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Business Careers Lifestyle Parental

Is Career Coaching as Good as Therapy?

Most people hit a rough patch at a certain point in their lives and they feel lost, overwhelmed, and confused.

The pressure of such a slump additionally magnifies if you’re an entrepreneur who has to run a business and make tough decisions on a daily basis. No wonder that many business owners have too much on their plate, which leads to stress, anxiety, and depression.

A research study has shown that 72% of entrepreneurs are affected by mental health issues directly or indirectly.

But, regular employees also have their fair share of stress resulting from work. A highly competitive workplace paired with increased expectations

If we add a kid or two to this entire equation, it’s perfectly clear that working mothers and mompreneurs have an even greater deal of workload, stress, and pressure to handle. Moreover, if growing pains of your business and your kids coincide, you’ll most probably end up exhausted and completely drained.

One way out of this is seeking professional help, but it can be a bit confusing when it comes to choosing between career coaching and therapy.

That’s why it’s important to discuss the benefits of these two approaches and establish which one can do the trick.

Career Coaching vs Therapy?

The thing is that, although similar and partially overlapping, these two fields are intrinsically different. It’s true that your career represents a big part of your life, and as such has the power to affect your mental health to a great extent. 

In other words, you might even consider taking up both a career coach and a therapist to work on different aspects of your personal and professional life.

The main distinction between career coaching and therapy lies in the fact that the former helps you manage your career and its challenges regardless of how deep it tackles the issue. On the other hand, the main goal of therapy is to improve your mental health and resolve some underlying issues that have been bothering you.

Also, while therapy might take years, as it’s essential to unearth and uncover some hidden negative thought patterns, career coaching can be time-limited and focused on practical work. A career coach can help you develop the necessary skills for job search, learn more about your strengths, and deal with workplace issues.

Benefits of Career Coaching

Now that we’ve established that you can greatly benefit from both career coaching and therapy, let’s examine what individual advantages of both approaches are.

  • Career coaching will help you recognize your own professional value. This can be pretty challenging, as people sometimes aren’t sure what their actual professional worth is, especially after losing their job or having been rejected after numerous job interviews. Similarly, going back to work after maternity leave can be more difficult than people imagine. Maybe the company you work for underwent some changes while you were away, not to mention that many new moms feel anxiety over what they are returning to. Career coaching will offer you an insight into what your particular skill sets and abilities are, and help you articulate them properly while negotiating a job or salary. Also, with proper coaching, you’ll learn how to leave your fears aside and focus your energy on your job and caring for your baby.
  • With career coaching, it will be much easier to overcome the difficulties of a change or make some big decisions. For example, if you’re wondering whether it’s the right time to quit your 9-to-5 job and embark on an entrepreneurial journey, a career coach will point you in the right direction.
  • One of the most important purposes of career coaching is to keep you accountable and motivated, as well as to push you to reach your full potential. Your career coach will monitor your progress towards reaching your goals, keep things in check, and make sure that you’re following your plan. This way, the likelihood of straying from your career path is minimized.
  • It’s essential to make the right career choices and pick what’s best for you in the long term, and a career coach will take both your personality, professional skills, and wishes into consideration when helping you navigate the workplace landscape and your own career path.

Benefits of Therapy 

Even if you’re not facing some life-altering challenges or traumatic events, the truth is that all of us could use a little help and support when it comes to coping with everyday stress and everything that life throws at us.

Research studies have shown that even the act of verbalizing your feelings can have a therapeutic effect on your brain. The power of this simple tactic is multiplied if you’re talking to a professional who is trained to listen to your story and help you articulate, channel, and manage your feelings.

Sometimes our own personal issues prevent us from succeeding, which means that it’s essential to fix them before you can see any career improvement.

Therapy can be highly beneficial for some of the following workplace situations:

  • Help you cope with workplace-related stress and anxiety. If you feel that you’re headed for burnout or that your current job situation is making you feel miserable, it’s a good idea to talk to a therapist and see what you can do to improve it.
  • Asking for a raise. Although a career coach can be instrumental in helping you get the best deal, a therapist can work from another, deeper level, and remove certain mental barriers that prevent you from talking to your boss. If you’re too shy or can’t accept rejection, therapy is essential, while you can figure out the right script and other details with a career coach.
  • Dealing with an office bully. Not everyone can confront a toxic person without getting upset. Therapy can help you build a defense mechanism and muster up the courage to have your say clearly and loudly.
  • Improve your self-esteem. All the issues mentioned above stem from the lack of self-esteem. By understanding your own feelings bringing out your insecurities out in the light, you can work towards becoming more confident in yourself. This is particularly effective if you’ve lost confidence over your work performance and skills – which is nothing strange if you are away for a while on maternity leave. If you start drowning in self-doubt, you should remember that it’s probably just your hormones and fatigue speaking, and therapy will help you learn coping and relaxation mechanisms.

So, Is Career Coaching as Good as Therapy? 

It’s better to ask yourself which one of these two professionals you should hire in order to improve your life.

You might even decide that working with both will help you grow personally and professionally.

What’s the most important factor is, however, finding a career coach who’s keeping pace with the latest trends in psychology and the workplace. That should be a person who’s capable of guiding you towards becoming the best version of yourself.

Here’s what you should pay attention when choosing a career coach: 

  • Do they belong to a coaching organization? This will prove that they meet certain standards of the profession.
  • Ask them for their resume or professional biography, so that you can check whether the program they completed in order to obtain a certificate is legitimate.
  • Even if a certain career coach has a license to practice psychotherapy, it’s better to find some other practitioner to treat your potential mental health issues. It should be stressed that these two approaches work great in conjunction – just make sure to distinguish your sessions and work on your mental/business goals separately.
  • Ask for client references. You should talk to some of the people they worked with and understand why their approach is effective. In a nutshell, it’s not enough to simply read testimonials on the site.
  • Discuss their coaching philosophy. As career coaching, just like therapy, is a delicate matter, it’s essential to find someone whose values and philosophy are aligned with yours.

It’s safe to say that career coaching is as good as therapy, but by no means can we say that these two practices can be used interchangeably, or that one can be used instead of the other. Depending on what you want to work on and improve, you can choose either career coaching or therapy, but these two also form a powerful synergy.

Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.

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Business Flexible Working Industry Flexers

We Found Our Flex …By Creating And Championing A Flexible Working Culture

Flexible and remote working. A guest blog from the team at RedWizard – Project, Change & Transformation Experts.

RedWizard And Flex

At RedWizard, we’re not just a team, we’re a strong community of remote and flexible workers. And we believe flexible working should be a basic human right. Why? Because, for the majority of people, it improves their overall health and wellbeing. It’s been proven to reduce stress and increase job satisfaction. Time spent on trains and buses can now be spent with family and friends. There’s more time for exercise, mindful meditation and preparing healthy food. It also means avoiding toxins like exhaust fumes when commuting. Not only that, it’s a cost-cutter with fewer travel expenses and work clothes required… and the list goes on! 

Flexible—It’s Not Just A Word, It’s One Of Our Core Values.

Being flexible is one of our core values–along with being bold, loyal, warm and quirky—they make us who we are and help us to create the future we want to experience. So, we’ve said goodbye to 9-5 and hello to a flexible future!

Control? We Hand It Over And Trust 

Our approach to creating a flexible working culture is to trust our people and hand over control. We focus on what’s being delivered—the outcome. How our people get there is completely up to them. We hire them to do a job, we give them control and don’t micromanage—in other words, we TRUST them! 

By taking this approach, the entire RedWizard community is driven, productive, innovative, passionate about their own work, and inspired by our collective vision and purpose-led mission. Challenges change and change challenges Implementing real flexibility and remote working has its challenges. But… like all businesses, we were born to change! And we take a very human approach. From technology to health and wellbeing, we work together to ensure the entire RedWizard community gets the support they need and remains connected. We do this by keeping pace with new technology and running weekly ‘Good to Connect’ meetings–giving everyone a chance to open up and share if they wish. We listen and care about each other. There’s always someone available for an online chat and a cuppa!

Benefits? You Bet… For Us And Our Clients

Our flexible culture has had a positive impact on the services we provide our clients and our own internal processes, functions and working lives. And having the ability to work in a way that’s right for us—on an individual basis—means we’ve time to live our lives in a meaningful way. We’re more creative, innovative and far more productive as a result. 

What Does It Mean For Our Clients?

Because we all work remotely our overhead is low. This means we can pass the savings on to our clients and remain competitive in the marketplace—making us small, but mighty. With a clear and proven methodology, which we call our Big Four—people, communications, insight, agility—we’re able to accommodate global working across different time zones, we just take time off during the day. 

Our business has gone from strength to strength over the past few years, and we believe our approach to remote and flexible working has played a major role. It’s enabled us to attract some exceptional talent—people who share our values and recognise the benefits of flexible and remote working. As a result, our numbers are growing, we’ve more interest in our services. And we’ve even been shortlisted for the Project Management Institute (PMI) UK National Project Awards, in the category of ‘PMO of the Year’. It’s an exciting time for us all. 

Hey, It Works For Us!

Flexible and remote working is a hot topic at the moment, and opinions across industries are uniting and dividing. Some say it’s great for health and wellbeing, others say it’s harmful. Some say it increases productivity, others say it’s too distracting. Whatever you want to believe, you’re bound to find something on the internet to back up your argument—although it may not always be supported by evidence! 

But… 

We can say with confidence, flexible and remote working has worked for us, is working for us, and will continue to work for us. We believe it’s the future—and should be a basic human right. We’ve more on this topic If you found our approach to flexible and remote working of interest, you may find some of our other articles on this subject of interest too. So please, join the conversation, visit our blog and feel free to like and share any of our articles.

Video: Hear how flexible and remote working impacts RedWizard’s founder and CEO, and online community.

RedWizard Your community of project, change and transformation experts.

Think of us as your very own project, change or transformation management office with decades of experience. We’ll help you identify the right support model for your business and help you evolve that model as your business changes. Our story

Red Wizard Consulting Logo, flexible and remote working supporters

Want to read more about the companies who are flying the flag for flexible working? Check these out…

Hilti – Helping You Find Your Flex

Royal London – Helping You Find Your Flex

Badenoch + Clark – The Rise Of The Flex Working, Flex Supporting Rec Cons

A HR Journey With Pitney Bowes

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Business Careers Flexible Working

What Is Flexible Working?

The issue with answering this question is that flexible working means different things for different people. So many terms can describe types of flexible working and what works for one person could be totally off the table for another. 

However we will attempt to summarise ‘What Is Flexible Working’. 

Essentially it is a work pattern that accommodates the needs of the employee whilst maintaining the business needs of the company. It is a symbiotic relationship. You cannot have one without the other.

It can fall into a few different categories often with different names. The Find Your Flex Group use the 6 pillars.

The Six Pillars Of Flexible Working

  • FT Flexi Start & Finish TImes
  • Part Time
  • Remote Working
  • Compressed Hours
  • Job Share
  • Term Time Only

Flexi Start and Finish Times

Employees work allocated hours but can choose at what time to start and what time to finish. Many businesses make this work by having core hours that everyone has to be in for.

Part Time

Part time hours for those who can’t or don’t want to work full time. For this group of people it’s really important that are considered as important as their full time counterparts. Many part timers are just as ambitious as full timers.

Remote Working

Working in a location other than the main office. It could be at home or in a shared working environment.

Compressed Hours

Working an allocated number of hours across a compressed time period. For example full time over 4 days. Conversely, some may wish to work part time hours but over 5 days for example. Some employers choose to have a core day for meetings that everyone must be in for.

Job Share

A role that has the requirement for full time hours is split between 2 employees. It could be a 50:50 split or an alternative split such as 75:25.

Term Time Only

The required weekly / monthly hours are only worked during term time. Allowing parents to manage school holidays without the need to rely on paid help or favours.

There are so many benefits to facilitating these patterns of work. To read more, why not download our Tips To Implementing Flexible Working.

Flexible working is more frequently in the news today with campaigners such as Helen Whately, Joeli Braerly and Anna Whitehouse. In our next post we discuss the current state and future of flexible working.

Perhaps you are ready to #SignUpToFlex… Contact us today.

Categories
Business Flexible Working Industry Flexers Parental

Hilti, helping you Find|Your|Flex

Having worked in HR for over 15 years, I have seen a growing demand for employers to provide more flexible working practices. Employees want increasing flexibility for a variety of rea-sons and need different types of flexibility throughout their working lives. Many employers are keen to support this, however, often limit themselves to the statutory legal provisions and view flexibility in a very narrow way.

Flexible working options should not be limited to part-time working, it’s about considering the variety of choices employees need at different life stages and offering something for everyone. A well designed flexible working offering can make a significant difference to employee engagement and retention.

As Head of HRBP’s at Hilti, I’m part of a team that are striving to build a working environment and culture that stands-out amongst our peers as a ‘Great Place to Work’. Offering an outstanding flexible working approach is an important part of differentiating our culture. It also presents an opportunity to retain our fantastic workforce in a buoyant labour marker and to attract new talent to our organisation.

Prior to launching our new approach to flexible working in summer 2017, our policies were over-complicated and confusing. Applications for flexible working were low and only 3% of our workforce in GB worked in an altered way to their original contract. This was at odds with clear demand, evident through our employee engagement survey, that our people wanted more help to balance the demands between work and home life. Improving and simplifying our approach to flexible working provided an obvious solution to this gap.

Our new flexible working approach set out to simplify what we offered and identify new opportunities to expand our policy. The new options addressed the gaps in our existing approach. We introduced the right to request a sabbatical or career break of up to 12 months whilst pre-serving the contract and added the right to purchase an additional five days annual leave and to take one days’ paid emergency leave annually for unexpected personal situations.

Our family friendly provisions were already generous with 18 weeks fully paid for maternity leave and two months’ salary paid as a return to work bonus. But we wanted to do more for our dads, so increased paternity pay to two weeks at full pay and equalized pay arrangements in Shared Parental Leave.

To make sure our employees were made aware of their new offering we ran an internal campaign using the #Hiltiinmylife as we felt this perfectly reflected how we wanted our employees to balance their Hilti role with their lives.

This included a video message from our Northern Europe Region Head, to endorse his personal commitment to flexible working at Hilti, as well as some video case studies from team members who already enjoyed flexible working practices.

Flexible working at Hilti

Following the launch in July 2017, we received more applications in two months than the total received in the previous two years. And our journey didn’t end there – we have since introduced home working for suitable Head Office roles, offer a day’s leave for our team members who are moving house or getting married and also now offer up to three days’ paid leave for fertility treatment .

In 2019, we have also taken the next step to add more flexibility to our field-based sales roles by designing a role that can be done on a part-time basis without compromising customer relationships or making it harder to hit target. We truly believe that by embracing flexible working in all its forms, we will have highly engaged teams who will want to stay and be part of our ‘Great Place to Work’.

Kim Kerr

Head of HR Business Partnering

Hilti Great Britain

Categories
Business Careers Flexible Working Industry Flexers

Royal London helping you #FindYourFlex

“A career here doesn’t have to be to strive for CEO, you can go up, down and sideways if you wish. There are always opportunities. – Nicola Piercewright

“I have developed in every way possible. I am not the shy person I was. My confidence has been built up because of all the trust and support you get with senior leaders.” – Ellen Gibbon

Our customers and members matter to us, we work to please their needs, they are at the centre of everything we do.

This exceptional feedback comes from the brilliant work our Operations team do day in day out:

You are made to feel valued and in this day and age that is very rare. I hope they keep these values and traditions going for many years to come.”

Our award-winning customer service and our mutuality means we can give customers that little bit more, and you can trust us to be there for you when it counts.

People have been at the heart of all that is great about Royal London for more than 150 years and we are looking to maintain this with by adding Customer Service Consultants to our team in Wilmslow.

We have a range of full-time (35 hours) and part-time (minimum 18 hours) roles available between Monday to Friday 08.00 – 18.00 and we are open to discussing working patterns that work for you.

We asked of current Customer Service Consultants why they love working and Royal London and they were more than happy to share their views.

“The opportunities to grow, develop and further your career from starting in customer services are massive and development is a huge focus of Royal London.” – Leighanne Dixon

“The best part of my job is working in a fantastic team of people and helping our customers.”  – Joshua Dewitt

We asked Nicola Piercewright some further questions on her career with us

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Giving our customers the best possible experience and helping them to help themselves with regards to their financial decisions. I know I am making a difference.

How have you developed since joining?

My journey has been long (I have been here 19 years!) at Royal London and my priorities over the years have changed, but if I can come in to work (even Part-time) and make a difference then that’s development right there. I develop each and every day here….from change in legislation and knowing what is required, change in management, from Team managers to CEO. I believe I have developed into a well-rounded person willing to live the values Royal London requires; Empowerment, Trustworthy, Collaborate, and Achieve.

Would you recommend your division to others?

Yes most definitely. Why, because you are valued here, if you come with the right attitude to provide excellent customer service and bring an open mind to enable change for the better then you will have a happy career here. And a career here doesn’t have to be to strive for CEO you can go up, down and sideways if you wish. There are always opportunities.

Our customers are diverse and to continually meet their needs we are looking for people from all backgrounds to join us, bring new thinking, challenge ours and add value daily.

So regardless what sector you have operated in, we want to discuss aligning our expertise and your passion.

Join us here – https://jobs.findyourflex.co.uk/clients/royal-london

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Business

How To Write A Good Job Description

We don’t need to tell you how important first impressions are, and a job description is the first introduction potential hires will get into your company. So, never underestimate its importance. 

A good job description should be straightforward, clear and easy to follow. It’s essentially the first stage of the recruitment process, so it plays a very important role in gathering a group of potential candidates. Take the time to get it right.

Here’s Some Of Our Top Tips To Write The Perfect Job Description:

The Job Title 

Make sure the job title is an accurate description of what the job entails. Think of it as an attention-grabbing headline. It’s what will draw the candidate in, so it’s arguably the most prominent point. Avoid obscure titles; job descriptions are not the place for creative writing, doing so you risk alienating people, meaning you could lose out on the perfect candidate. Think about the job titles people will search for.

Explain The Position

Paint a picture of your company, the team and the types of projects they’ll be working on.  It’s important to get the balance right here; you don’t want to waffle but you do want to provide enough information, so that the potential hire can engage with it. Too little info and your description could be overlooked. Too much and the candidate will lose interest or overlook important points.

The Working Environment

Be sure to talk about the working environment, so that potential hires can visualise themselves within it, whether that’s quirky offices based in Camden, an industrial centre, a call centre or a home-based role. Will it be quiet or noisy and full of buzz? Will the employee need to operate any equipment as part of the role or do any heavy lifting? Is travel required? These details let the candidate know what to expect and whether the job is a good match for them. 

Location & Flexibility 

Being clear about the location of the role is really important. It sounds obvious, but lack of clarity could eliminate the perfect hire.  State the geographical location of the role, but if you would consider flexibility and remote-working, spell this out. Thanks to technology and the way the world works these days, location doesn’t need to be a barrier to finding your perfect hire. 

Similarly, state if you’re open to flexible working patterns and discussions, so that it doesn’t become a sticking point for candidates at interview stage. But, be sure you are equipped to follow through with these promises of adopting flexible working practices.

Focus On Skills In The Job Description

Spell out the top three to four skills you expect your candidates to have. These are the key ingredients to the role and the bare minimum that’s required.  Missing one of these is like missing a key ingredient from a recipe.

Qualifications And Education

Don’t underestimate the importance of qualifications and education; it needs careful consideration. It’s clearly important to have the “must haves” in your description but be careful not to include something that would be an advantage, unless of course you highlight it as that. If you’d happily consider someone who has years or practical experience, spell this out in your description. 

Day-To-Day Duties

Candidates will want to know what their work life would look like on a daily basis, so explain the day-to-day duties of the job. Make sure this important point is included in the job description.

Success 

Tell your potential candidates what’s expected of them and what success looks like in your company. What standards will they be expected to meet if you bring them on board. 

Salary In The Job Description

Include the compensation package in the job description, even if it’s a range or salary band. “Salary dependant on experience” won’t generate the same amount of interest.  From a candidate’s point of view, no mention of salary, implies that the employer either doesn’t know or doesn’t value the outputs the role produces.  Why would they waste their time applying for a role that could possibly pay way under what they feel they should earn? Consequently qualified candidates who are potentially the right fit for the role could dismiss the role. 

Other Points To Keep In Mind When Writing A Job Description

Keep language friendly and gender-neutral, write in the first person e.g. “You will be proficient in…”, proof-read and spell check. 

When you write a job description read it out loud and ensure it makes sense. If there’s any point that doesn’t flow properly or is tricky to understand it, change it. If you don’t understand it, no-one else will.  Test the description; ask people in your business or organisation to read it before it goes live. Chances are that someone else, who is not as close to it as you are, will spot something you won’t!

Avoid long paragraphs and lengthy descriptions, candidates will lose interest. Keep the job description clear, concise and spell out the main points.

Want to know more about why you should work with The Find Your Flex Group, check out our stats here.

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Business Flexible Working

The Rise of the #FlexWorking #FlexSupporting Rec Cons

08:30 til 18:00, Monday to Friday. Suited, booted at your desk and hitting the phones. That was how we worked. Inflexible, focused on the input. It’s a formula that worked – Put enough in and you’ll get something out. But we knew there had to be a better way.

We stopped looking at what was going in, focusing more on what was coming out. We looked at what made people successful, but more importantly, what support people needed to achieve success. We scrapped the suits and ties and embraced a relaxed dress code. We cut 2.5 hours out of our working week and incorporated a flexible working policy. You need to start at 09:30 for the school run? We could make that work. Or maybe you need 4 days per week? Sure, let’s give that a go.

When we stopped controlling people and looking at what was going IN, and started supporting people to get the most coming out, that’s when everything changed for the better! And because of that, we are all passionate about helping our candidates find part time roles, or roles with a degree of flexibility. We can see how important it is and we’ve all benefitted personally from a great flexible working policy, so why wouldn’t we want that for everyone else?

Louise Sorrell and Sarah Robinson are both mums who were able to continue/restart their professional careers within the company due to flex working solutions. Louise strongly believes every company should be looking at how they can Find Their Flex.

‘It comes from my own personal experience of being able to return to my role on a part time basis with a huge degree of flexibility following the birth of my two sons and the difference it makes to my family life now.

Given the success of returning parents and flexible workers within the Group, our own Talent Acquisition team are now targeting the employees who haven’t returned from maternity/paternity leave in the past to attract this talented group back into our new flexible ways of working.’

People need/want flexibility for a variety of reasons, mums or dads wanting to look after their children, people caring for elderly relatives or some who are just looking simply looking for a greater work life balance after a busy career.

By working with and promoting our candidates seeking flexible/part time roles, we also help local businesses especially our SME clients to be able to attract and afford top talent where they cannot risk high full time salaries.

We see so many candidates frustrated with their long commute, their employers’ inflexibility or having to take a role beneath their skills and experience. It is simple, our clients who are open to flexible working, attract the best candidates as this seems to be one of the top motivators, often over salary and benefits.

We have certainly seen the attitude of our clients change over the last few years too, instead of viewing flexibility as a negative barrier, they are starting to see the economic advantages, enabling them to afford and budget for the top talent.

When we met one HR Business Partner, she was fairly cynical about finding a flexible role.

 ‘When I first started looking for a new role, I was surprised by how many people had attitudes that were pessimistic at best about the ability to secure part time work at my level, which was really disheartening.  Following connecting with Louise and the team at B+C and meeting with them at a cafe in Brighton, I felt a renewed energy about wanting to work part time as a mum. Louise was able to empathise and understand my need for flexible working, balancing being a mum and a working professional and gave me the belief that we could do it. And she delivered not only once but twice. Together with that belief, she worked hard, keeping in touch, talking to me about all opportunities and treating me like a human (not a commission) with great empathy as a mum but also with an honest sense of realism mixed with the perseverance to get there.‘

Over the last 5 years, we’ve helped nearly 100 people Find Their Flex, and in the last 12 months, over 25% of our placements have incorporated some kind of flexible working policy including part time, flexible working and working from home.

This is a trend we’re hoping continues and we’re seeing positive steps. Most large employers across the country have implemented flexible working policies, and evolving technology is making working from home more accessible than ever before. We’re even seeing parliament finally talk about the issue at a legislative level, through Helen Whately MPs bill.

As part of one of the UKs largest recruiters, we’re using our position to influence the future of the workforce and encourage employers to be as flexible as possible and leading by example, readily embracing flex working as much as possible!

The Badenoch + Clark HR Team in Brighton recruit HR Professionals across Sussex and Surrey, part of a national community specialising in HR Appointments. Half of our team currently work less than 5 days and the rest benefit from flexible work patterns and the ability to work remotely.

Badenoch + Clark also have a full service offering across other professional staffing areas such as Finance, Legal and Change Management/Business Transformation.

If you’re looking to #FindYourFlex in your next role, or want to have a conversation about how you can make your next hire work on a flexible basis, get in touch with one of our teams today!

Written by Callum Buxton

Callum, Louise, Chloe & Sarah

Badenoch + Clark Brighton HR Team

Access our brand new guide to accessing and promoting Hidden Talent at your Rec Con here: https://lpages.recmarketing.co.uk/find-your-flex-hidden-talent/

Categories
Business Careers Technology Industry

The Flexers Who Can Help Close The Digital Skills Gap

What is The Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is in full swing and it’s not slowing down. But what does that mean? What is the Digital Skills Gap? What impact will it have on women, their careers and flexible working? ‘4IR’ as it’s also known is the term for the way disruptive technologies are radically changing our lives. It’s the merging of our biological, physical, digital and technological worlds. Artificial intelligence (AI), Robotics, The Internet Of Things (IOT) and Virtual Reality (VR) are fast becoming an essential part of our social and economic lives. 

These changes are disrupting the business sector at an unprecedented pace. There is no denying these technologies will provide immense benefits to society. Conversely however they present huge challenges.

There is a fear that technology such as AI and robotics are replacing humans in the workplace. However, there will be strong demand for technical skills like programming, app development and skills that aren’t so easy for computers to master. Skills such as creative thinking, problem-solving and negotiating. Let’s explore this further.

The Digital Skills Gap

Here is the problem. Technology is advancing fast. Faster than many businesses can keep up with. The Digital Skills Gap is a real concern. As new categories of jobs emerge, they will partly or wholly displace others. Technology is only as good as the people developing and managing it. Businesses need to have people with the right digital skills to maintain business growth. 

Nearly 50% of companies in the WE Forum Study, expect that automation will lead to some reduction in their full-time workforce by 2022. 38% of businesses expect to extend their workforce to new productivity-enhancing roles. More than a quarter expect automation to lead to creation of new roles in their enterprise.

142,000 vacant tech jobs by 2023, 22% of which will be new types of STEM roles

A large study by EDF and the Social Market Foundation (2017) state that there will be 142,000 new jobs in science, research, engineering and technology from now until 2023. Demand for software engineers is rising quickly. Machine learning and data science fields, recorded 191% and 136% growth respectively since 2015. However another study, People Power by The City & Guilds Group (2018) found that 32% of employers struggle to recruit for specialist roles such as engineers, marketing and IT Staff, digital analysts.

The WE Forum Future Of Jobs (2018) found that technology adoption features highly in the growth strategy of companies. But the skills gap features heavily as a barrier. 

The following are considered by (2018) and The WEF Future Of Jobs (2018) to be amongst jobs with the largest hiring growth.

  • Software engineers 
  • Project managers, 
  • Marketing specialists 
  • Data Analysts and Scientists, 
  • Software and Applications Developers
  • Ecommerce specialists
  • Social Media Specialists 

Essentially they are roles that significantly involve technology. Yet the skills required to perform these jobs are also identified as ‘skills amongst the skills gaps’ by Linkedin.

How Do We Address The Digital Skills Gap?

So what do we do about this digital skills gap? Who is going to fill the gap? Do we focus on children and encouraging interest in STEM fields? How can we help schools prepare our future workers with skills in emerging technologies. Consider numerous roles within the technology sector didn’t exist when many of us where at school. 

Do we focus on the massive pool of parents. In particular the women who have so much to potential in terms of talent and commitment. The same women who wish to acquire the digital skills in demand. Parents that need support and guidance with career changes. The same people that seek flexible working opportunities. Let the demand from workers seeking flexible working meet the demand to plug the digital skills gap.

Remote working and other flexible working options are becoming increasingly popular and manageable. Thankfully, for parents who have put a career on hold because of crippling childcare costs and the nine to five inflexible working day; there is a future. However more work is needed to help businesses cope with these changes. They need to be equipped with the resources to manage a flexible working team.

The Winners Changing The Future Of Women Globally

only 15% of people working in STEM roles in the UK are female.

The percentage of women in STEM related careers is low. The tech industry offers opportunities for in demand flexible working conditions. It seems clear that this is an area for businesses to make positive developments.

It’s early days in terms of changes. But there are companies running successful schemes for returners. Returner programmes aim to encourage those who have had career breaks to return. People who have years of experience but just need to up skill and build on their confidence.

There are forward thinking organisations such as the BBC. The ‘Step Into Tech Programme’ proving a huge success. No previous experience needed just a thirst for learning and tech.

Lots of new companies such as Tech Pixies, 23 Code Street, Digital Mums and Tech Returners have emerged in recent years. They are helping train women in tech skills such as coding, programming and social media management. Then there is  The Tech Talent Charter. This industry collective are supported in the government’s policy paper on the UK Digital Strategy. They aim to bring together industries and organisations to drive diversity and address gender imbalance in technology roles.

The technology is there. The desire and passion is there. Career returners and career changers are willing. We just need to connect the dots.

Look out for more posts on this subject as we discuss ‘Women in tech’, ‘The future of the technological workplace’, ‘Coding for mums – by 23 Code Street’ and more.

Whilst you’re waiting for these fabulous reads, why not check out our flexible tech roles on our flexible working jobs board?

Categories
Business Parental

Would improving men’s rights help close the gender pay gap?

The Gender Pay Gap And Gender Equality

I don’t really think of myself as much of a feminist. I don’t get offended if a man holds a door open for me or calls me “love” (to be fair living in Yorkshire, it’s a pre-requisite and even men get called love, so score one for equality!). But I am a woman who’s pretty dedicated to her career. I’m a working mum. And most importantly, I have three daughters who are (in my completely neutral opinion) amazing human beings who will go on to be brilliant adults. For them, and their generation, I’d like to see gender equality finally become a real thing.

And so there are certain “female” issues that really piss me off. And the current bee in my bonnet is the gender pay gap. Which leaves British women earning an average of 17.4% less than men in similar full-time jobs and places us 15th out of 22 countries*. Or rather the gender bias that continues to dog our society and prevent women from achieving the same career success as their male counterparts.

My Experiences

Through my twenties my career progressed quite successfully and initially, being female didn’t really factor. But once I moved into a management role I started to become aware of nuanced differences between the way I was treated compared to men of a similar age.

There was a “boys club” of up and coming ad execs who got invited to golf/beers/important client dinners with the MD and Chairman. Their careers progressed far quicker than my female colleagues and my own. The most memorable moment that made me stop and pay attention that perhaps I wasn’t being judged purely on my ability, was the conversation I had with the company Chairman when being considered for a promotion. He “joked” that he was only considering me because he “trusted” that I wasn’t just going to “run off and have babies anytime soon”. I was 27, engaged. Whilst not immediately planning a family, I knew it probably wasn’t too far off in my future. Yet I had to pretend that “no, no I’m a dedicated career woman, none of this baby nonsense for me” in order to pass his “test”.

I wonder if any man has ever felt that pressure? They certainly didn’t in that particular business. Men could marry and become Dads without a single raised eyebrow from the powers that be. To be aware that even the potential of a marriage/baby that may not happen for a decade or more (or ever) could be a factor you have to answer to because you are “a woman of a certain age” is frustrating and archaic. And while most employers are far too savvy/legally compliant to ask the question that my old boss did. We all know that it is often consciously or unconsciously a factor when hiring or promoting a young woman.

And to some extent I get it. Women do often have babies in their late twenties, thirties, forties. And then want reduced/flexible hours. And that costs a business, especially a small one, a lot of money that perhaps doesn’t make up for the value of the employee in their child free years. But women do not choose to be born female. So why should they have to choose career or parenthood? Men don’t. Does that make men better at their jobs? Does it make them lesser parents? In my opinion the answer is no. This shouldn’t lead to the massive gender pay gap we currently see.

The Here And Now

The UK has made fabulous strides over the past 11 years, since I became a mum, to make it a little bit easier to juggle motherhood and working life. Maternity pay/leave have been extended and it’s become the norm to take a year or more off and still return to a well paid role.

Flexible working policies have also become fairly common place, allowing women to balance the demands of work and parenting. Which is all brilliant. But still comes with restrictions. Breakfast meetings, after work networking, long days of travel, are all pretty hard to work around most childcare provisions. And whilst colleagues can be supportive, you can still feel that you’re more “difficult” to work with than a child-free colleague. And that affects confidence, your feelings of job security, it can put you off applying for a promotion or new role as you don’t want to upset the status quo.

And so women tread water while their kids are young and their male counterparts progress. And by the time you’re able to be “all in” at work, you’ve reached a glass ceiling and are reporting into men with 10 years less experience than you have. And so the gender pay gap persists.

So What’s The Answer? Even More Benefits And Support For Women? Maybe. But To Change The Social Stigma, How About We Focus On Men?

Again the UK has made some excellent progress in sharing the load of parental responsibility in the work place. We have seen developments in paid paternity leave and shared parental leave and the opportunity for anyone to apply for flexible working. But it’s still not the norm. Paid paternity leave is still only funded by the government for 2 weeks. Our parenting leave is only the 11th most equal out of 21 countries* with shared parental leave a minefield to organise. Flexible or part time working is still something that feels more aimed at women than men (men make up only 25.8% of the part-time workforce, leaving the UK 16th out of 21 countries measured *). Dads who take extended time off to be with their new baby tend to face social stigma, or at least a few raised eyebrows. And this means that on average, British men spend 24 minutes caring for children, for every hour done by women, according to the Fatherhood Institute’s Fairness In Families Index (FIFI).

People also presume that the woman will be the one to take a career break as the man is earning more (a comment even my own husband made, completely forgetting that when we started a family we were on equal salaries, as many couples are). And on the flip side, women whose partners take more time off than them are seen as “lesser” mums, putting their career before their kids. And because of all of this, men in their late twenties and early thirties are still not associated with the “pregnancy risk” that may entail a career break or reducing their hours at some point, even if married or with long term partners.

But if we could encourage more men to take up the opportunity to be at home with their kids, work flexibly and take on more of the parental juggle – without being judged for it. If we bring our kids up to see that both mum and dad can be their carer and have a career maybe things might finally be come more equal.

And if a parental career break (or indeed a mid-life career break for any purpose) becomes society’s standard for both men and women, then the glass ceiling might finally shatter. Maybe not for me and my peers (if we’re lucky we’ll be retired by then!). But if my daughters can dream, believe and achieve with no limits, then that would be a wonderful thing.

*stats taken from the Fatherhood Institute’s Fairness In Families Index 2016

 

Why not check out our other posts such as:

Writing A Good Job Description

The Rise Of Flex Working Flex Supporting Rec Cons

or

Check out why you should advertise with The Find Your Flex Group

 

 

Categories
Business Flexible Working

Flexibility, the business case…

At the beginning of 2018, commuters received their annual shock.

The holidays are over, you’re having a dry month, you promised yourself you’d exercise, and just when life can’t feel any harder going – oh, UK rail fares have jumped 3.4% on average!

Travel costs account for 13% of a person’s salary for the average Chelmsford to London commuter – in fact, much of the pain of these increases is felt by people who need to make their way into London from elsewhere to work.

It begs the question: why, in this world of flexible working, is commerce still so obsessed with working out of offices in London? According to Instant Offices, the average desk space in the West End now costs £732 per month. Multiplied by a workforce, this can be a serious expense. If you’ve got 100 employees you’re close to £1m a year before you even furnish the place.

So why are so many businesses still insisting on doing it?

When I joined TMP in 2013, the behaviours that drive the workplace looked very different than they do today. Physically, it was a huge space, spread over four floors on Tottenham Court Road. Its ‘commercial’ drivers equated to lots of hours, a culture on the serious side, and an expectation of punctuality and presence in the office.

Just five years later, most of my colleagues work flexibly, and that’s allowed us to shrink to just a single floor, with a rotating cast of people from day-to-day on hot desks. It’s buzzy yet relaxed, with a variety of collaboration spaces. People come and go, and we rate each other on our outcomes rather than our facetime.

It works for everyone. The workforce is happy to be trusted and carry out their jobs in a way that fits what they need to deliver as whole people – at work and at home.

The client service leads are happy that their people are out meeting clients and getting into their businesses, instead of taking up desk space and drinking all our coffee.

And the CFO and the rest of the leadership can certainly see the benefit of reducing expensive real estate costs, in a way that is win-win for everybody else concerned: by being flexible.

Not just cost saving or beneficial to clients, this can also attract top talent. A few years back, we had a talented candidate decline an offer from us, because at the time we were less enlightened and required a Monday to Friday, 9-5.30 commitment. As he had a choice where he worked, he chose a firm more willing to trust people to produce results.
Lesson learned, and luckily we’ve changed.

Flexibility also brings inclusion benefits. Forcing everyone to conform to establishment working structures will get you establishment people. A bit of flexibility might open up your business to candidates who think differently and construct their lives in a way that doesn’t follow the average.

Attracting cognitive diversity to your workforce means being open-minded about ways of working.

Being more flexible about where, when and how we work won’t solve our season ticket problems today. But as more businesses learn to focus more on outcomes than processes, we will see benefits to inclusion, less wasted time, and more people who are happy at work.

Heather DeLand is executive creative director of TMP Worldwide

This article was originally published in Recruiter Magazine and on Recruiter.co.uk