The top HR stories of 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, HRreview takes a look at its most viewed stories of the year.

January 2019:
1 of 5 British children want a career as a social media influencer

‘Social media influencer’ and ‘YouTuber’ made the top five professions that British children aged between 11 and 16 are aspiring to go into, with the majority of parents not knowing there was money to be made in being an influencer. Statistics compiled by AWIN, show that 17 per cent of 11-16-year-olds wish to be a social media influencer.

February 2019:
Why are Millennials dubbed as the most impatient generation in the workplace?

Millennials have been dubbed the most ‘impatient generation’ in the workplace, with over nine-tenths wanting ‘rapid career progression’. The majority of employers believe that this level of ambition and desire is the leading cause of conflict between generations.

March 2019
Revealed: The struggle menopausal women deal with at their workplace every day

A study of one thousand women based around the UK was undertaken, all over 45 years of age and all currently in either full time or part time work. Seventy-seven per cent of the women surveyed had already gone through the menopause or were currently experiencing it. Just under two thirds of those respondents admitted that the symptoms they experienced made work much harder for them.

The survey respondents experienced typical menopause symptoms to varying degrees. The most common issue was hot flashes, which affected 73 per cent of the sample group. The next was drowsiness or exhaustion, with which 63 per cent struggled. 48 per cent reported low mood, 47 per cent found it difficult to concentrate and 43 per cent had issues with their memory. Only six per cent said that they didn’t experience any symptoms of the menopause at all while working.

April 2019
Graduates in retail are most vulnerable to poor mental health

Research shows that graduates in retail show the highest signs of poor mental health, with this sector scoring lower than any other industry. Only 54 per cent agreed that their mental health is very good – compared to those working in engineering (64 per cent), which came out as the best sector for graduate mental health.

May 2019:
Research reveals the broken state of onboarding facing UK HR teams

For more than a quarter (27 percent), it took up to a month to finalise all of the onboarding tasks required for a new starter – from contracts to compliance policies. And for 11 percent, it was three months before the onboarding admin was complete. Ineffective handling of paperwork is just one of the onboarding challenges highlighted by the ‘Welcome Aboard’ research. The study which asked 2,000 UK employees, reveals the battle HR teams face with outdated and broken onboarding processes.

June 2019:
Do people in HR support Bring Your Dog To Work Day?

The 21st June is Bring Your Dog To Work Day, with most in HR backing this idea as they believe having a canine in the office can reduce stress and increase morale. TopCV, The Audit Lab and the HR team at Hewlett-Packard all support this day.

July 2019:
Sajid Javid should scrap IR35 says IPSE

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) is hoping that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid will scrap IR35 as they feel it “is a massive bureaucratic drag” and will cause sizeable damages.

Mr Javid back in 2009 writing for ConservativeHome, a centre-right political blog, said:

We should repeal the silly IR35 tax on providers of personal services.

August 2019:
Weirdest questions candidates have been asked during an interview

Some UK candidates are questioning the interview process as they have been asked questions that have no relevance to the job like “have you ever seen an invisible man?” As well as being asked to do tasks that are just “downright weird” like clapping like a duck.

Some of the most unusual questions that interviewees have been asked are:

  • Can you sing the theme to Captain Pugwash?
  • How many elephants can you fit in your car?


September 2019:
Migraine Awareness Week: How employers can help staff

The 1st-7th September was Migraine Awareness Week, with people from the HR industry saying that support should be given to those suffering from Migraines. Such as adjusting the lighting in the office or offering remote working as a way of combatting this.

During, Migraine Awareness Week, the Civil Service partnered with Migraine Trust UK in order to support civil servants who suffer from migraines and to raise awareness of the issue.

Sir Phillip Rutnam, permanent secretary at the Home Office and Civil Service Disability Champion, said:

It is our responsibility to create a workplace that provides staff with the support and understanding they need to thrive. Migraines are an extremely serious and often debilitating condition that affect a significant proportion of the population, including those in the Civil Service.

October 2019:
Barclays to no longer use contractors is ‘a taste of the IR35 chaos to come’

In October, Barclays Bank announced it will stop using off-payroll contractors through limited companies, which was described as “a taste of the IR35 chaos to come” by IPSE.

By the end of the month, all ‘big four banks’ in the UK had placed a ban on the use of contractors. The ‘big four banks’ are RBS, HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds.

November 2019:
McDonald’s Easterbrook defended by other CEOs

After Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald’s was fired on 4/11/2019, for having a relationship with an employee, some people have come forward and defended the CEO and compared the company to the Catholic Church.

Michael O’Leary CEO of Ryanair believes McDonald’s policy not to allow managers to have romantic relationships with direct or indirect employees is a “step too far”. James Reed, CEO of REED also backed Mr Easterbrook.

December 2019:
What does a Conservative win mean for IR35 and employment law?

After what was declared a huge victory for Boris Johnson and a Conservative majority, numerous calls are coming from HR for the Prime Minister to keep his various promises regarding reviewing IR35 and making changes to employment law, such as the developments in employee pay and family-friendly rights.

Seb Maley, CEO of Qdos, Dave Chaplin, CEO of ContractorCalculator and Kate Palmer,  associate director of advisory at Peninsula were all keen to remind Mr Johnson of the promises made during the campaign.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.