Categories
Careers Flexible Working Future of work

Working From Home: Are Employers Biased About It?

The term Working From Home or WFH, has been used a lot in post-lockdown times. Maybe too much? What I mean is; when a phrase or title is used so often, we can forget it’s literal core meaning.

Because of that, Working From Home has been a talking point as of late. And it is always referred to as a form of flexible working, which it is. But how flexible is it really?

Honestly, there are variables which mean that this question has a number of different answers and there inlies the problem. There is no solid answer to that question and yet there seems to be bias about the flexibility and freedom Working From Home offers.

What is the bias against people who Work From Home?

This all started when I saw a post on LinkedIn. A woman was calling out her husband’s employer for questioning why he needed a shift change to perform parenting duties. When his wife Works From Home…

This alone shocked me. But what shocked me more was the number of people commenting who related to this story. Which led me to question if there was a bias from employers about employees who Work From Home. I set a poll asking this question on LinkedIn and Facebook and 80 people responded.

Only 2.5% said they believed there was no bias against people Working From Home and that businesses understood the limitations. 42.5% said they felt some businesses understand and others don’t. While 55% said that they felt employers have the bias that Working From Home offers far more freedom and flexibility than it really does.

To add to this I saw even more shocking stories in the comment section of what this stereotype has done to people, their living situation and their families, some of them are extreme.

But what surprised me the most is how brazen employers are when questioning the working arrangement of other people who live in their employee’s household.

I fail to see how anyone cannot appreciate how inappropriate and unprofessional that is. If an employee is asking for any kind of leave or change in shift, it is no business of the employer to question why a person outside of their employ cannot perform the task needed.

What flexibility does Working From Home actually offer?

As I said before, it depends on the individual employer how flexible their form of Working From Home is. And the range of that is as long as it is short.

However, if we take it for it’s core definition, this way of working only refers to one thing; the location of where someone does their work.

So in theory, Working From Home in terms of flexibility only really impacts one aspect of someone’s working day. And that is the need to commute into work. This is the only solid difference between an employee who works in an office and one who Works From Home. Every other aspect is completely subjective.

Yet some businesses seem to think that employees who Work From Home have all the free time in the world. I have seen first hand this is not the case.

I know of people who WFH, whose shift patterns including; start time, break times and shift end are just as strictly regimented and monitored as if they were in an office.

Then, I know of people who used to commute to the office and are now casually expected to use the time they used commuting as extra time to spend working.

WFH, Parenting Roles and Unconscious Bias

A point was made by one of the commenters on the poll, questioning whether (when it comes to parents) employers’ attitudes differ depending on which parent is the one Working From Home.

This comment got a fair few likes. Then when I looked further, I realised the majority of people who voted were women and everyone who shared a personal story on the subject was female.

This does beg the question of whether this is a bias on WFH or more unconscious (or perhaps even conscious) bias against women in the workplace who WFH?

This could be yet another insight into the ongoing existence of gender bias and inequality in the workplace. With a bias against mothers Working From Home adding yet another layer to this.

Do I think that this is in actual fact the case? I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. I believe there are employers who still have gender equality issues and I believe there are employers who have an unfair bias about people who Work From Home. Some of these will overlap and become mixed with one another, but both need addressing.

FTDAWWFH (Free To Do Anything While Working From Home)

Clearly in extremes, this is what some believe Working From Home actually means. There needs to be a serious crash course on what WFH actually is.

Lesson 1 for businesses is reminding them what the ‘W’ stands for. Just because the location of where it is being conducted happens to be home, that doesn’t give the employees the magical ability to be able to take care of all domestic responsibilities while they are at work.

That insinuates that the work they do is less important or easier because they happen to be doing it at home, which clearly isn’t the case. Lesson 2 should be on further flexibility.

It’s clear from our data that some businesses believe WFH is all the flexibility anyone needs. First and foremost, if someone has 8-10 hours worth of work to do in a day, where are they supposed to find time to:

  • Clean the house
  • Do the laundry
  • Pick kids up from school
  • Look after children at home
  • Drop kids off at football, dance, karate etc.
  • Cook meals
  • Look after a sick relative
  • Deal with an unforeseen emergency
  • Go to a doctors, dentist or vet appointment

This list could go on and on, for some people their daily lives consist of this and more. So between all that which they apparently have full availability for, where are they finding the time to complete the 8-10 hours of work that has been set for that day?

Are they expected to work into the early hours of the morning? Because that sounds flexible. So why should they or their wife, husband, partner, mother, father etc. be denied any kind of flexibility to help with any of these responsibilities?

The Solution

Honestly, I think if there are any businesses suffering from any of the aforementioned bias I think they need some serious HR consulting. Working From Home is purely about location, what flexibility comes with that is a totally separate conversation for individual employers to have with their employees.

Although, no employee whether they WFH or not should feel unable to ask for certain needs to be met. And this certainly should not be the case for people who happen to have a member of their household who Works From Home.

There is no other way to put it: that it is not an employer’s business. It is quite literally someone else’s and that business just happens to have their employee Working From Home. And their work is every bit as important, time-consuming and attention requiring as any employee who does not conduct their Work From Home.

Either way, there is definitely a misconception about Working From Home and how flexible it is. The same could be said for the 4-day week which is another hot topic right now. See what John Adams has to to say on the subject and how flexible it really is.

Categories
Career Returners Career Returners Careers Equality and Diversity

Gov Returners Programme for Women in STEM

Back in June Find Your Flex released an article questioning whether society is doing enough for women in STEM roles. Nine months later on International Women’s Day 2022, the government announced it’s plan to introduce a returner programme for women in STEM.

We’re happy that the government is catching up and acting on the clear path forward. Returner programmes are nothing new, Find Your Flex have hosted several returner programmes including STEM industry programmes.

However, a government implemented scheme designed specifically for women in STEM is a huge step in the right direction. Or is it?

How does a returner programme help get more women into STEM?

The aim of this programme is to close the gender-pay gap in the STEM industry. So how does this returner programme accomplish that?

In order to build upon something, the foundation needs to be maintained. Women who are currently in the STEM industry need to be retained and women who have stepped away from the industry for a time need to have entryways back, otherwise there will be nothing to build upon.

This is also about making sure the gap doesn’t widen by having women leave a role in STEM for temporary reasons and those roles being filled by men. And not having valuable knowledge and experience that women possess in this industry go to waste.

Women often report that they don’t feel as if they belong in engineering and computing fields … This more tenuous sense of fit with the professional role of an engineer was found to be associated with a greater likelihood of leaving the field.”

This shows there’s a battle on two fronts; trying to get women into STEM roles and trying to keep the ones already in place. Returner programmes are the middle ground; trying to get women back into STEM roles who have left.

Are women in STEM the priority?

The government implementing a STEM returner programme specifically for women is a wholly positive move. Although the way in which it was announced does bring into question how much of a priority this is really? It was introduced almost as a subsidiary of the transparent salaries pilot scheme, as it was showcased within that announcement.

However, STEM returner programmes for women feels like a totally separate scheme to transparent salaries. Though both can be used as tools to close the gender-pay gap, they also have other effects outside of that. Transparent Salaries affects all industries and tackles multiple issues. This programme focuses on one issue in one industry.

Getting more women into STEM roles and returning to STEM careers is a separate issue and a prominent one. It would have perhaps been more prudent if this returner programme had been announced separately or at least been given equal focus. This would have shown the government is just as committed to both.

Although, the fact that a government is running this programme is a huge step in the right direction. It shows that there is a need for more women in STEM roles in general and this should have a positive impact on that.

Returners and Retention in STEM could lead to further female talent Acquisition

Having a government backed returner programme will make it easier for women to return to higher level positions. Previously they have found this difficult if they did want to return to the STEM industry. Re-entering via roles they are overqualified for.

The 2021 STEM Returners index survey revealed that 61% of returners found the process of returning to the industry difficult or very difficult. Those who did return commented on being overqualified for their role and had entered at levels below where they were prior to their break.

This is one reason the returner programme will aid in helping new female talent enter the STEM industry. If experienced, qualified women are re-entering the industry at a lower level, this results in less opportunities for new talent. If qualified women re-enter at the same level they left, there will be more opportunities for new female talent.

There is also the chain reaction of the more women retained and returning in the STEM industry the more role models there are. An existing barrier is there is not enough female representation for girls in education to pursue a career in STEM.

A pwc report contained testimonials from female students. Some said they don’t want a career in tech as it is a male dominated industry. 83% of female students could not name a prominent female role model in tech. The more women in STEM, the more role models and prominent figures there will be.

The future of Women in STEM

No matter how you look at it, the future is far more hopeful for women in STEM after the government’s announcement. It’s one thing for businesses to individually or even collectively do their part to fix an issue. But when the issue is big enough to warrant government action, it results in an important shift within the industry.

Could more be being done? Of course! But this is just the beginning, getting more women into STEM roles will require far more time and investment to achieve the end goal. But this is a big step towards that, now we can focus on what the next step is.

For more information on women in the STEM industry click here.

Categories
Careers Lifestyle

The Right Mindset is Vital on your Career Journey

Tis’ the season to be jolly! We at Find Your Flex hope you are all enjoying the festive season; feeling merry, giving and thankful for all the positivity Christmas brings. Such is the mindset of this time of year.

Speaking of mindset; Find Your Flex wants to give you all a Christmas present that will last you a lifetime! But we’ll get to that later. For now we are posing the question of why mindset is so important on your career journey?

The answer might seem obvious; a positive mindset is the best way to achieve your goals. That is certainly true, but that’s a generalising view.

When we go deeper there are different types of mindsets when on your career journey. And they can all be empowering or detrimental to where you end up. Even a positive mindset can be the wrong kind for a certain stage of your career.

Have a defeatist Mindset never gets you anywhere

Searching for your ideal job role that will mark the beginning or the next stage in your career journey, can be a daunting thing. You can put a lot of pressure on yourself because of this.

Arguably your mindset is the most important aspect of looking for work. It can be what makes or breaks an application or an interview.

Referring back to pressure, you can sometimes have the mindset that you’re not good enough or don’t fit the requirements. The more job applications you see that make you feel unworthy, the more ingrained you can get into this way of thinking. Avoid this mindset at all costs as it is a long road to nowhere good.

If you don’t know this already, Find Your Flex is here to let you in on the secret: most employers don’t really expect you to tick every box on a job application. Even the so-called “essential requirements.”

What you have to understand is, in the employers’ minds; that is the perfect candidate. And nobody’s perfect, so it’s like a test; see which boxes do get ticked and how the other aspects that might be lacking, are compensated for.

Find Your Flex has campaigned for this to change as we believe it is an unfair way of advertising jobs. And that employers are missing out on a lot of Talent because of this. Job descriptions should be output based; describing solely the output of the job and not set out an essential criteria for the applicant. For more on output, click here.

Regardless of how stacked job descriptions appear, or how many applications don’t go anywhere, do not put yourself down because of it. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole with that way of thinking and it will never lead to success.

You are not owed anything

On the other end of the scale, you can never just assume you have done enough to get a job and be content with that. I’m speaking with some experience here.

Overconfidence and naivety will never fuel a mindset that will benefit you.

Sometimes we can be naive about what will get us into our ideal job role. I was naive when initially looking to secure a role. I believed that since I worked hard to achieve my degree, that should show employers I’m a good fit for their role. I was wrong.

For graduates fresh out of uni, if all you have is your degree and nothing else, I’m here to tell you it is not enough. That may not seem fair but unfortunately it is the truth.

Not to say your degree isn’t an important part of your CV, it is. But if that’s all you have there will be others with that and more. Read John Adam’s thoughts on Universities in the modern world for more on this subject. Although, its not just about graduates looking to start their careers.

If you have years of experience in a role, you might think that should automatically make you fit for a similar role you are applying for. That might not be the case.

If you were in the same role for 10+ years and that role did not change or you didn’t accumulate any new skills during that time, there is an issue.

A lot can change in that time. If you refer to past experience alone, an employer can view you as set in your ways or even outdated.

Even certain positive mindsets can be detrimental if they are overly positive to the point of being unrealistic. Always look for that balance between optimistic and realistic.

Complacency vs Progression

It is important to maintain a healthy mindset while in work. This can sometimes be difficult when you’re not necessarily where you want to be in your career.

When climbing the ladder you should be actively trying to increase your knowledge, skills and experience. This can be done both inside and outside of work.

If you want to progress in your career quickly, you should always be looking for new opportunities everywhere. Not just where you currently work.

However climbing the ladder might not be what you want. There’s no law that says you can’t be content with your current position and should constantly be seeking more. Your current role may facilitate your life well enough. You don’t need to be constantly thinking: “what’s next?”

That does not mean you should stop developing. Be content sure, but don’t get complacent. Because the only certain thing in life is that nothing is for certain.

You never know what is round the corner, especially in the digital age where job roles are becoming automated all the time. Or the company you work for may hit hard times and be forced make redundancies.

I touched upon this earlier; if you spend years in a role that does not alter and you learn nothing new in all that time, you put yourself at a disadvantage.

Even if you are happy with your current role, you should still keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to improve your skill set. Even simply keeping up to date with the latest developments that affect your role and learning the skills that come with these.

The mindset you have must always keep the future in sight. Whether climbing the ladder or having a back up plan; always keep developing yourself.

So what is the Mindset you need for Success?

If you think you have to have different mindsets for each stage of your career journey, you don’t. There is one mindset that accounts for every point of your professional life from start to finish.

Find Your Flex wants you to have said mindset, but we also want to bring you more than that throughout your career journey. Other tools and advice that will empower you to achieve your career goals and enable you to put life first.

To find out the true mindset to success, visit here to download the pdf. Think of it as opening the door to an Advent Calendar, what is inside may not be as sweet as chocolate, but what you will receive is far more rewarding and empowering!

Keep your eye out, holidays are coming, but so are great things from Find Your Flex!

Categories
Automation Careers

The Impact of Automation on Career Development

This month is National Career Development month. Naturally, we at Find Your Flex are invested in the nation’s career development at every level.

This year’s theme is centred on how Artificial Intelligence (A.I) and Automation is affecting the Future of Work. And how the career development of the nation needs to evolve when taking this into account.

Automation and how it is impacting the workforce is a development that Find Your Flex has been watching closely. We have done our part to keep people informed of these developments and how they will be impacted by these. Now we wish to join the National Career Development Association in raising awareness on this subject and how existing career development practices need to be prepared for the inevitable.

Automation is the Future

We’ve discussed the topic of automation and how it affects certain industries such as retail and hospitality and how it affects national and global security.

But the fact is; automation and A.I will affect everything in the future. We are only baring witness to the beginning; video technology has been introduced to most sports. We speak to chat bots on websites far more than having real people deal with our enquiries (often to our frustration). And does anyone even order at the til in McDonald’s anymore?

This will only expand and increase as time goes on and even more efficient technology will be developed to carry out tasks that people are required to do. Many existing manual job roles will become obsolete, as many already have.

Ignorance won’t be Bliss

There’s no point trying to resist this inevitable change or delude our individual selves that “it won’t affect me and my prospects” because it will, it’s happening as we speak. And if we choose to ignore this and do nothing, what will happen? Have you seen the Disney Pixar film WALL-E? If not look down below to see what happened to all the people of an automated society who did nothing and just let tech take over!

(Image sourced from psycritic.com)

The scary thing is, this is only partially a joke. Is this really an impossible stretch from where we are now? Staring at screens all day, communicating without any physical interaction and having food delivered to us with just the click of a button.

All we’re really missing is the floating chairs and trust me, there’s probably some tech wizard out there right now trying to change that. So what can we do to avoid this?

Develop New Career Development

The answer is pretty simple, we do what humans always do when faced with change, we adapt and evolve. And with this particular obstacle, the answer lies in what we call career development, which encompasses everything we do to grow professionally.

In education, automation and A.I have to become a bigger part of the national curriculum. In the sense that we need to look at how individual subjects are effected by today’s technology and make sure the next generation are fully equipped to understand and utilize it. This needs to start as early as possible and be a vital part of their ongoing education.

“I must prepare my two- and three-year-old sons to race with the robots, and not against them. Our kids are going to meet an economy with far fewer entry-level positions and will have to clamber up a receding ladder. That means being in schools equipped to exceed the averages, not rising to meet them.” – Kristen Millares Young, The Guardian

It doesn’t stop at schools though, this goes for colleges, universities, apprenticeships, traineeships, returner programmes, company progression schemes etc.

Every. Single. Form. Of Career Development MUST impart knowledge and skills that will enable people to gain employment in an automated world.

If someone is looking to enter the retail industry, they need to be taught skills on how to monitor, analyse and utilize technologies within that industry. The same goes for roles in hospitality, health and social care, construction etc. With every new form of automation there will be new opportunities for the workforce linked to that technology. Whether it is maintaining said technology or a role that uses the data that technology provides.

The Fears of Career Development in the Digital Age

When talking about a future that is going to be dominated by automated technologies there is an aspect that needs to be addressed.

For a lot of people, this future is a terrifying one. As it leaves them feeling uncertain about their place in it.

The reason for this is that some of us find technology more difficult to use than others. This is especially true for some people who grew up without this level of technology in their lives.

When working in a certain way for a lengthy period and to then be told everything is going to change and you need to learn all these new technological skills in order to remain employed. That would scare pretty much anyone.

But it isn’t just older generations that this can seem daunting for. There are plenty of children, teenagers and young adults, that find tech more difficult to get their heads round.

The issue is when we’re talking about career development evolving in preparation for the “digital age”. Talking about, data, automation, artificial intelligence etc. Someone who isn’t necessarily tech minded can hear these phrases and assume that you need to be a computer genius to be suited for a role in technology.

But you don’t.

Career Developing for Automation with Find Your Flex

Having the mindset of needing to be a computer genius to be suitable for ANY role involving technology, is like saying someone needs to be a fully trained architect to build a sand castle.

Technology like everything else, has varying levels of simplicity. And its important to keep this in mind when applying for jobs or if you want to progress in your career.

There are going to be entry-level roles involving technology that you will likely find easy once given simple but clear instructions on how to use it.

At Find Your Flex, we have been doing our part to alleviate these worries and are working with businesses who are providing traineeships, apprenticeships, returner programmes and skills courses. All of these are designed with automation and the digital age in mind.

Each of these forms of career development are designed for people from all walks of life, to be able to begin or continue working in an automated environment. And we will continue to do this so that no one has to worry about automation affecting the career prospects.

Visit our Apprenticeship Hub, Returner Hub and Online Courses to find out more!

Categories
Business Careers Future of work Interviews And CV's Recruitment

Salaries In Job Descriptions: Candidates want Employers to be Upfront

Find Your Flex is a platform with a purpose. And that purpose is to build a better future of work for all. Today we are discussing salaries in job descriptions!

Recently we conducted a poll on various social media platforms on the inclusion of stated salaries in job descriptions. The response was overwhelming.

We asked the question: “If a Salary isn’t stated on a Job Description does it put you off?

The post went viral, reaching over 100,000 views and over 4,100 people voted. 84% of people who voted said; yes they would be put off by a job description that does not state a salary.

Many of the voters supplied their reasons why and we noticed a particular pattern forming.

No Time for Time Wasters

It usually puts me off entirely. If the job sounds like a particularly good fit and I enter a discussion with a recruiter about it, the salary range is the first question I’ll ask. If the recruiter won’t give me the salary range at the start, I’ll politely end the call there as I don’t want to waste my time.

The most prominent reason given for why people would be put off applying, was that they didn’t want to waste time.

Supplementary to that was that most people apply for jobs that will continue to facilitate their lifestyle needs.

Applicants don’t want to waste their time applying. Only to find out further down the line that the salary will not sufficiently meet their needs.

How can you make a decision about viability of changing a role/ company if you can’t equate whether you could continue to afford to live your existence?

Applicants also see this as a lack of respect in valuing their time. Or even shows ignorance about the amount of time and effort candidates put into their job applications.

If a candidate really wants a role they can spend hours catering their CV and covering letter specifically to that role and company.

Why should you spend the time and energy polishing a resume, applying, stressing, interviewing, waiting…just to find the salary range is something you would have never applied for in the first place?

Salaries in job descriptions – a lack of transparency results in a lack of trust

Good candidates who pull out are less likely to apply to the organisation again and more likely to share their experience with their connections.

No company should ever underestimate the power of word of mouth.

It only takes one applicant to have a bad experience during the recruitment process for this to snowball. Social Networking and Social Media is a huge part of our daily lives.

All it takes is one post by an applicant with the right social connections to spread the word about how poor an employer’s recruitment process is.

I somehow always get the impression that these companies are looking for the highest skilled employee who ticks all the right boxes whom they can then insult by offering as little as possible for their services.

This all contributes to a company’s brand reputation. When it is clear that one aspect of the business has a negative reputation, it starts a domino effect in the eyes of the public. It’s clear to see their train of thought:

If a company has poor recruitment, they must be a poor employer. If they’re a poor employer, the service can’t be great. If the service isn’t great I should take my custom elsewhere.

Even in its simplest form, if you’re not being open about yourselves as an employer, why should candidates trust you?

Believe you are good and fair employer? Then literally put your money/salaries where your mouth is so candidates will know it!

If you are proud of what you pay your people you will have no problem, putting this out.

Don’t play games with people’s livelihoods

What puts me off is when the recruiter asks what salary you expect. I just reply, asking what the company is offering. You can’t beat around the bush… it gets you nowhere and does no one any favours in the long run … Be up front and don’t treat it like a game. Life is too short!!

Even if salaries are negotiable, a range between the minimum and maximum should be advertised to show applicants where they stand.

And once those negotiations begin, both parties need to be forthcoming about what their expectations are to meet a certain salary.

This is important as salaries can also help an applicant determine their level of seniority.

The ludicrous requirements for even the most junior roles make it difficult to determine the seniority, in a way that salary absolutely defines.

In negotiating anything, both sides need to be aware of the stakes. A candidate needs to know what it is they are negotiating for. It is better to state a salary in the job description than make applicants struggle to negotiate in the dark. This is just another form of playing games.

And its important that the employer is not considered a dictator, as this once again impacts their reputation. If the salary is negotiable, both parties must have something to negotiate with.

“Negotiating power lies with the employer if a salary isn’t listed. Whilst you can negotiate during the final stage of interviews, you should at least see salary expectations and that your potential employer has done some research into the role before you apply.

Just ticking a recruitment box?

It makes me feel like the recruiter is just trying to collect CVs to stick in a database and tick a box.”

This may not be just about salary. A lack of effort and details in a job description will be a sure sign to any applicant that the employer is not overly interested in the quality of the applicant.

But it is clear that to some applicants, an unstated salary is a red flag that employers do not care about the application and are just ticking a HR box.

Thus sending a message that employers don’t care enough to put in the research of the role they are recruiting for. And what the standard salary is for such a role.

If you don’t advertise a salary then for me it says to a potential applicant is these guys are potentially looking to do this on the cheap or have no idea about the marketplace and so can’t even pitch a salary for the role.”

It can also show a poor HR department or recruiter. As top quality candidates who know their value will be looking out for a salary. These will be less likely to apply for the role.

Where an abundance of perhaps under-qualified candidates will be in their place resulting in hours of sifting through applications.

“It usually means HR and hiring managers spending unnecessary time sifting through more CV’s and interviewing candidates that if they discover the salary is too low will pull out.”

Salaries in job descriptions: The candidates have spoken. Now employers must listen

The response was loud and clear. The general theme that employers have a responsibility to state salaries in their job descriptions cannot be ignored.

If employers continue to omit such crucial information from the job description they not only risk losing potentially amazing recruits, but could be doing substantial damage to their brand reputation.

To conclude, its not difficult to state a salary in job description, even if its a range between the minimum and the maximum, at least then everyone knows where they stand. The only one that stands to miss out on not stating a salary is the employer.

Categories
Automation Career Change Career Returners Career Returners Careers Digital Skills Students and Graduates Technology Industry

Tech Skills and Flexible Working

From FREE tech bootcamps to employment brilliance……………….

Skills City & Host Manchester are hosting tech courses, fully funded by the Department for Education, to empower women in the North West to find inspiring flexible careers and to help level the playing field when it comes to gender equality.

Find Your Flex is partnering with Skills City and Host in Media City, in the heart of the Northern Powerhouse, to help women in this region to gain qualifications and new skills and to turbocharge female representation in the tech industry. For some of the courses, no experience is required. We know that women have the ability to be the future leaders in tech.

What do you want to be?

This general question is asked of girls when they grow up and again as women later in life. The answers may be limited and gender-bound.

Today we can ask any gender, very different questions.

Would you like to become a cyber analyst and protect society and your family from the rise of cyber-fraud?

Perhaps you are excited about building your own app or software to launch that brilliant new business idea you have?

Are you a creative graphic designer with 3D skills that you would like to take to the new level? Perhaps you want to work for a company that didn’t exist 10 years ago but has since revolutionised TV & Film and soon to do the same with Gaming? Ever fancied a career at Netflix?

If so, the opportunity is right here to take that step forward and realise your aspirations. Skills City will give you the tools, the support and the confidence to forge a fascinating career.

Women in tech

The statistics in tech are dismaying – it’s male dominated with a low percentage of engagement from women. Just 19% of the UK tech workforce is female.

Why aren’t there more women in tech in 2021?

It starts early when girls are given dolls to play with whilst boys have Meccano sets to build and create models. These boys may have grown up to become men who believe they can build and create. They feel confident of their ability to build ‘stuff’.

Women are fed a narrative that focuses on being caring and nurturing and capable of organising a household. Then as adults we face guilt about being a working mother (the motherly stereotype most 30-something plus women today witnessed didn’t include Mothers handling Zoom meetings, deadlines and a toddler under their feet. We’ve grown up believing we are particularly suited to certain ‘types’ of employment.

But the reality is that women have many qualities that are well suited to a tech career.

Intelligent and probing minds, a love of problem solving, strategic thinking and a laser focus on finding solutions and the art of collaboration.

It’s time tech truly tapped into female potential

Our current world has been built by men for men – and it’s time for change!

Digital technology is critical to all our lives in terms of access to education, culture, health, leisure, employment and entrepreneurship.

But that world so far has been largely built by men without the full and necessary input of the other 50% of our population.

Unicef, highlighting the gender digital divide, states that digital products and services need to be designed for women as well, instead of using the male view of systems and tech platforms, as the gender default.

As Unicef continues, “women are left out of co-creation, design and product testing.”

We need diversity at all levels, to address this fundamental problem.

Our world is changing.

Do you want to be a part of shaping it to be more gender neutral and fair?

You don’t need a stellar academic education or be the next tech whizz kid.

You just need to have an interest in the new opportunities inspired by tech – honestly there’s nothing more to it.

Tech as a game changer

Tech’s importance as the largest game-changer in terms of its ability improve the way we live, work and become available to more opportunities is exponential.

Jobs that historically have required the human touch (retail, hospitality, customer services, sales) are increasingly becoming automated and that rise is inexorable.

We need all pivot to some degree if we are to have the tools we require for our future world of work, and the way we interact and flourish within in it.

The aim of the Skills City initiative is to ensure that women from all backgrounds are trained up and fired up to access a wealth of opportunities to get fulfilling and flexible employment.

Tech is not only a game changer in how we interact with digital products.

It is a social game changer too.

There is huge scope for people from non-traditional backgrounds to take a leap forward in terms of earnings potential.

Jobs are well paid (mid tech is around £40k-60k) and this can help narrow the gender pay gap.

It’s an amazing chance for women retuning to the workplace after a career break and offers a myriad of opportunities for people with disabilities as remote working can be the norm.

Opportunity knocks

Women are just as capable as men with dealing STEM but are less likely to engage in that field in the first place. A lack of familiarity of what opportunities are out there may be a factor. There may be a presumption of a lack of flexibility in work patters. A dearth of confidence to participate in a male-dominated industry may also play a role.

That needs to change.

We would say take every chance you are given to find out because your perfect career may be waiting for you to discover it. The demand is there, the jobs are there, now we need trained human input. That person could be you and you could be more suited to a career in tech than you may initially assume. This is why government is running courses like this with the aim of make a social shift in how women approach tech.

Being a cyber analyst, for example, is about much more than sitting with a keyboard. It is about protecting people, often those whom we care about most. Cyberfraud is on in the increase, as is hacking, scamming and cyber-bullying. Our personal data and our finances are at risk and need continual protection. Women are just as capable as men of providing that sword and that shield.

Flex your tech

The rise of tech can also be linked to the rise in flexible working.

Set aside the stereotype of inflexible hours.

You are not bound to a particular location or to a designated 9-5, clock-on and clock-on regime. There is scope for you to mould your work around the rest of your life. This is particularly helpful for women who bear a disproportionate burden when it comes to housekeeping, childcare and caring for elderly relatives.

Before you now lies a fascinating chance to create a balanced life.

As the Harvard Business Review points out It’s a chance for women to shape the communities and world that we live in. It’s a chance for women’s voices to be heard and to be united, and to for their skills to be utilised to the full extent and capabilities. Tech has removed many physical and psychological barriers to employment.

Once you have the skills you need, there are incredible job opportunities out there for you to take advantage of.

What are you waiting for? Pull on your boots and get Skilled-up at the camp.

Categories
Automation Career Change Careers Digital Skills Equality and Diversity Future of work Technology Industry

Cyber Security: Filling the Gender Skills Gap in Tech

Living in the digital age brings with it a whole new host of threats. 

The ever looming threat of automation and the number of job roles it will render as obsolete in the not to distant future. We can already see this in retail and hospitality industries, how many have replaced manned tills with self-service kiosks? The implications are there and to be sustainable, automation must create the same number of jobs it takes away. 

But there needs to be a learning curve to bridge the digital skills gap created during this process from now until 2025 when 10M jobs will fall out of the UK economy.   

People need to have the opportunity to learn the skills to be eligible for the new emerging roles, created by automation. 

This is why Skills City and Find Your Flex are stepping in; so we can provide these opportunities to those most in need of a “step up”. 

One of the main issues of the digital age is safety. 

Fraudsters don’t need to speak to you directly to steal from you, children cannot always escape school-bullies even in their own homes, wars these days are not always fought on land, sea or sky. 

All of these threats and many more take place online. Cyber-bullying, Online Fraudsters, Cyber-terrorists, Hackers etc. 

In the digital age, our lives are online, therefore the threats are too. 

So what’s the answer? 

Our physical safety is protected by the police, security guards, firefighters, paramedics, military and so on. 

Our online identities are protected by Information Security Administrators, Social Media Moderators, Security Software Developers, Cyber Intelligence Analysts and more. These roles have become just as vital to our protection as the former mentioned roles, all they require is the right tech skills to really set people on the right path.

Women in Tech

White males largely dominate the physical security roles mentioned previously. Unfortunately white males also dominate most roles within the technology sector. Currently only 23% of people in STEM occupations are female, including tech and this has to stop.  

The world is full of talented and intelligent women that could easily make a successful career within technology. And yet males dominate the industry.

It almost feels ridiculous to say this in this day in age; women are just as clever and technology minded as men. 

Why do I say that? 

Because clearly the message isn’t sinking in. 

This is why Skills City are adamant that women in the North West, whether they be graduates or career changers, need to consider a career in tech. 

We need to change these statistics and these online courses are the perfect way to do that. 

Every single student is guaranteed a job interview upon completion.  

The pandemic and the process of automation provides the perfect opportunity for us to see technology savvy women, recareer and make a HUGE DIFFERENCE to the technology workforce. 

GIF sourced from eloquence-of-felicities.tumblr.com

Cyber Security: We need our Cyber Soldiers

Cyber Security has become a vital part of national security. 

We hear about it all the time on the news, cyber terrorism and hackers are just as much of a threat to our personal safety and security as any physical threats.Often these things even hint at an act of war, and why wouldn’t they? 

With everything being online these days, a war can happen from the keyboards in your office and more easily than weapons could be mobilized on a battlefield. And the people sitting at those keyboards are becoming just as much our protective force as people in the military. 

The military have the stereotype of being for “big strong men” 

(although have you seen the Army’s latest recruitment ad to attract women? Check it out and Google Army + Emma). 

 The tech industry has developed a similar stereotype. 

Yet there was a supposed reason that women didn’t want to join the armed forces (and still do, especially in some divisions). The reason being that they weren’t thought to be as “physically capable” as men, which is bulls*#t. 

Yet even if that was true, there can be be no such reason for women not joining Cyber Security roles. 

Women are just a clever as any man. 

Just as capable of developing protective software and analyzing cyber threats. 

In this industry no one can deny that women are on any equal footing in terms of their capabilities and have a right defend their families and country as much as any man.

GIF Sourced from tenor.com

Ensuring our kids have Cyber Security

The world has had to accept that the majority of children spend a lot of their time online. And this of course brings threats that have already been plaguing us for years now. 

Our kids are not always safe from bullies or predators when they get home. This is a scary and uncomfortable topic that’s not nice to hear. 

But it’s real and we must discuss it in order to combat it. 

As adults we recognise that cyber bullying has caused many grown adults to leave social media and in the worst cases, cause depression, anxiety or even contribute towards someone taking their own life. Some have even had the terrifying experience of being stalked or threatened online.

So it’s completely understandable why there are many parents who don’t allow their child online because of these threats. 

While we’d never tell anyone how to raise their child, what we do know is as this is without question “The digital age”, preventing them from going online is likely to be a losing battle.  

Yes there are threats online but would you stop your child going to school to avoid bullying? 

Or prevent them going out with friends because there are ‘bad’ people out there? 

It’s the same basic principle here. Plus, so much social interaction between today’s youth is online. Keeping your kids away from it could affect them in other ways. 

So you might be thinking: “What can I do to help resolve this then?”

Like everything, nothing is black and white. You don’t need to either just let them go online and hope for the best or ensure they’re never on it at all. If you are a mother or father who is concerned for your child’s online safety, be a protective force for them and all children. 

You don’t have to be a techno genius who develops security software. With the basic tech skills taught in these courses you could become a Social Media Moderator or a Security Administrator. 

These are roles that actively seek out offensive, threatening or suspicious online behaviour and put a stop to it. 

If this is something you feel passionately about, equip yourself with the skills to do it.

In just 14 weeks, you could have the Cyber Skills to help keep our future generations safe. 

GIF Sourced from Pinterest

Cyber Security Online Course

Just like with any industry, the roles within Cyber Security vary and there has never been so much demand for all manner of commercial businesses looking for people like you NOW. 

The base skills for most cyber roles are taught at Raytheon Cyber Academy. Plus  it provides many transferable tech skills that would benefit another role within the sector.  

Automation will soon render many jobs obsolete. To create a new income in a sector that can offer flexible working, it’s imperative women join and participate in the tech workforce. We have to be the change we want to see. 

What if Cyber Security isn’t necessarily the tech avenue for you? 

Then you should definitely look at one of the other Skills City courses such as creative 3D Graphic Design and cloud engineering. Take look at courses from Unity Centre of Excellence and AWS re/start respectively. 

A career change may is both a smart choice but also an inevitability.

Check out all of Skills City tech boot camps here

Categories
A Day In The Life Of... Business Career Returners Careers Flexible Working

A Day in the Life Of a Life & Business Coach: Veena Hedges

The most inspiring roles are ones that help people bring their dreams to fruition. The primary goal of a Life & Business Coach is to provide people with the tools and support to help them achieve their goals. But what does a working day of a Life and Business Coach look like?

We are excited to hear from the amazing Veena Hedges. Veena has had many experiences already throughout her career journey; from starring in shows such as Grange Hill, Children’s Ward and the Bill, to earning a degree in business management and starting and running two companies in global recruitment and property respectively.

These are just some of the professional accomplishments in Veena’s life and now she helps others achieve their goals as a Life and Business Coach. We at Find Your Flex could not think of anyone better equipped!

What does a working day look like for a Life & Business Coach?

It looks the way I want it to look. First comes looking after me, then comes looking after my clients and in-between comes looking after the family.

How do you find a work life balance?

Through taking the time to sit with a coach and primarily working out what’s most important to me. Then, with their support, making a plan to find time and space to fit everything in, making sure the important bits are put in first.

Are there opportunities to progress?

Always! Everything is changing all the time, anything that sits still grows mold, even water. As humans our challenge is to keep embracing change, be in front of the curve, be open to new exciting opportunities everywhere. In work, in travel, in cuisine, in relationships, in entertainment, in books, in fashion etc. Every time we learn something new, we are progressing. Self development is the meaning of being born human, why we are put on this earth.

What is the best part about being Life & Business Coach?

To support and encourage a person’s metamorphosis from a caterpillar to butterfly. It inspires me, gives me a sense of wonderment and purpose.

Is there a difficult part to your job?

I’m not so great at selling myself.

If someone was considering a career in your area of expertise, what advice would you give to them?

I would ask them if they like helping people and if they’re able to support someone make their own decisions without any judgment, advice or own ideas into the mix. I would advise them to get a proper qualification from The Coaching Academy which is the accredited body.

THANK YOU TO VEENA FOR SHARING HER INSIGHTS AS A LIFE & BUSINESS COACH!

Veena has really shined a light on not only the ins and outs of being a Life and Business Coach, but the importance of work-life balance. Veena’s views on how life must come first and how work needs to be prioritised is truly inspiring. This exactly what we at Find Your Flex want everyone to recognise. We thank Veena for this amazing piece that will inspire our readers!

To learn more about Veena’s journey and if you yourself feel you would benefit from her expertise, check out her website here.

If you want to find out about the work days of other careers, why not have a read of A Day in the Life Of a Co-Founder and CPO: Jacob Sever?

Categories
Career Change Careers Flexible Working

Finding Your Passion: Working part-time in Health & Social Care

In the past fourteen months since we first heard of the words ‘Covid 19’, we’ve all been searching for more meaning in our lives.

Some have found it in sourdough & Joe Wicks whilst others are frantically looking for new careers.

Like so many of you reading this, Find your Flex hope that through collective action, we can all play a role in helping the world undergo the much needed ‘Great Reset’:

(https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/covid19-great-reset-gita-gopinath-jennifer-morgan-sharan-burrow-climate/).

The world of work is on the brink of huge change and finding your passion is now within touching distance.

One (if not the sole) positive of the pandemic is that it’s brought flexibility within the workplace, to the fore (thanks Covid!).

It’s also forced us to reanalyse what our real career values are, what our purpose in life is or should be and to also question –

Are we living authentically?

Do we ‘love’ the job we currently do? Is the love enoughto be dedicating most of our working lives to it?

Does your job bring you enough happiness or make you feel content? 

Luckily for anyone still trying to understand what their true passion or calling is– the rise of the portfolio career is becoming the new norm: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zktbn9q.

The days of working in the same career or company all of your life before being rewarded with a carriage clock, are fading for most of us.

If you’ve been considering your next move but aren’t quite sure how to execute it – we might be able to help.

If you’ve always felt a pull towards working within an industry where caring for others and building meaningful relationships – is on the important list, then there’s never been a better time to get experience within health & social care. You can get flexible work experience that pays and you can fit around your life, exactly as you need too.

The Health & Social Care industry is one we feel passionate about at Find your Flex.

It’s an industry you’ll always have a job in, you won’t be replaced by a robot and you always have the opportunity to work as flexibly as you need.

While it’s been a sector cast in a negative light for decades, we want to do ‘our bit’ to shine a light on all the positive & immensely rewarding work that happens day in and day out.

If you’re searching for flexible work and a job with more meaning, becoming a Support Worker could be the experience you need to begin transforming your life for the better.

Considering a career in Health and Social Care but not sure if you have the right skills?

Here’s are the scenarios it could help you with:

Maybe you’ve been curious about working with elderly people ever since you watched your Grandparent (s) experience the Care System?

Or perhaps you’ve had a hunch you’d find helping young and older adults living with mental or physical disabilitieshugely rewarding?

Have a listen to these podcasts:

Hear are some really inspiring stories about what motivates so many to work in the Health and Social Care industry (and try to not be moved or cry):

Working as a Support Worker on either a part-time or ‘Bank Staff’ basis, will give you the chance to see and feel, what a career in health and social care is like in reality. Not just through our preconceived lens.

And if the role of Support Worker doesn’t feel quite right but you develop a love for the sector, there are many ways your employers can help and support you in establishing which area of the sector you are most suited too: https://careers.cygnethealth.co.uk/learning-at-cygnet/

Considering retraining into Counselling, Therapy, Psychology, Nursing or Psychotherapy?

Perhaps you need to do some academic training over the next two to four years in order to start this new role?

If you’re about to enrol onto a part-time Btech, Diploma, Degree or MA; this could be the part-time income you need to facilitate a period of retraining.

Working part-time or as bank staff is a brilliant way to see if you have the skills you need to work with a diverse range of people with diverse conditions.

While you study to gain the academic foundation required, you could also develop your people skills, listening skills and empathy. And make some money.

Working part-time as a Support Worker usually requires a minimum of two 12 hour shifts per week.

That equates to £223.20 per week so £892.80 per month. Bank Staff are expected to do just one twelve-hour shift per week, £111 per week and £446 per month.

Rather than take a part-time job in retail or hospitality to make ends meet while you study, this could provide you with something truly rewarding.

You want to live a more nomadic lifestyle? A career in Health and Social Care could be the solution

We know remote working will become ‘normalised’ over the coming years.

Flexible office space and collaboration venues are popping up all over the country (YEY!).

If you think you’ve got a book within you, or a desire to run your own business; working as a Support Worker can provide you with a regular and steady income to balance your passion projects.

Care work also teaches you an awful lot about life and the psychology of people. An untapped source of inspiration if you ask me.

I’ve also heard that if you work your hours right in part-time vacancies (which entitle you to holiday pay), many staff take a full month or two off every year to do extended holidays.

Imagine sitting on a Greek island and writing that novel or self-help book with your face in the sun?

Want to break out of the Corporate shackles?

If you’re about to return to work after a career break or perhaps have fallen out of love with the corporate world. Working with the more vulnerable in society could be just what you need.

You’ll understand what it means to feel truly valued. Knowing your contribution helps the wellbeing of others, every single day.

The organisations that have struggled to meet the well-reported increased demand in this sector are at the point where they recognise fundamental changes are needed ASAP.

https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/life-sciences-and-healthcare/articles/global-health-care-sector-outlook.html

Digital innovation and a desire to change are happening. The next phase is acceleration.

If you want to be part of meaningful change, this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

We work with a number of health and social care organisations at Find your Flex.

We’re currently in partnership with Cygnet Healthcare who are doing a lot of brilliant and innovative work in this space.

Cygnet offer constant paths for career progression to any of their staff who want it. They offer a list of staff benefits longer than my COVID roots (very long).

Have a look at all their current vacancies– https://jobs.findyourflex.co.uk/clients/cygnet-healthcare

If any of this has sparked your interest and you’d like to talk to one of our Careers Coaches – you can meet our Team here: https://findyourflex.co.uk/coaching/

They’re happy to offer an initial 20minute FOC consultation to establish whether you’d benefit from their coaching framework.

If you decide to work together, hourly rates apply. But they offer a 10% discount for anyone considering a career in H&SC. Find Your Passion and purpose in life– it’s honestly there for the taking!

Categories
Flexible Working

Making Flexible Work Work

With our recent addition of a fabulous set of career coaches to our team, Kris Thorne decided an interview with our CEO Cheney Hamilton was in order.

In this interview, Kris and Cheney explore the case for flexible working and how The Find Your Flex Group developed into the great job site and community support sites they are today.

They also discuss mid life career changes, apprenticeships, low birth rate years and the impact on a future skills shortage.

If you’d like to learn more about Kris and our other career coaches visit this page:

Career Coaches

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