by Claire Shoesmith
The first few weeks in a new job can be difficult anyway, but imagine not being able to meet your new colleagues in person...
The first few weeks in a new job can be difficult anyway, but imagine not being able to meet your new colleagues in person and having all your onboarding and company introductions done virtually. For a small handful of people working in permanent remote roles this is the norm, but for the vast majority of individuals, starting a new job is all about meeting new people, working closely with your peers and learning from your new colleagues. That was until the coronavirus.
In reality, onboarding is the first official impression of a company the new employee gets and is typically conducted over a series of face-to-face meetings. Portraying your company’s identity, brand, motivation and goals without physical contact is not easy.
The onboarding process is very important
"We place a lot of importance on the onboarding process,” says Franklin Fitch Founder David Annable. “When employees are physically distanced from their team members and managers it can be easy to feel isolated and disengaged. This is especially true for new employees who haven’t had chance to experience the company’s culture. Ensuring the onboarding process and training has the same impact when done remotely is not easy.”
Video calls and screen sharing are a lifesaver
Isra Suet joined Franklin Fitch as a recruiter in mid-February. Just four weeks into her new position, she has found herself working from home, conducting all her business and training remotely after the UK government ordered employees to work from home where possible. Video calls and screen sharing have been her lifesaver.
“The group chats at the beginning and end of every day are a great support,” she says, adding that she particularly likes the fact it isn’t all work and that people discuss their feelings, along with general chats about the current situation. “I’m new to the company so am missing out on all the opportunities to socialise, so this aspect is very important.”
Despite knowing she is missing out on some of the support and camaraderie of the office environment, Isra is finding the positives in home working. “There are very few distractions and minimal noise, which makes it much easier to focus on calls,” she says.
Vincent Mertens, who managed just two weeks in the Franklin Fitch office before having to work from home, agrees. “Being onboarded remotely is not ideal, but it has been quite positive given the circumstances.” He too believes making calls has been easier without so many people around him, though admits that it will be harder to rectify mistakes as there is no one to hear them.
Maintain as much contact as possible
Charlotte Drury, who heads up Franklin Fitch’s Academy and is responsible for a lot of the training and onboarding, says the key is to keep up as much contact as possible with the new starters and recent joiners. For her, technology such as CloudCall, which makes it easy to listen into calls and provide remote coaching, and Microsoft Teams, which facilitates instant messaging and group video calls, are essential.
“It is definitely more difficult than doing it face-to-face,” says Charlotte. “But we’ve been doing a lot of screen sharing and peer learning. The raft of technology available gives many more possibilities.”
Better onboading increases retention
The key, according to Charlotte is to use the expertise of different people within the business, such as letting a colleague who is particularly familiar with Linkedin host a webinar on how best to use it for recruitment. “In the office, the onboarding process would involve introductions to, and learning from, many different people, so we need to try and replicate this as much as possible remotely,” she says.
According to figures from onboarding specialists, Click Boarding, new employees who go through a structured onboarding programme are more likely to still be with the organisation after three years. In addition, organisations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater productivity from new hires.
First impressions count
So with the old saying ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ still holding true, it is essential you make sure you decide what sort of impression you want new hires to have of your organisation and how best to portray it, whether in person or remotely. With all of today’s technology, there is no reason it should be very different.
Key tips for remote onboarding:
Make sure internally you know what message you want to share with your new employees and have a plan of how to disseminate it, particularly who is responsible for each part
Ensure new employees have all the required equipment to do their job and know how to communicate with key contacts and who to go to if they have a problem
Organise video introductions to team leaders and members, HR personnel and admin contacts
Arrange all necessary training, including IT, HR, team and role-specific
Set times for future meetings to ensure the new employee doesn’t feel isolated and make sure the goals and targets are clear
by Claire Shoesmith
How do you make your workforce more productive and efficient, whilst increasing their loyalty and job satisfaction? Simple, make sure they laugh...
How do you make your workforce more productive and efficient, whilst increasing their loyalty and job satisfaction? Simple, make sure they laugh – and with April Fool’s Day, the annual custom of playing practical jokes and hoaxes, just round the corner, it shouldn’t be too difficult. (Even if it does have to done remotely this year!)
Using humour in the workplace makes employees happier, less stressed, more productive and efficient, says Vandad Pourbahrami, a humour and business consultant. In addition, Vandad, from New York-based firm Humor that Works, believes that a dose of humour can refresh, recharge and ignite creativity in your team, helping to remove the feeling of being on an endless cycle like a hamster wheel.
Laughter is the best medicine
“Humour is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity in today’s overworked, overstimulated world,” says Vandad. “Using humour in your leadership and communication style has been proven to reduce stress and prevent burnout long-term.” He also says that leaders who use humour get paid bigger bonuses and find that their new ideas are more easily accepted.
It has long been said that laughter is the best medicine, and given everything going on in the world today, there is no doubt that everyone could use a bit of additional frivolity. As well as lightening the mood, laughter is believed to strengthen your immune system, diminish pain and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. It has also been said that it lightens your burdens, inspires hope and connects people, keeping you grounded, focused and alert.
Humour has a raft of health benefits
“Engaging in humour is effectively a way of sharing your point of view,” says Andrew Tarvin, founder of Humor that Works. “Everyone has their own perspective and sharing it is a way to connect.” Furthermore, humour is often related to things that have happened in the past, and reflection on the past leads to more positive actions in the future.
For those who believe laughing at work is a distraction, Andrew is quick to point out that the average person spends 90,000 hours of their life working and so enjoying some of that time – especially when there are proven health and productivity benefits, is essential. “Humour doesn’t replace the work, it is like the salt of the meal,” says Andrew. “It makes people more engaged and productive.”
Humour helps us see the positive
Laughter also unites people during difficult times. “Incorporating humour and laughter into our daily lives forces us to see the positive in challenging times,” says Vandad. “People who have a ‘how can I make this funny?’ perspective are generally happier, and their joy attracts and unites others.”
So, whether you’re an aspiring stand-up comedian, or simply someone who is good at retelling stories or acting out events, let’s remember that laughter not only lifts our moods, but also increases productivity. It’s a win-win for all
by Claire Shoesmith
Despite studying bio-med at Newcastle University, Marima Kauser didn’t fancy spending her career in a white lab coat fighting...
Despite studying bio-med at Newcastle University, Marima Kauser didn’t fancy spending her career in a white lab coat fighting for funds to carry out research which could take years to produce results. Instead, she was attracted by the idea of seeing the fruits of her labour more quickly and effectively taking control of her own destiny.
She knew people in recruitment who had done very well for themselves, so had a good idea what to expect and opted for Franklin Fitch because she liked the culture, the people and the office space.
“The good thing about recruitment is that if you work hard you reap the rewards,” she says. “Even if things aren’t going well, one good deal can turn things around very quickly.”
It’s all about the training and support
Marima joined Franklin Fitch in August 2019 as one of the first intake of the firm’s new training academy. Led by Charlotte Drury, an experienced recruiter, the academy provides a framework within which graduates can learn recruitment both in the classroom and on the job. The training is ongoing and academy members are supported not only by Charlotte but also by many other members of the Franklin Fitch team.
“The training has been so much better than I expected,” says Marima, adding that the company’s culture is very conducive to learning. She says she has never been made to feel a burden and is impressed that people of all levels are treated in the same way – not something that happens on all graduate training programmes.
Six months into the academy programme and Marima is now starting to specialise and work roles on her own. In the beginning, graduates cover a wide range of sectors with strong support from other team members, including advice on how to speak to candidates and clients, as well as how to negotiate better deals and handle difficult conversations. During this time, they get a feel for what recruitment, and in particular life at Franklin Fitch, has to offer. Once their initial six months is complete, they will graduate out of the academy and in to a specialised recruitment role.
Lots of opportunities, competition and incentives
For Marima there have been many highs and lows during her first six months. “I have had so many opportunities,” she says, adding that she recently particularly enjoyed attending a women in technology event where she was able to speak to many senior women experienced in technology and recruitment. “It was great to see so many female role models sending the message that it is possible to succeed whatever your gender.”
Deals are obviously good too, as are the great Franklin Fitch incentives, such as trips to Las Vegas, Faro, skiing, meal vouchers or the opportunity to knock off early on particular days. “There’s plenty of competition and lots of things to keep you motivated,” says Marima, adding that as a newcomer to London, the social aspect of life at Franklin Fitch has been very important too.
On the downside, recruitment involves working closely with people, and obviously people are difficult to control. “Dropouts are the worst,” says Marima. “You try your best to plan for it, but it doesn’t always work out.
“There is a lot of rejection in the job, but you have to take the positives and where possible learn from what has happened and not let it get you down.
“There is no doubt that it can be daunting to start with, but if you work hard the rewards are yours.” For Marima, the ups and downs have definitely been worthwhile and her first six months at Franklin Fitch had “well surpassed” her expectations.
by Claire Shoesmith
What offers the opportunity to move from induction to promotion in six months and be a top performer within 12 months, all...
What offers the opportunity to move from induction to promotion in six months and be a top performer within 12 months, all within a dedicated support network? It’s simple, the Franklin Fitch Academy.
While learning and development are very much buzzwords in today’s business world, there are few companies that take it as seriously as we do. At Franklin Fitch we have two academies, one in London and one in Frankfurt, both aimed at providing a dedicated and proven support framework in which the right candidates can quickly excel to the top tiers of IT infrastructure recruitment.
It’s all about upskilling
“We are investing in our people from day one,” says Charlotte Drury, who heads up the academy in London. “Recruitment, particularly in London, can be very hire and fire, but for us it is about giving our people the best framework within which to learn and succeed.”
“Ultimately we see them upskill much quicker and it enables us to expand at a much faster pace.”
Role plays, one-to-one tutoring sessions, classroom teaching, peer coaching and group breakfast meetings are all in a week’s work for Charlotte, who is constantly on hand to support her team of graduates. Whether she’s listening in to a candidate call to help one academy member ‘seal the deal’, or providing guidance to another on how to handle a specific recurring situation, Charlotte’s presence is a great reassurance for the academy members.
The level of support is great
“It’s great to have someone who is solely dedicated to your progress,” says Marima Kauser, who seven months after joining the academy as a graduate has passed her probation and is preparing to move onto one of Franklin Fitch’s specialist recruitment desks. “There’s not many places where you get this level of support.”
For Charlotte, the academy is all about opportunity. After working in 360 recruitment for two years, she was looking for the next challenge and liked the idea that people entering the academy wanted to progress. While the London academy is still in its infancy – the first graduates joined in late summer 2019 and are just coming to the end of their six-month probation period, Franklin Fitch has been doing it very successfully in Frankfurt for three years. “There is a very clear progression between the academy and becoming a fully-fledged consultant,” says Charlotte. “There are plenty of good role models to follow and people to help with ideas and issues along the way.”
No cap on the opportunity to earn
Unlike some trainee schemes where graduates are separated from the rest of the business, the Franklin Fitch Academy members have the opportunity to work alongside, and learn from, other more experienced members of the business. “Even though the academy members are learning, they still have the opportunity to do the whole job,” says Charlotte. “Their opportunity to earn isn’t capped and if they find the right candidate for a high-level position, then the commission is theirs.”
For Sian Llewellyn, internal recruitment lead at Franklin Fitch, the key to the academy’s success is the combination of opportunity, structure and support. “Our graduates need to be motivated, eager to learn and willing to work hard,” she says. “If you combine those attributes with our proven academy model, the potential rewards for the individual participants are significant.”
Anyone interested in joining Franklin Fitch’s Academy or simply wishing to find out more about it should contact Sian Llewellyn at email@example.com
by Claire Shoesmith
Video calls and online chats are important social tools for many of us, so why not use them for business too? At a time when meeting face-to-face is...
Video calls and online chats are important social tools for many of us, so why not use them for business too? At a time when meeting face-to-face is being discouraged in a bid to contain the outbreak of Covid-19, many firms are doing just that and using virtual methods, such as video conference calls, to encourage business continuity.
In the recruitment business, interviews are key. They are the chance for candidates to meet their potential employer, get a feeling for the people and the business, and also to showcase who they are and what they can do. For employers, they are the chance to meet the potential employee, get a feeling of whether they would fit in with the office culture and obviously, to quiz them about their skills and experience. Doing this over the phone or by video link rather than face-to-face is a very different proposition.
Remote interviews can save time and stress
“Remote interviewing is nothing new,” says Steven Ewer, head of Franklin Fitch’s UK and US operations, adding that many of his clients have been using it for the initial interview stage for a long time. “Collaboration tools are so strong that actually there is no reason why the quality of your interview process needs to change.”
In reality, remote interviews can save time and stress both for the candidate and the company. Individuals need to set aside less time as they don’t have to travel and can fit a video call into a lunch break or even before work. Similarly, companies can schedule more interviews if they don’t need to spend time showing each person into the office.
That however, is a concern for some people. Steven says he has clients who are concerned that candidates want to see what the office environment is actually like and there is also the issue of how you check technology knowledge that would normally be tested in the confines of a controlled environment. In actual fact, he believes the company culture is the people and you can get a good feeling for that from a video call.
Treat it the same as any interview
“You need to treat a video interview in the same way you would a face-to-face interview,” says Steven, adding that many people forget they can be seen and can become easily distracted. He believes a video interview is preferable to a phone-only interview as it not only helps concentration and focus but you also get a better sense of the individual’s character. He does point out however, that it can be harder to gauge reaction and that body language is hyper-exaggerated on screen – not a big issue, but something to be aware of.
“And if you really want your candidates to see the office, the technology is there,” he says. “You can do virtual walkthroughs if you want and thanks to Google it is now even possible to see into buildings.”
“You don’t miss much by interviewing remotely,” he says. “It’s more of a mental issue.”
Companies need to adapt their hiring processes
Given the current situation – many European countries and much of the US is on lockdown and the majority of office-based staff are working from home, face-to-face interviews are a no go for the time being. Companies that want to hire – and there are still plenty of them – will have to change their recruitment processes and adapt.
There are signs this is already happening. Global downloads of business apps that facilitate remote interviews and working such as WeChat Work, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack have risen nearly five-fold since the start of the year, according to data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower. In the first week of March there were 6.7 million new users across the App Store and Google Play, compared with 1.4 million in the first week of January.
So, gone are the days of being judged on your pre-interview handshake. Now, if you get it wrong, it’ll be the quality of the video backdrop that you’re remembered for. So don’t forget to move away from the drying washing!
We're still hiring
For anyone looking for a position in IT infrastructure or companies with roles to fill, we are still here and busy making the most of the technology on offer to continue hiring both for ourselves and clients as normal. Give us a call on 0203 696 7950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remote interview advice for candidates:
Remote interview advice for interviewers:
by Claire Shoesmith
The delay in the implementation of the IR35 reforms will give companies the opportunity to hold on to critical members of their workforce and quickly...
The delay in the implementation of the IR35 reforms will give companies the opportunity to hold on to critical members of their workforce and quickly employ new staff to fill gaps at what is a very uncertain time.
Contract staff can be mobilised quickly and relatively easily, something which is an attractive proposition for businesses in the current environment. The postponement of the IR35 reforms, which were originally due to come in on April 6, were announced by the UK government this week as part of a £330bn package of measures aimed at helping businesses survive the economic uncertainty. The delay – until April 6 2021, will allow firms that aren’t willing to take on permanent staff to continue to issue temporary contracts to fulfil specific needs without the worry of being liable for incorrect determinations.
Simon Nicholls, Practice Manager for the contract recruitment market at Franklin Fitch, welcomed the postponement, saying: “Delaying the reforms is perfect timing as it will help bridge the gap in the market in the coming months.” He said that demand was so high in some areas of the market that companies are offering contracts with immediate starts after just one video interview.
“In times like this, flexibility in the hiring process is key,” said Simon.
It is important to note that this is just a postponement however and that the changes are still due to come into force next year. At Franklin Fitch we have been preparing for this year’s planned deadline and have done a lot of work to ensure most of the contract roles we work on have been assessed ahead of time using Qdos. (Just to recap, one of the main changes to the IR35 legislation, which is aimed at removing the tax advantages of providing services via a limited company for individuals who are not truly working for themselves, is that the responsibility for determining the IR35 status of the contractor will fall to the company rather than the individual themselves.) Until the new deadline however, it remains the responsibility of the contractors – as it has done for the past 20 years - to make sure their contracts are outside of IR35.
No time for complacency
Still, this is no time for complacency on either side. Businesses need to start preparing now. Anyone seeking advice on how to approach the reforms successfully, should contact our contract team on email@example.com.
We’ve already successfully helped a lot of our clients and can do the same for you ahead of the 2021 implementation deadline. The time to act is now. Not later.
by Claire Shoesmith
It’s official, the coronavirus is here. Yesterday the UK Prime Minister advised people to avoid non-essential travel and where possible to work...
It’s official, the coronavirus is here. Yesterday the UK Prime Minister advised people to avoid non-essential travel and where possible to work from home to help slow the spread the of the Covid-19 virus that has already killed thousands of people around the world. Many European countries and parts of the US are already on lock-down. At Franklin Fitch we are heeding the advice and from today, most of us are working from home.
Thanks to technology such as Skype, Microsoft’s Teams and Zoom Video Communications, to name but a few, remote working is relatively simple. Provided you have access to a computer and an internet connection, most people can continue doing their job in the same way they would in an office. Meetings, document sharing and even interviews (we will return to this in a separate blog) can all be done remotely online – it just requires a bit more planning and perhaps a little more discipline from the individual workers to ensure they remain engaged and motivated.
It's about collaboration and communication
Some companies had already made the decision for their employees to work remotely before yesterday’s announcement, but it was one that was not taken lightly at Franklin Fitch. Ultimately we are a business built on collaboration and communication, and while this can be successful at a distance, it is something that David Annable, the firm’s founder, believes is even better done face-to-face.
“We are all about collaborative working,” says David. “And what’s the easiest way to achieve that? – to sit at a desk with other people.” For him, there are huge benefits to sitting in an open-plan office surrounded by colleagues doing a similar job. As well as the collaborative aspect, he believes the learning and emotional support provided by nearby colleagues is very important.
“Being present in the office means you are more aware of what is going on with your colleagues and are able to see the visual clues to help you provide the right emotional support at the right time,” he says.
People can work just as well remotely
Still, the government advice is very clear and we fully support the move to reduce close contact in the office, especially when our employees can do their job just as well remotely. We will continue to offer the same level of training and support to our staff and engagement with our candidates and clients via email, phone and video conferencing.
For many, flexible working is nothing new – in fact, according to a study by business payment advisers Merchant Savvy, 61% of global companies already allow their staff to work remotely for at least some of their working week. But for those who usually travel into an office each day and not only enjoy the company of, but also learn from, the colleagues sitting around them, the isolation of home working can be difficult. We at Franklin Fitch are very aware of this and will be keeping in close contact with all our employees, candidates and clients to ensure that not only business continues as usual, but also that their health, both mental and physical, remains strong .
We are open for business
Contact us on 0203 696 7950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
by Claire Shoesmith
Here we finish off our week of female-focused coverage with the inspiring story of Rosie Brown. She is the perfect example of what you can do if...
Here we finish off our week of female-focused coverage with the inspiring story of Rosie Brown. She is the perfect example of what you can do if you seize the opportunity. Don't let anyone ever tell you different....
At 26 years old, Rosie Brown has already done more than many people will do in a lifetime. Just over 18 months ago, she walked into the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) as a graduate and felt immediately at home. The fact that the majority of her colleagues are significantly older than her and the number of men vastly outnumbers the number of females, doesn’t faze her at all. In fact, her colleagues say they wouldn’t be surprised if one day she was running the place!
“I didn’t sleep at all the night before I started as I was so nervous, but when I got here I just felt like this is where I was meant to be,” says Rosie. "It was an incredible feeling.”
Rosie speaks highly of the LSEG. She describes it as an incredible organisation, which despite being a traditional male-dominated financial services environment, is working hard to promote women’s wellbeing and progression with seminars, special events and a great support network.
“I may be the only female in the risk team, but there are other women out there,” she says. “I’m definitely not alone.”
Stepping outside of your confort zone
Being the lone female is nothing new for Rosie. Having grown up with four brothers she is accustomed to being in the minority. She is also used to stepping outside of her comfort zone. During her undergraduate studies in microbiology at Newcastle University, she set up Beauty by the Geeks, a company aimed at demystifying the science behind beauty products. It also had a corporate social responsibility arm which encouraged young girls into technology.
Along with her fellow student entrepreneurs, Rosie attended many science fairs and conventions to promote Beauty by the Geeks, and it was there that she met women working in the technology space who inspired her to change the direction of her career. “They opened my eyes to coding and that was it,” she says. “I was hooked.” Rosie then studied for a Masters in epidemiology at Imperial College London, but now works in risk, which incorporates a lot of programming and statistical analysis.
Who is this woman?
By her own admission Rosie is a very chatty person who is capable of going at 100 miles an hour without stopping. “Men often look at me and say ‘who is this woman’?! I am always ready to share my opinion around innovation which people don’t necessarily expect, but I love taking them by surprise.” Still, even she has to push herself outside of her comfort zone and is very pleased she took a year out to go traveling, when in reality she would have preferred to sit in her room coding.
One issue Rosie has encountered in her male-dominated workplaces – she also interned in the NHS where she ran an IT compliance programme and was the only female on the team - is ‘mansplaining’. This, she says, is when a man basically takes your idea or opinion and claims it for their own. The solution to this, she says, is not clear cut. “Sometimes you have to shrug it off. Other times it’s worth fighting for.”
“There is definitely a sense that you have to keep the boundaries firm,” she says. “If you give them any leeway they will keep pushing.”
No one should encounter barriers
This could happen whatever your gender however and Rosie has always been aware of the importance of inclusivity. Even when she was running her beauty business she was conscious that beauty products were traditionally focused on the female population and that as a result, they were missing out on the other half.
“The key is to make sure that there aren’t any barriers for anyone, whoever they are,” says Rosie. “Diversity and inclusivity is much more on people’s minds these days but we need to ensure it is fully embedded in the corporate world.”
“The most important thing is for everyone, whatever their gender, to be able to be themselves. We are all different and have our own voice. We are not robots. Once companies accept this, they will be able to unlock true potential.”
(Thank you to all the amazing women who have taken the time to share their stories with us this week. We hope that their experiences have gone some way to showing that not only is anything possible, but also that a diverse workforce is a better place for all. #EachforEqual.)
by Claire Shoesmith
Today we meet Akua Opong, another inspiring young woman who's breaking new ground in the technology world.
Today we meet Akua Opong, another inspiring young woman who's breaking new ground in the technology world.
Think high-powered doctors saving the lives of young children in medical dramas such as ER and Greys Anatomy and that is how Akua pictured her future working self whilst growing up. However, the softer side of her personality, and in particular the idea of passing sad news onto families, made her decide a career as a pediatrician wasn’t for her after all.
Instead, she chose computing, believing it to be another area where she would be involved in ground-breaking work and ultimately be able to push the boundaries. During her studies at the University of Surrey, she enjoyed an internship at Rolls Royce and BMW, and has since had a series of technology-related roles in a variety of different organisations, including the London Stock Exchange, Rathbones Brothers Plc and even Carphone Warehouse. Her main focus is client services support and IT project work, where she enjoys the fact that no one day is ever the same and she is constantly learning new things to drive change.
Women are definitely in a minority
“When people think of IT roles they think of men,” says Akua. “I have come across some women but they are definitely in a minority and there’s a feeling that they have to work harder than their male counterparts if they want to progress up the ladder.”
By her own acknowledgement Akua is a bit of a workaholic. She always gives 110% and is happy to go the extra mile, taking on extra tasks and responsibility. Her main focus is always on the needs of the team rather than her own personal development.
“My way of thinking: how will what I do impact on other members of the team, is definitely more of a female approach than male,” she says. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it’s not always easy.”
Women are equally as capable as men
Still, that said, her experience as a female working in mainly male-dominated environments has generally been good. “Women are equally as capable as men and want to be given the right platform to achieve our very best,” she says.
Akua is a big supporter of programmes to increase the number of women in technology-related roles and is grateful that so many now exist that didn’t when she was starting out. Today she is involved in a range of forums and acts as a mentor to several younger women working in technology roles. “In an IT environment you are constantly learning something new and support from another female in the industry is a great help,” she says. “It is really good to bounce ideas off each other.”
Role models are important
Role models such as Katherine Johnson, the black mathematician whose work helped send the first astronauts to the moon, are important too and while Akua hasn’t become a real-life Arizona Robbins (for those that don’t know, she was the head of pediatric surgery in ABC’s television drama Grey’s Anatomy and held the job that Akua thought she wanted when growing up) she is pleased with where she’s got to. She is confident STEM ambassador programmes and special coding and physics groups for girls will help encourage more females into the technology world and hopes that ultimately women won’t have to work harder than their male colleagues to earn the same pay, respect and career prospects.
(Outside of her working role, Akua is part of the Women’s Inspired Network (WIN UK Chapter) and the Wellbeing Forum.)
by Claire Shoesmith
Today's succesful female in the spotlight is Xenia Armbrust, practice manager for Franklin Fitch's Frankfurt office. For Xenia, a...
Today's succesful female in the spotlight is Xenia Armbrust, practice manager for Franklin Fitch's Frankfurt office. For Xenia, a specialist in server and database recruitment, the key to success, particularly as a woman, is resilience.
Since she joined the company as a graduate in December 2014, Xenia has given everything to the role. “It’s not like HR where most of the managers are women,” she says. “Most of the decision makers we deal with are technology managers who are mainly men. You have to give 110% for them to see you as an equal.”
Progress is being made in gender equality
Going that extra mile is a personal choice for Xenia, but the fact that she’s dealing mainly with men isn’t. While progress is being made in gender equality in many industries, the tech sector isn’t one of them. Figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that of the 998,000 people working in IT and telecommunications, just one in six are female, whilst the ratio falls to just one in eight when it comes to programmers and software development professionals.
“People just assume that because you’re female you’re not interested in technology and so you have to give it everything you have,” she says.
Women have the chance to go far
For Xenia this is not necessarily a bad thing as she believes it helps show commitment. She also believes that once a woman has proven herself and won the trust and respect of senior males, she has the chance to go far. “You have to work harder to get their attention, but once you have it, you can give them insight which is far more valuable and comes from a totally different perspective,” she says. “This is a great asset to any business.”
Whilst Xenia’s experiences in relation to her gender within the walls of the Franklin Fitch family have been overridingly positive, she has unfortunately encountered a few issues when working with clients. These have however not put her off, and if anything, have made her stronger and even more determined to do a great job.
Believe in your ability
The key to success in recruitment and technology, Xenia believes, is to be confident in what you do. It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female, you need to be resilient, not over sensitive and make sure you believe in your ability. You need to constantly be open to learning new tasks and ways of doing things, be willing to listen to the advice of your colleagues and superiors and willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
“Motivation is key,” she says, adding that it needs to come from you. “It’s the same for ambition and passion. Without it, doing your job will be difficult.”
by Claire Shoesmith
In the week of International Women's Day, we continue our female-focused coverage with the first in a series of profiles featuring women who...
In the week of International Women's Day, we continue our female-focused coverage with the first in a series of profiles featuring women who are succeeding in the technology world. Despite working in what are generally male-dominated environments, they are great models for the future.
Blazing a trail
Claireypoppins is how Claire Gray, a highly experienced leader and technology project manager, has been described by her colleagues. “You come in, you change things, you make it happen and then you disappear into the night.”
And here’s why. Gray’s ability to understand the intricate technicalities and successfully communicate them to a wide range of audiences is a rare find in the tech sector. Traditionally dominated by men, the tech industry is known for its jargon, action and focus on things rather than people.
“Taking time to understand something and explain it is more associated with females than males,” says Gray. “Women tend to think of the bigger picture. They probably even communicate too much, but it means that they’re prepared for every eventuality and as a result, generally not affected by curveballs.”
You don’t need to lose your femininity, but you may need to make adjustments
Gray has spent most of her working life in male-dominated environments. As a self-confessed tomboy and a confident individual this hasn’t been an issue, although there have obviously been moments where the heavily masculine environment has had an impact on the conversation and working atmosphere.
“You don’t need to lose your femininity, but you may need to make adjustments,” she says, adding that the key is to ensure you are good at what you do and can stand your ground. You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions.
“There’s no harm in taking a step back and taking time to ensure that everyone understands what’s going on,” says Gray. “Women are often afraid to ask what they think is a stupid question, when in fact there is no such thing as a stupid question. You aren’t going to look stupid if you ask a question that will help you understand something more clearly and do a better job.”
It would be great to have more females to address the balance
Having worked in 12 different, mainly tech-related roles, Gray has encountered a wide range of mainly male-dominated work environments. She has had both positive and negative experiences. In one firm, which she describes as an ‘old boys club’, she recalls being told to “leave it to the boys as she wasn’t techy enough.” She ended up taking the issue to the male CEO, who was horrified, but struggled to change things so she left.
“It’s very much a company by company situation and I’ve worked in lots of organisations where there has been no difference between males and females,” she says, adding that in her current place of work there are five women in a total workforce of almost 60. “There’s a lot of joviality and jokes, but I never feel that anyone is looking down on me because I’m female. It would be great to have more females here though to address the balance.”
For Gray, being female in a male-dominated environment may be easier than for others. She’s at the top of her game and is confident in her ability. The key to success, she believes, is to be yourself and be open. Immerse yourself in the role and (unless you have to) don’t take a job just because it pays the bills – make sure it’s something you’re passionate about.
We are crying out for more women
“It’s a tough world breaking into IT as a female, but we are crying out for more women,” she says, adding that out of 70 applications for an open position in her current firm, only one was from a woman. “We need to get the message out that just because it’s IT it’s not scary”
“It is in fact a gender-neutral industry that has been branded as male-orientated. Everything should be an open opportunity for everyone.”
by Claire Shoesmith
Today, on International Women’s Day, a celebration which originated more than 100 years ago with the aim of achieving full gender...
Today, on International Women’s Day, a celebration which originated more than 100 years ago with the aim of achieving full gender equality, we start our week of specialist coverage looking at women in the technology and recruiment sectors.
Despite significant progress being made in many areas, women are still in a minority in the technology world. Over the course of this week, we'll look at what can be done to address this issue and also speak to a series of women who are blazing a trail in the technology world. How can we use their experiences to encourage more females into the technology sector and show them and their potential employers that an equal world is an enabled world? #EachforEqual.
It's time for change
The 2020 GB Olympic team is expected to make history in Tokyo this year as the first British team to have more women than men. It may have taken almost 125 years to get there, but if female athletes can do it, then why can’t female technology and IT workers?
Hailed as an historic achievement that will steal the show and change the focus on women’s sport forever, the 380-strong team is expected to have a 55-45 split in favour of women. This compares with the same ratio, but in favour of men, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
A general shortage of females with technology skills
Unfortunately, it is difficult to replicate this progress in the technology world due to the general lack of females in the industry. As was previously the case with Olympic athletes, there is a shortage of women pursuing, and particularly progressing in, technology careers and as a result, achieving any sort of gender diversity is hard enough, let alone gender equality.
“We find that a lot of our clients are keen to redress the gender imbalance, but that unfortunately more often than not, those candidates don’t exist because for many years not enough women have entered the technology market,” says Steven Ewer, director of Franklin Fitch’s UK and US operations. “What we need is to find ways of encouraging more women to pursue a career in technology and in time, hopefully, this will filter up the chain.”
Erika Percival, founder and CEO of specialist corporate governance advisors Beyond Governance, agrees. “Part of the issue is the pipeline,” she says. “Over time that will change but for that to happen the dynamics of life and work also need to change. More needs to be done around flexible working to enable women to really get involved.”
The tech sector is lagging behind
According to the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS), just over half of the 6.5 million Britons working in professional occupations are women. However, among the 998,000 working in IT and telecommunications, the ratio falls to just one in six, and just one in eight of the UK’s 338,000 programmers and software development professionals are women.
While these figures show that progress on gender equality is being made in some areas, others, and in particular the tech sector, are lagging behind. So, what can be done to address this? Should businesses be using quotas and targets to fill roles with certain types of candidates, and if so, do they work and are they fair? Would it help to have more female role models and better press coverage of their achievements?
Here we look at what businesses can do to address this issue:
Increase flexible working options
According to a study by part-time recruitment specialist Capability Jane, 80% of women and 52% of men want flexibility in their next role, while 30% would prefer flexible working to a pay rise. Unfortunately, however, it also found that fewer than 10% of advertised jobs openly offer flexibility, deterring a large number of women in particular from applying.
Introduce returner programmes
Returnships are a simple way for employers to help women easily transition back into work - and even take on more senior roles - after a career break. A report by PwC released in 2018, suggested that if the majority of women on a career break returned to work, UK GDP could see a potential boost of £1.7bn, so it’s win-win for all.
Reduce the gender pay gap
A 2018 report by the UK government found that around 78% of large organisations admitted to having a gender pay gap in technology, with males earning more than females. A separate report also found that women earn up to 28% less than their male colleagues in the same tech roles. Removing this gap is an easy step to addressing the inequality and encouraging more females into the industry.
Improve education, remove bias in job adverts and utilise role models
A study by PwC carried out in 2017 found that more than a quarter of female students were put off a career in tech due to the perceived male domination of the sector. This needs to be changed, and the earlier that girls are exposed to the STEM (science, technology engineering and maths) subjects the better. Role models, both in the wider world and within the senior ranks of your own company, can play a big part in changing this perception. (The high-profile successes of athletes such as Serena Williams, Jessica Ennis-Hill and the UK women’s national football and hockey teams are believed to have played a major part in increasing the number of girls taking up sport and progressing to professional levels.)
The way adverts are worded can make also have a big impact on who applies for a job and is something that should be considered carefully. (We will return to this in a future blog post.)
Use of targets or quotas
While some people are critical of introducing quotas and targets in a bid to increase gender diversity, many believe that it is the only way forward. After all, we set targets for most things we are serious about achieving in our lives, including revenue growth, so why not do the same for the gender make-up of the business. In reality it doesn’t mean you will achieve them, but you should be showing that you’re serious about the goal and have a strategy that demonstrates you’re doing everything in your power to realise it.
Benefits of a diverse workforce
Whatever your business, there is no doubting the benefits of a diverse workforce. While International Women’s Day and other such campaigns are a big help when it comes to profile-raising, the time has come for organisations to stop just paying lip service and start acting on their words.
“Improving diversity and inclusion is not just a box-ticking exercise,” says Steven. “It requires a fundamental culture change in the way businesses hire, communicate, and ultimately operate.”
To find out more about Franklin Fitch's own diversity campign, click Inclusive Infrastructure.
by Claire Shoesmith
Looking for a career in cybersecurity? Well you’re in demand - provided you get in there before the robots do.
Oliver Neukamm, head of the...
Looking for a career in cybersecurity? Well you’re in demand - provided you get in there before the robots do.
Oliver Neukamm, head of the German cyber and information security team at Franklin Fitch, believes that the majority of small and medium-sized businesses are vastly underprepared for the threat of a cyberattack and are leaving themselves open to billions of pounds/euros of financial damage. Whether it’s a lack of funding or ignorance that it won’t happen to them, the need for skilled cybersecurity specialists has never been greater.
“There is a distinct lack of awareness of cybersecurity in SMEs,” says Oliver, adding that even if the awareness was there, there is the added complication of finding people with the right skills. “It’s a very candidate-short market at the moment, particularly in cybersecurity, and this is making it very hard to find the right people.”
The potential damage from an attack is huge
Failing to implement the right cybersecurity measures can have a devastating impact on a company that falls victim to an attack both financially and in terms of reputational damage. While allocating funds for appropriate security at a time when many companies are cutting spending is not ideal – the average mid-sized company spends tens or even hundreds of thousands on cybersecurity - the outlay is small by comparison to the damage that could be caused.
So, what cybersecurity-related skills are most in demand and how can potential specialists get the job they want and help these companies stave off an attack?
“Candidates need to be able to communicate, get stakeholders on board, be hungry for knowledge and have good technical skills,” says Oliver.
Companies need to innovate to attract skilled workers
He is currently seeking to fill an array of cybersecurity roles in Germany, particularly in the areas of embedded security, defence analysts, cyber analysts and risk specialists. While he is quietly confident that eventually he will find the right person for each role, he also believes that German companies need to be prepared to be more flexible if they want to attract the best people. “There are many highly-skilled workers outside of Germany that could add great value to these companies,” he says, adding that now is the time to think outside the box when it comes to recruitment in order to attract the best talent.
In addition, Oliver believes there is an increased tendency nowadays for skills to cross over. It is harder to draw a line between the infrastructure and software sides, meaning that people with a certain skillset might now be able to carry out other jobs too.
How can AI help?
In the future Oliver believes that some of the pressure on the sector may be relieved by Artificial Intelligence (AI). “AI not only removes the human element, which is itself open to risk and manual error, but it can help to identify data and pinpoint where there’s a possible threat,” he says.
Already some cybersecurity companies are teaching AI systems to detect viruses and malware by using complex algorithms so AI can then run pattern recognition software. AI systems can also be used in situations of multi-factor authentication to provide access to their users. It is worth pointing out however that while AI may be great for processing large amounts of data or replacing autonomous manual tasks, it will never be able to replace a security analyst’s insight or understanding of a problem.
In reality, the likelihood is that jobs will change and while some of us may indeed end up working alongside an automated colleague, we will still be needed, but for alternative functions.
Anyone interested in a role in the cybersecurity space in Germany should contact Oliver by email at email@example.com.
by Claire Shoesmith
Year two can often be an anti-climax, but not for Franklin Fitch’s Welsh operation. Not only are they today remembering their...
Year two can often be an anti-climax, but not for Franklin Fitch’s Welsh operation. Not only are they today remembering their national saint, David, but they’re celebrating a spectacular 212% jump in turnover, 90% increase in headcount and more than 60 placements.
Business in Wales and Southwest England has been busy, according to Lewis Andrews, practice manager of the Cardiff office. Two years on since he battled the ‘beast from the east’ to open the office with one other member of staff, Anthony Ham, what at the time felt like a false start is now just a distant memory. In November last year the office, which now has five full-time recruiters, recorded its best-ever month, even beating the firm’s London permanent division for the month.
“It was a great achievement and definitely a highlight of the past year,” says Lewis, adding that recruiting for Wales and the Southwest is very different from hiring for the London market. According to Lewis, the interview process is much quicker, in part due to the smaller pool of talented candidates and clients not wanting to miss out. In addition, there is a reluctance amongst job seekers to commute long distances and increased pressure to ensure the work-life balance is correct. “This makes it even harder to find suitably qualified people,” he says.
Franklin Fitch has a series of high-profile clients in Wales and the Southwest, including the aerospace giant General Dynamics, the Royal College of Nursing and several large law firms. The recruitment market is buoyant, and the Franklin Fitch team are busy.
By the end of this year, Lewis hopes to add another three recruiters, bringing the total team to eight. This, he believes, will place Franklin Fitch amongst the top five IT recruitment specialists in Wales and in a very good position for future growth.
by Luke Killick
Since the advent of Uber’s cheap ride-hailing service in 2009, fears over the replacement of traditional jobs with technology have been...
Since the advent of Uber’s cheap ride-hailing service in 2009, fears over the replacement of traditional jobs with technology have been steadily increasing. Whilst Uber’s rise doesn’t wholly depend on automation (one-tap-app wizardry notwithstanding), it brings into focus the important question of whether the evolution of technology, and with-it self-healing networks, comes at the cost of well-established jobs.
At first glance, the idea of a ‘self-healing’ network seems to logically imply that fewer engineers are needed; after all, if it can fix itself, what’s left for the engineer to do? According to Michael Bushong, Vice President of Enterprise and Cloud Marketing at Juniper Networks writing in NetworkComputing.com, the answer isn’t quite so simple. “Automation is about growing, not cutting,” he says, adding that the goal of automation is to grow and support scalability. As the company grows, it will in turn need to increase its headcount, not reduce it.
Technology is changing, and engineers need to change with it
David Mihelcic, the Federal Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Juniper Networks writing in Nextgov.com, says the move to automation will redefine a network specialist’s remit to focus on software programming rather than network management. In effect, technology is changing, and engineers need to change with it, he says. This might not be palatable to everybody though, for the obvious reason that many specialists are happy with their role as it is. But network engineers, of all people, are used to technology constantly adapting - obsoletion is a core part of the industry, so they should be happy to go with it.
It goes without saying that the shift to a software focus is massive. Those who wish to remain more hands-on and hardware focused will still obviously have a place, however, as these upgrades can’t be performed by AI. The competition for these roles will arguably be lower, too – network specialists who wish to pursue a more software-defined track, and even those on the fence, will be won over by the inevitably higher rates and salaries on offer. SDN and machine learning specialists are in high demand, and understandably companies are willing to pay more for such skillsets.
Somebody still needs to automate the job
So, the answer to the question of whether engineers will still have a job once networks are fully automated is most likely yes, they will. As Bushong points out, a business’ ultimate goal is to scale up, and when the business scales the network will too – and that’s something that can’t be automated. The goal of automation is to aid scalability, and scalability entails more jobs. Another factor is risk: in an enterprise-scale network, there are a lot of variables that can and will go wrong. According to Gartner, network downtime can cost on average $5,600 per minute. 10-20 minutes of downtime, and a fully automated company will likely be rethinking whether it was a good idea to cut back on network engineers.
With all that said, the spectre of automation is not unique to IT. A study by PwC estimates that 30% of jobs are at potential risk of automation by the mid-2030s. This only suggests that the job could be automated, however. Somebody still needs to automate the job, and to remain on hand to make sure the automation goes smoothly - lending more fuel to the fire that an engineer may need to shift their focus, not necessarily be replaced.
To date, we’ve managed to keep Skynet (the fictional AI supercomputer from the Terminator movies) at bay. It seems that, at worst, engineers will be forced to adapt and take a more software-centric approach to networking, picking up some programming along the way. Fears of automation are spread across every industry, but perhaps the theories of job replacement can be mitigated by adaptation.
by Claire Shoesmith
What do pancakes and job interviewees have in common? The more top-quality ingredients they contain, the better they are.
While this may be a...
What do pancakes and job interviewees have in common? The more top-quality ingredients they contain, the better they are.
While this may be a rather tenuous link, for most people chocolate AND banana is better than just chocolate OR banana on their pancake. Similarly, for many roles, being experienced in network infrastructure AND security makes you a more valuable candidate than someone who is only experienced in network infrastructure, but lacks any security experience.
“In the past, if you worked in network infrastructure you worked in network infrastructure,” says Dave Annable, Franklin Fitch’s founder. “Today, for many roles you need to know about network infrastructure and automation and development and understand how security plugs in. The technology is merging.
“Technologists have to be more agile. They have to think about the bigger picture and the impact any changes to the IT infrastructure will have on the whole business.”
Traditionally pancakes were eaten on Shrove Tuesday, the day in February or March immediately preceding Ash Wednesday, to use up rich, indulgent foods before the fasting season of Lent began. While it has become enshrined in Christian tradition, some believe that it did in fact originate from a pagan holiday, where eating warm, round pancakes – symbolising the sun – was a way of celebrating the arrival of spring.
Today, for many it’s an excuse to overindulge on something that is normally considered a treat. Organisations often hold pancake races, where people run whilst flipping their pancakes in a in a bid to raise money for charity. (Legend has it that the tradition of pancake races stems from the 15th century when a particularly disorganised woman rushed to confess her sins while mid-way through making pancakes.)
At Franklin Fitch we’re as particular about our pancake toppings as we are about our need for particular skillsets. For one team it’s network security and wireless operations, alongside chocolate and strawberries (the German contingent). For others, it’s automation and artificial intelligence, alongside lemon and sugar (traditional English), or data and infrastructure management, alongside maple syrup and bacon (the US and Canada).
This year we will be celebrating Shrove Tuesday by eating pancakes and raising money for The Ocean Cleanup, a charity that is designing and developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.
We at Franklin Fitch are passionate about doing our bit to help, especially when we can fill our bellies at the same time!
To find out more about our chosen UK charity click on The Ocean Cleanup or if you’re in Germany, it’s Ocean Care.
by Claire Shoesmith
Franklin Fitch has confirmed its commitment to inclusion and diversity by joining the UK’s Tech Talent Charter (TTC).
The TTC is a...
Franklin Fitch has confirmed its commitment to inclusion and diversity by joining the UK’s Tech Talent Charter (TTC).
The TTC is a non-profit organisation which addresses inequality in the UK technology sector and seeks to drive inclusion and diversity. The group’s aim is to ensure the UK tech sector is truly inclusive and a reflection of the society it represents. “We focus on the how, not just the why of inclusion and we bring communities together and support the underrepresented,” the TTC says on its website.
For Franklin Fitch, this is another example of our commitment to inclusion and diversity. We are already members of Women in Recruitment in the UK and support the CYBERWOMEN platform in Germany. We believe strongly in the importance of equality and the benefits it can bring to a business, and are in no doubt that a diverse workforce is more productive and better placed to face today’s challenges. Internally within our own business we have a 60-40 male-female split and externally when recruiting for clients, we are focused on ensuring our job adverts are fully inclusive with the aim of hiring the best person for the role.
“This is yet another example of our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” says David Annable, Franklin Fitch’s founder. “It is something that matters to me as a leader and I’m very keen to share this philosophy with my employees.”
The TCC is supported by the UK government and is aiming to have 600 signatories by the end of 2020. Its members are spread across all sectors - from recruitment and technology through to banking and entertainment, and all sizes of organisation - from small start-ups to large multinationals.
by Marima Kauser
Multi-context firewalls - what are they and what do they do?
Just six weeks into the new year and reports of cyber-attacks are rife in the...
Multi-context firewalls - what are they and what do they do?
Just six weeks into the new year and reports of cyber-attacks are rife in the media. According to IT Governance, a provider of cyber risk and privacy management solutions, several major incidents occurred in January, boosting the total number of records breached to 1.5bn.
Just yesterday, ZDNet reported that the personal information of 10.6 million guests who stayed at MGM Resorts hotels was stolen and posted to a hacking forum this week. Already in February, the servers at the United Nations have been compromised and a quarter of the Iranian internet has been disrupted.
In addition, Christine Lagarde, the head of the European Central Bank, has expressed her concerns about the global implications of cyber-attacks, telling an audience in France that a well-organised cyber-attack on major financial institutions could lead to a financial crisis.
So, what should businesses be doing about this? Cyber security is one of our focus areas at Franklin Fitch and as a recruiter, I am frequently asked by service providers and large enterprises to find people with experience in multi-context firewalls. Quite often when I ask candidates if they have used them, the response is: “what is that? “or “I’ve never heard of it”.
For me personally, a lot of my technical knowledge is gained from in-depth conversations with my candidates about how they use a specific piece of hardware and what benefits it brings. So, if you, like me, are wondering what multi-context firewalls are, read on and find out more.
Cisco ASA supports multiple firewall contexts, also called firewall multimode or multi-context mode. Multi-context mode divides a single ASA into multiple virtual devices, also known as security contexts. Each context operates a single device, independently from other security contexts. In routers, this is similar to Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF).
When would you use multiple security contexts?
A network that requires more than one ASA
A service provider that needs to offer a different security context to each customer
An enterprise that needs to provide distinct security policies for each individual department or users and require a different security context for each one
When wouldn’t you use multiple security contexts?
When VPN Services are required such as remote access or site-to-site VPN tunnels
If dynamic routing protocols are required
If QoS is needed
If multicast routing needs to be supported
If threat detection is required
Context configuration files
In multi-context mode, there are three types of configuration files:
The system configuration – a standard single-mode configuration where the network administrator adds and manages the security contexts
The admin context – no restrictions and can be used as any other security context
The context configurations/user context – for each individual security context. They contain the security policies and interface configurations specific only to that context
ASA Packet Classification
Packets are also classified differently in multi-context firewalls. In multimode configuration, it is possible for interfaces to be shared between contexts, therefore the ASA must distinguish which packets need to be sent to each context.
The ASA categorises packets based on three criteria:
Unique interfaces – 1:1 pairing with a physical link or sub-interfaces (VLAN tags)
Unique MAC addresses – shared interfaces are assigned Unique Virtual Mac addresses per virtual context, in order to alleviate routing issues, which complicates firewall management
NAT configuration – if the use of unique MAC addresses is disabled, then the ASA uses the mapped addresses in the NAT configuration to classify packets. This isn’t very common
In certain cases, you may need to assign a unique MAC address to a shared interface in order to alleviate routing issues, which complicates the firewall management.
Multi context mode offers active/active fail-over per context. Primarily forwards for an individual context and secondary for another. The security contexts divide logically into failure groups, with a maximum of two failure groups. There will never be two active forwarding paths at the same time.
Important to consider
In order to change from single mode to multiple mode or back, the commands must be done from the command line (CLI) and not via the ADSM GUI interface. When changing from single to multimode, the ASA will convert the running configurations into two files, creating a new system configuration file and an admin context file. The original system configuration file is not saved.
By default, all security contexts have unlimited access to the ASA resources. Depending on the environment, resource management may need to be configured to limit some contexts that may be starving other contexts. This is done by configuring resource classes when assigning to contexts.
Multimode offers advantages in certain situations particularly for service providers or an enterprise with multiple departments that require individual security policies. The requirements should be carefully considered before implementing the solution. However, there are also limitations and whilst the number of physical devices you manage may decrease, the complexity of those device configurations may increase.
by Claire Shoesmith
With yet another school holiday upon us, the struggle to juggle working and childcare rears its head again and with it, the issue of flexible...
With yet another school holiday upon us, the struggle to juggle working and childcare rears its head again and with it, the issue of flexible working.
With school children getting an average of 13 weeks holiday a year – that is 65 working days, compared with 28 days (including bank holidays) for most private-sector employees, it is not surprising this is an issue. For many working parents, this can lead them to question their priorities and in the worst cases, to quit their jobs. Offering flexible working can help alleviate some of these issues, and in fact, has been shown to increase productivity and make workers happier and healthier. It’s a win-win for all.
The way people work has changed a lot over the past decade and the desire for flexibility is no longer just the preserve of working parents. Improvements to technology have made it easier for individuals to work from remote locations and an increased tendency to spread teams around the globe means that 9-5 working is not always necessary. Moreover, Millennials, who account for the largest proportion of workers, have been reported to value flexibility over remuneration, meaning that if businesses want to target the biggest talent pool, they need to be open to flexible working.
As a result, businesses are increasingly providing their employees with the option to decide where, when and how they would like to work and the benefits are being seen on both sides. According to IWG’s 2019 Global Workplace Survey, flexible working could save 115 hours of commuting time a year – equal to 14 million working days. Given the large percentage of workers who cite commuting as the worst part of their day, working closer to home is becoming an increasingly popular option.
A study by the London School of Economics (LSE) found that in addition to increasing productivity, flexible working also helps to reduce absenteeism and enhances employee engagement and loyalty. It also significantly widens the pool of applicants for vacant roles, as well as helping to retain the existing skilled staff.
As with anything, there are also possible disadvantages. For some, the line between home and work life can become blurred, leading to an inability to switch off. For others, being given the opportunity to work flexibly can fuel a feeling that they owe the company more. There is also the possibility of fewer benefits and lack of career progression prompted by the reduced hours and minimal face-time in the office. Furthermore, missing out on the camaraderie and social aspect of the office environment can have a significant impact on some employees and leave them feeling both uninspired and isolated.
What’s more, one school of thought believes that flexible or part-time working is responsible for a significant element of the gender pay gap. Women who work part-time tend not to progress so far or as fast in their careers and earn significantly less over their working life than men in full-time roles.
For the employer, giving employees the option to work flexibly is effectively a gamble. After all, what works for one individual doesn’t necessarily work for another. Allowing one employee to work flexibly can lead to resentment amongst others who feel they too should be given this opportunity. In reality however, the success of flexible working depends on the role concerned and the mentality of the individual themselves. If not carefully managed, flexible working can lead to inefficiencies and a drop in quality of work, but with the right management and communication the benefits mentioned above can work for all sides.
As already mentioned, flexible working is no longer just about parents working. It concerns anyone who wishes to work part time, job share or work alternative hours in order to fit around other commitments or simply to improve their work-life balance. (UK employment law stipulates that anyone who has been with their employer for more than 26 weeks has the right to request flexible working. The employer however doesn’t have to grant it.)
While significant progress has been made - more than half of UK workers work flexibly in some way, according to a study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), there is still a lot of unmet demand. The same study also found that 68% of employees would like to work flexibly in a way that is not currently available.
The key to achieving this is about more than individuals requesting flexible working. Instead, there needs to be a change in the habits and mindset of many organisations. There is plenty of evidence to showcase the benefits, it’s now time for society to acknowledge them and challenge the preconceptions about working practices.
by Morgan Jones
Three quarters of contractors are planning to leave their positions due to the proposed changes to the IR35 legislation, according to a survey by...
Three quarters of contractors are planning to leave their positions due to the proposed changes to the IR35 legislation, according to a survey by offpayroll.org. The lobby group cited mistrust of HMRC, having enough cash reserves to see them through whilst not working and confidence that they are in fact legally self-employed and will have no issues getting work in the future.
In a week when yet more protests have taken place against the proposed IR35 reforms – more than 500 protestors gathered outside parliament on Wednesday – we look at what the changes really mean, and whether contractors do actually need to quit their jobs.
What does the reform mean?
From April 6th, the responsibility for declaring the tax status of a hired employee – one deemed inside IR35 - switches to the organisation rather than the individual. Currently, this lies with the contractor. The aim of the reform is to remove the tax advantages of providing services via a limited company for individuals who are not truly working for themselves. In other words, those employees whose working practices are more akin to those of traditional employees. This is why you will have seen some of the larger banks such as HSBC enforcing policies to prevent the use of limited company contractors.
The market response
Different businesses have approached the reform in different ways. Some businesses, as previously mentioned, are simply stopping using limited company contractors. Others have decided the best route forward is to deem all contracts within IR35 to remove the risk entirely. This is contrary to the case-by-case nature of the policy (and short-sighted in my opinion).
On the other hand, some companies have educated themselves on the reform and will make a number of small changes to the way they operate and produce their contracts to ensure contractors remain outside of IR35. This, we believe is the way forward. Our aim is to ensure that all contracts are IR35 compliant and we use Qdos Contractor, a specialised tax consultancy business with over 30 years’ experience, to do this. To give some context, their assessment tool was used in the private sector for TFL and The Home Office. They were then audited by HMRC (the worst-case scenario!) and not a single assessment was challenged by HMRC. This is a tool that works!
The impact moving forward - the rise of the Service Provider and the umbrella
A number of banks and financial services companies rely heavily on the services of limited company contractors for project and BAU work. Due to the ad-hoc nature of this work, they cannot simply replace the contractors with a permanent employee. This means that they’ll need to use a service provider to bridge the gap. As a result of this, we will likely see a higher number of individuals contracted by service providers who are willing to shoulder the risk, rather than end-clients. My issue with this is that if the end-client is willing to pay for both the day rate as well as the service providers’ fees, could they not pay this sum to the contractor in order to mitigate the effect of IR35 on their rate? On the flip side of this however, some of the larger banks are now outsourcing their IT abroad meaning the money is leaving the UK economy completely, leaving neither HMRC or the contractors effected better off.
The other option is to go through an umbrella company. This means when the reform comes into force there will be no need to review your contract and you can continue to operate as you did before the reform, as the umbrella company has you covered. Many companies are also significantly increasing rates to cover the higher tax deductions. The downside, however, is that, more often than not, you can end up taking home substantially less than you would have done through a limited company before the reforms were introduced. Especially now that a number of contractors are being forced to pay the apprenticeship levy and the company’s national insurance as well as umbrella fees.
A move to the dark side?
Some of the contractors I’ve spoken to recently are deliberating a move over to permanent employment. A number of people no longer see the value in contracting if they are put into a higher tax bracket. Many people seem to forget that the reason contractors do earn more than permanent employees is due to their convenience and the risk that they’re willing to shoulder. Contractors receive none of the benefits of permanent employment such as holidays or bonuses and often work outside of normal hours, not to mention their lack of job security. If their take-home pay doesn’t accurately reflect this risk, then it’s no longer worthwhile for them. As a result of this, we could see an increase in contractors seeking permanent roles.
There are also contractors I’ve spoken to with fewer roots in the UK who are now taking their skill set elsewhere in Europe.
It’s not all bad…
There could be some positive outcomes for contractors. Firstly, if contractors become less readily available, it could result in companies being willing to pay above market rate for their services. Secondly, in order to make contracts IR35 compliant, companies can make some small changes to ensure it is clear they are employing the person’s services rather than the individual themselves. One of these changes is to offer remote working. This means we could see an increase in the number of contracts offering remote working, which is actually already a common request amongst contractors.
It’s all speculation
The exact impact of the changes remain to be seen. With less than two months to go until the April 6th implementation date, protests are still ongoing and many groups are continuing to lobby the government.
There are a few things to consider though, firstly the CEST tool for determining IR35 compliance is unfit for purpose and should bear little weight in whatever decision you make. Secondly, every instance should be considered on a case-by-case as HRMC has stated that blanket statements do not constitute as reasonable care. It is also worth noting that so far, HMRC has a notoriously low win rate on all IR35 cases which have been taken to court. It is also very unlikely that small to mid-sized companies will actually be audited by HRMC and companies of less than 50 employees are not subject to this legislation.
At this stage, jumping ship seems like a hasty reaction. As does not considering inside IR35 roles (especially if the rate is increased to compensate tax deductions). Whilst we do try to convince all our clients to access fairly and keep roles outside IR35 where possible, it’s not always the case. As the heading suggests, at this moment in time its all speculation and it requires clients, recruiters and Candidates working in unison to find the best possible solutions.
For anyone concerned about their own position or looking to move into a suitable contract role, do give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Claire Shoesmith
The Welsh may have lost to the Irish at rugby at the weekend, but they’re not losing when it comes to business. Cardiff, their capital city,...
The Welsh may have lost to the Irish at rugby at the weekend, but they’re not losing when it comes to business. Cardiff, their capital city, has been named as one of the best places to do business.
In line with the devolution of the political landscape, businesses are now broadening their horizons and operating successfully in regional towns and cities across the UK, according to a study published this week by the Sunday Times. This spreading of the power outside of London coincides with the launch of our new Welsh language website last week and is something that we at Franklin Fitch are passionate about.
“Having an office here in the city definitely helps when it comes to recruiting for local businesses,” says Lewis Andrews, practice manager for Franklin Fitch’s Cardiff office. “There is a big push here to keep talent in the city and prevent it from moving to London.”
Once the biggest coal exporting port in the world, Cardiff has transformed itself in recent years from an economy reliant on industrial production to a digital technology hub. According to the 2019 UK tech on the global stage report by Tech Nation, the Welsh capital is considered to be one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the UK with £120m worth of technology investment in the three years to 2018.
Adding weight to this, another report by Tech Nation found that in 2019 alone, Wales’ 3,605 digital tech firms turned over £1.1bn and employed 45,000 people. Franklin Fitch is taking advantage of this upsurge at its Cardiff office, which since opening in March 2018 has grown to five full-time recruiters. Their focus is placing candidates in positions across the southwest of England and Wales, with almost a third of the roles being in Wales itself.
The significant growth in the sector has come in part from the city’s high quality of life and affordable cost of living, but also from partnerships with the universities. In addition, the government has invested heavily in technology hubs such as Eagle Labs and the Tramshed in a bid to create Wales’ own specialised tech industry and prevent talent leaving Wales and moving to other cities, including London, Bristol and Bath.
Andrews is quick to point out the benefits of working and recruiting locally, particularly in a city where 80% of the businesses are SMEs. (There are only 6-7 businesses in the city centre that are classified as large, with only four in the whole of Wales with turnover exceeding £1bn.) “There is definitely a push to funnel local talent into local businesses,” he says.
Let’s hope the support is as strong for the local (Welsh) rugby team in their next match against France later this month.
by Leonie Schaefer
As our loyal followers will already have noticed – we’ve got a shiny new website!
In this blog...
As our loyal followers will already have noticed – we’ve got a shiny new website!
In this blog we’ll tell you what has changed and how we hope it’s going to be a better experience for you.
Updating a website is a huge project, with loads of things to consider. Our main objective for the new Franklin Fitch website was to make it as user-friendly as possible. We hope we’ve achieved this. So what’s improved?
The job search
This was the main area that needed development. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for those in the UK, Germany and the USA to find what they are looking for. Which is why you now can filter our jobs by specialist area, type of employment, location and keywords. You can view our whole website in English, German or Welsh, with each page having country-specific jobs and content.
We are specialists in IT Infrastructure. To really demonstrate this, we’ve created a page for news, developments and events which gives you all the latest insights into Franklin Fitch and the industry we (and you) work in. This is the place to find out more about our MeetUps and thoughts and opinions from our consultants.
On that note, if you’d like to be a speaker at our next event or get involved in blogs then please give Leonie or Eva in our fantastic marketing team, a shout. We look forward to hearing from you!
Who are Franklin Fitch?
We wanted to give everyone the chance to put a face to the voice on the phone or the email sitting in your inbox. We pride ourselves on being very transparent. That’s why you can find all our teams (consultants, directors and operations) on our meet the team page. This makes it easier to find the correct person to contact for your matters of interest. We’ll be adding to this over the coming months so you can really get to know the people of Franklin Fitch so keep your eyes peeled.
Working at Franklin Fitch
We are proud of the workplace we’ve created at Franklin Fitch and wanted to shout about it a bit more. Our new and improved ‘join us’ page gives far more insight into what it’s like to work in our offices in London, Cardiff, Frankfurt or Austin.
If you have any more questions, feedback or suggestions we’d love to hear from you. Just send an email to email@example.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
We hope you enjoy our new website!
by Ben Makepeace
Hiring the right person for the right job is not always easy and there are a variety of different factors that need to be considered. Here we look at...
Hiring the right person for the right job is not always easy and there are a variety of different factors that need to be considered. Here we look at the impact certification, experience and cultural fit can have when it comes to hiring candidates for the technology market.
Today there are hundreds of IT certifications available through a wide variety of independent organisations and IT vendors including Amazon, Cisco, CompTIA and Microsoft. With the average cost of an MCSA standing at around $495, one would be forgiven for assuming that such an accolade does indeed hold some sway when it comes to getting that perfect technology role. The jury is however out.
There have been several studies undertaken to suggest that hiring individuals with professional certifications will be beneficial for hiring managers.
A New Horizon learning article posted in 2017 stated that individuals with CompTIA certifications are 85% more confident in their own ability and 25% better at retaining information than those without. In addition, CompTIA certified staff with less than one year of experience demonstrate more domain knowledge than non-certified staff with three years’ experience.
Furthermore, Bowers (2016) argues that there are several facts that prove IT certifications work. These include employees with certifications being 90% more productive when compared to non-certified peers. In addition, proof of certification has allowed hiring managers to fill positions 25% sooner, which can be considered a brilliant outcome for all concerned, including recruiters.
Despite the arguments outlined above, there are several reasons why IT certifications are not an effective indicator of potential employer performance.
The first of these is that the technology industry moves in such a rapid manner, that a certification achieved in the year previous can become almost obsolete a year later due to the changing nature of the market. Furthermore, the credibility of certifications has been questioned time and time again, as anyone can set up a certification business and issue certificates.
Over the last few years, the professional certification industry has been struggling to resolve issues of cheating, validation of test scores and other problems that question whether a certification is, in fact, a reflection of the candidate’s ability at all.
Now let's consider the issue of experience. Surely, whilst certifications are of course useful, there is no substitue for on-the-job experience?
A survey conducted by Foote Partners shows that non-certified IT professionals receive higher bonuses than their less experienced, more certified peers – suggesting that experience considerably outweighs certifications. Experience allows a hiring manager to grasp how well a candidate can execute skills that have been acquired in a work setting.
Highlighting real-world examples demonstrates that individuals can apply their technical knowledge in practice.
In contrast to the argument above, there are also downsides to focussing on experience. Work experience can train an individual to perform certain tasks, yet it doesn't necessarily mean an individual has gained any kind of knowledge.
When considering programming an application, an IT professional who has simply learnt on the job cannot tell whether the processes learned at an organisation are ‘best practice’ – they can simply complete the task. As a result, those who have learnt on the job will add less value as they may not be able to identify areas of improvement which those with knowledge and certifications may be able to, and in turn generate increased efficiency for the organisation.
The final dimension to be considered here is cultural fit. After all, hiring managers are likely to spend considerable amounts of time with the employee, so the way in which they interract and the impression they make during the interview process is important. Indeed, some argue that cultural fit is infact the most important factor as skills can be learned, but personalities cannot be changed.
According to LinkedIn, workers on average know the ins and outs of a new position after three months. By contrast, personal qualities are much more ingrained and cannot be changed – or if they can, it would take more than three months to do so.
An applicant’s work ethic, honesty and willingness to learn is sometimes considered as more important than any technical knowledge they may have acquired. For example, if a solutions provider is looking for a new hire into their pre-sales team, would they rather hire an outgoing, positive thinker with a great personality to win business or a pre-sales veteran with 15 years experience who is so bored by the industry that he has a hard time forcing a smile when presenting to potential new clients?
Furthermore, the right team formations within organisations can make all the difference, as few jobs are done in total isolation. As a result, teamwork is considered vital for providing high levels of consumer satisfaction.
Despite this, many suggest that determining an individual's fit for a role based on personality is highly flawed. It usually takes several minutes for hiring managers to get a good sense of someone’s personality. Hiring based on appointing ‘like-minded’ individuals can have many negative implications. ‘Good fit’ within organisations can turn into ‘the same as’ which leads to hiring managers bringing individuals into IT teams because they will get along with everyone, rather than the potential technical benefit that they can provide to the team.
The evidence appears to suggest that there are both benefits and drawbacks of hiring based exclusively on certifications, experience or personality. Following the research conducted for this article, I believe it would be naive to suggest that there is one ‘best-fit’ approach when it comes to hiring.
A hiring manager will place greater importance on each of the three dimensions depending on several factors.
1) the seniority of the hire in mind: when considering a potential candidate for a junior support role, a hiring manager will place considerable value on the personality of the candidate. They will look for an individual who is willing to learn, open to new ideas and has a strong desire for technological improvement.
2) the length of the role: by comparison, the same hiring manager will place significantly less importance on personality when hiring for a temporary senior engineer to implement specific technology. This time they will place more importance on the experience the individual has gained in his/her career to date.
To further complicate the matter, many hiring managers in modern markets simply will not consider candidates for a role if they do not possess certain certifications, therefore arguing that the two factors discussed above are completely irrelevant if they do not hold the required certification.
by Claire Shoesmith
Employment is tight, organisations are struggling to find highly-skilled technology workers and if we’re honest, the UK isn’t helping...
Employment is tight, organisations are struggling to find highly-skilled technology workers and if we’re honest, the UK isn’t helping itself when it comes to attracting talent – by leaving the EU we just restricted our access to a large number of workers.
Whether it’s the uncertainty around immigration and the right-to-work in the UK post-Brexit, the upcoming changes to the IR35 legislation, or the fact that the technology sector is not good at appealing to a diverse range of employees, there are many reasons that the industry is struggling to recruit.
David Annable, Franklin Fitch’s founder, believes the key is to embrace the full available range of talent. Whether you’re a baby boomer with substantial on-the-job experience; a generation x’er who’s grown up with IT; a millennial who has had digital technology thrust upon them from birth; or an entrepreneurial and tech-savvy member of generation z, each individual has something to offer.
Since the end of the 1950s, immigration has transformed the UK. Back then, fewer than one in 25 of the population was born outside the country, according to figures from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford. Today that figure is closer to one in seven. With the tight employment market – unemployment is at its lowest for more than 70 years – these overseas workers are essential to the healthy running of the UK economy.
Similarly, the age and gender demographic of the working population has changed significantly, with many tech workers both starting their careers earlier and finishing them later. Employing people with varying levels of experience can add a lot of value to a business, but is something that needs to be embraced right across the enterprise to avoid any risk of discrimination.
A study by CW Jobs found that 41% of IT and tech-sector workers said they had encountered age discrimination in the workplace, compared with only 27% across other industries. Moreover, 29, the age at which IT and tech workers first experienced ageism at work was significantly below the wider workforce average of 41.
There are benefits to both ends of the age spectrum. Many youngsters start writing code as teenagers because they’re fascinated by technology. By the time they graduate, they already have many years of relevant experience and a good grasp of the latest technology trends. They are generally considered to be open to new ideas and not tied to a particular design or coding approach.
By contrast, more experienced tech workers bring valuable insight from previous roles and in many situations use prior experience to successfully influence how challenges are solved. However, there is also a risk that experience brings a pre-determined mindset entrenched in a particular technology or methodology. In addition, experience often generates an aversion to risk, making these individuals less likely to move to smaller, developing start-ups or to stay in, or move to, a different country where their future may be uncertain.
Gender is an equally divisive issue, particularly in the technology sector. While just over half of the 6.5 million Britons working in professional occupations are women, the ratio falls to just one in six amongst the 998,000 working in IT and telecommunications, according to 2018 data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The disparity is even more pronounced amongst programmers and software development professionals where the ratio falls to just one in eight.
It is widely accepted that a diverse workforce is more successful. Whenever there is too much of one type of person and a lack of diversity in ways of thinking, experience levels and perspective, it’s easy for unconscious bias, stereotypes and singular mindset to take over not only individual workplace cultures, but even entire industries.
“By failing to appreciate the benefits of a diverse workforce you are placing your business at an immediate disadvantage and potentially missing out on certain valuable skillsets,” says Annable.
“The key in most cases is agility. The technology sector is changing fast, and anyone that is able to do the same will thrive with it.”
by Claire Shoesmith
The actual act of Britain leaving the EU later today is expected to trigger a gradual upturn in the UK recruitment market, according to the latest...
The actual act of Britain leaving the EU later today is expected to trigger a gradual upturn in the UK recruitment market, according to the latest Recruitment Sector Barometer.
After a long period of uncertainty – Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016 - employers and employees can now at least seek some solace in the fact Brexit is finally happening – even if the terms are unclear.
Although neither side of the negotiating table can say exactly what Britain’s departure means, the future is now marginally more predictable. This will enable businesses to make more informed decisions on discretionary hiring, fuelling the thaw of potential hiring freezes, and allowing candidates some comfort when being approached about new job opportunities.
All this said, we still live in an uncertain post-Brexit world where market conditions may change rapidly in the coming months and years. Businesses will need to adapt and be flexible to suit the conditions. The speed at which particular trade agreements are struck will dictate which sectors grow first and fastest. Agile organisations that are able to adapt quickly to these changes are most likely to seize the opportunities and generate the cash flow to invest in growth.
“Brexit uncertainty has undoubtedly caused many organisations to delay discretionary hiring decisions for the last three years,” the report says. “Boris Johnson’s announcement that, as of 1 February, the UK will no longer be an EU member will be the trigger some organisations need to start recruiting for certain positions.”
The Q1 2020 barometer found that recruitment leaders expect the market to improve slightly during 2020 after a challenging 2019, with net 59% of recruitment companies predicting net profit for the coming 12 months will exceed the prior year. In addition, the barometer found that industry optimism is at its highest level in a year, supported by a general expectation that Q1 2020 will outperform the year-earlier period in permanent and contingent recruitment as well as executive search.
One particularly interesting finding was that for the first time since the barometer began, the most commonly cited ‘top three challenge’ facing recruitment companies was economic conditions (63%), taking over from the availability of candidates (56%), which had until now always topped the challenges rankings.
(The quarterly barometer is conducted by Alex Arnott, specialist recruitment board advisor, in association with Recruiter magazine.)
by Claire Shoesmith
About three million new 50 pence pieces will enter circulation as official tender on Friday to mark Britain’s departure from the EU. Engraved...
About three million new 50 pence pieces will enter circulation as official tender on Friday to mark Britain’s departure from the EU. Engraved with the message ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’ (in our opinion, a rather ironic message for something that sees us leaving a union of nations) and the date of 31 January 2020, UK Chancellor Sajid Javid said the coins mark the beginning of a new chapter for the UK.
For businesses and job seekers however, what that new chapter actually means is still not clear. With just a day to go until the UK officially leaves the EU, uncertainty is still rife.
Aside from a special clock on the front of No.10 Downing Street counting down the final hour before the official 11pm (GMT) exit, Britain’s long-awaited departure from the EU is expected to bring few immediate changes.
For politicians, it will mark the start of what is likely to be an uphill battle to get a trade deal done by the end of the year. It will also initiate the debate around security and intelligence cooperation, fisheries, data, education and research collaboration. So far, remarkably little is known about Boris Johnson’s specific plans.
For job seekers with British passports it may mean easier access to better jobs with higher pay as competition from rival applicants from outside the UK decreases. The exact rules surrounding the employment of non-Britons post-Brexit are still unclear, with talk of an Australian-style point-based system, which would mean individuals with certain desired skills can remain. Until this is finalised, there is no doubt that competition for the top talent will increase in what is already a tight employment market.
For businesses, the likelihood is that they will have to pay more as they compete for a smaller pool of skilled workers. The UK is already experiencing a technology skills shortage and Brexit is only likely to exacerbate the situation. Organisations will need to widen their reach and consider recruiting outside of their traditional talent pools. They should also consider rethinking their requirement criteria or even employing individuals with less experience and providing on-the-job training to help employees develop the desired skills.
The supply of people is not the only post-Brexit concern. The movement of data and how it is protected is an important issue which needs addressing. For many technology companies data is a precious commodity, so how it is moved to and from the EU once the UK becomes a separate entity needs to be resolved quickly and clearly to prevent any interruptions to business.
One thing that is clear is that Britain must react now and do what it can to maintain its position as a leading technology hub, ensuring it can still attract and rettain the top talent. Any change brings uncertainty, but it also brings opportunity. Whether you’re an organisation or a potential employee, the key is to use this change to your advantage and see it as a chance to innovate, improve and become stronger. That way, if something gets lost along the way, it won’t be you.
by Claire Shoesmith
What has the potential to impact the contract and permanent employment markets in opposite ways at the same time? No, this isn’t a joke, it is...
What has the potential to impact the contract and permanent employment markets in opposite ways at the same time? No, this isn’t a joke, it is a serious question to which the answer is the upcoming changes to the UK’s IR35 legislation.
From April 6th, private sector companies will be responsible for determining the IR35 status of their current and future contractors. As a result, the number of so-called ‘off payroll’ contractors is expected to dwindle, making it harder for organisations to fill highly-skilled project-based technical roles. To take them on as permanent employees, which would be welcomed in today’s tight recruitment market, organisations will need to pay more to compensate for the loss of the benefits associated with being self-employed (not paying tax or national insurance contributions).
The latest changes to the IR35 legislation are designed to remove the tax advantages of providing services via a limited company for individuals who are not truly working for themselves. In other words, those employees whose working practices are more akin to those of traditional employees.
The changes were introduced in the public sector in April 2017 and are due to come into effect in the private sector in April this year. From then, the responsibility for declaring tax status will lie with the organisation rather than the individual. The change has prompted many large businesses, including HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds, to consider the way they work with contractors and in the majority of cases, to make a blanket statement saying that they will no longer be engaging with contractors via their own personal service companies (PSCs).
While the actual impact of the changes on the private sector are yet to be seen, we can learn from the experiences of the public sector. Nearly three years into the new regime and the changes have been blamed for a series of delays to public sector IT programmes. A report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the association of Independent Professionals and Self-Employed (IPSE) published in June 2018 found that nearly three quarters of public sector hiring managers reported challenges in retaining contractors. It also found that more than half believed they had lost contractors due to the legislative changes.
Moreover, figures released by the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) in November showed that after a decade-long boom in IT contractors, the number of freelance technology workers fell by 2.4% to 121,989 in 2018, compared with the previous year.
While the new regime is without doubt the most fundamental change to the operations of IR35 since its inception, it doesn’t necessarily spell the death of the contractor. Many of these highly-skilled and very valuable individuals will be able to continue contracting via their Limited Companies, provided the end clients can provide recruitment agencies with an IR35 status determination. Companies not willing to embrace the changes will look to force contractors into permanent roles or make them switch to Umbrella companies.
Simon Nicholls, practice manager for the contract recruitment market at Franklin Fitch, says: “We’re seeing a lot of panic from both our clients and the contractors we work with around the IR35 changes. However, if companies have a mechanism to assess IR35 status in a genuine, fair and pragmatic way then it should be business as usual.
“This is where we are educating clients currently in the hope that contractors can continue working in the same way, and clients have access to the vital flexible resources needed.”
As the saying goes, one man’s loss is another man’s gain. In this situation, while the contractor market may be at risk of losing some valuable assets, there’s every chance that the permanent market could reap the benefits as the tight employment market – unemployment is at its lowest for over 70 years - forces organisations to do whatever they can to ensure they attract and retain the best talent.
by Claire Shoesmith
A new year, a new you, or so the saying goes. For some this will mean a new job, for others it will be new resolutions, but for the remainder, it...
A new year, a new you, or so the saying goes. For some this will mean a new job, for others it will be new resolutions, but for the remainder, it will simply be a continuation of the same, picking up where they left off sometime before Christmas. Even if it’s the latter, there’s no room for complacency. The IT world is constantly changing, and so should you if you want to keep on top of your game and get the most out of 2020.
Whilst we at Franklin Fitch have many skills, unfortunately crystal-ball reading isn’t one of them. However, being involved in two of the fastest moving industries – IT Infrastructure and recruitment, we have no doubt that 2020 is set to be an exciting year. So, what do we expect the first year of the new decade to bring, and more importantly, what can you do to ensure you stay ahead?
Here we look at the five top trends we expect to be dominating the market over the next 12 months and how we believe you can use them to your advantage.
There are several reasons for this: unemployment is at its lowest rate for more than 40 years (the latest figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) released in December show the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, its lowest level since 1974) and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the EU. The upcoming change to the IR35 legislation is also having an impact, but we will examine this in more detail in another article.
Finding individuals with the required skills and experience to fill roles in cutting-edge sectors, such as serverless and cloud technology, DevOps, containerisation, networking and cyber security has never been easy, but it’s now harder than ever. Not only are there not enough Britons out there seeking these positions, but we are now faced with a likely shortage of skilled migrant workers thanks to the uncertainty around Britain’s future immigration policy. While there is much talk of an Australian-style point-based system, which would allow those with the necessary skills to take these roles, David Annable, Franklin Fitch’s founder, says that all the uncertainty is reducing the attractiveness of the UK as a place for non-Britons to work.
While the tight market makes it more difficult for businesses looking to hire highly-skilled security architects, network engineers or chief information (security) officers, it is also an opportunity for the UK’s top technology talent.
The knock-on effect of a shortage of candidates is obviously an increase in salaries. With fewer people to fill the roles, particularly in the highly-skilled areas of networks, servers, security or data, it goes without saying that those individuals capable of doing the job will need to be paid more to attract them to, and keep them in, the role.
Another feature of a tight employment market is that it places the power very firmly in the hands of the candidate. Employers will need to work harder to attract and retain the right people, says Annable.
Training and development will be key to ensuring employees remain engaged and hopefully prevent them being enticed away to other roles. In our 2019 Market and Skills Report, the opportunity to progress featured highly, just behind salary, in the rankings of what candidates consider to be most important when choosing a new job.
Getting the right work-life balance has long been a talking point. While no definitive solution to the age-old challenge has been found, organisations have become much more open to alternative ways of working, including flexible hours, job sharing and the option to work from home. This is understandably not an option for all roles, but in today’s tight job market, organisations are going to have to pay more attention to the requests of individual employees and seek to accommodate their demands to attract the top talent. Again this offers a great opportunity for job seekers.
Improving diversity and inclusion is not just a box-ticking exercise. Organisations are at last starting to realise the benefits of a diverse workforce. According to the latest figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS), just over half of the 6.5 million Britons working in professional occupations are women. While this is indeed progress, it has unfortunately not filtered through to the IT and telecommunications’ sectors, where the ratio is just one in six.
However, the IT sector fares better when it comes to ethnic diversity, with the latest ONS figures showing that of the 1.84 million professionals who work in science, engineering and technology, 85.1% are white, compared with 87.6% across the UK workforce as a whole.
While the debate rumbles on as to how to achieve increased diversity in gender, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation, you can expect organisations to try their own variations of quotas and targets to help achieve their goal. For some individuals, this will be an opportunity.
To conclude, there is no doubt that the tight employment market offers highly-skilled IT candidates the chance to shine and move ahead of the curve, but they aren't the only ones. The market situation also creates a significant opportunity for recruiters to face up to the challenge of finding the right person for the right role in a market where organisations themselves are likely to struggle.
If 2020 is looking like a good year for candidates, then it's also not looking too bad for recruiters.....
by Leonie Schaefer
We are mid-way through January and Blue Monday (voted as the most depressing day of the year) is just around the corner. Even though the...
We are mid-way through January and Blue Monday (voted as the most depressing day of the year) is just around the corner. Even though the festivities are well and truly over and the cold weather is here to stay, that doesn't mean that you should let your mood fall at work. Here are our top tips on how to stay happy at work this January.
Keep your desk as tidy as possible and manage your time to avoid stress. If you have a plan for your day you will feel prepared and work effectively.
Exercising at work can be difficult and it isn’t 100% necessary, but research says staying physically active can improve your mood and performance. Even just standing up at your table or walking around for a few minutes every now and then is better than nothing.
Take care of your professional development. In today’s working world experience is key, so ask for training opportunities to develop and improve your skills.
Ask for Feedback
In order to improve your skills, it's important to look for constructive criticism. If you ask your supervisors for feedback on your performance you might even be praised, which is always a little motivation booster.
Talk to your colleagues
Keeping a good relationship with your colleagues will brighten up your mood every day. It also helps you make yourself more comfortable in your workplace.
If you dread coming into work on a Monday morning, perhaps you're not getting the job satisfaction that you deserve in your current role. We have loads of amazing opportunities available, whether you're an IT Infrastructure professional or looking to start a career in recruitment - feel free to get in touch.
by Leonie Schaefer
One of the most important things within the application process is your CV. It’s the first impression you make on a potential new employer....
One of the most important things within the application process is your CV. It’s the first impression you make on a potential new employer. Here are our top tips on how to make it a good one.
Nearly there! Do’s and Don’ts before sending your CV out
Done? Perfect! Now send it off and let us take care of the next steps! If you have any further questions concerning your CV before sending it to us, feel free to get in touch. We are happy to help!
Currently looking for a new role? Feel free to send us your CV or call us to see what opportunities we might have for you! We specialise in IT Networking, Server, Database and InfoSec.
by Leonie Schaefer
Diversity and inclusion are very important topics for businesses across all industries. We want to shine a light on the topic specifically for those...
Diversity and inclusion are very important topics for businesses across all industries. We want to shine a light on the topic specifically for those working within IT Infrastructure.
We’ve seen a lot of women in tech initiatives over the years yet still only 10% of participants in this market and skills report were female. Although we were hoping that this is not a representative number, day to day conversations with industry specialist show a similar result.
We are supporting events like CYBERWOMEN 2019 in Germany and hope that initiatives like these will give women and girls the confidence to take on a career in IT Infrastructure.
Although we are huge fans of initiatives encouraging women and girls in tech, we think that this is not enough. Diversity & Inclusion is not only about the female-male divide. It is about tackling biases based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual preference and age (just to name a few) and ending discrimination completely.
We would like to provide a platform for those working within or interested in IT Infrastructure to share their experiences with us and to come up with possible solutions together.
We are conducting interviews with industry experts who are willing to give us their opinions and insights on diversity and inclusion within IT Infrastructure.
Interested? Contact Leonie Schaefer for more information +44 203 696 7950, firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Sian Llewellyn
There are many reasons why Graduates should look to recruitment as their first step into the working environment. The traditional image of...
There are many reasons why Graduates should look to recruitment as their first step into the working environment. The traditional image of recruitment is changing. What used to be a “plan B” career is fast becoming the occupation of choice. Why?
More companies are using recruiters due to the high demand for talented people in the industry. Recruitment consultants use their knowledge, expertise and judgment to match talented candidates to business’ job opportunities. Most companies have realised that their most valuable asset for success is their employees, giving recruiters the change to make a real impact on the economy and business growth.
Agencies are not only seeking the skilled candidates for their clients but looking for the top talent to join their own workforces. There is a significant demand for enthusiastic, ambitious professionals who are self-driven, hardworking and want to “be their own boss”. Recruitment companies are looking for those personalities that can build rapport, handle negotiations, influence and manage relationships.
Here are 8 reasons why recruitment is a good career move for you:
by David Annable
It was a fantastic night at Recruiter Magazine’s Investing in Talent Awards where we were delighted to pick up the award for Best Company...
It was a fantastic night at Recruiter Magazine’s Investing in Talent Awards where we were delighted to pick up the award for Best Company to Work For (11-49 employees) as well as being shortlisted for two other awards.
In what was the most competitive category on the night, with 10 consultancies shortlisted, the award recognises the recruitment company “that provides the most effective work environment, incentives, benefits, professional development/training, internal communications, ‘best practice’-orientated management, inclusion, and social responsibility activity.”
The evening didn’t get off to the best start for one of the team, Chris, realising that his newly purchased suit still had the security tag attached. A dash to Oxford Circus was needed, and all was quickly forgotten when the Franklin Fitch name was announced and the team proudly walked up on stage to pick up the trophy.
Dave Annable who collected the award with the team from Hays’ Director of People & Culture, Trisha Brooke reacted to the recognition with pride:
“I was genuinely surprised when we were announced as winners, we’ve been working hard to build a great business, and to receive some external validation and recognition is fantastic. The whole team are bought into our vision and we are committed to the ongoing development of each person working for us, whatever their role.
We have ambitious growth plans for all of our offices in Europe and the US, so hopefully the 2019 awards will see Franklin Fitch feature in the 50 – 99 headcount category!”
We’d like to thank Recruiter Magazine for putting on an excellent evening and congratulate all other winners and shortlisted companies and individuals.
by Oliver Neukamm
For many, when they hear or read the word ‘Brexit’ they roll their eyes with disillusionment of the ongoing saga. After all, it has been...
For many, when they hear or read the word ‘Brexit’ they roll their eyes with disillusionment of the ongoing saga. After all, it has been 36 months since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU and it is still no closer to recognising what that may mean – or even if it will happen.
But it would be remiss not to understand that it affects people. People who have ambition, dreams, careers, relationships and families.
At Franklin Fitch we have a presence in the UK and Europe. We work together, overcome challenges together and celebrate successes together. This is down to our people.
A number of these people are EU citizens living and working in the UK with genuine concerns around Brexit and what it may mean for them. One of these individuals is Oliver Neukamm, who has worked at Franklin Fitch in London since January 2017. He reflected after Theresa May’s recent crushing defeat in Parliament after MPs voted on her negotiated Withdrawal Agreement:
“I’m disappointed and astonished at how the country seems to be dismantling itself.
I’m currently enjoying my work and have had a very successful career to date in the UK. Myself and my partner (a British citizen) are currently in the process of purchasing a property so I want to be here for a while longer! I’m lucky in the sense that I have the security that Franklin Fitch will support me and sort out any visa requirements should they be needed, but I can imagine that many others in similar situations are more concerned.
From my point of view a ‘No Deal Brexit’ wouldn’t be good for anyone and I personally don’t think it will happen when it comes to the crunch. I hope that the current political purgatory ends as soon as possible to give everyone some clarity and security.”
Oliver’s comments first appeared in the German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine on the 16th of January.
by Charlotte Drury
Are you a Network Visionary?
The Network Architect
Do you want a thriving IT career? This is the roadmap to becoming a successful Network...
Are you a Network Visionary?
The Network Architect
Do you want a thriving IT career? This is the roadmap to becoming a successful Network Architect.
Compared to a traditional Network Engineer, who is focused on implementing and troubleshooting, a Network Architect designs computer networks. This means constructing layouts for the usage of hardware and software and creating models to predict future network needs, using network modeling tools such as Opnet, OMNeT++ and NS2. Furthermore, architects are involved in the analysis of business requirements, project planning and budgeting, and often require softer skills including stakeholder management to complement their technical abilities. This requires a lot of diplomacy and consultancy skills.
But, Network Architects are among the highest paid employees in the IT-world.
Skills & Certifications:
The role of a Network Architect usually requires a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, several network certifications are highly recommended. These include Expert level certifications, such as Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) or Cisco Certified Internet Expert (CCIE). Also beneficial are certifications such as ITIL and TOGAF or even the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr).
Knowledge in key areas such as cloud computing, virtualization, programming, security and application design are also in high demand.
However, it should not be forgotten that building your experience is as important as having a degree.
If you put in the time and effort into gaining professional skills, certifications and experience in the networking field, the position of Network Architect could be the ultimate goal in your IT career.
by Xenia Armbrust
As attractive as a counter-offer may seem, you should seriously consider if it’s wise to accept it. If you have already decided to move on from...
As attractive as a counter-offer may seem, you should seriously consider if it’s wise to accept it. If you have already decided to move on from your current job, you shouldn’t let anyone change your mind.
As soon as you hand in your notice, a lot of bosses will try and convince you to stay – the standard counter-offers include higher salary, more training and development, more new technologies, etc.
So your mind starts wandering: “What if they are right?” “Should I give my old job a second chance?” “Who knows, what the new job might be like – it could be even worse than the current one…”
Please stop this thought process right now! Counter-offers have a lot of traps that you might not detect at first. In most cases, people regret accepting counter-offers.
Why does your employer only react to your wishes now?
Counter-offers are quite a common thing – and here’s why:
Let’s imagine you accept the counter-offer – what happens next?
Your boss is happy you stayed, and he doesn’t have to replace you, so he pays more attention to you and your needs for a while. You might get that pay rise, better working hours and that long-desired bonus. Then your boss eventually realises – you wanted to leave. So, he will keep a close eye on you and what you do: a person that decided to leave once might do it again. Unfortunately, that makes you a very unsafe candidate for any upcoming promotions – because if they invest in you today how do they know you won’t take your expertise to a competitor tomorrow. Chances are, your boss only wants to keep you until he has found the right replacement. Once you realise what’s happening – the job offer you secured back when you decided to leave will be long gone.
Why is your employer only appreciating your value now?
Receiving a pay rise is a nice perk – but was the pay rise really the reason you wanted to leave in the first place? Money is important, but usually there are more reasons for an employee to leave: no career progression, no work-life-balance, not enough appreciation, bad atmosphere within the team, feeling bored or overwhelmed with the tasks. If you are now still considering accepting the counter-offer from your boss, then please make sure you mention the other issues you have within the company – more money alone won’t make you happy. In a lot of cases, and we are speaking from experience, accepting a counter-offer has made candidates unhappier rather than happier.
If you are looking for a new position within IT Infrastructure, contact Xenia Kusainov today or browse our current vacancies here.
by Leonie Schaefer
Franklin Fitch, the IT Infrastructure specialists have launched their fifth international office, and first outside of Europe, in Austin, Texas. With...
Franklin Fitch, the IT Infrastructure specialists have launched their fifth international office, and first outside of Europe, in Austin, Texas. With established offices in London, Frankfurt, Cardiff and Vienna, Franklin Fitch’s expansion into the United States comes during a period rapid growth in terms of headcount and financial performance.
Jordan Guttridge who has been with the business for four years will be joined by Matthew Forshaw who has over 10 years recruitment experience with four of them based in Texas. Managing the operation will be Steven Ewer who has been a director at Franklin Fitch since 2013 and is excited about the new venture:
“Establishing a presence in the US has always been a part of the Franklin Fitch growth strategy. We didn’t want to jump into such a big move until we knew we had the right team, infrastructure and opportunity. We have that now.
Being true specialists in the areas of networking, systems infrastructure and cyber security means we can carve out a real niche in these markets and we’re determined to offer a real focused offering to the US market. In Jordan and Matthew, we have experienced and ambitious individuals who will go that extra mile for candidates and clients as well as provide the platform for Franklin Fitch’s growth in Texas and beyond.”
David Annable, founder of Franklin Fitch, says that he believes that the latest office will emulate the existing offices that have performed so well since they launched:
“This year our business performance has consistently exceeded expectations and I’m confident that the newly formed Austin team will follow in the footsteps of its European counterparts. We’ve invested significantly in our people development, brand and systems infrastructure over the past 12 months and it’s great to see it now paying dividends. The US is another exciting marketplace, offering further opportunity to our existing team but also playing a vital role when attracting external talent to Franklin Fitch. We work hard daily to fulfil our vision, and this really is a giant leap in the right direction.”
About Franklin Fitch:
Founded in 2011, Franklin Fitch is a specialist recruiter in IT Infrastructure, covering the networking, systems infrastructure and cyber security markets across the UK, Germany, Austria and United States.
by Leonie Schaefer
Today’s the day – 32 countries from all over the world are about to compete in one of the most renowned tournaments on the planet. Entering for Franklin Fitch this year will be Team #Germany, Team #England, Team #Wales and Team #Austria. “4 Locations?!”, you say? – Yes, that’s correct! We’ve grown a lot over the last few years not just in the number of consultants, but also in experience, market knowledge, internationality, and languages we speak. (9. We speak 9 languages 😊: German, English, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, French, Swedish, Greek and Welsh of course!)
Since we started in 2011, we have used the international football tournaments (previous UEFA Euros and FIFA World Cups) for team motivational purposes. And since the official Panini FIFA World Cup Collector’s Sticker Albums have always played a big role in this, we wanted to honour this by changing our profile pictures for the duration of the FIFA Football World Cup in Russia. Let us know what you think!
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