HR Masterclass

The inaugural WorkAdvisor HR Masterclass in Southampton had invaluable advice for businesses and offered an update on job prospects in the area.

WorkAdvisor welcomed HR execs to the Solent University to discuss important topics ranging from a strategic vision for the Hampshire region to key employment law advice for recruiters.

The Masterclass was attended by delegates from Southampton City Council, Southampton University Hospital, City College, Southampton Football Club, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Quilter and law firms Blake Morgan and Paris Smith.

A Vision for the Region

Jude Robinson, head of strategy at Hampshire County Council kicked proceeding off with an overview of their Vision for 2050 (employability skills and experiences). She said the region currently lagged behind the UK average for the number of adults with degree level education and that it was important for graduates to remain in the area after their studies.

Robinson said Hampshire has a disproportionately high ageing demographic meaning that the area would have a more dependent population by 2020. By 2030 28% of jobs in the region will be at risk from automation.

She said as more routine jobs get replaced by robots, it was important for educators and employers to realise that inter-personal skills would become increasingly relevant in the job market. 

Despite the challenges for the region, Robinson said Hampshire was well placed to cope with the change and take advantage of opportunities in growth areas such as IT and digital media, STEM and Marine/Maritime occupations.

Employment Law

Delegates were warned to take extra care when recruiting employees, as they can face hefty fines for falling foul of the discrimination laws.

Claire Merritt, a partner at Southampton-based lawyers Paris Smith, said recruiters must not discriminate on the grounds of age, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marriage or civil partnership, or pregnancy and maternity in the recruitment process.

Speaking at the first Human Resources (HR) Masterclass in Southampton, hosted by jobs and review site WorkAdvisor, Merritt said firms faced a high price for getting it wrong. 

She said compensation for discrimination was uncapped and compensation payments could be as high as £42,900 in exceptional circumstances and, on average, was around £16,000.

Merritt advised delegates to identify the vacancy, analyse the existing work and skills needed and, importantly, to write an appropriate job description.

University Graduates

Meredith Smith and Maggie Moss from Solent University presented on its latest employability statistics and plans to equip graduates with the skills required for future employment.. 

The University has 11,000 students and supports them in finding part time work and work experience while studying, and permanent jobs when they have completed their courses.

 Over 2,000 students graduate every year from Solent in July and 93.9% of graduates from 2016-17 were either in work or work and study by January 2018.

 The University now offers a range of apprenticeships from Level 5 to Level 7.

Employer Brand

WorkAdvisor addressed an immediate concern for all delegates, attracting and retaining talent in a highly competitive recruitment market.

WorkAdvisor managing director Paul Moran said an employer’s brand was increasingly important and that it was working with firms to improve their image among prospective employees and increase their number of positive reviews on its site.

78% of job seekers look at employer reviews when considering a new employer.

A company with a stronger employer brand sees a 43% reduction in cost per hire.


The event was well attended and we intend to run another HR Masterclass in April with details to follow.