We see your potential at Staffordshire Business School

Carol Southall, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School

Kerry Edge, Administrative Assistant Recruitment


For many people, a new year starts in January, but in the academic world we are fast approaching a new ‘academic’ year. It is that time of year when, often following a summer break, people take time to reflect on what is important to them, with family, life and career often being the subject of that reflection. Going back to work post- summer break; receiving summer examination results; or looking for an alternative career path, this is the time when the opportunity to pursue a University education is often considered.

Clearing is an opportunity to make a new choice. Essentially, clearing matches applicants to university places that are yet to be filled. There are many reasons why courses are still available through clearing. It is an opportunity for those who may have changed their mind about where or what they want to study, it’s an opportunity for those who have missed their conditions and it’s also an opportunity for those who, on reflection, realise that the path to their chosen career lies in higher education.

The key message is that it is never too late to apply for university.

At Staffordshire Business School we understand the importance of making the right decision. We work hard to inspire you to be creative in your thinking, international in your outlook and innovative and entrepreneurial in your actions. Connecting with business, the creative and cultural sector and communities to address challenges in a time of change, we encourage our students to make a difference through innovative and transformational ideas.

For more information on the courses at Staffordshire Business School click here:

Our friendly clearing team is available now to offer advice and guidance.
Call us on 0800 590 830 or visit www.staffs.ac.uk/clearing

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Now 37 – Staffs Uni celebrates best ever place in UK league tables

Staffordshire University achieves Gold in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework

Find a student job in England

Mohamed Adesola Adjaou, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student


Are you going to Erasmus in England and would you like to find a student job? Or do you just want to go there for a summer to work? You are in the right place, because throughout this blog, we will cover some good tips for finding a job in England… a unique opportunity to practice English, travel and discover a new way of life!

Have you been wondering since the announcement of Brexit? No worries for now, since the UK’s exit process from the European Union will take a few more years again. Students from the European Union can continue to do their Erasmus year in England and find a student job without the need for a work permit or visa.

No need to remind you that if you want to work in England, you will have to do some of your research from your home country first. The sooner you start, the more likely you are to find something you like! Of course, if you have not found anything before leaving your country, it is also possible to apply for a job directly on the spot.

How to apply?

Remember to write and present your CV so that it is suitable for a country like England. In England, the CV is not presented in the same way as in other countries. To put the odds on your side, it is best to follow the rules of English writing.

For your application, do not hesitate to highlight your level of English as it is to your advantage. But be careful not to lie, because your recruiter will realize quickly! If you do not master English perfectly, do not give up, because there are many opportunities for you as well. For small jobs, it is not your professional experiences or diplomas that will be scrutinized but your personality and your skills.

Where to apply in England?

Would you like to get an idea of ​​which sectors are recruiting the most in England?

Well, we give you some examples of the areas to which you will be most likely to have a chance to see your application accepted:

  1. Catering: Restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes and fast food outlets are constantly looking for staff. Try your luck!
  2. Call centres: very practical if you are not quite comfortable with English since many call centres regularly seek French to make or receive calls with French-speaking countries.
  3. Clothing Stores: If you plan to go to London, the most influential capital of the fashion world, and you love fashion, go to the clothing stores, who are constantly looking for students!
  4. Newspaper / flyer distribution: Are you an early bird? This job is for you. In England, many positions are available to distribute flyers to passers-by in the street or to distribute newspapers in mailboxes.
  5. Home delivery: Most common student job, home delivery of meals (Pizza Hut, Just Eat, Uber Eat), or simply goods purchased via the Internet (UPS), is a sector that is not ready to run out of steam in England.

Useful sites to find a job

You will find many job / job offers on the web. For you a list of sites that could be useful in your research has been prepared, depending on the type of job you are targeting:

Sites to find odd jobs

  • StudentJob: find a student / seasonal job
  • Gumtree: ads of individuals (job and housing)
  • Restaurant Jobs: finding jobs in the catering industry in England
  • Reed: all jobs in England

Sites for a professional job

England: employment agency

Specialized sites for French expatriates:

Top Cultural Guide for International Students in the UK

Mohamed Adesola Adjaou, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student


Every year, thousands of foreign students come to the UK to study, be it in political science, journalism, fine arts, business, psychology or English language. England has become the education capital of the world. The country is known for many things, including tea and the love of fish and chips, but the UK is best known for its excellent educational institutions that include alumni from around the world. That’s why the UK is a great place to study for all international students who want to experience English culture and the best of education.

This guide presents the main cultural norms and differences that every international student should know about the UK.

Communication

The British are friendly and social people, so communication is very easy. Although there are do’s and don’ts when communicating in the UK.

Greeting: British greetings vary according to your knowledge of the person you are greeting. Although a simple smile and a nod are enough when greeting a stranger, it is also acceptable to have a hug or a kiss on the cheek.

Distance: The personal space is loved by the British. So keep a safe distance of about an arm’s length between you and the one you are chatting with. Coming to close is considered inappropriate. Never stare either, as it is generally considered impolite.

Being animated: There are many countries whose citizens enjoy a heated debate that can come alive enough, even in a friendly or social setting. Not the British, though. Being animated is usually frowned upon. The British are generally reserved and extremely polite, even when the conversation requires more emotion. Throwing your arms in the air, making gestures or raising your voice may not seem like such a big problem in other countries when you try to make a point, but will probably be scorned in England.

Sports

The British love sports with the most popular being football, rugby and cricket.

Football: Also called soccer by the Americans, it is the most popular sport in Britain. The English Premier League is one of the most-watched leagues in the world and has well-known clubs including Manchester United, Man City, Tottenham and Chelsea.

Rugby: Formally a game for the elite, rugby, although less popular than British football, is still loved by many. In the former British colonies (New Zealand, Australia and South Africa), the sport still dominates.

Cricket: Whether it’s an ODI series or a series of tests, the English love a good game of cricket. Played in a more intimate setting than rugby and football, cricket requires patience and endurance, as a test match can last a few days or more.

Food

Image Source https://recipes.sainsburys.co.uk/recipes/breakfast/full-english-breakfast

Traveling or living in Britain means that you are going to eat common British food. Many know the British for their fish and chips, but their culinary skills go further than this popular take-away dish.

Sunday Roast: Usually eaten on a Sunday, this meal consists of a roasted meat (e.g. duck, chicken, turkey, beef or lamb), a sauce or gravy and seasonal vegetables. It is a British staple.

Cornish Pasty: These delicacies are popular throughout the UK but are native to Cornwall and are probably better prepared by Cornwall. It’s a tasty pie filled with seasoned meat and vegetables.

English Breakfast: It’s certainly not consumed every day, but it’s a delicious hearty breakfast for weekends, holidays or outings. It includes eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, hash browns, toast and black pudding.

Music

The Beatles on ‘Top Of The Pops’ in 1966 Credit: Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns
Read more at
https://www.nme.com/news/music/watch-lost-clip-beatles-performing-top-pops-2474245#itXAtAqoMuFYmqGK.99

The UK is a breeding ground for some of the most famous artists in the world, and the British are proud of it. In recent years, the British have exported some of the most famous and beloved artists, who have reintroduced the country as a global hub for the creative community.

The Beatles: Originally from Liverpool in England, The Beatles were the most popular rock band of the 60s and many British and international fans still believe they are the best rock band of all time.

Adele: One of the most famous pop musicians of our time, Adele proves that British music, and in particular its history, has a profound impact on the world.

Socialising

To go out in England is only natural, as many students do. So, knowing how to socialise will make your stay here much better.

Arrival time: The British are punctual. So, you should try to be on time most of the time. The only exception to this rule is to be invited to a party or similar event. Being a few minutes late can be forgiven, but try to arrive within a reasonable time.

Behaviour: If you want your stay in Britain to be enjoyable, you will need to be well behaved. Always be sure to use please and thank you in the right setting. Forgive me and I’m sorry, they are also commonly used. During your stay in the country, you should also know that the British respect their elders and people with disabilities. They do everything possible to help them and make sure they are comfortable.

Language

Living in another country, even if it is as a student, means adopting the language. Although we have English classes to help you blend in, English is not the only language spoken in the UK and we are known for some slang of our own. Here is what you need to know about the language in the UK.

Familiar phrase: Every country has its own slang or colloquialisms and Britain is no different.

Chap means a man
Crikey is a common exclamation
TV means television
Chic means classy and sophisticated

Indigenous languages: The United Kingdom (UK) is divided into 4 countries; England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each country has its own indigenous language; Scottish Gaelic in Scotland, Irish (“Gaeilge” pronounced Gwal-gah) in Northern Ireland and Welsh in Wales. In Cornwall, England, you will also find a small population that speaks Cornish. But English is generally the language spoken in the United Kingdom.

Myths and legends

Every country has its share of “strange” myths and beliefs, and the UK is no different.

Fairies: Nicknamed the little people or the hidden people, the British have always believed in fairies, many claiming to have seen these mythical creatures and some even say that they had photographed them.

Gnomes: According to legend, these creatures are supposed to protect the gardens from other mythical evils. Hence the popular garden gnome that can be seen everywhere in the gardens in England.

Leprechauns: Playful creatures are actually a fairy and are popular among the Irish. If caught it is said to give the recipient 3 wishes to release it. It is also said that they wait at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold.

Education

Britain is known for its great universities and learning opportunities. So, to succeed in UK universities, it makes sense that, as a foreign student studying in the UK, you understand our education system.

UK Universities: The UK is home to some of the best universities in the world, thanks to its high quality teaching. Foreign students in the United Kingdom can study at Oxford University, University of Nottingham, University College London, Staffordshire University and the University of Portsmouth, among others.

Academic Year: The school year or school term in Great Britain varies by region and by university; all foreign students must therefore inquire about this university. But most universities have semesters from September to July.

Student Visa: Applying for a student visa can be easy, as evidenced by the many foreign students studying in the UK each year. However, in order to qualify for a student visa, you will need a letter of acceptance, proof that you can pay tuition and living expenses, as well as the possibility of paying extra health.

Student and Social Life: In addition to overcoming culture shock, living an international student experience while enjoying life in the UK is easy. There are many initiatives to make foreign students feel comfortable and minimise the experience of cultural shock when moving from a familiar culture to a foreign culture. To make your stay in the UK more enjoyable as a student, you must:

  • Visit the UKCISA website
  • Stay in touch with the house
  • Contact your international student advisor
  • Learn about British Traditions

Royalty and rank

Queen Elizabeth II

This is certainly something that distinguishes Britain from other countries. Although royalty is quite common all over the world, very few of them do as much as the British do.

Queens and Kings: At the top of the royal line are the King and the Queen. Right now, it’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Duke and Duchess: This is the second most powerful rank of the monarchy, attributed to those who are just under the king and queen. Duke is for a man and Duchess for a woman.

Knights and Dames/Ladies: Given to ordinary citizens who have accomplished something extraordinary. They will be honoured by royalty with a title. A Knight is the title given to a man while Dame is a woman. After which they will be officially called Sir or Dame/Lady.

Holidays

Although public holidays and holidays are used interchangeably in the United Kingdom, public holidays can also be celebrated by schools, businesses, etc.

Boxing Day: It’s the day after Christmas and it’s a holiday. It is celebrated every year on 26th December.

Pancake Day: Also known as Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras (for Americans), Pancake Day is the eve of Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning Lent. This is the last day that many Christians can feast before the start of Lent where they would traditionally abstain for 40 days. It falls on a different date each year, but obviously occurs on a Tuesday.

Saint Patrick’s Day: It falls every year in March on the 17th. It is of great importance to the Irish because it is the day of the death of St. Patrick who was known to preach Christianity in Ireland in the 5th century.

PAY, POVERTY AND ETHNICITY IN THE UK

Dr Tolu olarewaju, Lecturer at Staffordshire business School


In 2017, the average (median) hourly pay for White people within the UK was £11.34, which was 10p higher than the average hourly pay for people from all other ethnic groups combined. However, Indian people had the highest average hourly pay (at £13.14), while Pakistani and Bangladeshi people had the lowest (at £9.52), Black people had an average hourly pay of £11.10, while Chinese and other Asian people had an average hourly pay of £11.05.

Birmingham New Street. Image Source: Taken by Author.

Research also reveals that the poverty rate is twice as high for Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups compared to White groups within the UK. However, there is wide variation between different ethnic groups. Reports indicate that poverty rates are about 50% for Bangladeshi, 47% for Pakistani, 40% for Black, 35% for Chinese, and 25% for Indian, compared with 19% for White.

There are also some groups who are more frequently in persistent poverty (individuals are considered to be experiencing relative poverty if they live in a household with an equivalised disposable income that falls below 60% of the national median in the current year while persistent poverty is defined as experiencing relative low income in the current year, as well as at least 2 out of the 3 preceding years – in 2015, the poverty threshold in the UK was £12,567). Caribbean, Bangladeshi, African and Pakistani individuals have persistent poverty rates of 23%, 24%, 31% and 37% respectively. This compares with 13% for White individuals.

Within White groups, poverty rates differ too. For example, Gypsy/Irish travellers experience some of the highest unemployment rates of all ethnic groups and concentration in low pay for some EU migrants is also substantial.  This seems to be particularly expressed in homelessness rates for EU migrants with 36% of rough-sleepers being from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, 5% from African countries and 4% from Asian countries. However, a greater proportion of EU citizens have work compared to BAME citizens within the UK.

All In Together Now. Image Source: www.unsplash.com

DRIVERS OF POVERTY FOR ETHNIC GROUPS IN THE UK

Unemployment: According to current figures, while the unemployment rate for White British and White other is 4%, the unemployment rate for Asians is 7%, with Indian 6%, Pakistani/Bangladeshi 10%, Black 9% and Mixed 10%. However, the unemployment gap between White and BAME groups seems to have been improving over the last decade, and Indian and Chinese workers have relatively better success in the labour market than other ethnic minority groups. The unemployment rate interacts with the hourly wage rate to determine poverty levels. Overall, just under 4% of White people are unemployed, compared with 8% of people from all other ethnic groups combined.

Type of work: A closer look at the data reveals that 55% of people in poverty are currently in a working family. However, one very important driver for the disproportionately high poverty rates among some ethnic groups is the concentration of BAME workers in low-paid work. BAME groups are more likely to work in low-paid sectors such as caring, sales, catering, hairdressing, elementary and clothing professions – occupations with limited progression opportunities and lower wages. It is this lack of movement out of low-paid work that increases the risk of poverty among ethnic groups. In fact, a key reason why Indian people earn more than White people per hour is because there are more Indian people in professional jobs (at 31%) than any other ethnic groups. “Percentage of workers in different types of occupation by ethnicity” figures also reveal that the least proportion of people who are managers, directors and senior officials are Black people.

Lack of Return for Education Qualifications/Improvement of Skills: BAME groups are more likely to be overqualified for the jobs they work in and less likely to get a good return for university education. Figures reveal that 40% of African and 39% of Bangladeshi employees were overqualified for their roles, compared with 25% of White workers. BAME workers often report not being given pay rises when their White colleagues get them or being passed over for promotion.

Dr Tolu Olarewaju presenting at Staffordshire University.

Entrepreneurship: Another route of poverty could be via entrepreneurship. Research reveals that more ethnic diversity within the UK enhances entrepreneurship. Interestingly, that research also revealed that Black people have the greatest likelihood of starting up a business, followed by Mixed people, Pakistani/Bangladeshi people, people from other Asian groups, White people who were not Irish, Indian people and then White people who were Irish. Here again however, there are variations between those born in the UK and foreign-born individuals; with being foreign born not so positive for entrepreneurship. Another reason for poverty in BAME ethnic groups could be the type of entrepreneurship that they engage in.

In addition, BAME groups are more likely to experience inactivity and lower levels of pay for the same job compared to White groups. Underlying these drivers are several other factors which include geographical location, racism and discrimination, and migration status. For example, first generation migrants might experience pay gaps that cannot be explained by the drivers above alone. The experience of poverty is particularly problematic for BAME communities because of the racial prejudice that they suffer already.

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE UK AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

Apart from the moral reasons for wanting to eradicate poverty from our society, the government commissioned McGregor-Smith review of BAME talent and progress at work estimates that having full representation of BAME workers in the labour market, through improving both their rates of progression out of low-paid roles and increased access to higher paid and more senior jobs, would both help reduce poverty within the country significantly and would benefit the UK economy by £24 billion a year.

In addition, poverty has devastating consequences for the people who live in it. The vicious cycle of poverty means that lifelong barriers and troubles are passed on from one generation to the next. Poverty is also a major cause of social tensions and wealth inequality contributed to the downfall of Rome.

To reduce ethnic poverty within the UK, I agree that policies and interventions that will tackle low pay among BAME workers, such as working with employers to provide better paid jobs, should be encouraged. Ethnic pay-gap reporting could also help. Policies should also be encouraged that monitor workforces by ethnicity which should include the recruitment, retention and progression phases of jobs. In addition, there is a need for policies that focus on skills and training for BAME groups especially digital, literacy and numeracy skills.

We can do this. Image Source: www.unsplash.com

European Union Students and Brexit

Mohamed Adesola Adjaou, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student


By the end of October 2021, the United Kingdom must leave the European Union. Brexit will more or less lead to change for the students of the European Union coming to study in the United Kingdom. Two options will have to be taken into consideration; whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not. Throughout this blog, we will enumerate the effects that Brexit will have on UK universities with a deal or no deal.  Bear in mind that both parties, namely the United Kingdom and the European Union are working together to ensure that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union operates with a win-win deal.

Tuition fees for students from the European union.

What is the current situation?

Most EU students pay the same fees as United Kingdom citizens students throughout their university studies. Tuition fees vary from one locality to another throughout the United Kingdom. Generally, EU students are eligible for a loan for university studies. In Scotland, Undergraduate students are usually exempt from tuition fees.

What changes will BREXIT bring?

With a deal: The governments of the United Kingdom have confirmed that students from the European Union who will start their academic studies during or before the 2020-2021 academic year will still be eligible for tuition fees at the same price as that of United Kingdom citizens as well as the student loan and nothing will change for them throughout their university studies.

Without a deal: This situation will remain unchanged, no matter whether the UK leaves the EU with an agreement or without agreement.

Will Brexit influence my power to stay in the United Kingdom?

In the context of Brexit, the British government will end reciprocal European freedom of movement in the United Kingdom. This means that citizens of the EU, EEA and Switzerland (and their eligible families) will need an immigration clearance if they enter or enter the UK after leaving the UK. EU.

If agreed, there will be a “transition period” that will end on December 31, 2020.

In case of no agreement: the UK leaves the EU on 1 June (or soon thereafter).

The government has declared that EU, EEA and Swiss nationals already resident in the United Kingdom will be eligible to apply for a new status confirming that they can continue to live in the UK after that date. The status can be “set” or “pre-set” in the UK.

In case the UK leaves the EU without any deal: EU students and their families who are eligible to apply under the settlement scheme must do so by 31 December 2020.

If you arrive in the UK between the official date of Brexit and 31 December 2020, you must apply for a European temporary leave to stay, which will allow you to stay in the United Kingdom for a period of 3 years.

From 2021, you will need to apply for a student visa. British universities offer many aids to enable the students to have more ease through the application process.

Will my UK diploma still be valid in the EU?

British diplomas are recognized in many countries of the world and there are a number of agreements between the different countries that support this. Some of them are not related to the European Union which means that after the Brexit, most university degrees will still be valid. Recognition of some professional qualifications is more complicated, but British universities are hoping mutual recognition of professional qualifications will continue. You can find out if your chosen subject is academic or professional by addressing your university.

Will I be able to stay in the UK AFTER OBTAINING my degree?

With a deal: Any student arriving in the UK before January 2021 will be able to apply for a “pre-established status”. This will allow you to remain in the UK for five years and then apply for “established” status. Once you have updated your status, you will be able to stay in the United Kingdom for life. If you have lived in the country for at least five years, you can apply for settled status without delay.

Without a deal: If you enter the UK anytime after the date of Brexit and you wish to apply for a temporary residence permit, you will need to apply for a visa after three years when your remain to leave will expire.

Can I still enter the UK with ERASMUS+?

With a deal: It will always be possible for the students of the European Union to enter the United Kingdom through the Erasmus+ program, until January 2021, when the current regime ends. The British government is committed to negotiating a new program that will succeed the Erasmus + program.

Funded by the ERASMUS + PROGRAMME

Without a deal: If the two parties do not reach any agreement, The Commission of the European Union has stated that it will seek to continue funding Erasmus+ students in the UK the day after Brexit. Until all this is clear, British universities work in partnership with other universities of the European Union to ensure that student exchange can always take place no matter the finality of Brexit.

Can I still ask for Research Council funding for my PhD?

Yes, currently EU students are still eligible to apply for doctoral scholarships funded by UKRI from the 2019-2020 academic year, and UK universities are working to keep this practice unchanged in any Brexit scenario.

Environmental health inequalities in Europe Second assessment report. World Health Organization.

Disadvantaged groups are amongst those most affected by environmental hazards contributing to health inequalities and deaths across Europe. This is according to a new international report published by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Prof Jon Fairburn was part of the international team of experts coordinated by Dr Matthias Braubach and Marco Martuzzi at WHO Europe who helped to produce the report.

This report follows on from the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health and the signing of that agreement also known as the Ostrava Declaration (2017). This commits governments to work towards tackling inequalities and vulnerabilities.

Here’s a short film of the main points from the report

The report provides evidence for 19 different indicators covering the broad categories of urban areas, basic services, housing, working conditions and injuries.

Jon Fairburn was also involved with the creation of the first assessment report from 2012 which you can find here.

If you are interested in this subject you can also follow his twitter feed @ProfJonFairburn on twitter he also has a specific air quality list. You can find his other publications in this area on our eprints system and he also has a google scholar profile.

Attending 25th SPRU PhD Forum: “Global challenges, local contexts: Reconciling theory and practice in Science, Technology and Innovation”

Ema Talam, PhD Student in Economics at Staffordshire University


On May 16 and 17 this year, I had a privilege to attend 25 Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) PhD Forum. The Forum was organised by the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) of the University of Sussex, which is world-renowned research centre around the areas of science, technology and innovation policy. The work of SPRU is diverse, including: economics of innovation and industrial policy; science, politics and decision making; sustainable development; energy; and technology and innovation management.

The 25th edition of the PhD Forum, which started back in 1994, was organised around the theme: “Global challenges, local contexts: Reconciling theory and practice in Science, Technology and Innovation”. The programme of two-day conference included 14 panel sessions with total of 30 presentations by PhD researchers from all over the world; keynote speeches and plenary panel sessions; and plenty of networking opportunities. The full programme of the Forum can be found here.

On the second day of the Forum, in Panel 11: “R&D Innovation Policy and Centres of Excellence”, I presented my own research titled: “Evaluating the effectiveness of R&D tax credits: Critique of the user cost approach”, which was very well received. The paper I presented – still work in progress – looks into two distinct approaches to evaluation of the effectiveness of R&D tax credits, and specifically, critically appraises one of the approaches: the user cost approach. The full abstract of my paper can be found on the link provided above. The 25th SPRU Forum was an excellent and an invaluable opportunity to present and get feedback on my research; learn about the ongoing, diverse and very relevant research in the fields of science, technology and innovation; and to meet and network with other scholars working in the field.

Why Google analytics can be so important to a business

Andrew Rizvi, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student


Google Analytics has become one of the most important marketing tools, if not the most necessary. It allows campaigns to be measured in real time, compare data of previous results and offers so much more to a business in terms of metrics.

Being one of the most powerful tools out there for being able to analyse traffic on your website. It gives you a vast amount of information on metrics, that helps monitor what visitors of the website are looking for and how they are getting to the site. This helps companies put all the information together in hope of increasing conversion rates and therefore sales margins.

This is a list of the important data Google Analytics provides for its users:

  • Where in the world the visitors are coming from – very important if targeting a specific audience and can be crucial if using STP marketing strategy aimed towards a certain target market
  • How visitors found the website – this is very important for determining which of your efforts are paying off. It shows if visitors found the site directly, through advertisement from other outlets and also even search engines. This is helped by a UTM code that you can then attach to a custom URL in order to track a campaign name, medium and source. This enables Google Analytics to help see where searchers came from as well as what campaigns directed to. This can then be implemented into using Google AdWords to take it a step further in order to increase website traffic and conversions.
  • Which keywords were used by visitors in the search engines to get to the website – this is very crucial for SEO. This knowledge allows you to see, which keywords people are searching for to get to your site and then be able to use that to incorporate into your chosen website. This enables for companies to use that information to benefit themselves on search engines for brand awareness.

This helps you make decisions based on data. This can then help justify spending more on your advertising, discover where you should be advertising, and even determine what types of content you need to be putting out there.

Google Analytics categorising data into ABCs:

  • Acquisition
  • Behaviour
  • Conversions

Acquisition

This allows you to use this information to see how your traffic arrives at the site through different marketing channels. That can also be helped by the use of a UTM code that you can attach to a custom URL. This, in turn, helps a business see where it should best place its marketing resources in order to use demographics, Geographic’s and physiographic segmentations to define its target market.

This diagram shows important data right up front — the number of sessions, the bounce rate of those and their conversions for the businesses most effective channels. It also shows how your top channels are performing and which ones would need to be changed to help production.

Behaviour

In Google Analytics each section has an overview page that covers its features such as behaviour flow, site content, site speed, site search and many more. This is also another crucial aspect for a user, as it allows a potential business to go see what can be improved on the site. This will then help a business understand where its potential conversion rates are falling and therefore go about to improve them, to turn them into customers by looking for patterns and usage rates.

It also gives you a bigger insight into the depth of the metrics in the ‘overview’ page on behaviour also:

  • Page views — is the total number of pages viewed during the selected time period. The important thing to understand is that a user may visit multiple pages on your site and each of those visits would count as separate.
  • Unique page views — This metric only measures the number of unique page views you receive. This will not count a user visiting multiple times, only his original visit.
  • Average time on page — It shows the average amount of time users spend viewing a page on your site.
  • Bounce rate — The percentage of single page-visits that didn’t lead to another page visit.
  • Exit percentage — The exit percentage shows how often users exit from a page or set of pages when they view the page(s). Exit % is often confused with bounce rate, but they’re not the same.

All of the above can drastically help businesses, not just in terms of production of the site and where it needs improvement. But also, the impact changes can have immediate and the percentage of increase can be seen via this tool.

Conversions This allows for tracking of what actions a visitor would take on your site and takes action you care about and converts to a customer. That action could be through filling out a form, completing a purchase, or by simply showing a high level of engagement with your site. This can be very useful in determining what is successful when measuring which traffic sources result in conversions. This is why Google Analytics predeceasing factors are so important, as people who engage regularly are more likely to interact than a first-time visitor. This is why the overall impact of the use of Google Analytics can be so profound to businesses, due to the fact it offers clear metrics to justify reasoning of spending resources to improve customer satisfaction and conversions.

However nothing is perfect.

In order to understand all the intricacies of the Google Analytic tool, you need to learn it. The issue with that is that the information is sometimes hard to find, may be confusing, and overwhelming. If business users traffic is high then that comes with its own complications, as the price is roughly £117,000. This is an astronomical price for potentially a small to medium enterprise, despite this allowing for better in-depth accuracy in metrics. There could be a layer of options between the free and premium for a company or other options entirely like Adobe to find its niche with capital, which in turn will help provide optimum results via conversion rates if used correctly.

Why should a business use it? Google Analytics allows you to track a vast amount of important metrics, covering all aspects, as well as being able to access it on multiple devices. It Also monitors the effectiveness of your online marketing strategies, user experience, device functionality and the to link between other Google products. The statistics show you what is working well and what isn’t. Once you have identified any issues your site may have, you can create a solution. Google Analytics gathers information needed to improve a website and make it the best it can be and therefore help a business reach its potential.

Improving Engagement with Accessible Social Media

Nicholas Heywood, MSc Digital Marketing Management


Creating accessible social media content can not only increase your engagement but also include an audience often overlooked: people with disabilities. Whether your goal is to increase online traffic to your business, social media, or blog, inclusion is the best approach. Accessibility goes beyond considering physical constraints, it’s actually a lot more sophisticated than that.

Why Accessible Social Media Is Important

Image Description: Infographics demonstrating the information discussed in this section and a data table estimating how many people in millions have specific disabilities, including 1.6 million blind people in the UK. End of Image Description.
Department of Work & Pensions, 2019; Office of National Statistics, 2018; CAP Survey, 2016; GOV.UK, 2014.

Take a moment to think about how content engages you: is it something you see or read? Does a deal sound good to you? Unfortunately, some audiences can’t see/hear the attraction behind it and need to be engaged another way to include them. The UK alone has over 13.5 million people with declared disabilities, beyond a fifth of our growing population.

The Office of National Statistics find that 80% of disabled adults use the internet frequently, increasing every year. The 2016 Click-Away Pound Survey suggests that 71% of participants (approximately 4 million) disengage with inaccessible websites or content. A new CAP Survey is in progress while the current results certainly emphasise the importance of online accessibility for engagement.

Marketers and businesses failing to meet this increasing demand for accessible content risk a gradual decline in engagement and revenue. The Business Disability Forum quotes a credible but outdated total spending power of people with disabilities as £80 billion per year. However, a recent government press release states a much higher total of £249 billion per year.

Improving Content Accessibility

Image Description: Explanation of how alternate text is used, using a red dress on sale as an example to describe features such as length and neckline. End of Image Description.
Sources: Twitter and Instagram

Ofcom reports confirm a large majority of visually-impaired people actively use mobile devices. Alternative Text describes images aloud through screen readers if a description is included, and is available on TwitterInstagram and Facebook. The latter includes automatic alternative text for recognisable objects within the image, indicating further AI use in social media marketing.

AI is becoming an integral part in social media’s evolution by contributing to complex tasks such as collecting and analysing big data. Accessibility expert Matt King believes AI will contribute to removing the barriers of disabilities in the not-too-distant future. Until this is feasible, we need to fill that gap by making our content as accessible as possible.

Describe the image and any included text with clear and concise language. Remember: your description becomes their eyes and key parts of your content could be missed without this.

Include Captions

Image Description: A visual summary of the points discussed in this section. End of Image Description
Mobile Marketing Magazine, 2018; LinkedIn, 2017; Instapage, 2018; Tubular Labs, 2018 y

Video content is in high global demand that continuously engages and grows on social media. Captioned videos include viewers deaf/hard-of-hearing or watching without sound and can aid translation in other countries. Including a transcript can improve your Video SEO ranking and keyword search results by indexing its contents to contextualise it. You can create transcripts for any language/accent with ease by using tools such as Voice Typing in Google Docs.

Up to 85% of Facebook users allegedly watch videos without sound in recent years. Studies provide credibility by suggesting that captioned videos gain 40% engagement and 12% of Instapage viewers turned their sound on during a silent test. The ideal approach is to design video content to work with and without sound to avoid excluding blind audiences too.

You can caption videos through video editing suites like Adobe Premiere Pro or even Notepad to create subtitle files to use on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Online tools like Kapwing and Facebook or YouTube captioning tools can reduce time and costs if you’re on a tight budget/deadline. Twitter and Instagram currently lack more accessible ways to add captions without using third party software.

Challenges Facing Content Creators

Business Attitudes Towards Accessibility

Image Description: Infographics demonstrating the information discussed in this section, including belief that 1 in 5 of us are disabled if not more. End of Image Description.
Sources: Department of Work & Pensions, 2019; Office of National Statistics, 2018; CAP Survey, 2016; GOV.UK, 2019

Creating accessible content will contribute to additional hours from your team’s budget and you may need to negotiate a budget increase. This could be tricky because not all businesses are comfortable increasing budgets and may fail to understand the importance. Using what you’ve learned from this could help provide justification for the budget increase.

Understanding the importance of accessibility remains a grey area for most businesses, and your input could fill that gap. Almost half the British public don’t know how many disabled people there are in the UK, but you do now.

Another angle to consider is that lacking accessibility gives competitors an advantage because disabled customers may opt for companies that do. The spending power mentioned before demonstrates the potential financial loss if this is ignored and how providing it would give a better competitive edge.

Scheduling & Posting Accessible Social Media Content

Image Description: A visual of how Buffer, Hootsuite, and Loomly do and don't support alternative text. Only Twitter is supported on Buffer and Hootsuite. End of Image Description.
Sources: Twitter, Instagram, Buffer, Hootsuite, Loomly

Accessible content is not just down to the content creators and budget limitations. It’s also down to the capabilities of the tools and resources they use to publish it.

Post scheduling tools may save time, but some of these tools do not come with Alternative Text. Posts may require a manual upload in some cases, supporting the argument that distributing engaging content takes time to perfect. Upon close analysis: Buffer and Hootsuite offer alternative text for Twitter but not Instagram yet, while Loomly doesn’t.

This wouldn’t be as much of an obstacle for content creators if Twitter and Instagram had independent post Schedule functions like Facebook. Although Facebook’s is not flawless since alternative text can only be provided after publishing the post.

Growing social networks among younger audiences like Tik Tok pose their own challenges of distributing accessible content. Despite claims to enable everyone to be a creator, there are currently no accessibility settings and limited features to be inclusive. This sparks concern of whether future emerging social networks will understand the importance of accessibility and include it.


A “No Deal” or “WTO” Brexit: How much will it cost you? And why?

By Geoff Pugh, Professor of Applied Economics

The pro-Brexit Daily Telegraph has made a case, based on serious evidence, for a “No Deal” or WTO Brexit. Yet at least some of its articles acknowledge that this Brexit outcome will impose substantial costs on UK business, arising from “the initial trauma of an exit on WTO terms” (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 3rd Apr 2019). Below, I offer a “back of the envelope” indication of how large these costs are likely to be for typical individuals and families. I use the Daily Telegraph’s judgement on the likely costs, because these are least likely to be exaggerated. Most other sources suggest higher costs. 

My point of departure is an article by Allister Heath: “It’s a complete myth that a no-deal Brexit would cripple the British economy” (the Telegraph, 6th March 2019). Mr Heath claims on the basis of serious, although somewhat selective, evidence that “a so-called no-deal … would probably cost just 1-2 per cent of GDP”. We can agree that this might not “cripple the British Economy”. However, two per cent of Britain’s GDP in 2018 amounts to somewhat more than £42 billion or a little over £1,200 for every member of the working age population.

This is calculated as follows (all the data is easily accessible from the Office of National Statistics website):

  • UK Gross Domestic Product in 2018 (at market
    prices): £2,114,627 million (i.e. somewhat more than £2 trillion);
  • Two percent of UK GDP in 2018: £42,292,540,000
    (a little over £42 billion)
  • UK working age population in 2018: 34,300,000
    (somewhat more than 34 million)
  • Cost per member of the UK’s working age population:
    £1,233

For a family with two wage earners then, a cost in each year of around £2,500. Even if we accept Mr Heath’s lower bound of one per cent of GDP, this still greatly exceeds even the highest estimates of Britain’s net contribution to the EU. It is getting on for half of total UK annual public expenditure on education.

This does not mean that the typical wage earner will suddenly lose more than a £1,000. What these calculations indicate is that over time – possibly over many years – the typical wage earner will be more than £1,000 a year worse off than he or she would otherwise be. If the economy is booming, growing at, say, 2.5% or 3% each year, then the cost of Brexit will hardly be noticeable as collective and individual prosperity continues to increase. Conversely, if the economy were to stagnate, or move into recession, then the costs imposed by Brexit will be burdensome, especially for the least well off.

Typically, the economic costs of administering large policy shocks take rapid effect whereas benefits (if any) accrue only after many years and are uncertain. Hence, even in the most favourable scenario, Mr Heath’s claimed reduction of “1-2 per cent of GDP” in our individual and collective prosperity will recur for many years. Over five to 10 years, these cumulatively enormous costs will translate into business failures, continued downward pressure on wages, lost jobs and homes, and additional stress on the public finances, prolonging austerity.

How might Brexit yield benefits in the long run? It is hard to be definite. On the one hand, administering a huge shock to an institution, firm or whole economy might prepare the way for radical reform and renewal. This is what Nigel Lawson hopes for:  “Brexit gives us a chance to finish the Thatcher revolution” (Financial Times, September 2nd 2016). This perspective is shared by many of the more hard-line proponents of Brexit, for whom the EU is an obstacle to thoroughgoing deregulation liberalisation and globalisation. On the other hand, shocks imposed by poor policy choices can destabilise institutions, firms or whole economies. This can lead to stagnation and relative decline in the long run (even absolute decline in extreme cases).

Much of the debate has centred on trade. Few on either side would dispute that the UK’s future economic well-being is greatly dependent on the ability of its firms to export goods and services. Yet, there are few reasons to believe that the effects of a “No Deal” or WTO Brexit will yield trade benefits sufficiently substantial to offset the almost certain losses detailed above. These are some of the points to consider.

  1. Many of the most productive firms in the UK, and especially in the West Midlands, both export to the EU and form integral parts of supply chains based in different EU member countries rather than having a purely national base. Cross-border trade friction will thus not only restrict direct exports but also disrupt such supply chains. This will damage many of our most productive firms, which are those most capable of paying high wages and generating new jobs. Indirectly, the whole economy will be damaged.
  2. Membership of the EU and its Customs Union is not what stops us exporting more to emerging markets. Germany not only exports hugely more to China than does the UK but even exports more to India (in spite of our inherited advantages). The barriers to UK firms exporting are to be found at home rather than with the EU.
  3. The UK on its own is unlikely to be able to strike more favourable trade deals than those negotiated by the EU.
    1. The US, for the first time since 1945, has both Congress and a President sceptical of free trade. President Trump’s “America first” policy does not bode well. As for the “special relationship”, this is unlikely to survive the loss of our (considerable) influence as a leading member of the EU.
    2. A Sovereign but economically medium-size UK is unlikely to exercise the same bargaining strength as the economically (very) large EU.
  4. Potential trade partners either account for too small a proportion of our trade to make much difference (most Commonwealth countries) or are not well disposed towards the UK (Russia; China – the Chinese have long memories when it comes to national humiliation). Even if favourable trade deals could be struck with other countries, impossibly large proportionate increases in trade would be required to offset the loss of trade with the EU. (This is a matter of arithmetic rather than of economic analysis.)

Other long-term effects are foreseeably negative. (i) Adverse impact on the financial sector will reduce the tax base, reducing both the scope for ending austerity and government’s ability to finance much-needed public investment. (ii) An end to the free movement of labour will damage firms dependent on certain types of highly skilled labour as well as other firms dependent on the unskilled end of the labour market. And (iii) the exclusion of UK researchers from EU research funding will damage our national science base and, hence, reduce innovation and growth in science-based industries.

In conclusion, a “No Deal” or “WTO” Brexit will almost certainly impose substantial economic costs while the claimed benefits are either speculative or predictably small. 

Professor Geoffrey Pugh, Professor of Applied Economics, Staffordshire Business School (personal capacity); 20-05-2019