Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The North East's HR News

Exclusive are happy to be providing outsourced HR services to a number of businesses in the north east. We like to keep abreast of all the latest developments in the field and keep you posted too. So, here’s a roundup of what’s changing, what’s happening and what’s improving in the world of HR this spring:

National Minimum Wage Set to Rise

From October 2013, the national minimum wage will increase to £6.31 for adults. This is an increase of 12p, while the minimum wage for 18-to-20-year-olds will rise by 5p to £5.03. Though this news may be welcomed by employees, for smaller businesses working to slim margins an increase in pay by 12p an hour could eat into profits. This increase marks an attempt to strike a balance between the limitations employers face with pay rises and employees’ needs for a higher income. It’s hoped that this latest move by the government will boost economic growth and increase consumer spending.

The REC Report

Last month’s REC report might not be glowing, but it still brings us some good news. There is growth in the number of placements both in the permanent and temporary markets and the story told by employers in the North East is slightly more positive than the general trend across the country. There is a definite upturn from the same time last year and March was another good month for businesses. The North East’s positive outlook must, in part, be down to the region’s strength in the areas that are showing significant growth, namely engineering and the energy sector. Read more about the report here.

Pay Growth in Public and Private Sectors

In a surprising turn of events, the Office for National Statistics has revealed that public sector pay has grown three times faster than that of the private sector in recent months. The statistics relate to the period between December and February, during which private sector wages rose by 0.5% compared to 1.7% in the public sector. This includes private sector bonuses and reflects the fact that many businesses are lowering or freezing wages to cut costs and allow room for bringing in new staff. It has been suggested by John Philpott of the Jobs Economist consultancy  that pay increases can lead to job losses in the public sector, and that reducing pay rises as the private sector have done could prevent this. A contentious issue!

Overhaul of Employment Law

 It has been revealed that a change in employment law could be implemented in the coming months that will have a beneficial impact on the ability of medium-sized businesses to bid for outsourcing contracts. The proposals, put forward by the Department of Business, are designed to cut through red tape and make it easier for employers to avoid TUPE (transfer of undertaking laws). This essentially means that companies will no longer be so strictly obliged to inherit staff working for a current service provider when they take over an outsourcing contract.

That’s all for this week, but stay tuned for more news and updates in May.

Exclusive LTD are HR and recruitment specialists based in the North East. To find out more about our outsourcing services take a look at our Outsourced HR Partnership Descriptions.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Profiles of the World’s Biggest New Oil and Gas Projects

Most of us are aware that the oil and gas industry is the largest in the world. This industry is ranked first in terms of revenue, and capitalization. There are millions of job opportunities out there within this sector due to its constant developments through multiple projects within different companies and locations.

Oil and gas provide the world's 6.9 billion people with 60 percent of their daily energy needs. The industry is continually growing and expanding with innovation at the forefront. Here are profiles of three of the biggest projects currently under development for an insight into the future of the ever changing and expanding oil and gas industries:

Angola Development Project

One of the world’s biggest new gas and oil projects is situated on the West coast of Africa, specifically Soyo, Angola. The scope of work includes engineering, procurement, and construction.

Angola, the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria, is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. In 2007 the nation decided to join OPEC creating an ongoing boom. With expansion of the liquefied natural gas industry, a second energy-driven boom has begun.

The project is a major liquefied natural gas project helping to turn the continent into a major source of energy. The plant within Angola on the Congo River delta will have the capacity to produce 5.2 million metric tons per year of LNG.
The natural gas is transformed safely and economically by sea through the cooling of the gas to minus 160 degrees Celsius. In Angola, Bechtel is performing engineering, procurement, and construction on the onshore portion of a broad $8 billion gas program that also includes floating production storage and operations vessels, pipelines to the LNG plant, and LNG tankers.

Repsol, Statoil, Petrobras Strike 250 Million Barrel Well

Repsol, Spain’s largest energy company, and partners including crude producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4) have made an amazing discovery, finding over 250 million barrels of oil off Brazil.
The Pao de Acucar well is located in the Campos Basin about 121.2 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in 2,800 meters of water. The find is the latest in the so-called pre-salt, and has high impact due to it holding 250 million barrels of oil.

Petrobras’s new project is to dig deeper within Brazil’s offshore Campos Basin, aiming to find deposits beneath existing fields and trapped under a layer of salt.

Ivar Aasen Field Development, Norway

Ivar Aasen Field (formerly Draupne Field) is located in the northern part of the North Sea, west of the Johan Sverdrup Field. The development of the field comprises of three discoveries, namely Ivar Aasen, West Cable and Hanz and these are estimated to hold reserves of about 150 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe). The development of the field is expected to cost NOK 24.7bn ($4.3bn) with production phase one scheduled for 2016. Phase two will start delivering in 2019. Initial production from phase one is estimated at 16,000boe per day, which will increase to 23,000boe per day when both the phases come online. The expected lifetime of the field is 20 years from the time of its commissioning.

The plan for development and operation (PDO) of Ivar Aasen was submitted in December 2012. Along with these three international developments there are a large number of exciting new projects closer to home presenting a range of attractive employment opportunities. Visit the Exclusive LTD website to browse jobs and find out where you could fit into the next stage in the development of the energy sector.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

A Beginners Guide to Outsourcing HR: Part Two

Part Two: Avoiding the Traps

Outsourcing can be very good for your business, but in order to ensure that it is a successful venture you need to recruit the right company and avoid the common traps. Exclusive LTD have put together this insider’s guide to help you along:

1.    Get recommendations

Do your research and get solid recommendations before you choose a company to outsource to. Talk to your contacts and find reviews and recommendations online—picking an HR service without prior knowledge of their reliability is risky. Even after you have found a company that offer attractive services, a quick digging expedition on Google or asking other small business contacts should swiftly prove whether or not this is a service you ought to use. If you’re going to spend money on it, you want to check that this service will be worthwhile and value for money. Make sure you know who you are doing business with and what their track record is like.

2.    If You Don’t Like Your Service, Change

Your do not owe your HR outsourcers anything. Be careful about what you agree to, and choose a short term contract of 12 months to begin with rather than signing up for several years. When you are outsourcing, the employees of the outsourcing company are not your employees. If they cannot do the job you hired them to do after twelve months then cut your losses and find a new outsourcing company.

3.    Have a Communications Plan

Changing who manages your HR changes the way your business operates. You need to make a clear plan with your HR outsourcers as to what you expect them to do for you, and the timescale within which you expect them to operate. Provide milestones and be totally clear on what you want to be done by each milestone. Remember that they are working for you, and never allow communications issues – which can be significantly more detrimental with outsourced work – to arise.

4.    Know the Risks

There is always an element of risk with outsourcing. Anything which goes outside of your business and therefore is outside of your direct control and sphere of influence is a risk. For most small businesses this is a worthwhile risk, unless you are either able to afford one or two dedicated HR staff or happen to employ a trained HR professional who is currently carrying out another role within your company—and, if you are, that you can afford for them to split their time. However, minimizing risk is entirely possible. As above, make sure you have communicated clearly to your outsourcers what you expect them to do. Identify and catalogue your intellectual property. Make sure there are shared risks and rewards, that the contract makes sense both for you and for your outsourcers, that the schedule is realistic, and that your long-term objectives are concrete.

5.    Don’t Rush

It can be tempting to throw it all in the ring once you find a reputable outsourcing firm, but this is a mistake. Make sure your legal necessities are all clear. Communicate your objectives and ensure that they are understood before you pass the work over to the outsourcing firm. Also ask whether they supply Employment Law Insurance. In a sense, you have all the time in the world to get it right, but it only takes a few basic mistakes or miscommunications for things to go wrong. A good idea is to meet with a couple of companies and ask what they can do for you before you commit. Get a clear idea of how they would fit into your business.

Have more questions about how and when to outsource your HR? Exclusive pride themselves on providing impartial, balanced advice about when to outsource, and information on how it can work for each individual business. Contact a specialist in the North East, Yorkshire or Scotland to find out how outsourcing HR could work for you.

A Beginners Guide to Outsourcing HR: Part One

Part One: Why Outsource HR?

Everybody requires HR, but for many businesses there are a number of challenges to tackling it in-house. When it comes to making the decision about whether to outsource Exclusive LTD advise businesses that there are five major factors that determine whether it is the best option. They are:

1.    Your in-house Resources

Companies that can afford to employ large numbers of people and that produce massive amounts of data can be better off if their HR is in-house; they will save money and keep the skills in the company. But other large businesses benefit from outsourcing as it is one less thing for them to juggle and saves them recruiting a whole new team or taking up existing staff’s valuable time. For many small businesses who cannot afford to have staff members in a dedicated HR role or train these staff, outsourcing is the obvious choice. Some have staff whose primary role is not in HR conducting the company’s HR work without proper training. This is not always a cost effective or productive situation, and keeping HR in house can become more trouble than it’s worth.   Outsourcing HR, therefore, increases the efficiency of the company as it means employees can invest all their time in work which actually produces revenue. Companies both big and small can end up saving time and money by passing their HR work onto a specialist company.

2.    Levels of Experience

If you have inexperienced staff doing your HR work, or, as a director, are doing it yourself, you may not have the experience required to carry out this role to its full effect. Companies who outsource their HR work often find that problems- many of which they didn’t even realise they had- are solved once someone else is running their HR.  Inevitably, trained professionals not only know how to solve problems but how to identify them in the first place.

3.    Cost & Efficiency

It can often be cheaper in the long term to outsource your HR for the reasons already mentioned—that it frees up existing staff to work in their specialist areas and saves time. However, if you are already employing a full-time HR operative or an entire team then you could still save money. It is almost always cheaper to outsource your HR, especially if it only requires a few hours of work per day. Full-time employees are expensive but outsourced HR is paid for by the hour, which is inevitably cheaper than employing a full-time HR operative. Therefore, outsourcing is not only cheaper but also more efficient; all of the work needed will be done in a smaller amount of time at a lower cost, and more effectively.

4.    Access to Better HR Systems

One thing is absolutely certain about outsourcing your HR—it will give you access to IT HR systems you otherwise would not have access to. A small business with a single employee carrying out all HR duties will probably have a single computer with basic software packages. An entire HR outsourcing company will have superior HR software. Outsourced HR workers are also more likely to be able to handle human resource metrics, and thus are able to provide you with more data about how to improve your HR administration. Therefore, as above, outsourcing your HR will inevitably make it more efficient.

5.    Reduced Risk

A professional company can hugely reduce risk by ensuring that your company is fully legally compliant. Check whether the company you are outsourcing to offers Employment Law Insurance for maximum risk reduction and peace of mind.

Outsourcing your HR significantly reduces other risks, too. Having HR carried out by well-trained individuals with access to superior administration systems decreases the likelihood of mistakes, especially financial or other general numerical errors. The benefits to reducing risk to your business, especially during a time of economic uncertainty, are clear.

To ensure that there are no risks or problems when outsourcing businesses also need to avoid the common traps. Visit part two in this series for help on how to choose the right company and avoid hassle when outsourcing.

Exclusive pride themselves on providing impartial, balanced advice to businesses about when to outsource and how it can work for them. Contact a specialist in the North East, Yorkshire or Scotland for expert advice.