Recruitment News 2017: Facebook Research, Brexit Exodus & The Minimum Wage

Welcome to your second instalment of the ABL Recruitment March newsletter! Get yourself a cup of coffee and bunker down for the next ten minutes!

What Will Happen When the Brexit Exodus Hits the Jobs Market?

Brexit has been a consternation of ours ever since the shock referendum vote. We know that we are leaving the Single Market as well as the European Union, and that this means a far more restricted migration policy. How this actually winds up playing out remains to be seen. One thing we can be certain of is that fears for job security will almost certainly lead to a mass exodus of European workers from the UK.

But how will this effect recruiters and their processes? Let’s look at the positives.

Expanded Horizons

As part of the EU, recruiters can search for candidates from anywhere within the Eurozone without the hassle of potential visa issues or additional paperwork. Whilst we don’t know exactly how Brexit negotiations will determine how future economic migration from EU countries functions, we can be sure that the process will be more complicated than it currently is.

How is this positive?

This would then put EU candidates in the same bracket as those from US and Asian markets, which can often be overlooked due to added hassle of bureaucracy . When looking for a foreign candidate this would effectively level the playing field and expand the horizons for recruitment into broader territories. 

Bolstering Homegrown Talent

On the other end of the spectrum, these restrictions will mean that much greater focus is placed on homegrown talent. Sure, in some ways this is restrictive; you have far less candidates to choose from and more jobs than can be filled by the better recruits. However, with a smaller catchment of candidates, searches can be more focused and drilled down to the specific person the company wants.

Helping Foreign Workers

It’s an undeniable fact that we will have to employ foreign workers in order to support our economic and business demands. This means that as recruiters we need to make it easier for companies, and prospective foreign candidates to actually enter the UK, secure a job and feel comfortable. Working alongside governing bodies, we will have the responsibility to make the voice of the foreign worker heard, and reaffirm their welcome in the UK.

Over 50% of UK Workers Feel Trapped by the Rigid Structure of Their Workplace

It may seem calm in the office, but according to a report from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), more than half of employees are considering moving jobs because they feel too restricted. Not good.

The report also claims that:

  • – 34% of employees said they would like more freedom and flexibility.
  • – 32% of respondents wanted more innovation and creativity in their job roles and the company as a whole.  
  • – 34% felt that the structure of the workplace was too regulated and controlled.
  • – 74% simply stated they wanted more freedom.


Ok. So what can you do with that as a business owner? Thankfully ILM have created a manifesto called ‘Addressing the Leadership Lag’, which offers suggestions as to how managers can remain strong and productive whilst being less rigid. Here are a few excerpts:

“People today want to work at flexible, fun and friendly organisations – and those who can deliver on that always have an edge in recruitment.

“Organisations need to be flexible, allowing employees to pursue career ambitions and manage conflicting home life pressures as much as possible, and encourage creativity – injecting passion and new ideas into the workplace.”

“Rather than decisions being made at the top (the ramifications of which are cascaded among workers whether they like it or not), forward-thinking organisations are engaging employees at each stage to generate ideas and ensure buy-in from the start.

“The result is a more passionate and dedicated workforce, that is aligned with the company’s vision and objectives.”

Food for thought. Read the full manifesto here.

The Gender Pay Gap is also a Men’s Issue Too

In the endless conversation on gender dynamics, we are constantly confronted by the fact that there is a startling gender pay gap which shows no real signs of going away. Whilst most can agree that something needs to be done, the framing of the important questions as to ‘what’ and ‘how’ seem to be placed squarely back on the women decrying change.

Those who profit from the inequality won’t see the need for systemic reform, so perhaps we should start to talk about how the gender pay gap is a men’s issue too. For one, the imbalance places a massive burden on the country’s global competitiveness.

A couple of weeks ago PricewaterhouseCoopers released a report which argues that the pay gap poses a ‘reputational risk to business’, in particular to the financial industry where women are paid an average of 34% less than their male counterparts. Combined with the fact that only 7% of CE positions at FTSE 100 companies are held by women, we can see that representation is still at a staggering low. This sort of practise will be frowned upon and may translate to loss of business from other, more progressive companies

The counterargument is of course one of parental leave and the fact that women tend to choose to prioritise family over business. However, the question is whether this is actually a matter of choice, or a matter of patriarchal structures which make it hard for men to take paternity leave.

The argument, as far as I can see it, needs to be restructured to be inclusive of men and the burden of work put upon their shoulders, as much as it is about women deserving better pay. I feel that only once we start using the right language to have the conversation, we can begin to affect the changes that desperately need to occur.

The Top 10 Most Bizarre Excuses For Paying Less Than Minimum Wage

Talking of unscrupulous payment practises, a recent investigation from the HMRC has revealed the worst reasons employers have given for paying their employees below the national minimum wage. Some of which are downright bizarre…

  1. “The employee wasn’t a good enough worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.” Charming.
  2. “It’s part of UK employment culture not to pay young workers for their 3 month probation period as they have to prove their worth.” Unpaid internships on a whole new level.
  3. “I thought it was ok to pay foreign workers below the National Minimum Wage as they aren’t British and therefore don’t have the same rights.” Who on earth gave them that idea?!
  4. “She doesn’t deserve the National Minimum Wage, she only makes the tea and sweeps the floor.” Who’s ‘she’? The cat’s mother?
  5. “I have made an agreement with my workers that I will pay them under the minimum wage, they agreed, and we’ve got a contract.” Oh right, in that case it’s fine…
  6. “My accountant and I speak different languages. He doesn’t understand me and that’s why he doesn’t pay my workers the correct wages.” It’s not my fault, honest guv’na!
  7. “My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to people who work for themselves.” But what if they identified as a worker who was paid the minimum wage? Would the world collapse under an existential paradox?
  8. “My workers are often just on standby when there are no customers in the shop; I only pay them for when they’re actually serving someone.” I think they have confused ‘worker’ with ‘drone’. Easy mistake to make.
  9. “My employee is still learning so they aren’t entitled to the National Minimum Wage.” Only people who know everything are entitled to minimum wage. Duh!
  10. “The National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to my business.” Of course, you must run one of those non-UK UK businesses.

Though we can make light of their responses, it is frankly unacceptable that business owners think they can get away with such exploitative behaviour.

Workplace Etiquette: Colleagues Taking Credit for your Work

I hope it hasn’t happened to you, but I fear that it may go on far more than we actually realise. A situation that can leave you boiling with rage, especially after you’ve worked your proverbial off, what do you do when someone takes credit for the work that you’ve done?

An article from Recruiting Times offers you five ways of dealing with credit thieves:

  1. Do Confront Them. Don’t Do It There And Then

Whilst the temptation is to let your rage erupt, no-one will benefit from a public outburst, and, in fact, you will probably come out worse off. Instead take some time, calm yourself down and simply ask later.

Don’t come across all accusative, but do make sure you assert yourself and try to understand why your colleague didn’t credit you. Honesty works so well, and placing the burden of guilt will hopefully prevent this happening again in the future.

  1. Own Your Ideas

When it comes to team tasks, make sure your voice is heard, and the people know that they’re your ideas. Of course, on the other extreme this may alienate team members and come across boastful. Instead, the way to deal with this is to help manage the project and create clearly defined strategies for your ideas to come to life.

  1. Lead By Example

It’s all well and good demanding credit for your work, but are you giving credit where it’s due? Encourage your team (this includes your seniors as well as juniors). People remember compliments and will be far more inclined to reciprocate in the future.

  1. Don’t Give It All Away

Whilst it’s certainly a virtue to be humble in your approach to your work, don’t let yourself be overrun by more dominant personalities. If you’re the one staying behind after work, finishing jobs from home, make sure that people are aware of the extra effort you are putting into your projects.

If you’re not getting the support you need, see if the higher ups can help you out. A little prod such as simply asking for a helping hand will highlight your commitment to achieving the best for the business.

  1. Don’t Milk It

Whilst you might want to highlight the amount of effort you are putting into your work, don’t take it too far. You don’t want to get a reputation for yourself as a person who always tries to elevate themselves over others.

Facebook Snooping. Not Cool?

If you’re a Facebook user you will know how easy it is to fall down the rabbit hole of profile snooping. You can find yourself doing it without even thinking, simply in search of something, or out of sheer boredom. However, when it comes to candidate research, is it acceptable to ‘stalk’ your potential employee’s profile?

Keely Rushmore, Senior Associate at SA Law, has advised recruiters on what is and isn’t legal when it comes to using Facebook’s book of faces.

Legally Speaking…

“Websites such as Facebook or Twitter are likely to reveal information that is protected under equality legislation. This might be disability, sexual orientation or race for example.”

Therefore, if you make a decision based on information gleaned in this way, you could be setting yourself up for a lawsuit. ‘But they will never find out,’ thinks the dastardly recruiter. Well, Keely has an answer for that too,

“It’s tempting to think that the candidate might never find out, but if the documentation obtained and generated during the recruitment process doesn’t tally with the decision made, then this can lead to the candidate asking awkward questions, and potentially a claim.

“Further, recording or using information about candidates from websites will fall under the data protection legislation, and it’s crucial to ensure that you don’t fall foul of its requirements.”

‘But It’s Important For My Business’

Well if you’re going to do it, make sure you do it right. If for whatever reason you feel that it’s absolutely necessary that you run social media checks, then make sure that the candidate is fully aware of it.

“It should be made clear early on in the recruitment process that vetting will take place and how it will be conducted so that candidates are fully informed. It’s also important to ensure consistency – if you’re going to check one candidate, check them all. It might seem time-consuming and unnecessary for the sake of a quick, five-minute Google search, but it will save considerable hassle (and costs) in the long-term.”

So there you have it. The law. My personal opinion? Your candidates private lives should remain their private lives. You should be far too preoccupied with their business acumen to snoop around their Facebook account.

Did you know?

[Tweet “The language with the largest alphabet in the world belongs to the Cambodian language Khmer and is 74 characters long.”]

About the author…

Nicole Debson
Director & Founder

With 30 years in recruitment, a genuine interest in people and a desire to help forge careers, Nicole has built ABL on the principle of making businesses better and that little bit more international. Seeking to help candidates navigate their career path; to help clients find the ideal employee, her hands on approach is what has moulded our company. Fluent in French, with good Spanish, and a Masters in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management, you’ll find Nicole thumbing through her well-worn copy of Jack London’s White Fang, her all-time favourite book.