Aviva introduces cancer support service for 16,000 UK staff

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Insurance organisation Aviva has introduced a cancer support service for its 16,000 UK based employees.

The benefit, provided by RedArc, was launched in September 2017 as part of the organisation’s wider health and wellbeing strategy. It has been implemented in order to provide emotional support to employees that have been diagnosed with cancer, and are either undergoing treatment or tackling the recovery process.

Employees who have been diagnosed with cancer will have access to a nurse advisor, who will be able to provide long-term practical advice as well as emotional support. The nurse advisor can help employees suffering with cancer to understand the disease and its impacts, what to expect during the treatment process, how to come to terms with a cancer diagnosis, and how employees can best approach recovery from surgery or other treatments. The nurse advisor will also be able to discuss the emotional and physical aspects of a cancer diagnosis, for both employees and their families, as well as offer coping strategies to help staff members.

The nurse advisor can also provide a clinically assessed course of therapy or counselling, as well as signpost staff to relevant information, services and equipment that may be useful to them.

The benefit was communicated to staff using a news story on the staff intranet, which included a case study example of an employee who had been diagnosed with cancer. It was also promoted in a weekly round-up email to all employees, and information about the support service was placed on the wellbeing page of Aviva’s intranet.

Cancer support will form part of Aviva’s existing health and wellbeing strategy, which includes sick pay at full salary for 12 months for each illness, group income protection, death in service at eight times basic salary, a year’s free access to the Headspace app, and access to Aviva’s in-house wellbeing app that provides personalised information to help staff manage their own health and wellbeing.

Ally Antell (pictured), UK health and protection product innovation lead at Aviva, said: “Cancer will affect one in two people born in the UK. Unfortunately that means that a number of our employees are likely to be impacted by cancer at some point in their lives. We wanted to demonstrate our commitment to our people but not only providing financial support, but also offering the emotional support they may need following a cancer diagnosis, during treatment and recovery.”

SOURCE: www.employeebenefits.co.uk/issues

Diageo aims to become best employer for women in the UK

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Diageo has revealed that women working for the company in England and Wales earn on average 9.8% more than men, as it aims to become the best employer for women in the UK.

The figures form part of the beverage company’s Gender Pay Gap Report. Diageo ranked third in the 2017 Hampton Alexander Review FTSE 100 for Women on Boards and in Leadership.

In Great Britain the company has two legal entities which employ more than 4,500 people: Diageo Great Britain (England and Wales), and Diageo Scotland.

The company has a median pay gap of +8.6% for Diageo employees across both legal entities in Great Britain – meaning men earn on average 8.6% more than women – lower than the median across the country of 18.8%.

The  Diageo Scotland business has a median pay gap of +16.7%. This is said to be driven by a large number of manufacturing roles, which struggle to attract women in part due to unsociable shift patterns. Diageo said that the other driver of the pay gap is that there are fewer women at senior levels, which it is working to resolve.

In April 2018, Diageo’s board of directors will reach gender parity, when Ursula Burns starts her role as non-executive director. The company said that 40% of its global executive committee are women and more than 30% of its global senior leadership team are women.

In a statement, the company said: “Achieving gender equality and developing a strong, talented pipeline of future female leaders underpins our firm belief that a more diverse and inclusive workforce accelerates business growth.”

Diageo human resources director Mairéad Nayager said: “I am proud of the progress we are making at Diageo with gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation and want us to go further. Creating a truly diverse and inclusive culture is not only the right thing to do, it supports the success of our company.

As it aims to lower the gender pay gap, Diageo said it is providing training and mentoring for women at all stages of their careers to support their development as leaders.

It is also also identifying opportunities in Scotland, including creating scholarships for science, technology, engineering and mathematics students to support leadership development through its Women and Leadership in Supply programme.

SOURCE: www.foodbev.com/news

UK foodservice sector achieved £35b turnover in 2016

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The foodservice sector is forecast to grow next year, despite concerns around increased costs and staff recruitment, according to a new report.

The British Hospitality Association’s Leading Through Unprecedented Change and Uncertainty – Food Service Management Market Report 2017 revealed that the UK foodservice sector saw a turnover of £35b last year and forecasted growth for this year, despite the uncertainties revolving around Brexit.

In particular, respondents to the survey said that they were concerned about post-Brexit immigration and restrictions on the UK labour market with 31% of their overall workforce coming from the EU.

Regardless, they did estimate that they would add 32,000 new jobs next year.

The report also showed that the industry’s confidence in government support has dropped. The sector wants the government to introduce ways to improve attractiveness of catering as a long-term career choice.

It also expressed the need for a more measured approach to the National Living Wage and a stronger recognition of the importance of immigration.

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) predicts that the forecast growth will be spurred on by demographic trends, the ageing population and rising student numbers.

The rise of healthy eating and street food were identified as future trends, highlighting the sector’s support of the government’s ambition to combat obesity and improve the nation’s health, with nearly all companies which took part in the survey stating that they had reduced the amount of sugar and salt in their offerings and were providing healthier meals.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: “This report is a vital resource for those in the industry. Its results show the strength and confidence of the industry but also its concerns, most notably those about Brexit and its impact on employment. We, as the major representative of the hospitality and tourism sector, are the main voice of this industry and can communicate its concerns to government.”

Caroline Fry, chief executive business and industry, CH&Co, added: “The report shows that whilst there are clearly some major changes afoot that affect all companies, the foodservice sector is also optimistic about growth and job creation in the short to medium term. This sector works with just about every part of the economy and is a very big employer.

“Given how supportive we are of the Government’s efforts to reduce obesity and improve the nation’s health, we hope that in return they will understand the challenges faced by the industry and support us, especially when it comes to planning the potential restrictions on the UK labour market.”

SOURCE: www.thecaterer.com/articles/514732

Recruitment Lessons from Star Wars

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The nights are getting darker, the days are growing colder and there’s a distinct feeling of something magical in the air – no, not Christmas – it’s time for the new Star Wars movie.

We’ve waited with bated breath to see what the next instalment of the epic franchise has to offer, spent our days trawling through hidden Reedit threads looking for any indication of leaked spoilers, and now, finally, it’s almost here. The Last Jedi will be hitting the silver screen in a few weeks, leaving us just enough time to uncover some hidden recruitment lessons lurking in the peripherals of the space opera.

  1. “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” – Darth Vader

The supreme villain of the first six movies, Darth Vader even manages to control the plot after his death. And whilst he’s unforgivably evil, single-mindedly Machiavellian and generally soulless – you can’t help but admire Vader’s relentless work ethic. He knows he can build the Death Star, and he does, despite the weak-willed protestations of those dour-faced generals. The message here is to listen to your gut – we’re not saying you should start telepathically choking your rivals, or destroying home plants on a whim, but you can learn a thing or two about determination to succeed from Lord Vader.

  1. “You can’t stop the change, any more than you can stop the suns from setting.” — Shmi Skywalker

Anakin Skywalker’s mother comes to a bloody end, one which inadvertently sets Anakin on a collision course with the Empire. She believes that Anakin is the Chosen One, the Jedi that will ultimately balance the Force between good and evil. However, she’s also wary of her son’s ambition and his nervousness about losing her. In recruitment, you have to be the agents of change. Whilst there is some fear out there of what AI and emerging tech may do to the sector, the truth is you can’t stop progress – it’s better the embrace the changes rather than fear them.

  1. “Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

When he’s training Luke to be a Jedi, Obi-Wan stresses the importance of trusting your instincts, rather than what you see in front of you. Only through mastering all of your senses, and using the Force, can he really become a Jedi Master. As a recruiter, you have to become accustomed to reading between the lines. Candidates may have a propensity to exaggerate certain aspects of their career past – perhaps inflate a job title or add an extra year to their résumé – and it’s up to you to do your background checks.

SOURCE: www.recruitmentgrapevine.com/article

Government Announces Landmark Campaign to Inspire Next Generation of Engineers

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The Year of Engineering will see Government and industry offer young people across the UK a million direct experiences of engineering in a major push to tackle skills gap.

The Government has announced that it will work with hundreds of industry partners to make 2018 the Year of Engineering – and today pledged to work with them to offer a million direct and inspiring experiences of engineering to young people throughout the year.

Teaming up with a diverse range of partners – covering everything from technology, healthcare and food production to energy, culture and transport – the campaign aims to galvanise industry, MPs, parents and teachers in a national push to inspire the next generation of engineers.

Activities will include large-sale outreach programmes, such as a £1 million investment from Shell in the interactive Tomorrow’s Engineers Energy Quest programme for thousands of schoolchildren, a children’s book on engineering from publisher Usborne, and behind the scenes tours for families. The campaign will also highlight the role that individuals can play – from parents helping children with their maths homework or enrolling them in a coding club, to engineers from all backgrounds sharing their experience and advice in schools or via social media.

The commitment comes as the UK faces an estimated shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates a year, with half of companies in the sector saying the shortage is having a significant impact on productivity and growth. By bringing young people from all backgrounds face to face with engineering experiences and role models, the campaign aims to showcase the creativity and innovation of engineering careers and widen the pool of young people who consider the profession, diversifying a workforce that is 91% male and 94% white.

Partners including Siemens, the Science Museum Group, Ocado, Usborne, BAE Systems and Crossrail have already pledged their support. Teaming up with these and hundreds of other partners, the Government will deliver a year of UK-wide school visits, exhibitions and open doors events – all aimed at encouraging young people and their parents to take a closer look at engineering.

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said: “Engineering is one of the most productive sectors in our economy, but a lack of young people entering the profession is damaging growth. With major investment being made in infrastructure and new technologies that aim to improve the way we travel, work and live, it’s crucial to the nation’s success that more people join the profession.

“The Year of Engineering is our commitment to transforming perceptions of engineering among young people, their parents and their teachers. We need people from all backgrounds to see the creativity, opportunity and value of engineering careers.”

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Engineering makes a significant contribution to our economy and this Government is determined to strengthen it further. To ensure we have a high-skilled economy that is fit for the future, our Industrial Strategy is committed to helping people and businesses by boosting engineering and ensuring everyone has the skills needed to thrive in a modern economy.”

Education Minister Anne Milton said: “As Minister for Skills, I want to see young people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to pursue rewarding careers and jobs in engineering whether they choose an academic or technical route. Through the Year of Engineering, we will work with businesses to inspire the next generation of world-class engineers.

“For our country to thrive and prosper with the highly-skilled individuals that businesses need we must work with employers to tackle the skills gap. The Year of Engineering will help to address the shortages of engineers that have long held us back as an economy.”

The Year of Engineering launches in January 2018. To find out more, visit the Year of Engineering partner website or follow the campaign on Twitter. Follow the hashtag #inspireanengineer to discover how parents, teachers, engineers and organisations can inspire the next generation of budding engineers.

SOURCE: www.electricaltimes.co.uk

Bringing the healthy workplace into the heart of government

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Employers and the government have been urged to consider neurodiversity among employees, supporting people into work, and creating psychologically healthy workplaces.

The British Psychological Society’s (BPS) new report Psychology at work: Improving wellbeing and productivity in the workplace was launched at the Houses of Parliament at the second meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Psychology.

Co-authored by Dr Ashley Weinberg and Nancy Doyle, the report makes three broad recommendations;

– there should be a suspension and subsequent review into the use of sanctions in the benefits system and their effects on mental health and wellbeing. It also suggests a review into the work capability assessment process.

– the government should incentivise employers to introduce evidence-based interventions which promote psychologically healthy workplaces.

– that employers should take the needs of neurodiverse people into account in the workplace. Around 10 per cent of people are neurodiverse, a term which describes a range of conditions including difficulties with attention, memory and impulse control as well as longer-term conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and Tourette syndrome.

Scottish National Party MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow Dr Lisa Cameron, who is also Chair of the APPG, said the report raised an extremely important issue which had implications for many. Weinberg, Senior Lecturer at the University of Salford, suggested that parliament should act as an exemplar for the kind of workplace we all deserve. Although it had been a rocky road, he added, awareness was the first step. Work, he said, was a positive experience for many, but four key things can make work even more positive. Control at work, social support, job security and resources – or not being expected to do more with less – were all vital. Weinberg said with numbers of teachers and nurses on the decline, the psychological impact of unhealthy workplaces was being brought into the heart of government.

A focus on literacy, numeracy, concentration and eye contact for success in education and the workplace, Doyle said, can alienate neurodiverse individuals. She said society had created a disability in this way as neurodiverse people, while they struggle with some aspects of work, thrive in other areas. Employers owe it to those who work for them to make reasonable adjustments for those people, she added. Schemes such as Access to Work can be incredibly helpful for those with disabilities and neurodiversity, but very few know they exist.

During a Q&A session, Cameron suggested interested people could meet with their local MPs to discuss having the recommendations from the report raised in parliament. While it is an uncomfortable thought for those in the public sector, Weinberg said, people should focus on the selling points of the report – that wellbeing is linked to productivity and performance, and employers should therefore aim to maintain or improve wellbeing.

SOURCE: www.thepsychologist.bps.org.uk

Auto-enrolment: The Past, Present and Future

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Auto-enrolment, on the face of it at least, has been a huge success.

Very few employees have chosen to opt out and, five years on from launch, we are seeing its impact. But where did it all start? Back in 2003, the Government had a problem. Defined Benefit pensions in the private sector were in sharp decline as many closed to new members.

By Lydia Fearn, Head of DC at Redington

The new Defined Contribution schemes saw very low levels of contributions, although in fact many employees weren’t saving into a pension scheme at all. All of this meant that the welfare state would have to step in at some point which was likely to be unsustainable – people needed to save more for their own futures.

The Turner Commission report in 2005 had a dramatic effect on Government thinking, and from that the Auto-enrolment policy was born.

So where are we today?

The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed that the latest figures showed more than 8.5m people have been saving into a workplace pension scheme due to automatic enrolment.

Also, according to research from Aegon, over the last five years, an employee earning the average salary and contributing the minimum 2% would have generated a pot of £2,440 . Over the next five years, as levels rise to 5% and then 8%, members will have built a pot of £11,430 .

But, we know 8% isn’t going to be enough for most. Even with the state pension to fall back on, at current levels people are not going to be left with sufficient income to cover their retirement.

So, how do we encourage more contributions?

I think there are two key drivers to focus on. Using technology to make it as easy as possible to see, understand and save into a pension, and secondly creating a stronger emotional connection with later-life savings, like we do with our short-term savings.

Technology as a driving force
Technology, and the creation of apps, has exploded over the last few years. There are now over 2 million apps available, allowing people to translate everyday ambitions to (often) instant action and realisation.

If we need to move money between accounts, check our bank balance, or buy a parking ticket, it can now all be done on the go via our smartphones.

Understanding and realising our long-term savings objectives should also be this easy. The technology exists and it’s time for the industry to embrace it and make engaging with pensions an easier and more enjoyable experience.

Technology could give members the power to make payments straight into their account, find out how much they have saved, or calculate where they are in terms of reaching their retirement goals. This knowledge can not only directly translate to positive actions but will undoubtedly also make them feel more connected to their pension savings.

Creating an emotional connection

However, before they become interested in taking actions, we need people to even think about looking at their pension savings. In order to do this, they need to create an emotional connection to their savings. To know that it belongs to them and they have control over it.

Part of bridging this connection is ensuring that the benefits of long-term saving are as tangible as those of short-term spending.

There are some simple messages we can focus on using the EAST framework:

• Saving into your pension is EASY – it’s taken directly from your monthly pay
• Pensions are ATTRACTIVE – as well as your own contributions you are receiving ‘free’ money from your employer and the government
• Pensions are SOCIAL – millions of people are saving through auto-enrolment
• Pensions are TIMELY – the sooner you start to save the longer you have to increase the amount you will have access to in later life.

Auto-enrolment has already shown itself to be a huge change for good, but it’s far from the finished article. More can and must be done if we’re going to help solve the UK savings crisis and deliver financial security for members.

SOURCE: www.actuarialpost.co.uk/news

UK productivity grows at its fastest rate in over 6 years — and unemployment falls again

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

UK unemployment remained at its lowest level since 1975, while productivity finally started to pick up, according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics.

The unemployment rate was 4.3% in the three months to September, unchanged from the previous reading.

While the headline rate didn’t change, unemployment did fall in the three months to September, with 59,000 fewer people out of work.

The employment rate, which measures the proportion of people aged 16-64 in work, hit 75% – down from 75.1% in the previous three months.

In total, there are 32.06 million people at work in the UK, according to the figures, 14,000 fewer than for April to June 2017.

A further fall in unemployment may look positive, but there are some concerns, the ONS said.

“After two years of almost uninterrupted growth, employment has declined slightly on the quarter. However it remains higher than it was this time last year, and as always we would caution people against reading too much into one quarter’s data,” senior ONS statistician Matt Hughes said in a statement.

“Unemployment also fell on the quarter, but there was a rise in the number of people who were neither working nor looking for a job – so-called economically inactive people.”

Here’s the ONS chart of unemployment over the longer term:

Screen Shot 2017 11 15 at 09.33.16

When it comes to productivity, there was positive news for the British economy, with average output per hour — a key measure — growing at its fastest rate since 2011, according to the ONS’ flash estimate.

“Output per hour – ONS’s main measure of labour productivity – increased by 0.9% in Q3 2017. This is the first quarter of growth in output per hour since Q4 2016 and is the highest rate of growth since Quarter 2 2011,” the statistical authority said.

Philip Wales, the ONS’ head of productivity, urged caution however, saying that “the medium-term picture continues to be one of productivity growing but at a much slower rate than seen before the financial crisis.”

Here is the chart of longer term productivity:

Screen Shot 2017 11 15 at 09.45.43

Alongside the unemployment numbers, the ONS’ data showed that real wages for average Brits continue to shrink as wage growth fails to keep up with inflation.

“Between July to September 2016 and July to September 2017, in nominal terms, both regular pay and total pay increased by 2.2%, little changed compared with the growth rates between June to August 2016 and June to August 2017,” the ONS said.

Wednesday’s unemployment data comes 24 hours after inflation stayed at its highest level in five years, as Brexit continues to push up the cost of living in the UK.

The UK’s Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate — the key measure of inflation — was 3% in October, unchanged from September.

SOURCE: www.uk.businessinsider.com

Outlook for UK pay growth improves, but only a little – CIPD

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

British employers expect to raise pay for their workers only a little despite strong demand for staff and already low unemployment, according to an industry survey that suggested no immediate respite for the country’s squeezed households.

The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development said its gauge of pay intentions for the private and public sector rose 2 percent in the latest quarter from 1 percent previously.

CIPD said planned pay rises in the private sector were clustering around 2 percent, the median for the last five years.

Last week the Bank of England raised interest rates for the first time since 2007 and predicted wage growth will pick up next year to 3 percent, up from a range of 1.8 to 2.2 percent seen in recent months.

But CIPD said 38 percent of private sector firms faced no pressure at all to raise wages for the majority of their workforce, compared with only 24 percent that said they did.

The squeeze on household incomes from high inflation and weak wage growth was a big factor behind the slowdown in Britain’s economy in the first half of 2017.

A separate survey from payments company Visa on Monday showed British shoppers reined in their spending by the most in more than four years in October.

“Over time we might expect low unemployment levels to lead to increased pressure on pay, as the Bank of England has predicted,” Gerwyn Davies, CIPD senior labour market analyst, said.

“However, it’s the UK’s ongoing poor productivity growth that’s currently preventing employers from paying more, not their inability to find or retain staff.”

Last month, Britain’s official budget watchdog said it expects to “significantly” downgrade its forecasts for productivity growth in the next five years, something that could hurt the government’s finances.

There was better news for public sector workers. CIPD said 59 percent of public sector employers reported pressure to hike salaries for most staff, most of whom are subject to a long-standing pay cap for state workers that may soon be ditched.

Prime Minister Theresa May has eased seven years of public sector pay caps modestly and for police and prison guards.

Finance minister Philip Hammond is under pressure to relax pay constraints further in his annual budget on Nov. 22.

CIPD said its gauge of employment demand eased only slightly from the previous quarter and remained near record high levels.

Official labour market data due on Wednesday is expected to show the unemployment rate will stay at a four-decade low of 4.3 percent, but with no improvement in wage growth, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

CIPD’s survey was based on 2,007 employers and was conducted between Sept. 11 and Oct. 3.

SOURCE: www.uk.reuters.com/article

Commercial drivers win the right to spend a penny

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Transport union Unite has won a long–running campaign giving delivery drivers the right to use the toilets at a business where they are making deliveries.

Thanks to the union-secured deal, employers in control of non-domestic premises are now obliged to allow people who are not their employees but use their premises to access toilets and washing facilities. Unite says the change in the regulations is a result of its campaign to end the problem of drivers having to go to the toilet behind bushes, or needing to continually ‘hold on’ due to being denied access to toilet facilities.

Unite argued this has wide-ranging health implications, including urinary tract infections, damage to the bladder and the bowel, and a build-up of toxins in the body. Women drivers have additional requirements to have access to toilets and face the a risk of developing infections if they are denied such access. Access to washrooms is doubly important where delivery workers are handling food or might be exposed to hazardous materials.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “Finally drivers have won the right to access toilet facilities when making deliveries. This reform would not have occurred without Unite’s continued campaigning on this matter. This change in the application of the regulations is highly significant as it restores the dignity of drivers by giving them the right to use an employer’s toilet and hand washing facilities.”

He added: “If employers continue to refuse our members access to toilets we will pursue them through all avenues open to us and that will include naming and shaming companies that deny drivers the right to spend a penny.”

SOURCE: www.hsssearch.co.uk