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News and Links

For the latest news stories affecting employment please read on

Where in the UK has unemployment fallen most - and where have average wages shot up by 16%?

The town with soaring wages and shrinking unemployment

It is the town of Tamworth, just a few miles north-east of Birmingham.

A combination of luck and good judgement means unemployment has fallen faster here than anywhere else in England, Scotland or Wales.

Between early 2012 and last September, the town's headline rate of unemployment more than halved, from 9.9% to 4.7%.

The number of people telling the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that they were out of work and looking for a job fell from 3,400 to 1,800 in just two and a half years.

The revival of employment in Tamworth seems to have had a dramatic effect on local wage rates.

According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), the average earnings of people working full-time in the town rose by a whopping 16% last year to £28,000.

Source BBC News. Read more here

Five Questions About: Zero-hour contracts

Zero-hour contracts?

Zero hours: so you get paid to do nothing?

Unfortunately not. A zero-hour contract basically means there's no guarantee of work. This kind of contract means you're only paid for the hours you work.

What else should I beware of?

Watch out for sick-pay exemption, and any obligations you have to take the hours you're offered under such contracts. Some will make you do them, some won't. And you may not have the same employment rights as you would in a traditional contract. Rather than make you redundant, an employer may just not give you any work, leaving you in limbo.

So what's the problem?

There's little financial security because of the risk of not getting enough hours to make ends meet.

Which employers use them?

Lots, including the voluntary sector, tourist attractions, pubs, fast-food restaurants, retailers, local councils, government workers, even Buckingham Palace.

What can I do if I'm on this kind of contract?

You may not have many options but to work your notice and go after a new job, unless the contract breaches UK employment law or your employer has broken the contract. For help, contact Citizens' Advice: Zero hours: so you get paid to do nothing?

The Independent


Preparing for an interview

You've made it this far and bagged an interview. Great. But what do you actually have to say to impress your potential employer? More importantly, what don't you say? Follow these top tips to make the best impression.

It's easy to be nervous at interview and say the wrong thing. Good preparation can help make sure you go in there with a clear focus about what to say and turn the interview to your advantage.

When preparing for an interview you should put together a bank of example questions and prepare answers. Here's a list of common interview questions to get you started.

Meanwhile, knowing when to stop talking is key. It's easy to talk yourself into a hole, or say the wrong things, like criticising a previous boss a little too much. The current interviewer will be worried that if you moan about your previous employer too easily, you may also moan about this place if and when you leave.

For some people an interview can feel so daunting that they'd rather not think about it beforehand but hope that they can wing it on the day. But if you just rely on leaving it to luck you are more likely to be affected by nerves and come across hesitant. However, with some careful planning and thought you can ensure that you present yourself confidently and professionally on the day.

The Telegraph


Useful links to independent sites

A wealth of information about work in general

ACAS - Promoting employment relations and HR excellence

Health & Safety Executive

Citizens Advice