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by Leonie Schaefer 28.01.21
As January draws to a close and the UK remains in a third national lockdown, it's expected that spirits might be a little low. Now more...
As January draws to a close and the UK remains in a third national lockdown, it's expected that spirits might be a little low. Now more than ever it is so important to look after our mental health, which can be challenging when we aren't able to see loved ones.
Even though a lot of people are working from home, it's still important to try to keep your working day as enjoyable as possible. Some people are working longer hours than usual, so it's essential that you're not hating every second of it. Below, we share our top tips on how to stay happy at work.
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 Dane Keenan 26.01.21
Interested in a career in recruitment but feeling overwhelmed with questions? Want to know more about graduate opportunities here at Franklin Fitch?...
Interested in a career in recruitment but feeling overwhelmed with questions? Want to know more about graduate opportunities here at Franklin Fitch? We sit down with our Academy Manager, Charlotte, to answer some of the most common questions that she gets from graduates seeking a career in recruitment.
How can I get a job in recruitment?
Stick to the basics, so find a company that fits your ideals, apply and prepare really well for the interview.
What are the typical working hours like? Have you ever been asked to work weekends?
Our standard working hours are 8.30am - 6pm and Consultants do work either side of that, depending on workload. I've never been asked to work weekends, but in recruitment, the more you put in, the more you will get out - but it's completely up to you.
How important is your work environment for your success in recruitment?
It's really important, it's just great to collaborate and bounce ideas off different Consultants with different approaches, tends to make you better in the end. Recruitment is full of lots of highs and lows, so it's good to celebrate those or commiserate those with other Consultants.
How does the Academy work?
It's a team set up to equip Consultants that have no recruitment background with the tools they need to then move on to have a successful career in senior teams in recruitment.
Do I need to know all about IT before applying?
Absolutely not. There is technical training as part of your onboarding here and most of our highest performers had no technical understanding before they came into the business and now they're experts, so don't worry.
What does the first week in the Academy look like?
The first week is fairly easy really, it's geared towards you getting to know everyone in the business and it usually ends with a social event on the Friday.
What is the training like at Franklin Fitch?
The training is a long programme that follows you from trainee all the way through to director-level. It's a multiple-strand approach, so we do variations of classroom, theory, workshops, listening sessions and live coaching depending on your learning style and your individual needs at the time.
What are the incentives like?
The incentives are really varied and really fun! We've done everything from Las Vegas, skiing trips, Dublin, watersports, London nights out - so really varied and they tend to be lots of fun.
How quickly can I progress through the business?
Each stage at Franklin Fitch has a structured career path so it's standardised targets that you can hit. So the short answer would be, as soon as you want to but realistically you're looking at your first promotion within 6-8 months.
Can you actually earn the figures that we see on the adverts?
There are some massive figures going around on some of the adverts out there. The short answer is yes, you absolutely can earn those figures in recruitment. We are confident we'd get Consultants there, but we focus on those smaller steps at first, to get you there. The building blocks to get you to that success.
If there are any questions that haven't been answered, or you want to find out more about the graduate opportunities that we have at Franklin Fitch, drop Sian a message!
by Anthony Ham 28.07.20
With unemployment figures rising across the globe, companies run the risk of taking their eye off the ball when it comes to paying attention to the...
With unemployment figures rising across the globe, companies run the risk of taking their eye off the ball when it comes to paying attention to the experience that people who are looking at, or indeed applying to opportunities and engaging with businesses.
Even if you’re not actively recruiting at the moment you need to focus on candidates whether they are active or passive. A proactive approach to candidate experience in the current climate will pay dividends down the line.
We take a look at three areas all businesses should continue to invest in and pay particular thought to regarding candidate experience.
Walk in their shoes
It is a tough time for many people at the moment but if we are working in businesses then we need to understand that many people are either not working or seriously want to consider their career options.
Before you dismiss speculative applications, reject messages on LinkedIn (both direct and from recruiters) or ignore social media messages, take a moment. Many people are not purposely trying to waste your time, they don’t know the ins and outs of your business so appreciate their point of view.
Emphatic approaches and processes will position companies as an employer of choice even more so in the ‘new world’.
Some things never change. If you have “live” roles and people apply, then you simply have to listen and communicate on a regular basis. People want to understand the process from applying to roles all of the way through to interview and offer stage.
Many of these processes have changed, maybe indefinitely, so this is even more important now.
Recruitment is often a process of rejection. People know this but they want to be told. This doesn’t necessarily mean a dissertation on every application, that’s unrealistic, but ignoring is rude.
Have you been transparent? Does your website explain the recruitment process with clear timescales to manage expectations? Do you have email templates to facilitate communication? Could you pre-record videos from hiring managers that updates on applications?
Oh, if you don’t have live roles and there are still some floating about online then you should take them down. There is nothing worse than presenting an opportunity that simply does not exist.
We have spoken previously about interviews moving online but this is only one aspect of the candidate experience where technology plays an important part. We’ve forever heard of clunky ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) that frustrate applicants.
There is no better time to review the experience of your candidates across all technology touchpoints. Are you using a chatbot on your Facebook page? Have you looked at using AI in the screening stage of recruitment? Is the way you do video interviewing secure enough?
Technology’s role in candidate experience cannot be understated. Choice and accessibility are absolutely essential, so you need to ensure that everything you use (and offer) is fit for purpose.
Here at Franklin Fitch, we speak with businesses and advise them on candidate experience. We have the benefit as recruiters to experience the processes across a wide range of companies and industries. The common theme is that the ones who invest time and effort in CX secure and retain the best talent on the market.
In the current climate, it would be remiss to think that it will be “easy” to pick up talent and bad candidate experience can be damaging in both the short and medium-term.
If you’d like to speak to us about our thoughts on best practice of candidate experience, please get in touch.
by Charlotte Drury 21.07.20
As well as insisting on social distancing measures needed to get your staff back in the office, even on a more flexible basis, there are a number of...
As well as insisting on social distancing measures needed to get your staff back in the office, even on a more flexible basis, there are a number of things that you can be doing to make the return as seamless as you can.
There is no doubt going to be a novelty factor in terms of getting back to work and seeing colleagues in the flesh again. But creating a framework for returning to the workplace is key. We know that many businesses have been working extremely hard in putting processes in place, but these need to be flexible and adaptable in line with individual needs and the wider uncertainty that the ongoing pandemic presents.
The toll on peoples’ mental health during lockdown periods across the world is largely unknown at the moment. Employers need to ensure that they have resources (and people) who are on-hand to help with questions and concerns as people start getting back on public transport and getting back to work.
Some relevant resources that may be of interest can be found here.
In many cases communication levels have increased over the past months. The use of technology in the form of Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts and the like has been positive.
It’s essential that this communication is maintained as people return to the workplace. We simply can’t go back to ‘normal’ as employees now expect higher levels of transparency and communication than they did prior to lockdown. Make sure that you outline the how, what, where and when and stick to it.
With a likely more flexible workforce in terms of time and place companies are going to need to make sure that inclusivity of access to leadership and equality in communication is high on the agenda.
Be empathetic - what is it that people need to know?
Do you need different messaging for your employees – both those coming back to the physical workspace and those who may be remaining at home?
Do you need to communicate what you’re doing with customers? What about your suppliers and investors?
The office and technology
Most companies would have carried out the necessary risk assessments in relation to getting back to the office, but the reality is that the workplace is not going to resemble what it did pre-Covid.
If you’re a business that traditionally collaborates together and utilises meeting rooms then you need to plan ahead. Do you forgo the room and stick to ‘virtual’ meetings even if you’re in the same office? Do you need to remove chairs from boardrooms? How can technology play a role in this?
We’ve just picked out three areas here that you need to be thinking about as a business and at Franklin Fitch we have started to see people come back into the office if they feel it’s safe to do so. If you want to find out how we’re doing it then please just drop us a message.
Equally, if you’re doing something that you think is unique in terms of returning then we’d love to hear about it.
by Leonie Schaefer 04.06.20
How can I build resilience? Build it, maintain it, strengthen it. If you Google the word “resilience”, the...
How can I build resilience?
Build it, maintain it, strengthen it.
If you Google the word “resilience”, the definition offered is:
"the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness”
Freely described as the ability to bounce back from whatever life throws your way and to adapt in the face of challenging circumstances. This concept of elasticity, the bend before you break mindset become even more important in trying times like these.
But how do you do it? How do you bounce back in times of uncertainty?
If you’re not sure when you’ll be able to go back to some form of “normality” or in some cases not even sure what you’re actually trying to bounce back from, this can be a real mental challenge that many of us struggle to cope with.
We’ve brought together a few ideas on how to build, strengthen and maintain resilience which you can see below:
Be present in the moment. In uncertain times like these it’s easy to get caught up in thoughts and stress about the past or future. Things that could’ve been, things that won’t be, which makes us feel all kinds of negative feelings. Instead of focussing on the past or future try to focus on this very moment. Control the controllable. It’s kind of distracting yourself with the present: What can you see/ hear/ smell/ touch (feel)/ taste? Try to keep your senses occupied.
Acceptance & Engagement
Accept the current challenges you are facing rather than trying to fight what you can’t change. Easier said than done, we know. Still, once you accept a certain predicament that can’t be changed immediately, you free up headspace to focus on your short- and long-term goals which in return can change your current situation. Even the tiniest of steps towards achieving your goals is a step in the right direction. Want to learn how to play the piano? Great, that’s your Google search string right there! Want to pick up a new hobby? Go ahead and give it a try.
Looking after yourself
Get enough sleep, be active, eat healthily and most important don’t be too hard on yourself. – Be kind. Not just to others but be kind to yourself. These are tough times for anyone, and different people have different coping mechanisms, that’s only natural. Look after yourself, take a bath, read a book, meditate, practice some yoga, reduce screen time, go for a walk, etc. There are so many more ways to take care of yourself, we are sure you already know the best ones for you. Make sure there is always some “me-time” in your diary every day. Even if it’s just five minutes.
Rather than focussing on the negatives, think about the things you are grateful for. This could be anything from a nice sunny day, the roof over your head, the food in the fridge, making time for friends and family to just simply being healthy. Now take it to the next level and share your gratitude with friends, family, peers and colleagues. Letting people know how thankful you are to have them around and just checking in with them is a good way of cheering up yourself and others.
These are just a couple of things you can do. If you’d like more information and help here are a couple of websites, you can visit and books you can read:
UK: Mind, Mental Health Foundation
Germany: Aktionsbündnis Seelische Gesundheit, Robert Enke Stiftung
USA: Mental Health America, One Mind
Europe: Mental Health Europe,
by Lewis Andrews 28.05.20
The way that companies attract and retain talent moving forward is going to change. It has to. There are some companies who have excellent employer...
The way that companies attract and retain talent moving forward is going to change. It has to. There are some companies who have excellent employer brands but even the best will have to think about their offerings when it comes to talent attraction and holding on to your best performers.
We’ve covered a few areas below that we think businesses need to be thinking about.
The actual workplace
We touched upon this in a previous article and this will change. There is the potential to be a huge shift towards the reduction of office space and/or people wanting to work from home or remotely. The likes of Twitter and Facebook are already announcing big changes in this respect. Choice is going to be important for employees. Are you able to offer it to people?
Terms of employment
Do they need to be looked at? Many may not have been changed for years but candidates and existing employees will be striving for security and stability. Is there a case for shortening probation periods and lengthening notice periods? It’s unlikely to happen any time soon at a government level so employers who will be able to show this understanding and empathy are likely to stand out.
Open door policies have changed to open webcam policies recently, but this will need to continue. Employees will want to understand their leaders both as a person and as professionals. Questions around coping with unprecedented challenges will continue to be asked and honesty in answering will be key for potential new talent as well as for those “coming back.”
CSR and employer branding
There are big questions around how talent responds to their employer’s reaction to the recent crisis. Will they look to move because of their company’s actions, or will they be cautious because of market fragility? It’s going to be important for companies to offer forums and communications that clearly demonstrate their decision-making processes as well as creating clear roadmaps for the future. If you’ve got “people stories” on your website, then these will need to be updated – they need to reflect the mood and circumstances we all now live in.
Mental and physical health
People are now far more aware of their mental and physical health. There is an increased realisation of how important it is, and companies will need to offer qualified support, resources, and time to deal with these challenges. The heightened awareness will demand a year-round focus on employee wellbeing, rather than designated days here and there.
The world has, in many respects, been reset. The balance of roles and the number of roles has changed forever. Equally, people will have developed new interests and motivations and may want to do “something new”. Employers should be offering opportunities to move within companies and offer training courses and skill development that facilitate this to happen.
There is no doubt that workplaces around the world are already changing immeasurably. This doesn’t just apply to the physical surroundings people are working in, companies are going to have to pay much more attention to individuals’ changes in motivations, world views and appetite for risk.
The world has changed, people have changed, and businesses will need to make changes and shift thinking to attract and retain the best talent moving forward.
We’re in this together and collaborating will create the future workplaces that not only drive productivity and performance but ensures the wellbeing of people.
If you’d like to discuss what we have seen happening in the industry and tap into the conversations we’ve been having with networking and infrastructure professionals around the world, then please get in touch.
by Richard Shayler 13.05.20
The question of outsourcing your recruitment to a consultancy or not is something that most businesses consider when looking to hire...
The question of outsourcing your recruitment to a consultancy or not is something that most businesses consider when looking to hire new talent. The common reason not to is the cost involved – most recruitment agencies charge a percentage of a candidate’s annual salary.
This may seem an unnecessary cost for many businesses who believe they can source talent themselves. Yet despite this, the best recruitment agencies will save you money (and time), as well as giving you access to the best possible candidates.
Recruiters can get you the most suitable candidates, faster
Internally sourcing your talent can be very time consuming. Posting a job advert on a job board might attract a lot of applications, which then need to be looked through. Often these applications are unsuitable or don’t have the right qualifications, making the whole process a waste of time. And of course, you’ll have to pay for the job board.
This is one of the main benefits of a recruiter – they source suitable candidates for you, taking out the most challenging and time-consuming element.
A great recruiter will have taken the time to understand you and your business and then fine-tune applications to a targeted number of candidates who match your company’s needs, meaning you waste no time reviewing irrelevant applications.
The time saved by using a recruiter can be huge. This equates to money saved in the short term, as you waste none of your precious time. While also ensuring the best possible candidate, who you are more likely to retain for the longer term, therefore further reducing the true cost of hiring.
The best recruiters are specialists and only recruit in your industry
Most recruitment agencies have a large pool of specialised talent specific to your industry, meaning they only introduce you to professionals that fit your criteria and they know them and their skills inside out. At Franklin Fitch, we focus on IT Infrastructure alone, meaning we are experts in our field and your job market.
We understand the technology on the job spec, meaning we’re able to ask candidates all the right questions to ensure they’re the right fit for your job. We also get to know our candidates to the same level of detail to ensure there is a great cultural fit.
Our knowledge gives us a very good overview of market trends, which can be a helpful addition to the hiring process.
In addition, recruiters are able to source the so-called “passive” candidates who wouldn’t be looking on job boards. This unlocks a cohort of the best possible talent, who wouldn’t normally react to a traditional job advert.
Recruiters can present your opportunities to the right candidates
Hiring is a two-way street, and often the best candidates aren’t on the market for long. Recruiters have skills in sales and persuasion and can encourage the best candidates to take your role over other offers they might have received. As long as it is right for both parties.
They also speed up the hiring process, meaning less time for the ideal candidate to be lost to a competitor or another company.
The relationship built between the recruiter and the candidate fosters trust and honesty, so you know exactly what you’re getting with each candidate.
Good recruiters want to foster a long-term working relationship with you
The best recruiters aren’t just focussed on today’s hire but hope to establish a long-term working relationship in preparation for future collaboration.
By establishing this partnership from the get-go, it creates efficiences in your entire hiring process meaning improved hiring techniques, cost savings and enabling you to have more time doing the job you’re employed to do!
Recruiters are able to support you in the entire recruitment process, from screening candidates, facilitating interviews, and following up once the candidate has started. Almost like an extension of your HR and internal recruitment department.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the benefits of working with a recruitment consultancy. If you have a vacancy within IT Infrastructure that you’re struggling to fill, or even if you’d just like to find out more about industry trends feel free to get in touch!
by Charlotte Drury 07.05.20
As the UK eagerly awaits to hear how Boris Johnson's plans to pull the UK out of lockdown, most of us are continuing to work from home. For...
As the UK eagerly awaits to hear how Boris Johnson's plans to pull the UK out of lockdown, most of us are continuing to work from home.
For lots of businesses, employees will continue with remote working for as long as possible. Unsurprisingly, motivation could be flagging after so many weeks in the home office and the challenging business markets.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep your team engaged while working remotely – not just to keep spirits high, but also maintain an effective workforce.
How best to do that? Here are three simple steps to follow….
Set realistic goals
Lots of businesses operate by setting goals for their employees to meet. The current crisis has impacted most businesses in some way or another, meaning that the goals you set your team may have to be adjusted to suit the current business climate.
Although we can say that it’s ‘business as usual’, it’s likely that most employees are going to be slightly more distracted than usual – not because remote working is distracting, but because we are in a global pandemic and everyone is concerned about the future.
Adjusting your team’s goals will encourage your team to push towards an achievable target, rather than giving up on something unrealistic in these times.
As always, the best way to set goals is the SMART criteria – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time bound.
Keep company culture strong
While it might be hard to keep the company culture alive when everyone is working remotely, it can and should be a priority. Keep the usual traditions up, just make them remote.
Friday office drinks can be done over Zoom, run club can happen separately and achievements shared on Strava.
Create fun additional games and challenges to bring teams together – office quizzes, crazy hat day, or new incentives. Doing some teams challenges will remind everyone that they’re not working solo, but are a vital member of the team.
Keeping the social side of work strong is important as without it, the “work” side of the job is the only side. Adding a little fun to the mix will encourage your team to keep logging on, day after day.
Internal communication channels are essential
Having a central internal communication channel where teams can chat is essential. The office comradery can be hard to replicate online, but encouraging you team to engage with these channels will help keep some of that alive.
Wish colleagues happy birthday, celebrate achievements (personal and professional) and make jokes as if you normally would in the office.
Praise your team when they hit targets and make it visible to everyone. Recognising the wins in your team will encourage productivity and efficiency from those being praised, while empowering the rest of the team to do the same.
These are just a few of the things that we've been doing at Franklin Fitch to keep everyone happy and motivated - the possibilities are endless. What are you doing to keep your remote workers engaged?
by Gareth Streefland 05.05.20
As a recruitment consultancy, it’s obviously our role to advise you how to secure your next opportunity. We’re here to help you along the...
by Steven Ewer 27.04.20
There is no doubt that the current crisis has impacted us all personally and professionally in some way. Since March, many people around the world...
There is no doubt that the current crisis has impacted us all personally and professionally in some way. Since March, many people around the world have had to adapt their entire lives.
Businesses and leaders have had to shift the way that they motivate their staff; companies that are still hiring have had to ensure they can effectively onboard remotely and more attention than ever is focused on mental health and wellbeing.
But what does a post-Corona world of work look like?
For thousands upon thousands of people, working remotely is nothing new and for many businesses, they operate perfectly well without numerous physical “offices”. So, is it the case that this crisis is just going to speed up the ‘future of work’?
There are three key areas where we could see change happening:
1. Reduced need for office space.
Not everyone likes remote working, we suspect many can’t wait to get back into an office, but the choice will be there. Businesses will look at their costs, their people and their productivity and we will see increased levels of remote working.
This will shine a light on many of those we work with, as companies look to ensure that the infrastructure and security of networks is of the highest standard with workforces spread around locations.
We are likely to see policies and procedures to make remote work more widely available and businesses will realise that they are able to tap into a greater pool of highly skilled workers than they were previously.
2. A new Culture of Collaboration.
In a time of isolation, we have seen increased levels of collaboration. Companies, and indeed, countries have come together to work on solutions for the greater good of everyone – not just their shareholders. Automotive companies have been manufacturing ventilators and breweries have been creating hand sanitiser, just to name a few.
This heightened awareness of threat, in whatever form, should mean that companies and individuals create a Culture of Collaboration that transcends competition and borders – looking at the much bigger picture rather than the short-term shareholder gain.
3. People are going to expect more when searching for roles.
When companies start to hire post-Corona there will be a shift in what potential employees demand from the business they work for. This had already started to happen but will be emphasised much more in the future.
People are going to ask how businesses reacted and coped with the pandemic and what is in place moving forward to support them should it happen again. This builds on the increasing demands around flexibility, remote working set up and commitment to work-life balance, but it will be key.
Companies will be focusing a lot more on their employer brand, not just from an attraction point of view but from a retention and culture perspective. People have long memories, so some companies are going to have to make a significant shift in what they offer to remain competitive.
Or maybe nothing will change?
Some of the biggest companies in the world including Facebook, Google, Amazon and Nike quickly mobilised to set up virtual operations in light of the outbreak, and, to be fair we did here at Franklin Fitch as well (albeit on a smaller scale!). But will they/we stick with these new ways of working?
In reality, probably not 100%.
People, companies and nations will look at the positives and negatives and create a “new normal” that works for their employees and their customers and that will look different for everyone.
The businesses that have a strong culture that is constantly looking to innovate and adapt will realise the good to come out of these challenging times and will as such benefit. Those who believe there is nothing we can learn and revert to type, probably won’t.
What do you think that life after Corona will look like?
by Dominique Lianos 16.04.20
Dominique Lianos “fell into recruitment”. Having studied philosophy at Nottingham University she was about to take an...
Dominique Lianos “fell into recruitment”. Having studied philosophy at Nottingham University she was about to take an accountancy job when the opportunity arose to interview for a recruiter role at Franklin Fitch.
“I knew very little about recruitment, but immediately fell in love with the atmosphere and the people at Franklin Fitch,” says Dominique, who is now 18 months into her role as a specialist IT infrastructure recruiter.
Likening the role of a tech recruiter to being in sales, but with a product that has a voice and an opinion - (think a talking and thinking bottle of juice!), Dominique admits it is not easy. People can be difficult and a certain level of resilience, competitiveness and a strong work ethic is essential.
The training and the autonomy
One thing she particularly likes at Franklin Fitch is the extensive training – both in the classroom and on-the-job – given to all recruiters. “You get a lot of personal attention. Your strengths and weaknesses get noticed very quickly and I definitely feel like I’m a person and not a number,” she says, comparing her experience to that of some of her friends on graduate programmes at large corporations.
Dominique’s highlight so far has been the autonomy she was given the day she joined. She likens it to managing her own company and loves the fact she can set her own agenda, but also appreciates working alongside other individuals who are keen to impart advice and share their experiences. She herself also helps mentor newer members of the Franklin Fitch team, now known as the academy, using her personal experiences.
Hard-working, resilient, competitive and able to connect the dots
To succeed in recruitment, Dominique believes you need to be hard-working, resilient, competitive and able to connect the dots. There is also an advantage to being from a sports background as the motivation to win will stand you in good stead.
As a woman there’s no doubt Dominique is in a minority in her industry. The tech industry is notoriously male dominated and often a whole week will pass where she doesn’t speak to a female candidate or client (obviously there are plenty of fellow female Franklin Fitchers). For her though this hasn’t been an issue. She feels she may subconsciously be less likely to challenge a candidate or client than her male counterparts, and that sometimes clients may feel they can get away with more when dealing with her, but in reality, her experiences have generally been positive.
“For those with a lot to give, there’s no doubt that a career in recruitment has a lot to offer,” she says.
by Claire Shoesmith
by Dominique Lianos 09.04.20
“Working from home” is probably the phrase that most populates my LinkedIn feed at the moment. With a pandemic upon us and self-isolation...
“Working from home” is probably the phrase that most populates my LinkedIn feed at the moment. With a pandemic upon us and self-isolation very much in place, everyone has very quickly been adapting to a new way of life.
I know that reading about the stories of others going through similar experiences to my own brings me a sense of comfort and unity. I figured that if anything is important in times like these, those two things are probably towards the top of the list.
Working from home as a concept was always attractive to me; as I work in a sales focused job with a big focus on teamwork and office culture it was something that was not really on the radar for me, and perhaps that was part of the appeal. Given that, it might be surprising to hear that while packing up my desk on that last day in the office, what I felt most of all was a sense of dread. Something that in concept had always seemed positive and shiny, was now an idea that held no appeal for me.
My experience however, has been very different to my imaginings, and with the third week of home-working now in progress I am still not convinced on where I stand.
Overall, I would say my experience working from home has been a bit of a double-edged sword.
The positives have definitely proved to me that working from home can indeed be an extremely attractive prospect but when taking into account that it hasn’t been all work-life balance and metaphorical sunshine, it leads me to believe that my mother may have been right when she warned me about too much of a good thing…
by Steven Ewer 02.04.20
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
Using humour in the workplace makes employees happier, less stressed, more productive and efficient, says Vandad Pourbahrami, a humour and business...
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 Charlotte Drury 26.03.20
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 Dane Keenan 24.03.20
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
by Steven Ewer 19.03.20
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 email@example.com.
Remote interview advice for candidates:
Remote interview advice for interviewers:
by Simon Nicholls 18.03.20
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 David Annable 17.03.20
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 email@example.com
by Lewis Andrews 27.02.20
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 David Annable 25.02.20
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 Steven Ewer 18.02.20
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 Simon Nicholls 13.02.20
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 Lewis Andrews 11.02.20
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 Ben Makepeace 06.02.20
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 David Annable 04.02.20
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 David Annable 30.01.20
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 David Annable 29.01.20
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 Simon Nicholls 23.01.20
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 Charlotte Drury 20.01.20
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 14.01.20
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 Dane Keenan 01.05.19
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 28.01.19
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 Adriana Timme 24.01.19
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 14.11.18
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 08.11.18
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.
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