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by Steven Ewer
Diversity is a continuous challenge in the tech industry. Figures from 2017 show that women make up 19% of tech workers in the UK, while ethnic...
Diversity is a continuous challenge in the tech industry. Figures from 2017 show that women make up 19% of tech workers in the UK, while ethnic minorities make up 15%. This is clearly not representative of the UK population, but has led to a growing number of initiatives to promote diversity and address this gap in the UK. To mark Black History Month 2020, we are celebrating a few of the current influential and inspiring black voices within technology.
Not only is Simi Awokya a Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft, but founder of Witty Careers. Their mission is to equip black women in the tech industry with the skills to succeed in their careers. Witty Careers offers free events, resources, mentoring and practical tech skills workshops, to help black women in tech break out of junior roles and gain recognition for their skills. Awokya was also named as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 this year.
Mark Martin MBE
Mark Martin founded UKBlackTech with the aim to make the UK the most ethnically diverse tech hub in the world. Martin is globally recognised for his contribution to this mission – so much so that he was awarded an MBE for services to education, technology and diversity in UK tech. His passion lays in helping schools use technology to improve teaching, while also promoting cultural diversity within UK tech companies.
Charlene Hunter created Coding Black Females in 2017 in order to grow, educate and support black female developers in the UK. Coding Black Females is the biggest platform for black female coders in the UK and also presents opportunities within the industry through their job board. Hunter also hosts Meetup and Code – a community of coders who meet, network and work on projects together.
Topping the Powerlist2020, Ahmed founded money-transfer app World Remit after struggling to send money back to his family in Somalia. Ahmen began to develop the idea for a money-transfer app that would be more cost-effective than banks and traditional money transfer systems, launching World Remit in 2010. The app can transfer money globally, quickly, securely, and inexpensively – which has continued to grow in its ten-year lifespan.
Kimberly Bryant founded Black Girls Code in 2011 after noticing a lack of black women in STEM professions. Black Girls Code gives young black girls access to STEM topics such as coding and other in-demand skills in tech through a six-week program. Their long-term goal is to provide black girls with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4million computing jobs available in the US in 2020. Bryant was named one of 11 Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion by the White House in 2013.
This is only a fraction of the influential black voices within the tech industry. We’re sure there are many more to add to the list. Who do you think should be mentioned as well?
by Gareth Streefland
Businesses around the world are waving goodbye to datacentres in favour of the cloud, in order to innovate and grow to meet demand. As an IT...
Businesses around the world are waving goodbye to datacentres in favour of the cloud, in order to innovate and grow to meet demand. As an IT infrastructure professional, having experience/certifications within cloud is going to make you more employable as cloud computing continues to rise in popularity.
AWS, Microsoft Azure and GCP are the three biggest cloud platforms used globally. IT professionals looking to upskill themselves should consider training in one of these three platforms – but which one will be the most valuable? We ran a poll on LinkedIn to ask that question – the results are as follows.
What is your preferred public cloud platform?
AWS = 55%
Azure = 38%
GCP = 8%
(218 people surveyed)
It’s no surprise that AWS gained the most votes – it is the market leader and the oldest established cloud service. According to Canalys, AWS owns 31% of the market as of July 2020 – with Azure at 20% and GCP at 6%. This is to be expected considering the seven-year head start that AWS had without any real competition.
But AWS isn’t just the oldest cloud provider, it also has the most services to offer. Its enterprise-friendly features make AWS a solid option for large organisations – such as Netflix, AirBnB, Nike and the Royal Opera House.
Microsoft’s Azure is closing the gap towards the market leader as it builds up its platform. It gets a lot of business from tech companies that already have a relationship with Microsoft, or who already use their programs such as Office365 or Teams. Microsoft can make it easy for these companies to transition to the cloud seamlessly, which is an attractive feature.
While Azure initially struggled to work with open source technologies, this has recently changed with around half of its workloads running on Linux.
GCP is the “new kid on the block”, which explains why it came in third in our poll. Yet it appeals to certain companies due to its strengths in big data, machine learning projects, and cloud-native applications. Despite this, Google has more work to do if it wants to compete with the likes of AWS and Azure.
So which cloud platform should you consider upskilling yourself in as an infrastructure professional?
‘AWS is still the market leader and the most popular, but Azure is catching up and so many businesses partner with Microsoft that it will make you really employable if you have skills in Azure’, says our Cardiff Consultant and cloud expert Gareth Streefland. ‘Plus, it’s probably the most approachable for engineers starting out with cloud.’
Upskilling yourself on any platform will improve your employability and job prospects. If you are experienced in cloud computing and are looking for new opportunities, feel free to get in touch – we would be happy to help.
Can you see a shift occurring in the preferred public cloud platform as time goes on? Or will AWS remain the market leader for the foreseeable? We would love to hear your thoughts.
by Khalid Allaw
When starting out in IT Recruitment you are confronted with numerous job titles that sound very similar at first but have distinct differences when...
When starting out in IT Recruitment you are confronted with numerous job titles that sound very similar at first but have distinct differences when you take a closer look. So, I found myself asking the question: “What’s the difference between a System Administrator and a System Engineer?”
My first understanding was the following: Being a System Administrator involves installation and configuration on already existing systems. System Admins take care of IT Infrastructure which were developed and implemented by a System Engineer. The infrastructure can consist of Servers, Networks, Desktops or all of the above.
After talking to both System Administrators and System Engineers, I then realised that the IT infrastructure world isn’t simply black and white. I spoke to a System Administrators who only focussed on the implementation of systems, others were taking care of automated Server landscapes, some were actively involved in the automation processes and another group managed the full life cycle, including concept, design and implementation of systems. On the other side I spoke to a similar variety of System Engineers.
Needless to say, I was confused. Were the two job titles simply a personal preference? Or a company choice? I didn’t understand the fine differences between the two.
Not willing to give up until I found an explanation, I searched many websites and blogs to find the answer. During the search I noticed that the topic was widely and heavily discussed, I found supporting evidence in blogs and discussions that the difference, in most cases, was simply the title. However, my feeling is that the difference between these two roles has narrowed due to the developing IT landscape. Nowadays, companies need hybrid engineers who can take care of the infrastructure maintenance work as well as the implementation and automation.
A case study from my own experience as a recruiter supports that opinion: I was working with two different candidates, one of them was a System Administrator and the other one was a System Engineer, however, they both had very similar skill sets including automation tools like Puppet and Ansible. The company I introduced them to were looking for a System Engineer. In the end the System Administrator was chosen for the job!
After all this time working with both System Administrators and System Engineers, I still haven’t truly found a distinct difference between them. Maybe our network can help me find the answer. Whether you share my opinion or disagree, I would like to hear your thoughts on this.
by Gareth Streefland
The vision for the development and implementation of Cloud Computing is clear: a world in which you can source...
The vision for the development and implementation of Cloud Computing is clear: a world in which you can source computing capacity automatically and without limitations. We are gradually seeing this vision take shape, as companies, large or small and irrespective of sector begin to embed the technology in their infrastructure. With successful use of the cloud, gone will be the days of companies having to sit their data on their own infrastructure or on one physical premise. However, we’re not quite there yet. Most cloud strategies are still in their infancy, with only a small amount of enterprises running significant workloads on the cloud. As with any emerging technology, the talent pool is slim, and knowledge and expertise in the market needs time to catch up to the concept and drive forward development.
The Cloud is seen to be the future platform for the implementation of cutting-edge new technologies and services. Utilising the Cloud fully will pave the way for disruptive technologies that are too expensive to run in our current physical infrastructures. Technologies and innovations including AI, serverless computing, virtual reality and more will all be made possible through the greater resources afforded by the Cloud. Alex Hilton, chief executive of the Cloud Industry Forum states that “Cloud is the generator for the next wave of technologies, the enabler for all the exciting developments”. Research suggests that as cloud usage increases by 2022 companies will spend no more than 12% of their budget on legacy technology.
Motivation for companies to invest in a cloud strategy is high, take a look at just a few of the benefits of cloud computing listed below:
1. It’s cost effective
All businesses share two common goals, make money and save money. A key factor of any business when adopting a new technology is how much it is going to cost them and whether this investment will be returned. Cloud promises savings across the board, everything is hosted on your provider’s servers, meaning no expensive hardware is needed, and costs of running said hardware no longer exist. Before the cloud, large organisations would store their data in massive datacentres. Datacentres need a great deal of space, power, security, and air-conditioning to maintain. Cloud computing removes the need for all of this.
2. Increased, scalable resources
Without the cloud, if additional resources are required, you’ll need to buy, install and configure an expensive new server. Cloud computing allows companies instant scalability. If extra resources are needed due to a peak in traffic, computing capacity can be increased with immediate effect. This affords companies unprecedented freedom and allows tech teams to react to issues quickly.
3. Deployment time
Applications integral to the growth and success of a system or a company can be deployed with virtually zero delay. This offers a huge strategic advantage over companies that are still operating with physical infrastructure.
4. Level playing field
Smaller companies, normally at a disadvantage against large companies with more in-house capacity and the ability to afford massive datacentres can now contest and find themselves able to operate on the same playing field without having to invest heavily.
5. Zero Downtime
Downtime is one of the biggest issues faced by companies as the reliance on applications to run operations rises. Cloud hosting fixes this issue, removing the possibility of server failure and guaranteeing 100% uptime.
Due to the strict security regulations, cloud providers are required to comply with, cloud- hosting services to ensure that businesses are protected against hacking, infection and internal data theft.
7. Flexible working
With a bigger push for companies to adopt modern working practices, especially amid the Coronavirus pandemic, flexible working is a topic of paramount importance. Cloud Computing affords businesses the capability of allowing employees to work from home, ensuring they can access their files anywhere. This, in turn, cuts costs as companies can reduce their need for office space.
8. Environmentally friendly
With environmental concerns at an all-time high, companies are under pressure to demonstrate the measures they’re putting in place to reduce their carbon footprint. The lack of need for a data centre means no powering servers, lighting or air conditioning. The scalability of the cloud allows companies to operate more efficiently, and only use what they need, ensuring far less energy is used than if the systems were on-site.
How can you ‘future-proof’ yourself?
The move to cloud is inevitable and as the saying goes, “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em”. Now is the time to ensure you don’t get left behind in the datacentres of old, gathering dust among the server racks! The benefits outlined above are simply too tempting for any business to resist. Take every bit of cloud exposure and knowledge you can get your hands on and you’ll find yourself just as desirable to employers as the cloud services themselves.
If your current role is lacking cloud exposure and you’re worried about being left behind, contact one of our team here at Franklin Fitch and we’ll be sure to point you in the right direction.
by Ben Makepeace
There is no denying that recruitment has been slow recently. And by recently, I mean the past six months. Covid hit our industry hard, but after what...
There is no denying that recruitment has been slow recently. And by recently, I mean the past six months. Covid hit our industry hard, but after what feels like an age, we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Companies are starting to hire again which means now is the time for us to put our foot on the gas. But this might feel challenging after so long out of practice. Getting back into the swing of things can feel difficult, especially as we adjust to the so-called ‘new-normal’.
Maintaining productivity is key during this transition period. We all know what it’s like to experience a lull in productivity – it can be frustrating and demotivating. We’re here to give you our favourite productivity hacks to keep you motivated as you put in that grind!
Organise your day into time blocks
Start the day by looking at your to-do list and assigning yourself specific time blocks for each task. If you have to look for candidates today, assign it an hour – then move in. This will make your hour more focussed knowing you have limited time to get it done, and prevents time wasting and procrastination. It can also just make you feel more organised, which in itself can be a motivator.
We all need breaks
We're only human – and all of us need short breaks fairly often. Don’t be hard on yourself by saying you don’t have time. Taking small breaks will ensure that your working time is more productive – which saves time in the long run.
As recruiters we like to be rewarded for hitting certain metrics. But this doesn’t have to come from someone else and it doesn’t have to be for big things. It can be as simple as making a cup of tea after your next CV send out, or having a walk around the office after an hour of work. Small targets will make each task feel small itself – winning!
Don’t start the day with admin
Admin can be done any time of the day, and is actually quite a good task to do when you’ve run out of brain power near the end of the day. Instead, start your day with the most challenging tasks – the things that require the most brain power to get through. It’s only natural to get a little tired towards the end of the day, so having something easy rather than challenging to fill your time later on will seem less daunting.
Learn to prioritise
Prioritisation can sort your never-ending to-do list into something that resembles organisation. It goes without saying that the most important things go at the top… but sometimes there is the temptation to start with the easy stuff. Don’t do it!
Get out of the office
Having a change in environment is so important. On your lunch break try to get outside for some fresh air and to stretch your legs. Changing your environment is important when taking breaks – it can be hard to shut off from work at lunch time if you remain in the office. Besides, fresh air is never a bad thing.
The thing that unites office workers across the world – a love of hot drinks. We’re not suggesting 27 cups of coffee each day, but caffeine can stimulate your brain and help you focus.
If all else fails, try something a bit more structured
Trying something like the Pomodoro Technique can be an easy way of ensuring your day has some structure. This technique encourages you to break your day up into 25 minute chunks of work separated by a five minute break. It’s a firm favourite of many, so it might be worth giving it a go if you’re finding nothing works for you!
What is your favourite productivity hack? If we’ve missed a good one we’d love to hear it!
by David Annable
To pivot, or not to pivot, that is the question:
“Pivot” must be the business word of the year. In 2020, many businesses have...
To pivot, or not to pivot, that is the question:
“Pivot” must be the business word of the year. In 2020, many businesses have taken stock and considered whether to channel their efforts in a new direction. I understand it, particularly as the current economic landscape and even future outlook is very different to previous years. However, my question is this; if you chose to pivot, at what cost, and should you also reconsider your brand?
We've been clear since inception that our vision is to be a market leading talent provider focused purely on the IT infrastructure market. Naturally we will follow technology trends and advances of the IT infrastructure stack, but we will expand our geographical coverage long before diluting our service offering into other sectors or technology areas. Our Franklin Fitch feet are firmly planted within our niche, we love it, and will not be pivoting anytime soon.
However, if a business does choose to pivot, and hopefully it’s only once, then should that company’s brand identity also change? Surely the original brand was set up for the initial service offering, I wonder how this translates to the new path of said business? From an employee perspective, if decisions are made too hastily, further pivots or a retraction could follow and this creates brand uncertainty and confusion. At some point it could feel like the circus is in town and the whole organisation have spent too long on the Waltzers.
Our people and our time are the two most important facets of our business. I believe it’s paramount that everyone clearly knows our purpose, fully understands it and identifies with it. One pivot can be tricky, numerous pivots can be dangerous. Brand identities can be lost in translation, your all-important people can become disorientated and time will be frittered away.
Leadership is tough right now, pivoting can look appealing, but be mindful, the brand you’ve worked so hard to build, may quickly be lost in the ether.
by David Annable
I’d like you to hit pause for just a moment.
Given the opportunity, would you rewind the last 6 months to take another shot at...
I’d like you to hit pause for just a moment.
Given the opportunity, would you rewind the last 6 months to take another shot at navigating the Coronavirus storm? I wonder which decisions you would make differently and which you’d keep the same. I do not believe many business leaders could have imagined the magnitude or ferocity of the ensuing turmoil caused by this pandemic. Reacting quickly was critical, the stakes were high and potential mistakes costly.
I’m writing this to give an insight into Franklin Fitch’s journey over the first half of 2020. To do this fairly, I need to give perspective, so I’ve shared previous years’ results, our expectations at the beginning of 2020 and our actual results from January to June this year.
I am proud to say that since our inception in 2011, we have grown our group Net Fee Income* (NFI) each and every year. Eight years of successful, sustainable, organic growth, mostly gained through a mix of careful strategic planning, rigorous hiring processes, a “people first” growth mindset, and a great deal of hard work.
The chart above illustrates our H1 results for the previous 5 years. Using 2015 as our baseline, the year on year compound H1 growth rates are:
2016: 43% increase
2017: 47% increase
2018: 39% increase
2019: 42% increase
Thus, from 2015 to 2019, I’m pleased to say our H1 results have produced an average compound growth rate of 43%. So, when forecasting our growth expectations for 2020, we didn’t deviate far from the norm (dotted purple line on the chart). Since our forecast in December, it’s been a whirlwind, the game has certainly changed.
The solid purple line on the chart plots our actual H1 2020 results. This year for the first time ever, we have tracked behind the previous years’ H1 results. In fact, by the end of June 2020, we tracked behind our 2019 results by 12% and tracked behind our original H1 forecast by approximately 55%. Whilst the latter number is worryingly large on first view, it is completely understandable when considering the severity and pace at which Coronavirus’ effects were felt across Germany, the UK and the US.
When reflecting on the above I have many thoughts and feelings. My first thought is always with our people and the wider physical and mental impact of this period. We continually search for ways to support and lead our people to excellence inside and outside of work. Guiding the leaders and team members through this has easily been the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to face.
How successful we have been is difficult to know at this point. We believe we’ve made good decisions with the information available, but only time will truly tell.
I’m hoping that my transparency here can give other leaders comfort and confidence when considering their company and team performances. I am sad that we will very likely lose our impeccable record for year on year growth, but I am proud of the efforts of our people, their work rate, focus and resilience enduring this relentless downpour.
I believe we need to pull together in times of hardship, not forget the bigger picture, whilst working daily on the more granular tasks and targets.
According to our recent datasets, the choppy waters are beginning to calm and we are hopeful for a few sunnier days in H2. We are consistently reviewing the course we chart and are diligent in our decisions and movements, hopefully plain sailing is not too far away again.
Fast Forward. Bonus track coming….
I’m sure most of us would like to fast forward this entire year, but unfortunately time is one thing we cannot control. I would be interested to hear your views and opinions on the above. If comfortable, feel free to share your results or simply your feelings. I wish everyone luck over the coming months, it’ll be Christmas before we know it!
*NFI is a term often used in the recruitment sector and can be used as a metric to measure success/ growth. Of course, there are many other important metrics.
by Dominique Lianos
Personal brand has been a buzzword for some time now. So does that make it an actual ‘thing’?
In reality it’s just a snazzy word...
Personal brand has been a buzzword for some time now. So does that make it an actual ‘thing’?
In reality it’s just a snazzy word for your reputation. Everyone has a reputation whether online or offline – some people are known for being experts in a particular field, others are known for having a humorous approach to how they communicate and in other cases it’s a combination of several things. It really is who you are.
Having a solid and respected personal brand is beneficial at the best of times, but in this almost exclusively digital world, it could be the difference between nabbing your dream job and not. Being able to showcase your personality and allowing people to “get to know” before they meet you can be a huge advantage.
As much as we’d like it to, coronavirus isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future. The result is a hugely competitive job market and increasing rates of unemployment. While this might seem bleak, your personal brand could be your biggest tool for ensuring you stand out. If you are an expert in something (and everyone is an expert in their chosen career, right?) or feel passionate about a topic, trend or issue you can use your personal brand to showcase yourself.
On that note, we’re here to give you three tips on how to build a successful personal brand.
This might go without saying, but LinkedIn is the perfect space to be able to show your level of expertise and knowledge. Write articles, make videos, record podcasts, host a virtual workshop, engage with content from others, have an opinion – you get the idea.
If you’re an IT infrastructure professional, make sure your content is focussed on this space alone. You don’t want to be known as someone who has an opinion on everything, but you do want to be known as someone who has an opinion on all things IT infrastructure – you want to be that guy. But don’t be robotic, be you, make sure your personality shines through.
When recruiters/hiring managers are looking over job applications, LinkedIn is likely to be one of the first places they’re going to look to verify your level of expertise. Do you claim to be an expert in cloud migration? If you’ve recently written, shared or engaged with an article about it, that’s a pretty good indication that you know what you’re talking about.
Doing the above is a great way to virtually network. Given that we can’t network in person yet, engaging with others online and adding value to their conversations is a great way to get your name out there and maximise your connections. You don’t always need to be the conversation starter but you should try and be involved in them. You never know who might have the next job opportunity for you!
Coronavirus has changed everyone’s working life in one way or another. For many it was as drastic as losing their job, for others it was adapting to working from home. However it was that you were affected, you want to show that you rose to the challenge and came out on top. With the uncertainty of the future, employers will be looking for someone who can deal with the changing way of the world, so showing you’re adaptable should be a key trait of your personal brand. In that sense as when, showing vulnerability is not a bad thing, people are able to relate to it and will buy into you a lot more.
So how do you do this? You’ve got a few options. Include a section on your CV/resume on how you responded to coronavirus. Write a short post on LinkedIn. Mention it when you have job interviews.
And if you struggled to adapt to the changing way of the world, then it’s all a learning curve. Think about what you could have done differently, and how you can use this moving forward. Self-reflection is essential for development and growth, while also showing you can be genuine and honest with yourself.
As humans, we want to avoid failure as much as possible – that’s natural. But the reality is that in order to push yourself one step ahead of the crowd, you’re going to fail a few times.
Most successes don’t come first time around – there’s a lot of trial and error involved. Take any successful brand/person/business and all of them will have stories of trying things that didn’t work.
Walt Disney experienced countless failures throughout his career, but instead of getting him down, he learnt from it. ‘It is good to have a failure while you’re young because it teaches you so much’ says Disney. ‘For one thing, it makes you aware that such a thing can happen to anybody, and once you’ve lived through the worst, you’re never quite as vulnerable afterwards.”
We worry about what people may think but those that are able to get past that hurdle of fear will connect with those who they want to start building relationships with. The others don’t really matter.
And surely, the only thing worst than failing is never trying in the first place?
Do you think you’ve got an awesome personal brand? We’d love to see it! If you need help building your own personal brand, or have any other ideas on ways to do this, feel free to get in touch.
by Matthew Bell
Cloud computing is massively on the rise in the current day and age. In fact, 81% of companies with 1,000 employees or more have a...
Cloud computing is massively on the rise in the current day and age. In fact, 81% of companies with 1,000 employees or more have a multi-platform strategy.
Cloud technology has redefined the way in which companies store and share information. It has transcended the limitations of using physical devices.
Cloud Technologies provides many benefits such as better scalability, better storage options, better collaboration with remote users and highly affordable for a lot of companies.
But what does the future of cloud technology look like?
Matt Riley CEO & Co-Founder of Swiftype commented “A decade from now, every business will be operating primarily from the cloud, making way for more flexible — yet more productive and efficient — ways of working. Hardware won’t be the problem in a decade — software will.”
The future is bright for cloud computing. Analysts at IDC estimate that the field will evolve rapidly in the coming years, with almost 75% of data operations carried out outside the normal data centre. Moreover, 40% of organizations will deploy cloud technology, with edge computing becoming an integral part of the technological setup. Also, a quarter of end-point devices will be ready to execute AI algorithms by the year 2022.
Cloud Computing trends on the rise - automation
The automation tools available to us have proved to be very important when it comes to addressing errors in business processes, meanwhile streamlining them to generate fruitful results.
For instance, developers can make changes to their websites hosted on the cloud before going live. If anything goes wrong, they can restore an older version of the website without affecting the sales process or user experience. As soon as the website goes live, it starts getting traffic.
Opting for cloud means there will be more data consumption involved. Managing applications and routine tasks can become tedious. Developers can use automation to get rid of the manual process they have to use to carry out daily operations.
The serverless paradigm is the next revolution in waiting, according to the CTO of Amazon. The concept of serverless paradigm relates to the fact that it facilitates cloud to execute a code snippet without any hassles for the developers.
Using this approach developers can divide software into chunks of code to upload on cloud to address customers’ desires, thereby delivering valuable experience. This practice ensures faster release cycle for software. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has already started using the serverless paradigm to its advantage.
As cloud computing continues to make inroads in enterprise worlds, all stakeholders are looking forward to the evolution of the model. As things stand today, almost every significant innovation such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, AR/VR, robotics, and IoT rely on cloud computing technology.
It’s not just computational power, networking speed, or storage capacity that makes cloud computing great. Those are just operational metrics that better technology would eventually change and replace over time. The real value of technology is what it does, not what it’s made of.
by Simon Nicholls
With redundancies happening across the board due to the current pandemic, it can be even more difficult than normal to make your application stand...
With redundancies happening across the board due to the current pandemic, it can be even more difficult than normal to make your application stand out in a hugely competitive market. Not to mention the frustration of not getting a response (even when you are promised one).
‘I’ve never seen it so competitive out there’, says Practice Manager Simon Nicholls. ‘With that many people applying for the same role it’s impossible as a recruiter to review all of the candidates, and similarly impossible to get attention as a candidate’.
Despite this, there are things that you can do to make it as easy as possible to make your application stand out. Simon shares his advice below.
1) Make sure the role is a perfect fit for you
It’s common for people to apply to anything and everything when job hunting. This not only wastes your time, but also the recruiter/hiring manager who has to go through the applications. If your profile doesn’t match the job description, you won’t get the job – simple as! With this in mind, you do want to challenge yourself to a role that you know you can do, but requires some brain power and is engaging. Some people suggest your profile needs to match 80% of the job description – this isn’t an exact science and varies every time but might be worth keeping in mind.
2) Apply to the role on the job board/LinkedIn etc
This might sound like it’s a given, but you’d be surprised how many people call/email to say they’re interested in a job but haven’t actually applied yet. Job applications can be tough, so try not to procrastinate and get it done. You’ll be in a much better position after you’ve applied to the role.
3) Track down the recruiter on LinkedIn and send an InMail & Email. This InMail/Email should include a very short overview of your suitability e.g.
"Hi Simon. I've just applied for the ROLE in LOCATION. I feel I am a good fit for the following reasons:
- The rate/salary is in line with my expectations
- I am based near to the location (description)
- I have experience in X, Y and Z and companies A,B and C
- I am immediately available for interviews and starting
Please let me know if we could discuss this role further."
4) Follow up with a call (but at the same time don’t spam call)
It’s all about getting your name heard! (and having the application to back it up…)
This may not be a sure-fire guide to get your application viewed by decision-makers, but it can sure help. If you have any more suggestions or questions regarding this topic feel free to get in touch!
by Anthony Ham
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
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
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
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 Leonie Schaefer
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, which coincidently falls in the middle of a global pandemic. Now more than ever it is so important to...
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, which coincidently falls in the middle of a global pandemic. 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. A lot of 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 Evangeline Hunt
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 Evangeline Hunt
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.
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 Evangeline Hunt
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
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
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
“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
The first few weeks in a new job can be difficult anyway, but imagine not being able to meet your new colleagues in person...
The first few weeks in a new job can be difficult anyway, but imagine not being able to meet your new colleagues in person and having all your onboarding and company introductions done virtually. For a small handful of people working in permanent remote roles this is the norm, but for the vast majority of individuals, starting a new job is all about meeting new people, working closely with your peers and learning from your new colleagues. That was until the coronavirus.
In reality, onboarding is the first official impression of a company the new employee gets and is typically conducted over a series of face-to-face meetings. Portraying your company’s identity, brand, motivation and goals without physical contact is not easy.
The onboarding process is very important
"We place a lot of importance on the onboarding process,” says Franklin Fitch Founder David Annable. “When employees are physically distanced from their team members and managers it can be easy to feel isolated and disengaged. This is especially true for new employees who haven’t had chance to experience the company’s culture. Ensuring the onboarding process and training has the same impact when done remotely is not easy.”
Video calls and screen sharing are a lifesaver
Isra Suet joined Franklin Fitch as a recruiter in mid-February. Just four weeks into her new position, she has found herself working from home, conducting all her business and training remotely after the UK government ordered employees to work from home where possible. Video calls and screen sharing have been her lifesaver.
“The group chats at the beginning and end of every day are a great support,” she says, adding that she particularly likes the fact it isn’t all work and that people discuss their feelings, along with general chats about the current situation. “I’m new to the company so am missing out on all the opportunities to socialise, so this aspect is very important.”
Despite knowing she is missing out on some of the support and camaraderie of the office environment, Isra is finding the positives in home working. “There are very few distractions and minimal noise, which makes it much easier to focus on calls,” she says.
Vincent Mertens, who managed just two weeks in the Franklin Fitch office before having to work from home, agrees. “Being onboarded remotely is not ideal, but it has been quite positive given the circumstances.” He too believes making calls has been easier without so many people around him, though admits that it will be harder to rectify mistakes as there is no one to hear them.
Maintain as much contact as possible
Charlotte Drury, who heads up Franklin Fitch’s Academy and is responsible for a lot of the training and onboarding, says the key is to keep up as much contact as possible with the new starters and recent joiners. For her, technology such as CloudCall, which makes it easy to listen into calls and provide remote coaching, and Microsoft Teams, which facilitates instant messaging and group video calls, are essential.
“It is definitely more difficult than doing it face-to-face,” says Charlotte. “But we’ve been doing a lot of screen sharing and peer learning. The raft of technology available gives many more possibilities.”
Better onboading increases retention
The key, according to Charlotte is to use the expertise of different people within the business, such as letting a colleague who is particularly familiar with Linkedin host a webinar on how best to use it for recruitment. “In the office, the onboarding process would involve introductions to, and learning from, many different people, so we need to try and replicate this as much as possible remotely,” she says.
According to figures from onboarding specialists, Click Boarding, new employees who go through a structured onboarding programme are more likely to still be with the organisation after three years. In addition, organisations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater productivity from new hires.
First impressions count
So with the old saying ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ still holding true, it is essential you make sure you decide what sort of impression you want new hires to have of your organisation and how best to portray it, whether in person or remotely. With all of today’s technology, there is no reason it should be very different.
Key tips for remote onboarding:
Make sure internally you know what message you want to share with your new employees and have a plan of how to disseminate it, particularly who is responsible for each part
Ensure new employees have all the required equipment to do their job and know how to communicate with key contacts and who to go to if they have a problem
Organise video introductions to team leaders and members, HR personnel and admin contacts
Arrange all necessary training, including IT, HR, team and role-specific
Set times for future meetings to ensure the new employee doesn’t feel isolated and make sure the goals and targets are clear
by Evangeline Hunt
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
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 Sian Llewellyn
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
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
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
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 Leonie Schaefer
Here we finish off our week of female-focused coverage with the inspiring story of Rosie Brown. She is the perfect example of what you can do if...
Here we finish off our week of female-focused coverage with the inspiring story of Rosie Brown. She is the perfect example of what you can do if you seize the opportunity. Don't let anyone ever tell you different....
At 26 years old, Rosie Brown has already done more than many people will do in a lifetime. Just over 18 months ago, she walked into the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) as a graduate and felt immediately at home. The fact that the majority of her colleagues are significantly older than her and the number of men vastly outnumbers the number of females, doesn’t faze her at all. In fact, her colleagues say they wouldn’t be surprised if one day she was running the place!
“I didn’t sleep at all the night before I started as I was so nervous, but when I got here I just felt like this is where I was meant to be,” says Rosie. "It was an incredible feeling.”
Rosie speaks highly of the LSEG. She describes it as an incredible organisation, which despite being a traditional male-dominated financial services environment, is working hard to promote women’s wellbeing and progression with seminars, special events and a great support network.
“I may be the only female in the risk team, but there are other women out there,” she says. “I’m definitely not alone.”
Stepping outside of your confort zone
Being the lone female is nothing new for Rosie. Having grown up with four brothers she is accustomed to being in the minority. She is also used to stepping outside of her comfort zone. During her undergraduate studies in microbiology at Newcastle University, she set up Beauty by the Geeks, a company aimed at demystifying the science behind beauty products. It also had a corporate social responsibility arm which encouraged young girls into technology.
Along with her fellow student entrepreneurs, Rosie attended many science fairs and conventions to promote Beauty by the Geeks, and it was there that she met women working in the technology space who inspired her to change the direction of her career. “They opened my eyes to coding and that was it,” she says. “I was hooked.” Rosie then studied for a Masters in epidemiology at Imperial College London, but now works in risk, which incorporates a lot of programming and statistical analysis.
Who is this woman?
By her own admission Rosie is a very chatty person who is capable of going at 100 miles an hour without stopping. “Men often look at me and say ‘who is this woman’?! I am always ready to share my opinion around innovation which people don’t necessarily expect, but I love taking them by surprise.” Still, even she has to push herself outside of her comfort zone and is very pleased she took a year out to go traveling, when in reality she would have preferred to sit in her room coding.
One issue Rosie has encountered in her male-dominated workplaces – she also interned in the NHS where she ran an IT compliance programme and was the only female on the team - is ‘mansplaining’. This, she says, is when a man basically takes your idea or opinion and claims it for their own. The solution to this, she says, is not clear cut. “Sometimes you have to shrug it off. Other times it’s worth fighting for.”
“There is definitely a sense that you have to keep the boundaries firm,” she says. “If you give them any leeway they will keep pushing.”
No one should encounter barriers
This could happen whatever your gender however and Rosie has always been aware of the importance of inclusivity. Even when she was running her beauty business she was conscious that beauty products were traditionally focused on the female population and that as a result, they were missing out on the other half.
“The key is to make sure that there aren’t any barriers for anyone, whoever they are,” says Rosie. “Diversity and inclusivity is much more on people’s minds these days but we need to ensure it is fully embedded in the corporate world.”
“The most important thing is for everyone, whatever their gender, to be able to be themselves. We are all different and have our own voice. We are not robots. Once companies accept this, they will be able to unlock true potential.”
(Thank you to all the amazing women who have taken the time to share their stories with us this week. We hope that their experiences have gone some way to showing that not only is anything possible, but also that a diverse workforce is a better place for all. #EachforEqual.)
by Leonie Schaefer
Today we meet Akua Opong, an inspiring young woman who's breaking new ground in the technology world.
Think high-powered doctors...
Today we meet Akua Opong, an inspiring young woman who's breaking new ground in the technology world.
Think high-powered doctors saving the lives of young children in medical dramas such as ER and Greys Anatomy and that is how Akua pictured her future working self whilst growing up. However, the softer side of her personality, and in particular the idea of passing sad news onto families, made her decide a career as a pediatrician wasn’t for her after all.
Instead, she chose computing, believing it to be another area where she would be involved in ground-breaking work and ultimately be able to push the boundaries. During her studies at the University of Surrey, she enjoyed an internship at Rolls Royce and BMW, and has since had a series of technology-related roles in a variety of different organisations, including the London Stock Exchange, Rathbones Brothers Plc and even Carphone Warehouse. Her main focus is client services support and IT project work, where she enjoys the fact that no one day is ever the same and she is constantly learning new things to drive change.
Women are definitely in a minority
“When people think of IT roles they think of men,” says Akua. “I have come across some women but they are definitely in a minority and there’s a feeling that they have to work harder than their male counterparts if they want to progress up the ladder.”
By her own acknowledgement Akua is a bit of a workaholic. She always gives 110% and is happy to go the extra mile, taking on extra tasks and responsibility. Her main focus is always on the needs of the team rather than her own personal development.
“My way of thinking: how will what I do impact on other members of the team, is definitely more of a female approach than male,” she says. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it’s not always easy.”
Women are equally as capable as men
Still, that said, her experience as a female working in mainly male-dominated environments has generally been good. “Women are equally as capable as men and want to be given the right platform to achieve our very best,” she says.
Akua is a big supporter of programmes to increase the number of women in technology-related roles and is grateful that so many now exist that didn’t when she was starting out. Today she is involved in a range of forums and acts as a mentor to several younger women working in technology roles. “In an IT environment you are constantly learning something new and support from another female in the industry is a great help,” she says. “It is really good to bounce ideas off each other.”
Role models are important
Role models such as Katherine Johnson, the black mathematician whose work helped send the first astronauts to the moon, are important too and while Akua hasn’t become a real-life Arizona Robbins (for those that don’t know, she was the head of pediatric surgery in ABC’s television drama Grey’s Anatomy and held the job that Akua thought she wanted when growing up) she is pleased with where she’s got to. She is confident STEM ambassador programmes and special coding and physics groups for girls will help encourage more females into the technology world and hopes that ultimately women won’t have to work harder than their male colleagues to earn the same pay, respect and career prospects.
(Outside of her working role, Akua is part of the Women’s Inspired Network (WIN UK Chapter) and the Wellbeing Forum.)
by Xenia Armbrust
Today's succesful female in the spotlight is Xenia Armbrust, practice manager for Franklin Fitch's Frankfurt office. For Xenia, a...
Today's succesful female in the spotlight is Xenia Armbrust, practice manager for Franklin Fitch's Frankfurt office. For Xenia, a specialist in server and database recruitment, the key to success, particularly as a woman, is resilience.
Since she joined the company as a graduate in December 2014, Xenia has given everything to the role. “It’s not like HR where most of the managers are women,” she says. “Most of the decision makers we deal with are technology managers who are mainly men. You have to give 110% for them to see you as an equal.”
Progress is being made in gender equality
Going that extra mile is a personal choice for Xenia, but the fact that she’s dealing mainly with men isn’t. While progress is being made in gender equality in many industries, the tech sector isn’t one of them. Figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that of the 998,000 people working in IT and telecommunications, just one in six are female, whilst the ratio falls to just one in eight when it comes to programmers and software development professionals.
“People just assume that because you’re female you’re not interested in technology and so you have to give it everything you have,” she says.
Women have the chance to go far
For Xenia this is not necessarily a bad thing as she believes it helps show commitment. She also believes that once a woman has proven herself and won the trust and respect of senior males, she has the chance to go far. “You have to work harder to get their attention, but once you have it, you can give them insight which is far more valuable and comes from a totally different perspective,” she says. “This is a great asset to any business.”
Whilst Xenia’s experiences in relation to her gender within the walls of the Franklin Fitch family have been overridingly positive, she has unfortunately encountered a few issues when working with clients. These have however not put her off, and if anything, have made her stronger and even more determined to do a great job.
Believe in your ability
The key to success in recruitment and technology, Xenia believes, is to be confident in what you do. It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female, you need to be resilient, not over sensitive and make sure you believe in your ability. You need to constantly be open to learning new tasks and ways of doing things, be willing to listen to the advice of your colleagues and superiors and willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
“Motivation is key,” she says, adding that it needs to come from you. “It’s the same for ambition and passion. Without it, doing your job will be difficult.”
by Leonie Schaefer
In the week of International Women's Day, we continue our female-focused coverage with the first in a series of profiles featuring women who...
In the week of International Women's Day, we continue our female-focused coverage with the first in a series of profiles featuring women who are succeeding in the technology world. Despite working in what are generally male-dominated environments, they are great models for the future.
Blazing a trail
Claireypoppins is how Claire Gray, a highly experienced leader and technology project manager, has been described by her colleagues. “You come in, you change things, you make it happen and then you disappear into the night.”
And here’s why. Gray’s ability to understand the intricate technicalities and successfully communicate them to a wide range of audiences is a rare find in the tech sector. Traditionally dominated by men, the tech industry is known for its jargon, action and focus on things rather than people.
“Taking time to understand something and explain it is more associated with females than males,” says Gray. “Women tend to think of the bigger picture. They probably even communicate too much, but it means that they’re prepared for every eventuality and as a result, generally not affected by curveballs.”
You don’t need to lose your femininity, but you may need to make adjustments
Gray has spent most of her working life in male-dominated environments. As a self-confessed tomboy and a confident individual this hasn’t been an issue, although there have obviously been moments where the heavily masculine environment has had an impact on the conversation and working atmosphere.
“You don’t need to lose your femininity, but you may need to make adjustments,” she says, adding that the key is to ensure you are good at what you do and can stand your ground. You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions.
“There’s no harm in taking a step back and taking time to ensure that everyone understands what’s going on,” says Gray. “Women are often afraid to ask what they think is a stupid question, when in fact there is no such thing as a stupid question. You aren’t going to look stupid if you ask a question that will help you understand something more clearly and do a better job.”
It would be great to have more females to address the balance
Having worked in 12 different, mainly tech-related roles, Gray has encountered a wide range of mainly male-dominated work environments. She has had both positive and negative experiences. In one firm, which she describes as an ‘old boys club’, she recalls being told to “leave it to the boys as she wasn’t techy enough.” She ended up taking the issue to the male CEO, who was horrified, but struggled to change things so she left.
“It’s very much a company by company situation and I’ve worked in lots of organisations where there has been no difference between males and females,” she says, adding that in her current place of work there are five women in a total workforce of almost 60. “There’s a lot of joviality and jokes, but I never feel that anyone is looking down on me because I’m female. It would be great to have more females here though to address the balance.”
For Gray, being female in a male-dominated environment may be easier than for others. She’s at the top of her game and is confident in her ability. The key to success, she believes, is to be yourself and be open. Immerse yourself in the role and (unless you have to) don’t take a job just because it pays the bills – make sure it’s something you’re passionate about.
We are crying out for more women
“It’s a tough world breaking into IT as a female, but we are crying out for more women,” she says, adding that out of 70 applications for an open position in her current firm, only one was from a woman. “We need to get the message out that just because it’s IT it’s not scary”
“It is in fact a gender-neutral industry that has been branded as male-orientated. Everything should be an open opportunity for everyone.”
by David Annable
Today, on International Women’s Day, a celebration which originated more than 100 years ago with the aim of achieving full gender...
Today, on International Women’s Day, a celebration which originated more than 100 years ago with the aim of achieving full gender equality, we start our week of specialist coverage looking at women in the technology and recruiment sectors.
Despite significant progress being made in many areas, women are still in a minority in the technology world. Over the course of this week, we'll look at what can be done to address this issue and also speak to a series of women who are blazing a trail in the technology world. How can we use their experiences to encourage more females into the technology sector and show them and their potential employers that an equal world is an enabled world? #EachforEqual.
It's time for change
The 2020 GB Olympic team is expected to make history in Tokyo this year as the first British team to have more women than men. It may have taken almost 125 years to get there, but if female athletes can do it, then why can’t female technology and IT workers?
Hailed as an historic achievement that will steal the show and change the focus on women’s sport forever, the 380-strong team is expected to have a 55-45 split in favour of women. This compares with the same ratio, but in favour of men, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
A general shortage of females with technology skills
Unfortunately, it is difficult to replicate this progress in the technology world due to the general lack of females in the industry. As was previously the case with Olympic athletes, there is a shortage of women pursuing, and particularly progressing in, technology careers and as a result, achieving any sort of gender diversity is hard enough, let alone gender equality.
“We find that a lot of our clients are keen to redress the gender imbalance, but that unfortunately more often than not, those candidates don’t exist because for many years not enough women have entered the technology market,” says Steven Ewer, director of Franklin Fitch’s UK and US operations. “What we need is to find ways of encouraging more women to pursue a career in technology and in time, hopefully, this will filter up the chain.”
Erika Percival, founder and CEO of specialist corporate governance advisors Beyond Governance, agrees. “Part of the issue is the pipeline,” she says. “Over time that will change but for that to happen the dynamics of life and work also need to change. More needs to be done around flexible working to enable women to really get involved.”
The tech sector is lagging behind
According to the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS), just over half of the 6.5 million Britons working in professional occupations are women. However, among the 998,000 working in IT and telecommunications, the ratio falls to just one in six, and just one in eight of the UK’s 338,000 programmers and software development professionals are women.
While these figures show that progress on gender equality is being made in some areas, others, and in particular the tech sector, are lagging behind. So, what can be done to address this? Should businesses be using quotas and targets to fill roles with certain types of candidates, and if so, do they work and are they fair? Would it help to have more female role models and better press coverage of their achievements?
Here we look at what businesses can do to address this issue:
Increase flexible working options
According to a study by part-time recruitment specialist Capability Jane, 80% of women and 52% of men want flexibility in their next role, while 30% would prefer flexible working to a pay rise. Unfortunately, however, it also found that fewer than 10% of advertised jobs openly offer flexibility, deterring a large number of women in particular from applying.
Introduce returner programmes
Returnships are a simple way for employers to help women easily transition back into work - and even take on more senior roles - after a career break. A report by PwC released in 2018, suggested that if the majority of women on a career break returned to work, UK GDP could see a potential boost of £1.7bn, so it’s win-win for all.
Reduce the gender pay gap
A 2018 report by the UK government found that around 78% of large organisations admitted to having a gender pay gap in technology, with males earning more than females. A separate report also found that women earn up to 28% less than their male colleagues in the same tech roles. Removing this gap is an easy step to addressing the inequality and encouraging more females into the industry.
Improve education, remove bias in job adverts and utilise role models
A study by PwC carried out in 2017 found that more than a quarter of female students were put off a career in tech due to the perceived male domination of the sector. This needs to be changed, and the earlier that girls are exposed to the STEM (science, technology engineering and maths) subjects the better. Role models, both in the wider world and within the senior ranks of your own company, can play a big part in changing this perception. (The high-profile successes of athletes such as Serena Williams, Jessica Ennis-Hill and the UK women’s national football and hockey teams are believed to have played a major part in increasing the number of girls taking up sport and progressing to professional levels.)
The way adverts are worded can make also have a big impact on who applies for a job and is something that should be considered carefully. (We will return to this in a future blog post.)
Use of targets or quotas
While some people are critical of introducing quotas and targets in a bid to increase gender diversity, many believe that it is the only way forward. After all, we set targets for most things we are serious about achieving in our lives, including revenue growth, so why not do the same for the gender make-up of the business. In reality it doesn’t mean you will achieve them, but you should be showing that you’re serious about the goal and have a strategy that demonstrates you’re doing everything in your power to realise it.
Benefits of a diverse workforce
Whatever your business, there is no doubting the benefits of a diverse workforce. While International Women’s Day and other such campaigns are a big help when it comes to profile-raising, the time has come for organisations to stop just paying lip service and start acting on their words.
“Improving diversity and inclusion is not just a box-ticking exercise,” says Steven. “It requires a fundamental culture change in the way businesses hire, communicate, and ultimately operate.”
To find out more about Franklin Fitch's own diversity campign, click Inclusive Infrastructure.
by Oliver Tattersall
Looking for a career in cybersecurity? Well you’re in demand - provided you get in there before the robots do.
Oliver Tattersall, head of...
Looking for a career in cybersecurity? Well you’re in demand - provided you get in there before the robots do.
Oliver Tattersall, head of the German cyber and information security team at Franklin Fitch, believes that the majority of small and medium-sized businesses are vastly underprepared for the threat of a cyberattack and are leaving themselves open to billions of pounds/euros of financial damage. Whether it’s a lack of funding or ignorance that it won’t happen to them, the need for skilled cybersecurity specialists has never been greater.
“There is a distinct lack of awareness of cybersecurity in SMEs,” says Oliver, adding that even if the awareness was there, there is the added complication of finding people with the right skills. “It’s a very candidate-short market at the moment, particularly in cybersecurity, and this is making it very hard to find the right people.”
The potential damage from an attack is huge
Failing to implement the right cybersecurity measures can have a devastating impact on a company that falls victim to an attack both financially and in terms of reputational damage. While allocating funds for appropriate security at a time when many companies are cutting spending is not ideal – the average mid-sized company spends tens or even hundreds of thousands on cybersecurity - the outlay is small by comparison to the damage that could be caused.
So, what cybersecurity-related skills are most in demand and how can potential specialists get the job they want and help these companies stave off an attack?
“Candidates need to be able to communicate, get stakeholders on board, be hungry for knowledge and have good technical skills,” says Oliver.
Companies need to innovate to attract skilled workers
He is currently seeking to fill an array of cybersecurity roles in Germany, particularly in the areas of embedded security, defence analysts, cyber analysts and risk specialists. While he is quietly confident that eventually he will find the right person for each role, he also believes that German companies need to be prepared to be more flexible if they want to attract the best people. “There are many highly-skilled workers outside of Germany that could add great value to these companies,” he says, adding that now is the time to think outside the box when it comes to recruitment in order to attract the best talent.
In addition, Oliver believes there is an increased tendency nowadays for skills to cross over. It is harder to draw a line between the infrastructure and software sides, meaning that people with a certain skillset might now be able to carry out other jobs too.
How can AI help?
In the future Oliver believes that some of the pressure on the sector may be relieved by Artificial Intelligence (AI). “AI not only removes the human element, which is itself open to risk and manual error, but it can help to identify data and pinpoint where there’s a possible threat,” he says.
Already some cybersecurity companies are teaching AI systems to detect viruses and malware by using complex algorithms so AI can then run pattern recognition software. AI systems can also be used in situations of multi-factor authentication to provide access to their users. It is worth pointing out however that while AI may be great for processing large amounts of data or replacing autonomous manual tasks, it will never be able to replace a security analyst’s insight or understanding of a problem.
In reality, the likelihood is that jobs will change and while some of us may indeed end up working alongside an automated colleague, we will still be needed, but for alternative functions.
Anyone interested in a role in the cybersecurity space in Germany should contact Oliver by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Lewis Andrews
Year two can often be an anti-climax, but not for Franklin Fitch’s Welsh operation. Not only are they today remembering their...
Year two can often be an anti-climax, but not for Franklin Fitch’s Welsh operation. Not only are they today remembering their national saint, David, but they’re celebrating a spectacular 212% jump in turnover, 90% increase in headcount and more than 60 placements.
Business in Wales and Southwest England has been busy, according to Lewis Andrews, practice manager of the Cardiff office. Two years on since he battled the ‘beast from the east’ to open the office with one other member of staff, Anthony Ham, what at the time felt like a false start is now just a distant memory. In November last year the office, which now has five full-time recruiters, recorded its best-ever month, even beating the firm’s London permanent division for the month.
“It was a great achievement and definitely a highlight of the past year,” says Lewis, adding that recruiting for Wales and the Southwest is very different from hiring for the London market. According to Lewis, the interview process is much quicker, in part due to the smaller pool of talented candidates and clients not wanting to miss out. In addition, there is a reluctance amongst job seekers to commute long distances and increased pressure to ensure the work-life balance is correct. “This makes it even harder to find suitably qualified people,” he says.
Franklin Fitch has a series of high-profile clients in Wales and the Southwest, including the aerospace giant General Dynamics, the Royal College of Nursing and several large law firms. The recruitment market is buoyant, and the Franklin Fitch team are busy.
By the end of this year, Lewis hopes to add another three recruiters, bringing the total team to eight. This, he believes, will place Franklin Fitch amongst the top five IT recruitment specialists in Wales and in a very good position for future growth.
by Luke Killick
Since the advent of Uber’s cheap ride-hailing service in 2009, fears over the replacement of traditional jobs with technology have been...
Since the advent of Uber’s cheap ride-hailing service in 2009, fears over the replacement of traditional jobs with technology have been steadily increasing. Whilst Uber’s rise doesn’t wholly depend on automation (one-tap-app wizardry notwithstanding), it brings into focus the important question of whether the evolution of technology, and with-it self-healing networks, comes at the cost of well-established jobs.
At first glance, the idea of a ‘self-healing’ network seems to logically imply that fewer engineers are needed; after all, if it can fix itself, what’s left for the engineer to do? According to Michael Bushong, Vice President of Enterprise and Cloud Marketing at Juniper Networks writing in NetworkComputing.com, the answer isn’t quite so simple. “Automation is about growing, not cutting,” he says, adding that the goal of automation is to grow and support scalability. As the company grows, it will in turn need to increase its headcount, not reduce it.
Technology is changing, and engineers need to change with it
David Mihelcic, the Federal Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Juniper Networks writing in Nextgov.com, says the move to automation will redefine a network specialist’s remit to focus on software programming rather than network management. In effect, technology is changing, and engineers need to change with it, he says. This might not be palatable to everybody though, for the obvious reason that many specialists are happy with their role as it is. But network engineers, of all people, are used to technology constantly adapting - obsoletion is a core part of the industry, so they should be happy to go with it.
It goes without saying that the shift to a software focus is massive. Those who wish to remain more hands-on and hardware focused will still obviously have a place, however, as these upgrades can’t be performed by AI. The competition for these roles will arguably be lower, too – network specialists who wish to pursue a more software-defined track, and even those on the fence, will be won over by the inevitably higher rates and salaries on offer. SDN and machine learning specialists are in high demand, and understandably companies are willing to pay more for such skillsets.
Somebody still needs to automate the job
So, the answer to the question of whether engineers will still have a job once networks are fully automated is most likely yes, they will. As Bushong points out, a business’ ultimate goal is to scale up, and when the business scales the network will too – and that’s something that can’t be automated. The goal of automation is to aid scalability, and scalability entails more jobs. Another factor is risk: in an enterprise-scale network, there are a lot of variables that can and will go wrong. According to Gartner, network downtime can cost on average $5,600 per minute. 10-20 minutes of downtime, and a fully automated company will likely be rethinking whether it was a good idea to cut back on network engineers.
With all that said, the spectre of automation is not unique to IT. A study by PwC estimates that 30% of jobs are at potential risk of automation by the mid-2030s. This only suggests that the job could be automated, however. Somebody still needs to automate the job, and to remain on hand to make sure the automation goes smoothly - lending more fuel to the fire that an engineer may need to shift their focus, not necessarily be replaced.
To date, we’ve managed to keep Skynet (the fictional AI supercomputer from the Terminator movies) at bay. It seems that, at worst, engineers will be forced to adapt and take a more software-centric approach to networking, picking up some programming along the way. Fears of automation are spread across every industry, but perhaps the theories of job replacement can be mitigated by adaptation.
by David Annable
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 Leonie Schaefer
Franklin Fitch has confirmed its commitment to inclusion and diversity by joining the UK’s Tech Talent Charter (TTC).
The TTC is a...
Franklin Fitch has confirmed its commitment to inclusion and diversity by joining the UK’s Tech Talent Charter (TTC).
The TTC is a non-profit organisation which addresses inequality in the UK technology sector and seeks to drive inclusion and diversity. The group’s aim is to ensure the UK tech sector is truly inclusive and a reflection of the society it represents. “We focus on the how, not just the why of inclusion and we bring communities together and support the underrepresented,” the TTC says on its website.
For Franklin Fitch, this is another example of our commitment to inclusion and diversity. We are already members of Women in Recruitment in the UK and support the CYBERWOMEN platform in Germany. We believe strongly in the importance of equality and the benefits it can bring to a business, and are in no doubt that a diverse workforce is more productive and better placed to face today’s challenges. Internally within our own business we have a 60-40 male-female split and externally when recruiting for clients, we are focused on ensuring our job adverts are fully inclusive with the aim of hiring the best person for the role.
“This is yet another example of our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” says David Annable, Franklin Fitch’s founder. “It is something that matters to me as a leader and I’m very keen to share this philosophy with my employees.”
The TCC is supported by the UK government and is aiming to have 600 signatories by the end of 2020. Its members are spread across all sectors - from recruitment and technology through to banking and entertainment, and all sizes of organisation - from small start-ups to large multinationals.
by Ben Makepeace
Multi-context firewalls - what are they and what do they do?
Just six weeks into the new year and reports of cyber-attacks are rife in the...
Multi-context firewalls - what are they and what do they do?
Just six weeks into the new year and reports of cyber-attacks are rife in the media. According to IT Governance, a provider of cyber risk and privacy management solutions, several major incidents occurred in January, boosting the total number of records breached to 1.5bn.
Just yesterday, ZDNet reported that the personal information of 10.6 million guests who stayed at MGM Resorts hotels was stolen and posted to a hacking forum this week. Already in February, the servers at the United Nations have been compromised and a quarter of the Iranian internet has been disrupted.
In addition, Christine Lagarde, the head of the European Central Bank, has expressed her concerns about the global implications of cyber-attacks, telling an audience in France that a well-organised cyber-attack on major financial institutions could lead to a financial crisis.
So, what should businesses be doing about this? Cyber security is one of our focus areas at Franklin Fitch and as a recruiter, I am frequently asked by service providers and large enterprises to find people with experience in multi-context firewalls. Quite often when I ask candidates if they have used them, the response is: “what is that? “or “I’ve never heard of it”.
For me personally, a lot of my technical knowledge is gained from in-depth conversations with my candidates about how they use a specific piece of hardware and what benefits it brings. So, if you, like me, are wondering what multi-context firewalls are, read on and find out more.
Cisco ASA supports multiple firewall contexts, also called firewall multimode or multi-context mode. Multi-context mode divides a single ASA into multiple virtual devices, also known as security contexts. Each context operates a single device, independently from other security contexts. In routers, this is similar to Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF).
When would you use multiple security contexts?
A network that requires more than one ASA
A service provider that needs to offer a different security context to each customer
An enterprise that needs to provide distinct security policies for each individual department or users and require a different security context for each one
When wouldn’t you use multiple security contexts?
When VPN Services are required such as remote access or site-to-site VPN tunnels
If dynamic routing protocols are required
If QoS is needed
If multicast routing needs to be supported
If threat detection is required
Context configuration files
In multi-context mode, there are three types of configuration files:
The system configuration – a standard single-mode configuration where the network administrator adds and manages the security contexts
The admin context – no restrictions and can be used as any other security context
The context configurations/user context – for each individual security context. They contain the security policies and interface configurations specific only to that context
ASA Packet Classification
Packets are also classified differently in multi-context firewalls. In multimode configuration, it is possible for interfaces to be shared between contexts, therefore the ASA must distinguish which packets need to be sent to each context.
The ASA categorises packets based on three criteria:
Unique interfaces – 1:1 pairing with a physical link or sub-interfaces (VLAN tags)
Unique MAC addresses – shared interfaces are assigned Unique Virtual Mac addresses per virtual context, in order to alleviate routing issues, which complicates firewall management
NAT configuration – if the use of unique MAC addresses is disabled, then the ASA uses the mapped addresses in the NAT configuration to classify packets. This isn’t very common
In certain cases, you may need to assign a unique MAC address to a shared interface in order to alleviate routing issues, which complicates the firewall management.
Multi context mode offers active/active fail-over per context. Primarily forwards for an individual context and secondary for another. The security contexts divide logically into failure groups, with a maximum of two failure groups. There will never be two active forwarding paths at the same time.
Important to consider
In order to change from single mode to multiple mode or back, the commands must be done from the command line (CLI) and not via the ADSM GUI interface. When changing from single to multimode, the ASA will convert the running configurations into two files, creating a new system configuration file and an admin context file. The original system configuration file is not saved.
By default, all security contexts have unlimited access to the ASA resources. Depending on the environment, resource management may need to be configured to limit some contexts that may be starving other contexts. This is done by configuring resource classes when assigning to contexts.
Multimode offers advantages in certain situations particularly for service providers or an enterprise with multiple departments that require individual security policies. The requirements should be carefully considered before implementing the solution. However, there are also limitations and whilst the number of physical devices you manage may decrease, the complexity of those device configurations may increase.
by Steven Ewer
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
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 email@example.com.
by Lewis Andrews
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
One of the most important things within the application process is your CV. It’s the first impression you make on a potential new employer....
One of the most important things within the application process is your CV. It’s the first impression you make on a potential new employer. Here are our top tips on how to make it a good one.
Nearly there! Do’s and Don’ts before sending your CV out
Done? Perfect! Now send it off and let us take care of the next steps! If you have any further questions concerning your CV before sending it to us, feel free to get in touch. We are happy to help!
Currently looking for a new role? Feel free to send us your CV or call us to see what opportunities we might have for you! We specialise in IT Networking, Server, Database and InfoSec.
by Leonie Schaefer
Diversity and inclusion are very important topics for businesses across all industries. We want to shine a light on the topic specifically for those...
Diversity and inclusion are very important topics for businesses across all industries. We want to shine a light on the topic specifically for those working within IT Infrastructure.
We’ve seen a lot of women in tech initiatives over the years yet still only 10% of participants in this market and skills report were female. Although we were hoping that this is not a representative number, day to day conversations with industry specialist show a similar result.
We are supporting events like CYBERWOMEN 2019 in Germany and hope that initiatives like these will give women and girls the confidence to take on a career in IT Infrastructure.
Although we are huge fans of initiatives encouraging women and girls in tech, we think that this is not enough. Diversity & Inclusion is not only about the female-male divide. It is about tackling biases based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual preference and age (just to name a few) and ending discrimination completely.
We would like to provide a platform for those working within or interested in IT Infrastructure to share their experiences with us and to come up with possible solutions together.
We are conducting interviews with industry experts who are willing to give us their opinions and insights on diversity and inclusion within IT Infrastructure.
Interested? Contact Leonie Schaefer for more information +44 203 696 7950, firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Sian Llewellyn
There are many reasons why Graduates should look to recruitment as their first step into the working environment. The traditional image of...
There are many reasons why Graduates should look to recruitment as their first step into the working environment. The traditional image of recruitment is changing. What used to be a “plan B” career is fast becoming the occupation of choice. Why?
More companies are using recruiters due to the high demand for talented people in the industry. Recruitment consultants use their knowledge, expertise and judgment to match talented candidates to business’ job opportunities. Most companies have realised that their most valuable asset for success is their employees, giving recruiters the change to make a real impact on the economy and business growth.
Agencies are not only seeking the skilled candidates for their clients but looking for the top talent to join their own workforces. There is a significant demand for enthusiastic, ambitious professionals who are self-driven, hardworking and want to “be their own boss”. Recruitment companies are looking for those personalities that can build rapport, handle negotiations, influence and manage relationships.
Here are 8 reasons why recruitment is a good career move for you:
by Oliver Tattersall
For many, when they hear or read the word ‘Brexit’ they roll their eyes with disillusionment of the ongoing saga. After all, it has been...
For many, when they hear or read the word ‘Brexit’ they roll their eyes with disillusionment of the ongoing saga. After all, it has been 36 months since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU and it is still no closer to recognising what that may mean – or even if it will happen.
But it would be remiss not to understand that it affects people. People who have ambition, dreams, careers, relationships and families.
At Franklin Fitch we have a presence in the UK and Europe. We work together, overcome challenges together and celebrate successes together. This is down to our people.
A number of these people are EU citizens living and working in the UK with genuine concerns around Brexit and what it may mean for them. One of these individuals is Oliver Neukamm, who has worked at Franklin Fitch in London since January 2017. He reflected after Theresa May’s recent crushing defeat in Parliament after MPs voted on her negotiated Withdrawal Agreement:
“I’m disappointed and astonished at how the country seems to be dismantling itself.
I’m currently enjoying my work and have had a very successful career to date in the UK. Myself and my partner (a British citizen) are currently in the process of purchasing a property so I want to be here for a while longer! I’m lucky in the sense that I have the security that Franklin Fitch will support me and sort out any visa requirements should they be needed, but I can imagine that many others in similar situations are more concerned.
From my point of view a ‘No Deal Brexit’ wouldn’t be good for anyone and I personally don’t think it will happen when it comes to the crunch. I hope that the current political purgatory ends as soon as possible to give everyone some clarity and security.”
Oliver’s comments first appeared in the German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine on the 16th of January.
by Charlotte Drury
Are you a Network Visionary?
The Network Architect
Do you want a thriving IT career? This is the roadmap to becoming a successful Network...
Are you a Network Visionary?
The Network Architect
Do you want a thriving IT career? This is the roadmap to becoming a successful Network Architect.
Compared to a traditional Network Engineer, who is focused on implementing and troubleshooting, a Network Architect designs computer networks. This means constructing layouts for the usage of hardware and software and creating models to predict future network needs, using network modeling tools such as Opnet, OMNeT++ and NS2. Furthermore, architects are involved in the analysis of business requirements, project planning and budgeting, and often require softer skills including stakeholder management to complement their technical abilities. This requires a lot of diplomacy and consultancy skills.
But, Network Architects are among the highest paid employees in the IT-world.
Skills & Certifications:
The role of a Network Architect usually requires a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, several network certifications are highly recommended. These include Expert level certifications, such as Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) or Cisco Certified Internet Expert (CCIE). Also beneficial are certifications such as ITIL and TOGAF or even the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr).
Knowledge in key areas such as cloud computing, virtualization, programming, security and application design are also in high demand.
However, it should not be forgotten that building your experience is as important as having a degree.
If you put in the time and effort into gaining professional skills, certifications and experience in the networking field, the position of Network Architect could be the ultimate goal in your IT career.
by Xenia Armbrust
As attractive as a counter-offer may seem, you should seriously consider if it’s wise to accept it. If you have already decided to move on from...
As attractive as a counter-offer may seem, you should seriously consider if it’s wise to accept it. If you have already decided to move on from your current job, you shouldn’t let anyone change your mind.
As soon as you hand in your notice, a lot of bosses will try and convince you to stay – the standard counter-offers include higher salary, more training and development, more new technologies, etc.
So your mind starts wandering: “What if they are right?” “Should I give my old job a second chance?” “Who knows, what the new job might be like – it could be even worse than the current one…”
Please stop this thought process right now! Counter-offers have a lot of traps that you might not detect at first. In most cases, people regret accepting counter-offers.
Why does your employer only react to your wishes now?
Counter-offers are quite a common thing – and here’s why:
Let’s imagine you accept the counter-offer – what happens next?
Your boss is happy you stayed, and he doesn’t have to replace you, so he pays more attention to you and your needs for a while. You might get that pay rise, better working hours and that long-desired bonus. Then your boss eventually realises – you wanted to leave. So, he will keep a close eye on you and what you do: a person that decided to leave once might do it again. Unfortunately, that makes you a very unsafe candidate for any upcoming promotions – because if they invest in you today how do they know you won’t take your expertise to a competitor tomorrow. Chances are, your boss only wants to keep you until he has found the right replacement. Once you realise what’s happening – the job offer you secured back when you decided to leave will be long gone.
Why is your employer only appreciating your value now?
Receiving a pay rise is a nice perk – but was the pay rise really the reason you wanted to leave in the first place? Money is important, but usually there are more reasons for an employee to leave: no career progression, no work-life-balance, not enough appreciation, bad atmosphere within the team, feeling bored or overwhelmed with the tasks. If you are now still considering accepting the counter-offer from your boss, then please make sure you mention the other issues you have within the company – more money alone won’t make you happy. In a lot of cases, and we are speaking from experience, accepting a counter-offer has made candidates unhappier rather than happier.
If you are looking for a new position within IT Infrastructure, contact Xenia Kusainov today or browse our current vacancies here.
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