Categories
Automation Digital Skills Green Technology Industry

Digital Pollution: Make Tech Green

As its Earth Day this week, Find Your Flex is doing its part on raising awareness and inciting change to make a greener world. Digital Pollution is one of the biggest contributors to global pollution right now. This may surprise some readers, when you think of the word “digital” and its many connotations, the thought of it being a cause of pollution may seem surprising. Though it shouldn’t, as this is the digital age. The digital industry is one of if not the largest industry on the planet right now, so naturally it is contributing to global pollution. So, what is digital pollution and why is it important to know about it?

What Digital Pollution Is

The digital industry has been growing for decades. Every year something physical is replaced by something digital. Once upon a time, our only way of communicating with someone far away was to write a letter. Then it takes days or weeks to be received and read by the intended recipient. Then came emails which could be read in minutes, now we have direct messages that can be read and responded to in seconds. Long ago the only way to speak to someone face to face was to meet up in person. Now we can speak to people without getting out of bed; by picking up a smart phone or laptop and using services such as FaceTime, Zoom, Skype etc. Digital has made the impossible possible over the years and that is something that especially now we are profoundly grateful for, but it comes at a price.

The Shift Project has been conducting research for several years to see the impact digital evolution is having on the climate. Its easy to forget what goes into creating digital device and services, which is why its easy to assume digital is environmentally friendly. But that assumption could not be further from the truth. CO2 emissions of ICT has grown by 450 million tons since 2013. And the energy intensity of the ICT sector is growing by 4% per year. There are many fossil fuels required to make our devices and maintain the services that we use. Its a good job the “cloud” we upload all our data to is invisible, if visible it would be a thick, grey, choking smog that we increase the size of every day. So what is the cause of all this? The same as all other forms of pollution in the world: us.

Trends + Greed = Digital Pollution

That shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. How many forms of pollution is humanity not responsible for? But in terms of Digital Pollution, what is the main cause? Again, the root cause of all forms of pollution: our greed. There is a reason greed is one of the 7 deadly sins; we’ve been killing our planet with it for centuries now. The majority of it comes down to what is new and “trending” and society’s unhealthy obsession with having the next best thing.

In some cases we even judge each other on the possessions we have. For example: if you have an older model of a phone or do not have the latest games console people judge you on your social status and these judgments can be cruel. This is especially prominent in children and teenagers; they put pressure on their parents to buy them the latest digital gadget to maintain or increase their social status. And since parents don’t want their child to be bullied, they oblige. Yet just as many adults have adopted this practice of buying the newest digital developments simply because its new and “everyone wants it”, whether they need it or not.

If it ain’t Broke, Don’t Buy a New One.

Greed and the need to stay trendy compels us to continue to buy what we do not need. Apple bring out a new model of iPhone every 24 to 48 months, right now we are up to the iPhone 12. There are people who buy the newest model of iPhone as often as possible. Even those that bought a brand new iPhone XS a little over 2 years ago buy this new version, why? Their iPhone XS is still in working order so why do they need to have the latest model? Because it has one or two new features, that in the grand scheme of things are not really necessary. And the screen is slightly clearer with a marginally better quality camera. Or the simple fact that its the newest model out there and they want to show it off and look cool.

However its not just getting the newest model available that is the problem. Once again one of the 7 deadlies; gluttony, is a contributing reason why digital pollution is prominent. Apple have a plethora of products, yet most of them do the same things. There are hundreds of people out there who own an Apple MacBook, an iPad, an iPhone and an Apple Watch. Yet almost every one of those devices can do the same thing and provide the same service as the other, with only a small number of features making them different. So why on earth does one person need each of these? If you ask, the reasons will likely be quite superficial as there is no plausible reason to buy a new digital device for something that can be done with a device you already own. And again it comes down to greed and gluttony.

So why does all this have an impact on digital pollution? Simple where do you think your old devices go when you have replaced them with newer ones? And for anyone who thinks they are being good by giving them to a family member, selling them online or giving them to a second-hand shop, I hate to burst your bubble but that makes little difference. As the phone you’re giving to someone else will be simply replacing a older device of theirs. That iPhone XR you’ve given away is likely replacing an iPhone 6 which will have to be thrown away. And it is the combination of fossil fuels used to make these devices that is having a disastrous effect on the environment.

Now consumers are not totally to blame for this. There are big companies out there who design their devices to decrease capability after a certain length of time. This then forces consumers to buy newer devices, so large corporations do need to do their part to stop this. However, if you have a perfectly functional iPhone X there’s no reason to buy an iPhone 12, none whatsoever. And if you chose to do this, you are part of a growing problem that is having disastrous consequences for the environment. If you don’t need it, do not buy it, it is as simple as that.

Netflix and… pollute?

Its not just the over consumption of digital devices that is the issue. In fact the much larger issue is the consumption of online videos. Online video, generates 60% of of world data flows and thus over 300 million tons of CO2 per year. It represents 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions of all digital devices (use and production included), and 1% of global emissions. This is largely down to the usage of streaming services such as Netflix, which makes up 34% of the 60%. This research was conducted in 2019 and taking the pandemic into account, these will likely have increased dramatically over the last year.

We use these services without thinking, they are just there. We sometimes have Netflix or NowTV on in the background while we do other things. Or perhaps spend countless hours browsing through YouTube videos just for something to do. It would be hypocritical if I did not admit to being guilty of this. I watch videos on YouTube that I am only mildly interested in and do not really care about. I have had Netflix playing in the background while I work because I like the background noise. We have become drunk on these streaming services when once again, in reality we do not need them! There are alternatives that predate these services that could lesson the impact they are having on the environment.

Many online streaming services lure in subscribers by promoting a popular series or film. Yet we don’t have to sign up to a monthly streaming service for this. If you love Game of Thrones or the Walking Dead and want to watch them, go out and buy the DVD boxset. Remember DVD’s? They’re far cheaper in the long run and you can still watch them whenever you want. They also have far less of an impact on the environment than streaming services. Once again though, the service providers are equally to blame. They make some series’ exclusive to their service and do not make physical copies available. Yet turning back to DVDs is a change we should all consider. Once we do this companies will have no choice but to make more available to make the required sales.

What is the Solution to Digital Pollution? We don’t know.

Some edits in behaviours towards digital have been mentioned above. And these will definitely help lesson the impact Digital Pollution has and we should absolutely try to adopt these mindsets. However, they alone will not solve the problem. So what is the overall solution to this growing problem? The scary truth is we don’t know.

This is the digital age we’re living in and the fact is we have become completely dependant on digital technology. The last 13 months has proven that without a shadow of doubt. And in many way we have to be grateful in that regard. Digital devices have saved lives during this pandemic, there is no arguing that. Isolation would have meant something entirely different without the ability to communicate digitally or have access to certain online services. It has been hard enough with them, so the thought of living without them in the same manner is a terrifying thought.

But that doesn’t change the damage that this industry is doing to our planet. And the fact that there is no clear solution to stop this has to mean something. We need to come up with ways of making tech Green, so that further digitalization is sustainable. Right now it isn’t and we cannot ignore that, the facts must hit home. We have already done enough damage to the eco system throughout the centuries in one form or another. The difference is we didn’t know it then, we do now so there is no excuse. We need to make changes and develop solutions now. Make technology green and halt digital pollution in its tracks.

To hit home just how reliant society is on digital, check out this piece on the digital skills gap. And perhaps we should now ask ourselves if green tech awareness should be incorporated into these skills?

Categories
Automation Digital Skills Equality and Diversity Flexible Working Future of work Technology Industry

The Growing Digital Skills Gap

Back in 2019 we discussed the digital skills gap, what it is and what needs to be done to address it. We still stand by the fact that flexible working opens doors to many more talented people able to plug this gap. But what else have we learned?

Since we discussed the matter much more research has been carried out by organisations such as The Tech Talent Charter, McKinsey, World Economic Forum, Deloitte and more – find a list of all the reports we think you’ll want to read at the end of this post.

So here are a few stats to get you warmed up

  • According to recent analysis from BCS: the Chartered Institute of IT, in the last quarter of 2020 women made up only 19% of the UK IT industry.
  • Flexible working is far more likely to be sought by women or other underrepresented groups such as people with disabilities (Timewise).
  • Further research by the Gender and Behavioural Insight Team found that job adverts offering flexible working attracted 30% more applicants and boosted applications from women by 16%.
  • In a survey of working women by the Tech Talent Charter, more than half of respondents were open to a career in tech, subject to being able to obtain the relevant knowledge and skills.
  • BAME IT professionals are less likely to be in positions of responsibility than those of white ethnicity – despite on the whole being better qualified, a new study has found (Chartered Institute for IT, 2020).
  • 91% of UK employers struggled to find workers with the right skills over the last year (Deloitte, BITC 2020).
  • The percentage of organisations scaling automations was found to have doubled in the last year, making concerns surrounding re-skilling even more prevalent (Deloitte, BITC 2020).
  • Only 1 in 7 workers in roles at high risk of automation received training in the last year.
  • 8 to 9 percent of 2030 labour demand will be in new types of occupations that have not existed before (McKinsey 2017).
  • Forty-three percent of businesses surveyed indicate that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, 41% plan to expand their use of contractors for task specialised work, and 34% plan to expand their workforce due to technology integration (WEF, 2020).
  • It is estimated that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines, while 97 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms (World Economic Forum, 2020).
  • On average, companies estimate that around 40% of workers will require re-skilling of six months or less and 94% of business leaders report that they expect employees to pick up new skills on the job, a sharp uptake from 65% in 2018 (World Economic Forum, 2020).

So what does this mean for the future of work?

To try and condense a multifactorial concept of ‘The Future Of Work’ into a short paragraph is difficult but here goes. The way we work has and will continue to change. Automation will see mass job loss but also create millions of jobs too. Eight to nine percent of labour demand in 2030 will be in roles that do not exist today. It is clear that education and re-skilling are key to navigating this huge change. Without the investment it needs we could see huge unemployment. Yet in parallel there will be large volumes of vacant roles requiring skills few people have learned.

So what next?

With epic amounts of data to support what the future of work looks like. We know that these issues need addressing now. Our current workforce, especially those who are more likely to suffer job loss as a result of automation need to be re-skilled in skills for the future. Ideally this needs to be done whilst employees are still in employment. Tackling the issue once these people have lost their jobs will be more difficult as the urgency to find paid employment may negate the desire to change careers or study. 

Our children are the workforce of the future and the national curriculum should reflect this. Research needs to be done on how we teach children the in demand skills of the future.

A report by Deloitte and BITC highlight the case for change saying

  • investment in reskilling by organisations appears to be lacking
  • employees most at risk of automation are not spending time reskilling.
  • and it is getting harder for organisations to hire the skills they need externally.

Who should we re-skill?

It comes as no surprise that the technology industry is lacking diversity on all levels. According to recent analysis from BCS: the Chartered Institute of IT, in the last quarter of 2020 women made up only 19% of the UK IT industry. Research commissioned by the Fawcett Society revealed that 1 in 3 working mothers lost work or hours due to childcare needs, that women were more likely than men to lose work or be burdened with childcare during the crisis, and that ethnic minority women were more likely to have concerns about losing their jobs.

You only need to look at a handful of reports over the last couple of years to see the lack of diversity.

The Tech Talent Charter surveyed working women to see what would persuade them to consider a career in tech. More than 50 percent of respondents were open to a career in tech, providing they could access the relevant knowledge and skills.

Then we need to consider those more likely to lose their jobs as a result of automation. Those in industries such as retail, manufacturing and hospitality (McKinsey, 2020).

When should we re-skill?

Time is of the essence. With Covid potentially accelerating the automation curve we need to act now. We need to avoid the costs of job loss and a prolonged, expensive recruitment process. Not to mention trying to recruit people with skills that very few have trained to do. 

We need to invest in reskilling our workforce now. It makes good business sense. Make the most of your employees now. Take the employees whose roles may be at risk from automation and ask them if they would be interested in retraining. Models for retraining and redeployment need to start now.

graphic showing option a to re-skill and redeploy workers versus redundancies and costly recruitment

How are flexible working, diversity and inclusion and the digital skills gap linked?

Our own research has shown the diversity in our own audience seeking flexible working. This is backed by Timewise who say “flexible working is far more likely to be sought by women or other underrepresented groups such as people with disabilities.”. But until flexible working is more widely accepted and valued by organisations these people, talented and brimming with potential will be unable to access the careers they desire.

Research by the Gender and Behavioural Insight Team found that job adverts offering flexible working attracted 30% more applicants and boosted applications from women by 16%. Whilst this is great news that highlights the value of flexible working, much is still to be done to ensure that flexibility offerings are not just a tick box exercise. Something our team at Find Your Flex takes very seriously.

Open up a discussion on how, where and when is the best way to do a job and you will attract more talented and diverse people into roles. The technology industry needs to be as diverse as the people it serves. There is a whole group of diverse people out there eager for a career, they just require the flexibility to access it. This untapped group of talented people could be the part of the answer to the digital skills gap.

How will Find Your Flex address the digital skills gap?

We have exciting plans for 2021 – 2022 and have something up our sleeves that we think could not only address the issue of re-skilling but also provide a green solution too. We can’t say too much now but watch this space. We’ve also just joined The Tech Talent Charter as one of their signatories. Read more about the great work they are doing here.

A list of interesting reading on the future of work, diversity in technology and responsible automation

Categories
Careers Industry Flexers

Jobs At Supermarkets And Measures Taken During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Supermarket Information

The supermarkets are recruiting. Mainly temporary roles but some permanent too. During this time of massive change and restrictions we rely heavily upon the food industry to ensure we have a steady supply of food. As people need to self isolate (including supermarket employees) the supermarkets are trying to ensure they have the people needed to manufacture, distribute and sell the food.

Below you will find some information on where to find the jobs, store opening hours, latest brand news and the special hours for NHS workers and the vulnerable.

Please remember that as this situation is rapidly evolving, some of the following news, guidance and roles may have changed. For advice on self isolation, social distancing and the latest NHS and government advice and restrictions please always check official sources:

NHS: Click Here

Gov: Click Here

ASDA

OPENING HOURS: Reduced opening hours, check your local store here

NHS workers 8am – 9am Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

Elderley & Vulnerable: No stated hours but where possible people in this category must self isolate.

 

ASDA JOBS: click here.

NEWS: News from Asda and what they are doing to support and help communities and colleagues, click here.

 

MORRISONS

OPENING HOURS: Store opening times: Monday – Saturday 8am – 8pm. Store finder here.

NHS Workers can shop 7am – 8am, Monday – Saturday

Elderley & Vulnerable: No stated hours but where possible people in this category must self isolate.

 

MORRISONS JOBS:

Cheshire: Gadbrook Produce Manufacturing site

UK, Temporary Home Delivery Opportunities

UK, Logistics, Food & Catering

NEWS: News from Morrisons.

 

Tesco

OPENING HOURS: Store opening times

NHS workers Can browse and fill their basket up to one hour before opening on a Sunday.

Elderly and Vulnerable: Tesco will prioritise one hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning between 9-10am (except in our Express stores), but where possible people in this category must self isolate.

 

TESCO JOBS: Tesco careers

NEWS: Tesco expects further recruitment to take place in the coming weeks. Read about Tesco’s efforts here.

 

Sainsburys

OPENING HOURS: Store opening times, Monday – Saturday 8am -8pm, Sunday as usual.

Store Locator.

NHS workers have a dedicated hour Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8am – 9am

Elderley & vulnerable: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8am – 9am. However people in this category should be self isolating.

 

SAINSBURY’S JOBS: Find Sainsbury’s jobs here.

NEWS: Read more about what Sainsbury’s are doing here. Sainsbury’s News

 

Marks & Spencer

OPENING HOURS: Store opening hours here

NHS workers have first hour of trading on Tuesdays and Fridays

Elderley & vulnerable: First hour of trading on Mondays and Thursdays. However people in this category should be self isolating.

 

M&S JOBS: Find Jobs Here.

NEWS: Information from M&S.

 

THE NHS ARE SEEKING VOLUNTEERS TO HELP OVERCOME THIS CRISIS

IF YOU CAN HELP REGISTER HERE

 

As always we have lots of roles waiting for applications on our flexible working jobs board. Jump over to our search page here….

Flexible Job Search Click Here
Categories
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

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

Categories
Careers Industry Flexers Technology Industry

The Step Into Tech Programme – Women In Technology

An Interview with Sue Mosley, HR Business Partner BBC, Design & Engineering.

The Women ‘Stepping Into Tech’

The Step Into Tech Programme focuses on getting more women in technology careers. The pilot consisted of 14 weeks training. Including an intense week in Manchester, one evening per week in Manchester and additional home learning with support. The course was part time. Programme two is underway attracting around 900 applicants from London alone.

We love to celebrate the organisations who are getting things right when it comes to women in technology. Sometimes organisations do get things wrong. Like so many the BBC had a significant issue with the gender pay gap. Sue Mosley tells us how the BBC have learned from findings. She talks about what they are doing to encourage more women to embark on careers in technology.

The Interview.

What were the key drivers that led to the development of the ‘Step Into Tech’ programme?

Current stats tell us that the tech industry has an average of 17% females. Software engineering is a profession that is hugely male dominated, and the UK’s is facing a digital skills crisis.

If we want to fix the skills gap, then we as organisations need to be more imaginative in the ways of attracting talent and provide opportunities for progression. We also need to ensure that we’re always striving to have as diverse a workforce as possible. We need to make sure that we continue to be creative, foster innovation and serve our diverse audience.  

The pilot programme was a huge success. What were the key findings or successes?

The success of programme one is down to so many factors. It isn’t just about running a part-time training programme. It is essential that all the participants on the programme are fully committed to learn. That they are passionate about progressing a career within the profession. The measure of success was based on who completed training and then progressed into a role within software engineering and at the BBC.

The delivery of the training had to be adaptable to everyone’s different learning styles. It was essential that the cohort felt part of the BBC throughout their training . This is instrumental in encouraging them to want to progress their careers with us! 

The BBC Step into Tech programme has 16 places. From the first assessment session of 47 shortlisted applicants, it was a real challenge to select 16. The calibre of the individuals was superb as so many of them demonstrated the attributes we were looking for. We could have quite easily run 2 programmes at the same time! 

Do you think the UK will see more programmes like ‘Step Into Tech’ over the next few years?

I’d like to think so, as there is most definitely an appetite for them.  I know of one other organisation who already run a very similar programme. Knowing how successful that programme was and consulting with them, this is really how our Step into Tech programme came about.

There is a huge appetite from individuals who clearly want to learn, develop skills and change career paths. This is a great pool of talent to tap into. The BBC and other organisations can provide those opportunities for this talent pool and help fix the digital skills crisis as well as supporting diversity initiatives.

The ‘Step Into Tech’ programme focuses on women taking their firs steps into a career in tech. What about the career returners. Those who previously found a tech career lacked the flexibility they needed or was too male dominated? Can programmes like the ‘Step Into Tech’ be replicated and adapted to suit returners?

Yes of course they can, many of the aspects on the programme also focused on personal development too. This focus proved really beneficial to some of the cohort. Especially those who were just embarking on that return to work after a career break. So long as those individuals can demonstrate they have the qualities that make a good software engineer, then the programme can suit any individual. Regardless of whether they are a career returner or otherwise, in terms of the flexibility around working.

At the BBC we have a significant number of software engineers who have flexible working. 

With technology advancing the digital skills gap is becoming a serious concern for organisations. What role do you think women have to play in filling this digital skills gap?

Women definitely have a huge role to play in helping bridge some of the digital skills gaps. Currently in the UK there are 427,000 professional women alone who want to return to work at some point. Of those women, 3 in 5 return to lower skilled or lower paid jobs following those career breaks.  Therefore, organisations need to be more creative in their approach to talent attraction. They should be open to offering re-training opportunities as well as flexible working options.

11 out of 16 women from our first Step into Tech programme secured roles in our Design + Engineering division as software engineers. All these women came from very different professions i.e. teaching, medical, admin, legal etc; and this was through the creative approach we adopted. 

Read more on the role of women in technology and closing the digital skills gap in our other post. Read about 23 Code Street and how they are teaching women to code.

Categories
Careers Flexible Working Industry Flexers Technology Industry

Why Coding Makes A Great Flexible Career For Mums

Time To Consider Coding

When thinking about your flexible work options, have you ever considered coding?

You might have not heard of coding before, but you interact with code every day.

All the websites and apps you use have been built by code. Essentially, code is a set of rules and instructions that we give to a computer which bridges the gap between human language and computer language.

Everyone has the ability to learn to code, you don’t necessarily need to be a math genius or a ‘techie’. All you need is the motivation to learn and time to practice.

Below, are five reasons why coding makes a rewarding and flexible career.

1. Lose The 9-5 And Be In Charge Of Your Working Hours

How about no longer working 9-5?

All you need to code is a laptop and some good wifi! Many coding jobs can be done remotely either at home, in a cafe or even in another country! You can work the hours that suit you- so you’ll able to go to parent’s evening or be there for the school run. After progressing into a fully fledged developer you could work in house for a company, a web agency or as a freelancer with a range of clients that interest you.

2.  Learn An In-Demand Skill

There’s currently a huge digital skills gap; employers are looking to hire people who can code and have a technical understanding. As our world becomes more and more digital, the number of tech jobs is increasing. This report found there are over 7 million jobs which require coding skills and programming jobs overall are growing 12% faster than the market average. You’ll have a constant supply of jobs to apply for and chose from.

3.  Enjoy A Rewarding Career In Coding

Let’s be honest, not all flexible working options are rewarding. Coding definitely is.

At first learning to code may seem daunting, a bit like learning a new language, but you’ll soon start to realise how it all pieces together and that is a hugely rewarding feeling. You can’t help but feel proud after you’ve built your first proper web page- something you’ve written, now lives online!

Coding With 23 Code Street
23 Code Street

4.  Make Use Of Your Whole Skill Set With Coding

Coding allows you to combine your old and new skills- so you won’t feel like your previous skills have been forgotten. You’ll be able to use skills you’ve developed in previous jobs and other experiences to help you – like problem-solving, basic maths, an eye for detail, communicating and the ability to Google!

Also learning to code can be a good way to upskill in your current profession and get a new role or promotion. For example, lots of marketers and designers are learning to code to be able to edit websites and newsletters and work alongside tech teams with confidence. By being technically skilled, this will give you a competitive edge and make you stand out to employers.

5.  Feel Empowered and Empower Others With Coding

Tech is seriously lacking women. Globally 88% of developers are men; this is having a huge impact on the products and services being released- for example, Apple released a health app without a period tracker on.  By learning to code, you ’ll be helping create a more gender-balanced tech industry, smashing gender stereotypes and inspiring the next generation of girls to work in tech.

Coding Group, 23 Code Street
23 Code Street

23 Code Street is a coding school for all women. For every paying student, they teach digital skills to a disadvantaged woman in the slums of Mumbai.

Join their webinar course for beginners starting on the 10th July and learn to code in 12 weeks through weekly webinars in a friendly and supportive environment. You’ll develop a strong foundation in web development including how to build websites and apps for the web and work on your own practical projects. The course costs £550- find out more and apply here.

If you want to learn more about women in technology, then check out our other blog posts in this series. Read about The Fourth Industrial Revolution & What It Can Offer Flexers / Career Changers / Parents.


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
Careers Industry Flexers

Is a return to Marketing in your future?

Always liked the idea of marketing?

Can you communicate clearly, both in writing and speech? Are you a problem solver? Can you crunch numbers? Are you an ideas person?

If yes, then marketing could be the new career pathway you’ve been looking for.

But, what actually is marketing?

Many people throw the word around not really knowing what it means and often using it in the wrong context. According to CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) it’s all about; identifying, developing and working.
Identifying something that customers or businesses want to buy or a problem that they need solved.
Developing a solution for that need or problem. It could be a product or a service.
Working out how you charge the right price for the product or service. You need to price it so that people will buy, but you also need to make a profit.

It sounds simple?

The theory is but the realities are more complex – it’s a challenging career where no two days are the same. Within it, you’ve got what’s known as the 7 Ps of marketing. We’ve already covered product and price, but there’s also:

Promotion – how you tell your customers about your products or services and how you market and sell to them. This includes advertising, PR and digital.
Place – where your product is sold. So, building and retaining good relationships with your retailers is a key part of the role.
Packaging – this is about how your product is presented to your customer and first impressions really count. Small tweaks such as a slight colour change can completely change a customer’s perception and affect their decision to buy.
Positioning – this is all about where your brand sits in the hearts and minds of your existing and prospective customers. It’s how people think about your company and how they talk about it.
People – the right people, inside and outside of the business, are a hugely important part of the marketing mix.

It’s a rewarding career and opportunities are vast too. No business or industry can survive without it, so the world is your oyster when it comes to choosing your sector. Or you might be looking for a career switch within your chosen career field. Pre-kids, if you worked in sales and want to switch to marketing to avoid all those hours on the road then you’re in a great position. You already have an existing knowledge of the industry and sales and marketing work hand-in-hand, so it won’t be like starting from scratch.

So, how do you get into marketing?

The good news is, that you can get into marketing without a degree. You can train flexibly online around work and family life. Try the professionally accredited Combined Sales & Marketing Diploma or if you want to be an established member of the digital age, try the Digital Marketing Diploma or the Digital Retox from Digital Mums.

The CIM also offers a series of diplomas, depending on experience. The Foundation Certificate gives you the basics, but there are a host of other short courses.

If your financial situation allows it, it’s worth considering an entry-level position to get a foot in the door. If you’ve already got commercial experience and are keen to develop, chances are you’ll rise up the ladder quite quickly. Some employers may also support financially with formal qualifications whilst you’re working. You benefit, they benefit – it’s a win-win.

Check out our latest marketing roles HERE
For more information about marketing visit www.cim.co.uk