Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) comprise the ‘engine room’ of the UK’s business economy. Figures from the Department of Business Skills and Innovation underline their importance and reveal that SMBs make up 99% of all businesses and account for 59% of all private sector employment and 49% of all private sector turnover, so there’s nothing ‘small’ about their role in contributing to the economic recovery.
From 30 June 2014, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees with 26 weeks of service.
Currently, only employees with children under 17 (or disabled children under 18) and those with responsibilities as carers have a right to request flexible working. Under new rules, however, any employee with 26 weeks’ continuous service can ask to work flexibly for any reason, whether it’s taking up a further education course, combining work with caring for the grandchildren, or simply wanting to spend less time at work.
Recruiting can sometimes be a time-consuming process, but it needn’t be complicated. For any SME, it is crucial to find someone who can do the job and contribute positively to your business. Sourcing staff with relevant qualifications and training could be a valuable addition to your recruitment strategy. Recruiting candidates that have undertaken Pre-Employment training (PET) is an avenue worth considering, in order to attract this wider talent.
When unemployment figures are high, it seems that the worst affected are 16-24 year olds. The economic crisis has given us, amongst other things, the word NEET – young people Not in Education, Employment or Training — and it is they who have borne the brunt of the downturn. Labelling young people as anything is rarely positive so let us dispense with our pre-conceived ideas about youth and ask whether they are being served well enough by our education system to allow them to take their place in society.
A shortage of talent and immigration legislation is being blamed for squashing technology growth in London. In a survey of start-ups and growing businesses, respondents reported having an average of seven vacancies they were struggling to fill. Despite the UK government’s support of projects such as Tech City, qualified technology specialists are in short supply in the UK. A recent survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that in the UK, IT and computing grew from being the second most in-demand skills area to the first. This isn’t the only survey to highlight the disparity between industry growth and the available workforce.
UK businesses are under more pressure than ever. With restricted resource, more competition and quickly-shifting markets, a highly trained and adaptable workforce can be the key to success.
UK businesses are looking much more closely at what specific skills they need from employees, and aren’t necessarily finding it among the current employment pool.
The business community is currently crying out for more work-relevant educated staff. Leading individuals from the business community have spoken out to highlight the stubborn shortage of skills in the UK which are needed to remain competitive and fuel long-term growth.
I firmly believe that the most important element of a successful and profitable business is the people. The people make a brand, the people are the ones delivering excellent customer service, and it’s the people making sure that customers get exactly what they pay for. Needless to say that sourcing the right people has historically been a challenge for every business, and it never gets any easier.
More and more international assignments result from international business needs and when businesses need experienced leaders in new markets, they often turn to internal assignees. Similarly, when technical workers in a support centre need training, they may be sent to an established company site in a different country for a period of time, or when an employee is asked to relocate to meet a short-term business requirement, they may opt instead to commute so as not to uproot their family. As the realm of international business grows and changes, so does the variety of international assignments that support it. Twenty years ago, it was common for even the most global of companies to have just one or two international assignment types, today, a company may need four times as many.
Peter Sewell, Regional Director. Crown World Mobility, discusses popular assignment types, the business needs they serve and their key support and policy elements.
Prithvi Shergill, chief human resources officer at HCL Technologies, explains what is necessary to tackle future challenges.