This article was written by Rachael Wilde, our Talent Acquisition Lead at Advantage Resourcing.

Even after 10 years of working in the Recruitment industry and having developed the cynical recruiter mindset, I still smile slightly and ‘tip my cap’ each time I see a CV from a female for a typically male-orientated role. I find it so liberating that a woman has considered a career within engineering, whether it was her original intention or not, especially as the Young Women’s Trust has warned that the UK 'may be unable to meet the demand for skilled workers in sectors such as engineering' as a result of gender-based career choices.

Working within a male-dominated industry is challenging at times. I believe it takes a very strong person to overcome the obstacles and the ‘old school’ mindset thrown their way. There are women who I imagine can adapt to this unbalanced environment quicker than others, whether it’s due to the particular job role, company, personality or their upbringing. Claire Spillane from Westermans International wrote a blog for the Women in Engineering Society about “A Women In Welding”, as she decided to join her family’s welding business at the same time as her brother, after making the decision to leave her career as a Physiotherapy Assistant. Claire highlights the difficulties of adapting and establishing herself not only to a predominantly male environment, but alongside her brother and her father who comprise similar personalities in comparison to her. However, she has made being a woman in this environment work to her advantage. 

"Sometimes I'm asked if I ever feel like a woman in a man's world. I must say that being blonde and female in this industry is certainly an unusual factor. Does it open doors? Of course it does. You are noticed and remembered for one, and that must be a good thing when you are in a suppliers' market. It maybe even get you a sales lead, or better still, discounts on machinery. However, believe it or not, hands-on welders don't notice me that much really."

"I don't think that it is just welding or engineering is a male dominated world, the hardest part was proving to my father and also my brother that I was capable of running a business in such industry. They had a bond by gender so I had to rise above that but I think I have cracked it now."

Claire Spillane from Westermans International, www.westermans.com/ "A Woman In Welding" WES

However, not all women have had the same experience as Claire Spillane and it's disheartening to read that someone has had to change their career path due to the effect of others' actions and prejudices.

"Glynn Davies, 25, said she started an apprenticeship in construction but did not complete it due to the discrimination she faced. She said: "I wanted to be a bricklayer so I started an apprenticeship with City and Guilds. I was 17 and couldn't wait to get muddy. From the moment I stepped on to the building side, I was automatically treated differently. There was one other woman but we were two out of 20 and it quickly became difficult to persevere." Davies said she experienced constant sexist remarks such as "get us a cuppa tea" or "be careful, you don't want to break a nail". "When I approached my course coordinator, the general response was "it's only banter" or, my favourite, "don't be emotional". The whole experience was irritating and emotionally draining so I stopped."

Women lagging behind the race in apprenticeships - The Guardian, 2016

In my career, I have experienced companies that specified they would like males or females for a particular job role. I used to recruit for Production & Warehouse Operatives for a company who sell protein powder and also beauty products. Some hiring managers preferred women to work with beauty products "due to small fingers", as it was easier to pack the small products, and "strong people" for the protein side, due to the bulkier items. 

I would always provide a mix of candidates for both sides of the business - some candidates would come in and blow the stereotype out of the water and exceed the KPIs in what would be classed as an opposed area, resulting in a small internal cheer from myself. 

Women in Engineering Article Image

According to a 2017 Young Women’s Trust survey, there were “25 men for every woman starting an apprenticeship in engineering.” 

"Despite 71% of young people agreeing that engineering is a career equally suited to men and women, young women tell us that they feel locked out of certain professions and funnelled down a narrow range of career paths. Barriers frequently cited in conversations with young women range from a lack of flexibility, support or mentoring to discrimination, harassment and bullying. Many organisations are making efforts to tackle these barriers but the perception for many young women, particularly those taking their first steps into a career via an apprenticeship, is that they are not welcome in those sectors and have little chance of being successful. These perceptions and indeed the reality faced by many young women entering sectors such as engineering, construction and IT, continue to limit the pool of talent available to close the skills gaps."

Young Women's Trust November 2017 Young Women and Apprentices: Still Not Working?

What is it that influences our career choice?

New perspectives and fresh ideas. Diversity gives us the competitive edge we need to stray out in the front. Our unique training scheme as has been designed to support ambitious female engineers who want to make an impression, whilst studying for their degree. It includes being paired up with a buddy from our Women in Engineering Network and Allies group. Plus, well give you a £1,500 bursary on the understanding that you return to us for repeat placements or are offered a place to join our graduate scheme when you’ve completed you studies.

According to LinkedIn Insights, the Engineering market of just under 79,000 engineers within the UK is made up of 93% men and 7% women. In terms of location, the female Engineering population within Royal Leamington Spa is 14%, the highest within the UK, and global, well-established brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, Ricardo & Aston Martin are the top employers in this area for engineers. Could working for these recognised brands entice females to explore a career in engineering? Could their marketing and recruitment teams have programmes in place with local schools and colleges to highlight working within the engineering industry? There are 40 other locations within the UK which have less than 5% females working within an engineering role. 

What are these companies doing differently to bridge the gap between gender within engineering?

Jaguar Land Rover offer ‘Women In Engineering Sponsored Schemes’. Not only do they actively market working for them within the local community, they also offer degree apprenticeships, plus bursaries for its students to learn there (financial gain). 

I personally think schemes like this are a brilliant idea. When I was in school, and even having an engineer for a father, I don’t believe I was ever guided in the direction of an engineering based or even a ‘manual’ career choice.  As a talkative person, I found myself leaning towards jobs which would let me talk to people. Looking back, it does make me think that if I was aware of opportunities, or was nudged in another direction to look at my other skills, would I be using the methodical skill set which I have always had within another arena? 

I did also find it interesting that not only are the number of women within a male dominated role/industry rising, but can the situation be flipped to explore how difficult it is for males to succeed within a typically female dominated industry? 

In conclusion, isn’t it about time that we see more companies actively trying to make their industry more appealing to both men and women? Are educational establishments (and parents/guardians) doing more to highlight unconventional career options to both - male and female genders? Time will tell.

Resources:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/14/apprenticeship-system-gender-inequality-workplace-women

https://www.youngwomenstrust.org/assets/0000/8200/Young_Women_and_apprenticeships.pdf

https://www.jaguarlandrovercareers.com/content/Women-in-Engineering/

https://www.wes.org.uk/content/woman-welding

Published in Events

Advantage Group UK is delighted to announce our upcoming FREE webinar, held in partnership with Career Catapult Limited.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: No Passing Fad will examine some of the ways unconscious bias and discrimination find their way into the workplace, and what we can do to improve our workplace cultures for the benefit of all.

James Gage has worked within the employee engagement and talent attraction fields for over 25 years. He's a qualified coach, trainer, and NLP practitioner, and is the co-founder of careercatapult.co.uk, an online platform that supports organisations with the development of their people, their wellbeing, and the employability of outgoing employees.

Published in Events

This article was written by Jonathan Brenchley, our Talent Acquisition Lead at Advantage Resourcing.

Coming from a background in IT recruiting, I found Stack Overflow’s recent survey concerning their developer community fascinating. I am a keen learner, but I’ll admit my perception of the developer market is driven primarily by what my clients want. This means it is sometimes biased by the needs and skills they’re seeking, so it was great to adopt a new perspective and read about the market from the developers’ standpoint, and it’s incredibly useful to understand the current trends not just in technologies but also the motivating factors for candidates. And while the survey showed many positive trends, it also demonstrated that even in an industry as fast-paced as IT, important subjects are still being left lagging behind.

My first point concerns the ‘popularity contest’ inherent in the tech industry. It was interesting to see not only what developers are working with at the moment, but what upcoming tech they wanted to begin working with, which helps give us a sense of the industry’s shifting sands. Seeing the popularity of programming languages such as Python, JavaScript, TypeScript and Go wasn’t particularly shocking, nor was the absence of Ada, but I’d never even heard of Kotlin or Julia, so seeing them in the top 10 was quite surprising

Below is a great infographic demonstrating the connection and relationships between various technologies – I found it provided a really useful way of learning the myriad tech out there. It’s something my team found useful in their learning as well. 

IITWOIT Article Image

It was gratifying to see the topics I’d discussed with developers ring true in the survey. Salary was typically the deciding factor for those seeking their next role, but with that removed from the equation, the next most important was working with new tech. For a recruiter, this highlights the importance of discussing with prospective candidates what they truly want to work on, not just what they have worked on. It’ll make all the difference when they are looking for their next challenge.

However, there was some variation between genders in the survey responses. For men, new and exciting tech held the deciding factor when it comes to a new role, but for both women and non-binary respondents, they deemed the office environment and culture just as crucial as salary.

One thing was clear when looking at this data – only 8% of respondents were women. This either suggests that women don’t like surveys, or the much more likely case of them being significantly underrepresented in the industry. After some LinkedIn analysis, I found that women make up no more than 32% of the industry when comparing the top 10 developer locations globally, using a 4.5million sample size. The situation is even worse in the UK, where the number sits between 10 and 17 per cent! Unfortunately, it’s no secret that there is a sizeable gender gap in IT, and while the topic is being discussed more and more, there is clearly still a long way to go towards equal gender representation.

In recent years, and especially since Brexit, there has been a strong surge of interest in the UK’s IT sector. This is obviously an tremendous, positive trend to see, but until female and non-binary workers feel welcomed and included in the industry, and are actively encouraged to pursue it, we still have a lot of work to do before we can confidently lead the way.

If, like us, you are passionate about working towards bridging the gender gap in IT, you may find the below article of interest, as it outlines the steps towards attracting and retaining female talent in the sector, as well as offering some additional key insights into why the current percentage of female tech employees is so low and why people are sometimes hesitant about getting involved.

https://www.stemwomen.co.uk/blog/2020/03/women-in-tech-how-to-attract-and-retain-female-employees

Published in Blog

Online interviews are becoming increasingly popular, but trying to sell yourself via a video link, using software such as Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts, can often feel a bit daunting. After all, it's not the most natural way for many of us to truly engage with people we've never met before! 

So here are ten online interview tips to help reduce the stress and land you the job: 

1. Test your technology

The minute you agree to an online interview, test your technology to ensure you're set up for success. Check your internet connectivity, and confirm that your camera and microphone are working properly.

Also check that you can actually connect to the particular software that is being used for the interview, just in case you need to make any adjustments to your settings or install supporting software beforehand.

On the day of your interview, test your equipment and internet connection again. The last thing you want is the embarrassment of not being able to connect at the crucial moment, especially as technical savvy is one of the top traits employers are looking for. 

2. Check your setting 

Find a room with optimal lighting, preferably near a window, and ideally with a blank wall behind you to guarantee that you're the focal point of the conversation. Ensure that your surroundings are neat and tidy.

Check that you won't be shrouded in shadow or washed out by glare - the interviewer needs to be able to see you properly to establish any sort of rapport.

Choose an area that is free from all noise distractions.

And remember, if you were attending an interview in an office, you would turn your phone off. So ensure your phone is switched off or on silent! 

3. Dress for success

Dressing the same way as you would for an in-person interview will put you in the right frame of mind. It will also avoid any embarrassment if you need to move mid-interview!

This may be the first impression that the interviewer has of you, so it is imperative that they see you are taking the interview just as seriously as you would if you were sat in the same room as them. 

4. Research and plan ahead

Like any other interview, make sure that you have researched the company ahead of time and have prepared any questions you have for the employer about the role, company etc.

Print out a copy of your CV and have it to hand, so you can refer to it if necessary.

5. Engage! 

You can't firmly shake a hiring manager's hand or as easily exude enthusiasm via video. But you can monitor your body language and remain engaged with your interviewer. The main way to communicate confidence is to sit up straight, smile, and keep the camera at eye level.

Looking at the camera, rather than your image on the screen will help you look as engaged as possible.

And while you'll want to keep your posture straight, leaning slightly forward towards the camera can help increase eye contact and allow the interviewer to get a better sense of your enthusiasm. 

6. Be yourself 

This could be the first time that you have ever conducted a video interview, but it's important that the employer gets a real sense of who you are. The hiring manager will be looking to see that you are not only capable from a technical perspective, but that you are also the right fit for their culture. This can be challenging during an online interview because there is a physical disconnect. It's more difficult for the interviewer to feel your enthusiasm through the screen, so make sure you're expressive when talking and answering questions.

It is essential that you wow the interviewer, not only with your skills and experience, but also with your personality. 

7. Address any technical gremlins

If you experience a technical glitch like a weak connection or interference, always ask the interviewer to repeat what they were saying or asking.

If the problem continues, politely mention it and suggest that you reconnect - you don't want to miss any crucial information, or let technical gremlins get in the way of giving your very best performance. 

8. Follow up

Within a few hours of the interview, call your consultant to feed back your thoughts on how the interview went and your interest in the role.

It is also very important to express how you found the video interview and if there is anything you would say or do differently if given the chance to interview again. This shows self-awareness and honesty. And what employer doesn't value these traits in an employee? 

9. Think practically 

  • Your username - you may already have a username for personal video calls, but is it suitably professional?
  • Notes - have any notes or documents you might need at your fingertips, ideally printed out and therefore easy to refer to 
  • Headphones - always advised as they tend to minimise feedback when on a video call 

10. Prepare!

It doesn't matter what the interview format is, preparation is still key!

Good interview preparation will also give you hat all-important confidence that could really set you apart from other candidates. You will feel more in control and therefore psychologically better placed to shine and show yourself to be the start that you are!

So there you go - follow these top tips and look forward to super cyber interview success! 

Published in Blog

As the UK Government starts to ease lockdown measures and companies start to discuss plans for their eventual return to the workplace, worker engagement has never been more important.

As an employer, how you manage the return to your workplace will very much depend on the type of closure arrangements you have been operating. The three most prevalent types of closure are:

  • Business not trading at all (all staff on furlough)
  • Business trading on a limited basis (some staff on furlough while others work from home/limited company premises
  • Business trading fully but all employees working from home

Advantage Group's 3 brands provide unique insight into how our clients are operating and how we are supporting them & our candidates, along with the advice we get from our global parent company, Recruit. We have combined all of our experience to create a Secure Restart information and advice hub to support you in your journey.

According to the latest government update, the total number of furloughed jobs in the UK, as of June 14th, stands at 9.1m, with the total number of employers furloughing employees at 1.1 million. For this group and all the other employers across the UK, planning their return to the workplace is important.

According to CiPD, whichever of the above closure agreement you have been operating, there will be common issues you need to address.

  • All workplaces need to observe the Government’s social distancing guidelines.
  • Staff who can work from home are expected to carry on doing so.
  • Employers must consider detailed risk management to safeguard employees’ health and minimise risk of infection.
  • Employers should communicate practical measures they are taking to staff on a regular basis & make sure that employees know what rules and procedures they need to be following, especially if they begin to feel unwell.
  • Review social distancing measures and communal shared spaces
  • Key protection and hygiene measures will continue to apply, especially effective handwashing.
  • Be mindful that the effects from this pandemic are psychological as well as physical. This includes anxiety about the ongoing crisis as well as social isolation, bereavement, challenging domestic situation (childcare) as well as financial worries.

We have conducted a contingent worker survey to understand the scope of people's situations, and probed the workers on their thoughts on returning to their workplace, as well as their general feelings, actions they want in place and will take, and what measures they expect hirers to have in place ahead of their return.

Of the AGUK contingent workers surveyed, the split of respondents fell across the following sectors:

  • 36% in Engineering
  • 24% in Professional Services
  • 10% in Technology
  • 7% in Construction
  • 23% in Other (Manufacturing, Legal, Finance, Banking, Procurement, Energy)

Of the contingent worker population surveyed, when asked to clarify their current assignment status, respondents said that:

  • 59% are currently working from home
  • 19% currently on furlough
  • 14% are currently working onsite within the client community
  • 8% lost their job as a result of COVID-19

When asked “Once the stay-at-home mandate is lifted, when would you feel comfortable coming back into the office”, respondents said that:

  • 32% are prepared to return to the workplace immediately
  • 20% would like to continue to work from home
  • 18% are prepared to return when they're comfortable their hirer has all the H&S in place
  • 16% are ready to return as soon as mandate is lifted
  • 9% are not prepared to return to work
  • 5% had other concerns

When we asked the key reasons why they may have concerns around returning to the workplace, respondents said that:

  • 31% are concerned to return to current desk set up
  • 29% are worried about communal work spaces
  • 23% are specifically concerned around public bathrooms
  • 17% picked other

When we then asked questions around public transport, a resounding 73% said they would not be comfortable taking public transport to work at this moment and time.

However, when we probed deeper into the concerns around public transport and looked specifically at our contingent workers commute to their assignment, we found that:

  • 60% use personal vehicles
  • 19% work from home
  • 15% use public transport
  • 6% walk/cycle to work

It is apparent from these findings that employers will have to be accommodating when it comes to welcoming their workforce back to the office and specifically the mode of transport used to get to and from work. There are multiple concerns voiced by the UK workforce, including numerous conditions and precautions that employees would prefer to have in place, but the most prevailing factor is that a majority of workers are keen to return to their offices. 

As more and more organisations are beginning to welcome their workforces back to the office, we have compiled our Secure Restart guide to help you and your organisation ensure that your employees are safe and comfortable upon their return to work.

Free Returning to Work Document

We've also uploaded a document that you can download for free that your employees can fill out with their thoughts on returning to work and send back to you. Please download it here.

For more information or how this may affect you and your organisation, and how we can help, please get in contact today at solutions@advantagegroup.co.ukYou can also contact scott.siwicki@advantagegroup.co.uk, or call 07904 046 045.

Published in News

Advantage Group UK have produced a summary of the current UK recruitment market through a series of reports and data from the Government, professional associations, and major institutions to give you an overall snapshot of
the industry.

Over the last few months, APSCo (Association of Professional Staffing Companies) have monitored hiring activity in London, specifically analysing new professional vacancies with salaries £40k per annum or more.

This gives us an indication of where vacancy growth is occurring during the Coronavirus pandemic. From their analysis of hiring activity from the past month, (APSCo COVID-19 London Vacancy Tracker – June 2020) they see these following trends emerge:

  • While there has been a small increase in recruitment activity in May (1.8%), overall the daily volumes month on month have not changed by a significant amount.
  • In comparison to the first quarter of this year, where the daily average was over 500 job openings, activity is still significantly down.
  • In terms of the five-day rolling average, May 4 was the lowest point, with a total of 165 professional vacancies. Since then, there has been a gradual uptick, with a record day in May of 307 professional vacancies - the highest number of job openings since the crisis started.
  • As APSCo mentioned in previous reports, the Technology sector has been one of the least impacted areas, although even here, hiring activity dropped in May by 2.9% compared to April.
  • In contrast, the two best performing sectors in terms of month on month increases were Consumer Goods & Services (+32%) and Real Estate & Construction (+33.5%). These increases will be a relief to policy makers, given how important they are for the UK economy.
  • Other sectors which are significant to London’s economy include Insurance, along with Accounting & Consulting. The good news for recruiters is that activity in both areas has picked up sharply, increasing by 17% and 12% respectively.

According to the REC and KPMG’s report on jobs for the South East of England,

  • Staff Appointment adjusted for seasonal factors, the Permanent Placements Index signalled a third successive monthly drop in the number of people placed into permanent jobs in the South of England during May. The rate of contraction eased only slightly from April's record pace and was the second-quickest since the survey began in October 1997. That said, the reduction was softer than the UK-wide trend.
  • Recruitment consultancies based in the South of England signalled a further steep reduction in billings received from the employment of short-term staff in May. Notably, the rate of reduction was substantial and exceeded only by April. A considerable drop in temp billings was also seen at the UK level, albeit one that was not quite as severe as that seen in the South of England. According to recruiters, company closures and economic uncertainty weighed on billings.
  • Permanent vacancies continued to decline at a considerable pace in May, despite the rate of contraction easing from April's series record. Demand for permanent workers also fell at the national level, and at a slightly faster rate than in the South of England.
  • Short-term vacancies also declined sharply midway through the second quarter. Although softer than that seen in April, the fall was nonetheless the second-fastest on record. Temp vacancies fell at a similarly sharp rate across the UK as a whole.

In addition, APSCo’s latest June Recruitment Trends Snapshot (powered by cube19) shows slow but steady signs of improvement during the month of May, which we hope is the start of small steps forward as more and more businesses plan their return.

Hiring Trends Article Image

“Although the latest recruitment data does make for uncomfortable reading, and clearly there is still nervousness among the workforce when it comes to returning to the workplace, there are some glimmers of hope on the horizon. As a total workforce management company, working across multiple sectors, planning and communication remains the vital elements to a successful return to the workplace, whether that is with the reengagement of the existing workforce or the hiring of new personnel. All businesses across the UK need to carefully plan the legal and logistical challenges as we exit lockdown”

-  Charlotte Fisher
   Group Managing Director, Advantage Group UK

For more information or how this may affect you and your organisation, and how we can help, please get in contact today at solutions@advantagegroup.co.ukYou can also contact scott.siwicki@advantagegroup.co.uk, or call 07904 046 045.

Published in News
15 Mar 2021

Visar Kelmendi

Amazing experience with Advantage Resourcing, Mary was really helpful, kept me on the loop during the whole process, always checked back if I required anything. A pleasure to deal with.

Published in Candidate Testimonials

Advantage Resourcing are a wonderful company. I was kept abreast at every step of my application and I always felt reassured and supported throughout my entire journey. I would highly recommend them to my friends and family who are seeking employment.

Published in Candidate Testimonials

Close Brothers have been working with Advantage on their recruitment for a number of years and are a great partnership to have. Here at Close Brothers it is important for us to work with suppliers who care about Diversity and Inclusion as much as we do and will support us on ensuring we are able to provide our opportunities to a diverse candidate pool. Advantage understand the importance of Diversity and Inclusion and will endeavour to provide information and support us in this space.

Published in Client Testimonials

Ruby is an exceptional Recruitment Consultant who I trust completely to deliver a truly consultative and honest service to both our business and the candidates with whom she represents. Ruby is able to provide advice on market conditions and candidate skill availability. Ruby is professional, dedicated and works in partnership with us to fulfil our briefs. Ruby has had a 100% success rate of filling positions in my department and has placed numerous candidates.

Due to the success we have had working with Advantage Resourcing in other departments, we recently gave Mark an opportunity to work with us on a senior finance appointment. Mark came in late to the process and one of his candidates was given an opportunity to interview for the post at very short notice who ended up being the successful candidate. The quick turn-around from Mark was impressive; it showed a great understanding of the brief as well as demonstrating his strong network of quality candidates at his fingertips!

Published in Client Testimonials

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