Recruitment News: Reforming the Apprenticeship System, PR vs Journalism Salaries & the John Lewis Row

Hi! It’s a new week so I’m here to bring you your next round-up of news and resources! Enjoy!

Businesses See Older Workers as Most Talented Employees

According to a CIPD survey of over 2,000 HR line managers and HR managers, older workers are perceived as the most employable and talented of all underrepresented demographic groups in the workforce.

The ‘Attitudes to Employability and Talent’ report explores views towards employability and saw workers aged over 55 scored an average of 6.93 out of 10 when ranked on the attributes to describe a talented employee. They’re seen as having a more positive attitude to work although lower potential to develop compared to young people (who scored 5.6 overall). Older employees are also highly rated on their ability to be well connected, their ability to hit the ground running, and on their relevant skills and experience.

Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the CIP said: “There is quite a lot of data from companies like B&Q that have managed to show a significant return on investment by employing older people, in terms of the quality of customer service they can offer. The accumulated experience and skills of older workers is extremely valuable.” So it looks like you might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but the tricks they do know are fantastic.


Apprenticeship System Needs Radical Reform

In order to raise the quality of apprenticeships, a radical reform is in order – highlights a new report from the CIPD. A collection of essays written by a range of vocational training experts that explore the deep-lying problems around apprenticeship provision in the UK, reveal that there is need for change in the system.

6 in 10 apprenticeships created in the UK are only at Level 2, which is the equivalent to just 5 GCSE passes. Also, the percentage of apprenticeships start for people aged under 25 has dropped significantly from 99.8% of all apprenticeships to 57% in the last decade. Only a 5th of these started at Level 3, and they were reserved for 16-24 year olds in 2014-15.

The report shows that while the number of under-25 year olds starting an apprenticeship as decreased by 24%, the number of over-25s has increased by a massive 336%. The number of people over the age of 60 has grown by 753%. The report shows that the use of apprenticeships to meet training needs of low paid (and older employees) undermines their role as a structured route into skilled work.

The paper concludes that the Government’s target of achieving 3 million apprenticeships starts by 2020 and the planned introduction of an apprenticeship levy in its current form is more likely to undermine apprenticeship quality. While recent reforms – including apprenticeships needing to be at least 12 months – are unlikely to address the underlying weaknesses in the apprenticeship system.

Chief Executive of the CIPD, Peter Cheese said: “This in-depth analysis of the UK’s apprenticeship system suggests there is still a long way to go before the majority of apprenticeships in the UK really do provide a meaningful, high-quality vocational pathway into employment that is a genuine alternative to university.“


PR vs Journalists Salaries

It’s hardly surprising that the average PR professional can expect to earn a higher salary at all stages of their career compared to journalists, but earlier this year the PRCA (Public Relations and Communications Association) revealed that the average PR salary is £45,100 whereas the ‘Journalists in the UK’ report from the Reuters Institute found that the average journalist salary is between £28,812 and £38,400. It also found that 20% of journalists earn less than £20,000 a year compared to 6% of PR professionals.

A National Council for the Training of Journalists survey back in 2012 highlighted that journalists working in broadcast are amongst the highest paid, with the Reuters 2015 study finding around 20% of those mainly working in broadcast take home £4,000 a month. If you compare this with those working at magazines in newspaper whose rank amongst the lowest paid in journalism. Tough going.

It seems to be that full-time staff journalists appear to earn similar monthly salaries to freelance journalists, though the average freelance PR’s annual salary is roughly £10,00 more than those working in house or in agencies. Could this explain why so many ex-journalists now work in PR?


UK’s Perfect Job Revealed: But How Perfect is Yours?

Have you ever wondered what Brits look for in a perfect job? So have we, but luckily we’ve found the perfect results to tell you exactly what the British expect from their occupations. Here are the top 10 qualities we look for in the “perfect job”:

Competitive Salary and Benefits 22%
Long-Term Job Security 16%
Work/Life Balance 9%
Conveniently Located 8%
Interesting Day-to-Day Work 8%
Pleasant Working Atmosphere 8%
Financially Healthy Employer 5%
Flexible Working 5%
Good Training 4%
Career Progression 4%

These results come from a survey of 8,100 UK employees by the global recruitment consultancy Randstad. The biggest selling point of the perfect job at 22% is a competitive salary combined with top-drawer benefits packages. Second to this, 16% of people view long-term job security as a trait of the perfect job, while in 3rd place we have work/life balance.

Although most areas of the UK consider a competitive salary most important, people in Wales, the North East and Northern Ireland placed the most value on long-term job security. There’s a difference in age groups too. People aged 25-44 view competitive salaries as the most important whereas people aged 18-24 viewed a pleasant atmosphere as a trait of the perfect job. What do you view as important when it comes to a great position?


Mothers with Young Children a Third Less Likely to be In Work Than Fathers

So according to the TUC, on average just 64% of mothers of children aged 0-4 are in paid employment compared to the 93% of men with pre-school aged children. The analysis has shown that the age of a woman’s youngest child has a clear influence on whether or not she works. Employment rates for mothers increases by 11% to 75% on for women with kids at primary school and by 17% (to 81%) for mothers with kids in secondary school.

There appears to be regional differences in maternal employment rates. In London, Yorkshire and the West Midlands, fewer than 6 in 10 mothers of preschool children are in work. In the East of England, Wales and the South West as well as Scotland, this rises to nearer 7 in 10.

Employment rates are above 90% throughout the country for men with pre-school children. This would suggest that theres regional variations in the availability and cost of transport, childcare and housing which influence the work decisions of mothers. Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary said: It’s worrying that so many women with young children are locked out of work because they have kids. We need to share parenting more equally – else the gender pay gap will take decades to close. They continued: “We also need to do more to support working mums. That means making sure that affordable childcare is available from the end of maternity leave to the start of school.”


John Lewis Blames National Living Wage for Profit Plunge

The retailer reported profits of £56.9m in the half year to July, which is a decrease of 75% on the previous 6 months and it is anticipating job losses as a result. It plans to continue paying more than the NLW (National Living Wage) even though it blames the introduction of the new minimum rate for its dramatic fall in profits.

John Lewis appears to blame the additional pay increases for its financial worries. Raising wages across the partnership rather than just for the lowest paid has led to a £33m increase in staff costs. In a statement, John Lewis said: “Higher pay depends on better productivity and greater contribution, and we anticipate that this will mean we will have fewer partners over time as compared to today.”

John Lewis is just one of the latest businesses to suggest the National Living Wage has had an effect on its bottom line. According to a Federation of Small Businesses survey, 16% of its members recruited fewer people after the NLW was introduced. Nearly a quarter slashed staff hours and 23% cut back on investment as well. Despite all this, employers seem to have adapted to the new minimum wage without significant job losses, which is good news as far as we’re concerned.


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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.