting the inside scoop on a company prior to applying for a role does show initiative, however fellow candidates feel this is breaking an unwritten ‘rule’.

“These results show that there is increased competition in the market.”

Recruitment today      Tuesday 25th May 2010

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Financial job offers DOUBLE in month

June 11th, 2010 No comments

A surge in job offers by hedge funds is behind a solid overall increase in recruitment activity in the financial services sector, a survey has found.

The research, commissioned by London pre‐employment screening firm Powerchex, raises expectations within the City that the economic recovery is being sustained.

Powerchex found the number of employment offers made in April 2010 was up 12% on the previous month.

This growth was driven mainly by hedge funds, with a massive 93% INCREASE in offers compared to March of this year.

Stockbrokerage and insurance firms also showed moderate improvements, up 23% and 12% respectively.

Powerchex director Alexandra Kelly believes modest growth shown over the first four months of 2010 would have been even higher, had the threat of a closely-contested General Election not been hanging over the economy, with financial services particularly affected.

“Many organisations were delaying making strategic and funding‐based decisions until after the election. Unpredictability caused by a close election battle was particularly prevalent in the financial services sector, with firms avoiding large‐scale recruitment until they could be sure of the intentions of the new administration, especially regarding all the talk of an increase in employers’ National Insurance contributions, and the possible break‐up of the banks.”

Comparing the recruitment figures from April 2010 to the same month one year previously, the Powerchex survey shows a dramatic increase, with recruitment activity improving by at least 25% in every industry sector, and total job offers up 87%.

“The figures show an amazing improvement, that things have been getting steadily better since the beginning of 2009,” Kelly said.

“However, we are comparing this to the very depths of the recession, and recruitment activity still has a little way to go to match its prerecession levels. I understand from our competitors that this improvement is not being matched in other industry sectors; this really is a phenomenon specific to the city of London, and financial services in particular.”

Recruitment today       Tuesday 18th May 2010

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Generation Standby never goes offline

June 11th, 2010 No comments

The rise of a new group of people who cannot separate work from personal tasks and social chit-chat has been identified by researchers.

Dubbed “Generation Standby” these people emerged from a study by software security company Clearswift in a report outlining the impact of social media and Web 2.0 on today’s workplace.

Generation Standby is so attuned to this way of working that even in these economically-challenging times, one-fifth (21%) would turn down a job that did not allow them to access social networking sites or personal email during work time.

The characteristics of this group are that they are regularly “home-ing” from work due to the increased pressure to work longer hours, regularly carrying out social and private tasks at work. The trend is most pronounced among 25–34 year olds, with 57% undertaking personal tasks such as checking social networks, email, online shopping at work. Although 66% of all employees say they make up the time they spend using the internet for personal reasons by working later or through lunch.

And it is men who are more likely to “home from work” than women:
* Logging into social networking sites: 48% men vs 36% of women;
* Checking personal email: 69% of men vs 54% of women;
* Shopping online: 34% of men vs 20% of women.

While the majority of employees are willing to be flexible when it comes to longer hours or different hours, as the business demands, they do expect some “give” in return:
* 79% respondents said over and above job role and pay, the most important things to them in a job included being trusted to manage their own time, and being trusted to use the internet as they wish.
* 62% of employees feel they should be able to access web/social networking content from their work computer for personal reasons (compared to 51% of managers) to complete “home-ing from work” tasks.

Hilary Backwell, Clearswift – Global HR Director said: “Call it multi-tasking or life-splicing but increasingly, fuelled by advances in technology, employees are blurring the boundaries between home and work. What this report has shown is that ‘Generation Standby’ employees are now enjoying, and expecting, greater levels of flexibility and mobility than ever before – but this cultural shift raises new questions about trust in the workplace, the use of new technologies, the balance of power in the employer v employee relationship and levels of control that businesses now have over people and content.”

Recruitment today       Tuesday 25th May 2010

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Launch of website to track employee opinions

June 11th, 2010 No comments

A website launched this week is set to provide students and graduate job hunters with a unique source of employer reviews. For the first time, Gradjobsuncovered.com will enable recent graduates to post anonymous reviews of their employer, giving students an insight before applying for graduate positions. Gradjobsuncovered.com currently holds over 1,000 reviews from graduates following an online advertising campaign, but this figure is currently increasing at a rate of up to 20 per day. Each reviewer is rewarded with gift vouchers for use on Amazon.co.uk. Organisations currently reviewed on the site include Deloitte, Nestlé, Clifford Chance, Goldman Sachs, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar Landrover, and the NHS.  www.Gradjobsuncovered.com

UK RECRUITER 19th May 2010

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JOB ALERT – LONDON SPECIFICATION SALES PROFESSIONAL

February 16th, 2010 No comments

Salary & Benefits:  c£40k per annum + car allowance, personal pension, medical insurance and profit-related bonus scheme

Location:  Within easy reach of London

Job Specification:

For more than sixty years, this market leader has engineered and manufactured high-quality, innovative surfacing solutions for virtually any environment.

Due to continued planned expansion, they now wish to appoint an experienced specification sales professional to cover London and surrounding areas, predominantly within the architect and design community to obtain architectural and design specifications for the full product range, both commercial and residential.

You will be accountable for developing relationships with A&D firms, Corporate end users, government/municipal agencies including universities, airport authorities, the rail and underground administration, etc

You should be a talented individual with an instinctive eye for opportunity. Confident and strong enough to represent the products and challenge creatively at frequent client pitches, you will be comfortable with prospecting and conducting client facing presentations. Demonstrable experience of the A&D community essential.

This is an excellent opportunity to join a successful and expanding organisation with a reputation for quality.

For more details of this position, or to register your interest in this role, contact us now or email your CV to jobs@therecruitmenthub.co.uk

JOB ALERT – French speaking export sales

February 16th, 2010 No comments

Salary & Benefits:  c£35k per annum + BUPA, 10% Bonus and Pension after 3 months 

Commutable Locations: Northampton, Bedford, Dunstable, Luton, Milton Keynes 

Company Profile:

A $40 million market leading organisation providing equipment and innovations to the retail industry.  Lively, hard working global business with head office in USA who are market leaders in the shop fitting and retail interiors industry. The growth of the UK business has been excellent of the last 4 years and turnover has increased significantly. Due to planned expansion, an opportunity exists for a French speaking export sales person with experience in the construction, shop fitting, capital equipment or engineering industry.

Job Specification:

Due to continued planned expansion, an opportunity now exists for an experienced field sales achiever with experience of selling internationally. This varied role will involve sales growth through existing customers and new business development and the main focus will be on appointing and managing Distributors throughout Ireland, mainland Europe, Nordics, Russia and Middle East. You will be accountable for training and motivating your distributor’s sales teams to sell, survey a store, mark up and estimate a drawing, produce a quotation and chase an outstanding payment.

Direct sales to end user retailers and OEMs will also rest in your capable hands. Capable of managing project based / complex sales processes and delivering a fully integrated service from conceptual idea through manufacture to delivery, installation and follow up, you will also be responsible for generating powerful commercial and technical proposals and quotations and completing the appropriate sales order processing administration.

Requirements:  

We are interested in:

  • Experienced field sales achievers with experience of selling internationally an instinctive eye for opportunity
  • Experience of managing and creating demand through distributors.
  • At least one language – French would be most useful, but any language would be a benefit including Russian
  • Ambitious, self-motivated and self-sufficient individuals with strong IT skills including Excel
  • Adventurous spirit and savvy traveler, willing to travel extensively, often full weeks.
  • Good decision maker and problem solver
  • Strong Commercial Acumen – commercial understanding of pricing / margins / costs
  • Technical sales background preferred – Capital equipment, engineering or shop fitting /construction
  • Strong relationship builder, buoyant and keen to work independently and cross functionally across the business
  • Optimistic, can-do and wants to delight customers
  • Attention to detail, particularly in following up with customers
  • Analytical and able to understand costs, margins and prices

 For more details of this position, or to register your interest in this role, contact us now 01234 241108 or email your CV to sam@therecruitmenthub.co.uk

JOB ALERT – Commercial Manager / Project Services Manager, shopfitting

February 12th, 2010 No comments

Salary: c£40k including car allowance and substantial benefits package

Commutable Locations: Northampton, Milton Keynes, Kettering, Bedford

Company Profile: A global market leader, capable of delivering an innovative and fully integrated service from conceptual idea through manufacture to delivery and installation, you will be handling the store interior design requirements of some of the biggest names in the High street, Grocery and Banks.

Job Specification:

  • Lead and strategically develop the Project Services team
  • Lead team that will administer and compile tenders, quotations, invoice requests, call-off’s, order processing and system maintenance.
  • Set, monitor and review team K.P.I’s
  • Manage and assist team members to ensure that all daily tasks are correctly prioritised and completed effectively, accurately and according to deadlines and K.P.I’s
  • Ensure that the team receive the required structured department training programme to perform effectively in the role.   
  • Ensure tenders, call-offs, quotations, account information, project invoicing and project supporting files are timely and accurately issued.
  • Challenge the client, business information and specifications where necessary.
  • Obtain and monitor information issued by the Project Managers and Sales team.
  • Assist teams with specification and queries in line with the Project Manager and Operations Manager.
  • Attend client meetings in liaison with the Account Manager.
  • Liaise with other departments to enhance and develop working relationships and company practice and procedures.
  • Actively work to reduce waste by reviewing and analysing the department.
  • Liaise with the senior team on client specification amendments and updates.
  • Lead regular motivational team meetings to review departmental activity, communicate company updates, discuss current issues or improvement projects and provide a forum for open team discussion
  • Liaise with H.R on recruitment, staff reviews, Health and Safety, appraisals, performance management and any arising required disciplinary measures.
  • Authorise holidays and submit overtime recommendations to the Business Leader for authorisation.
  • Proactively and periodically review and evaluate department efficiency and processes, demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement in performance, process simplification and cost reduction.

 Requirements:

  • Excellent leadership skills with previous supervisory/ team leadership experience
  • Relevant or related Industry experience
  • Experience of staff development, recruitment and personnel issues
  • Good numerical ability with a highly proactive approach
  • High commercial acumen with excellent communication skills, written and verbal, at all levels
  • Ability to remain calm and in control under pressure
  • Delegation skills and the ability to be assertive when required
  • Organised and methodical approach to daily workload
  • Technical aptitude
  • Multi tasking ability
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Ability to adapt to new specifications and systems
  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy
  • High level of client awareness/ focus
  • Ability to obtain, interpret and communicate detailed information clearly and accurately
  • I.T literate with good working knowledge of  MS Word & Excel
  • Experience of working in a busy/ pressurised environment
  • Experience of working to deadlines
  • Experience of detailed and methodical work

For more details of this position, or to register your interest in this role, contact us now or email your CV to sam@therecruitmenthub.co.uk

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JOB ALERT – ESTIMATOR, retail equipment manufacturer

November 6th, 2009 No comments

Estimator

Salary & Benefits: 

£26,000 Basic

Private Medical Care (BUPA).

Company Pension

25 days holiday per annum plus public holidays.

Subsidised canteen 

 Location:  Bucks, Beds, Northants, Warks, Leicestershire 

Company Profile:  Major shop equipment / retail display manufacturer

Job Specification:

To generate estimated costs, qualifications to quotes / tenders, manufacturing bills of materials and labour guides from a variety of source information including visuals, CAD drawings, mock ups and prototypes.

 o A team player with the ability to develop good working relationships with all areas of the business from the sales team to suppliers.
 o Commercially aware.
 o Able to challenge through value engineering and the use of alternative materials

Position in Organisation 
o Reports directly to the Commercial Manager.
o Works within the Estimating Team.
Liaises with Sales and Production at all levels.

Scope of Job 
o Establish Brief with Commercial Manager.
o Estimating in accordance with brief.
o Preparation of written / sketched enquiries to suppliers for competitive price attainment.
o Generating tender response information and brief for development engineers.
o Following successful securing of contract / work the assembly of manufacturing bills of materials and labour guides on a database system.
o Other duties as general support for other departments within the business as and when required.
o Validation of estimates and labour synthetics

Dimensions & Limits of Authority 
o Preparation of estimates and tenders for approval by the Commercial Manager.

Qualifications and Requirements
o “O” Levels essential (or equivalent GCSE’s)
o A” Levels (or equivalent) desirable but not essential.
o Accuracy and attention to detail essential.
o Good verbal and written communication skills essential.
o Good numerical and literacy skills.
o Capable of interpreting design visuals and CAD drawings.
o Minimum period of 5 years spent in a relevant / related industry.
o Working knowledge of general Microsoft operating systems, with an emphasis on the use of Microsoft Excel or equivalent spreadsheet based applications.
o Experience in working with and or estimating using timber based disciplines essential, experience also in metals/plastics & print would be preferable.
o Experience in procurement preferred but not essential.
o Knowledge of lean manufacturing principles and disciplines preferred but not essential.