The UK’s Gig Economy

The UK's Gig Economy  The recession may be over, but the UK's economic landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years. The idea of job stability has transformed from an expected reality into an idealistic one. Today's economy might be thriving on paper, but the rise of what's known as a 'gig economy' leaves many workers at the wayside.  What Exactly is the Gig Economy? The gig economy is an umbrella term used to describe the current economic climate occurring within Britain. It encapsulates the idea that people are hired in a way that promises maximum benefit to the company, and an uncertain future for employees. In basic terms, it is the rising trend of companies hiring people in a way that means they have little or no obligations to them. Their employment could be in the form of working on a casual basis, being given a temporary contract, or signing the dubious paperwork of a zero hour contract. Temporary Contracts Temporary contracts are a common form of employment, and advertisements for such positions are common seen on online recruitment sites. It is a contract that means, yes, you are employed with all rights pertaining to that, but you're only needed for…

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Practical Advice for Finding a Job

There is a wealth of job-finding advice on the internet, but much of it is highly impractical: suggestions like 'networking' and 'putting yourself out there' are incredibly vague, and sometimes reading such advice will actually discourage you. Networking is for people who read magazines that tell us about things like LBDs (little black dresses), it isn't for those of us who just want a quiet life with a normal job that pays enough to do the things we have to do and maybe even some of the things we want to do. Luckily I'm here to help. Because I find myself reading a lot of job-hunting advice as part of my own job, I have become pretty sharp when it comes to filtering out the filler stuff from the true wisdom. Here is a popular filler item that often crops up on job-hunting pages: Think about things you're good at This is absolutely terrible advice. Personally, you might be good at painting or martial arts, but this doesn't mean you're going to get a job that even marginally resembles either of these talents. In reality, few of us have the luxury of doing something we love, or are even remarkably good at. It…

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Ban-the-Box

Well well, what do we have here? I wrote an article about 'ban-the-box' in America for another site, and after last month's post about name-blind applications I thought it would be appropriate to find out if the UK had its own version of 'ban-the-box'. Unsurprisingly, I did a quick google search and voilà — the UK has shamefully followed in the politically-correct footsteps of its American counterparts. I can't say I'm surprised, but I'm more than a little disappointed. So what is the box, and why should it be banned? The box in question is the box you find on a generic application form that asks you about your criminal history. You tick 'yes' or 'no' depending on whether you've been naughty or not. Well, corporate HR departments (liberal airheads who wear suits) can't seem to get enough of workplace regulations, particularly those concerning regimented diversity, so it's no surprise that they take issue with an inquiry that could result in immediate bias towards a job candidate. The offensive little box should be banned because refusing to hire a criminal makes you the most evil, cold-hearted purveyor of discrimination since, like...ever. Get with the times, traditionalists. Gender and race equality are so last…

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Name-Blind Recruitment

Name-Blind Recruitment As soon as I read the definition of name-blind recruitment, or blind recruitment as I'll call it from here on out, I knew I'd be a bit of a skeptic. Nonetheless, this form of recruitment is gaining momentum, so it's worthy of discussion. Blind recruitment is the practice of removing information that personally identifies you from your job application. Things that are often removed from a blind application include your name, gender, age, and education. Immediately I'm wondering why on earth education would be removed from an application, considering the fact that you need B.Sc's, B.A's, PhD's, A.B.C's and the like to get most jobs nowadays.   This does nothing for my skept-o-meter. What could possibly be the driving force behind such an extreme vetting method for prospective employees? Could it be the buzz-words of the day? Diversity? Political correctness? Government regulations? You guessed it. The Purpose According to its champions, blind recruitment is supposed to reduce the chances for bias. The logic seems to be as follows: Let's say your name is Abu Dabi Won Kenobi. Your name makes you sound like a foreigner so obviously no one will be able to understand your weird accent and you can barely string…

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How To Create a Good Computer-Readable CV

How To Create a Good Computer-Readable C.V I've previously written about what information should appear in a C.V, and how to divide information between a C.V and a cover letter (here if you didn't read it yet). The points in my previous writing were concerned with general C.V writing. This post, however, focuses specifically on how to write a good C.V for online applications. The title above, 'How To Create a Good Computer-Readable C.V', is illuminating. Many job-seekers aren't aware of the fact that the actual layout of their C.V can impact their chances of getting the job they're applying for. This is because many companies use what is known as an applicant tracking system. An applicant tracking system is a software application that handles the recruitment process. They filter through the C.Vs submitted and select the ones which are the best fit for the position advertised. It can be disheartening to find out that you have put time and effort into writing a C.V only for some non-human recruitment tool to throw it onto the waste pile. However, applicant tracking systems are becoming more and more popular since the rise of online recruitment. Online applications were originally seen as supplements to a…

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The Benefits of Approaching an Employer Directly

Hi again, readers. I have to say, writing this has been an eye-opening experience for me. I have been in the position before of being unemployed and camping out on the internet trawling through hundreds of job advertisements trying to find work. There is a tip in this post that I guarantee will change the way you see the job-hunting process and will result in a much more productive job-hunting experience. The writing that follows examines why approaching an employer directly in search of a job can be extremely beneficial. Below are some useful points to consider: Benefits to Approaching an Employer Directly: 1. Speculative Applications Approaching an employer directly gives you the freedom to send out what is known as a ‘speculative application’. This is an application that isn’t responding to a specific job opening or advertisement, it is simply a way of expressing your interest in working for a particular company. You do this by contacting the relevant person within a company which sparks your interest and emailing them with an expression of your intentions. Your email is like a digital covering letter, and you should obviously always attach your CV to these emails. This way, you will be on file when something comes up in…

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Top 3 Reasons You’re Not Getting the Job

1. You’re over/under-qualifiedThis is the number one factor that determines whether you get to interview stage or not. It’s no surprise that if you’re under-qualified you don’t have a chance. If the job listing asks for five years experience in an office and you have three, don’t bother applying. It’s tempting to say ‘but I have three years experience, surely this is enough’. Granted, asking for this much experience for a relatively low-skilled office job is a bit much. I see ads like this all the time where the requirements are truly out of reach for the average job-seeker. I find it baffling, especially when the job involves tasks that are easy to learn. However, it’s better to move on to the next listing than pine over the job you don’t meet the criteria for. Being under-qualified or under-experienced is one thing, but it’s much more frustrating when you are over-qualified. This has been the defining trait of my personal job-hunting experience. It takes a l ot of perseverance to remain pro-active and motivated when you fill in applications for jobs that you are well equipped to do and never hear anything back simply because your application looks out of place. Employers will seldom hire anyone who is…

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The Benefits of Using Recruitment Agencies

Last month’s post listed the benefits of approaching employers directly when applying for a job. The findings were clear: the second point in the post asserted that targeting employers is quite simply the best way to find a job. This is true if we consider the high percentage of unadvertised jobs. Recruitment agencies can generally only access jobs which are advertised on the open market. Therefore, using their services means that the job applicant is only applying for at most 40% of the actual jobs available. This seems to be a dreary forecast for this post. However, it must be taken into account that many of the unadvertised positions are kept quiet for a reason; usually because the company with the opening already has someone in mind for the job and is keen to hire internally. Employers like to know who they’re dealing with and they would rather promote a member of staff who has already shown dedication than hire someone new. Ultimately, then, these unadvertised posts aren’t really tailored to suit the average job-hunter. As a result, this post examines the benefits of using recruitment agencies for advertised positions, as these are the ones that are relatively unbiased and focus predominantly on…

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Zero Hour Contracts

What is a ‘zero-hour contract’? It is a contract given by employers to prospective employees to hire them on an ‘as-needed’ basis. It is a casual contract, neither part-time nor full-time. The employee is given hours according to the needs of the company. There are no benefits included. The most significant part of a zero-hour contract is that it gives the employer the ability to award absolutely no hours of work if business is slow, hence the ‘zero-hour’ name. Other casual contracts may have a four or eight hour restriction on the employer; in other words, even if business is slow, they are required to give the employee the minimum amount of hours stated on their contract. Casual contracts are unstable even with a restriction; without the security of knowing that you will get at least the minimum contract hours, it seems to be a highly impractical way of earning a living. Those who offer zero hour contracts tend to try to justify it by making it seem as if it benefits the employee. It gives them flexibility and allows them to do other things. Well, let’s examine this point, shall we? How does a contract with unknown hours offer flexibility? How can you plan the week…

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