Getting ahead of the competition
The global pandemic has not only changed the way we work and reshaped the job market, but its legacy is set to unleash increased activity in the employment market, and if you’re looking to make a move this year, then you need to be ready for more than just a regular job search.Aside from the usual competition for roles, the market is going to be rocked by furlough coming to an end; strong candidates who have lost their jobs as a result of the economic downturn; and employees leaving their jobs if they aren’t guaranteed to retain the flexibility of remote working that they have become accustomed to. Add into the mix the new ways of hiring that have been adopted, such as video interviewing, and suddenly your job search is looking very different from the last time you were on the market. That said, there are still some tried and tested steps that you should take that will make finding opportunities easier and that will give you a head start on the competition. Here are our top four.1. Network onlineNetworking in person hasn’t been an option for a long time and this has further cemented LinkedIn as the primary shop window for talent. It’s crucial that you get your LinkedIn profile as polished as possible – we are often asked to help candidates with this, as it’s not as easy as you think. You need a clear, concise summary that immediately draws people in, as well as an abundance of skills and achievements when you detail your roles to date. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations and join groups to enhance your profile. Even though remote working has made browsing for jobs online easier with no colleagues seeing your screen or search history, don’t forget to pay attention to your LinkedIn privacy settings if you’re updating your profile – a sudden impressive update could be a red flag to your current employer.2. Prep your CVIt may seem an outdated concept given the popularity of LinkedIn as an online substitute, but a CV is still vital for applications. It needs to be up to date, honest, and have zero mistakes. A clear, eye-catching personal statement is as important as your LinkedIn summary, but what makes a CV different is that you can tailor it to the company or role you’re applying for. Focus on the skills and experience they want to see as this will show you have done your research on the role. Don’t forget to include recently acquired tech skills and experience as these are in high demand, as are soft skills.3. Get comfortable with techThe move to remote working has been a sharp learning curve for everyone, but even a year or so down the line we still hear “I think you might be on mute” at least once a day. Face-to-face interviews are tough enough situations, but meeting people for the first time online and having to perform to interview standards from your home, with an intermittent connection can be a nightmare. It’s worth spending time to hone your digital setup and how to use various platforms, so that tech worries can be taken out of the equation. There’s nothing worse than having to install a niche communication app at the last minute because your interviewer doesn’t trust Zoom’s security or can’t work Teams well.4. Recruiters and job boardsWhile you can do it alone, a professional recruitment consultant and registering with the right job boards can save you a lot of time. Do some research on recruiters to find a specialist in your target sector and solicit recommendations from peers who have had a positive experience with them. They are likely to be significantly more connected in your area than you are and will be able to advise you on the aspects you can’t glean from a job description, such as the company culture. A credible recruiter will also speak to you outside of your work hours if necessary and be discreet with your applications, understanding the sensitivity surrounding your current employer and colleagues.If you’re thinking of moving jobs and need any advice on any of the above, we’d be very happy to chat in complete confidence.
Thinking of leaving your role?
As the economy looks to bounce back from the pandemic-induced slowdown, and businesses tentatively reignite their growth plans, strong candidates are soon going to see more opportunities come their way and an increased demand for their skills. At the moment, the career-focused candidate will typically look to make a change every two to three years, but that average length of tenure is set to come down as more Gen Z candidates burst onto the market. Job-hopping is no longer a legitimate buzzword, as this new generation has very different ideas about how they want their careers to play out. They may not immediately increase the direct competition for more senior candidates given their different levels, but they will change the rules of employment over the next few years and make leaving a job more commonplace for everyone. Some candidates approaching their second or third year may well be with an employer who recognises their own investment and so rewards talented individuals with regular career development and progression. The best employers focus hard on retention, as well as the employee experience, and will work creatively with their staff to help build a career with them, even if there is the occasional lateral move to keep them happy. For other ambitious candidates, considering a move away if their employer is not on board with their aspirations is the only positive step they can take when there is no clear progression ahead of them internally. Fortunately, the past year has also changed the options open to talent. As businesses have undergone a digital transformation, switched to a remote model, or pivoted into new streams to mitigate the effects of the worldwide slump, new roles have emerged, widening the career paths for many. Traditional roles are being rescoped to improve post-COVID recovery as firms look to become leaner, more agile and more resilient. Tech, digital operations and data analysis skills for example are becoming increasingly sought after, as are the soft skills needed to handle ongoing uncertainty. Candidates with wide skillsets or niche tech skills are in a strong position. When considering a move, it’s important to weigh up the reasons for leaving and to ensure it’s the right time to go. Talking to a recruitment consultant is often a helpful part of this process – and a good consultant will know if it’s too soon to start the process and will be honest about that, imparting independent advice. They can also advise about dealing with the inevitable counteroffer that will most likely appear. This can be a tricky spanner in the works that can buy an employer time to look for a replacement once an employee has resigned. With 90% of employees who accept a counteroffer to stay leaving within a year anyway, they are not something that should get in the way of career progression, but they sadly do! If you’re thinking of leaving your roles, contact us today to discuss your options in more detail.
The value of interim work post-IR35
The global pandemic of the last year has fundamentally changed the way we work, as well as our workplaces, understandably impacting both permanent and contract employees. At the same time, the new IR35 legislation has come into force in the contract sector in a bid to tackle tax avoidance for off-payroll working. You might expect that the combination of the two has hit the interim market hard, but in reality, there has been upward curve recently in contract activity, both from an employer and employee perspective. From our day-to-day experience recruiting for interim roles, here are the key reasons why:For candidates inside of IR35 As the working from home phenomenon, coupled with the ongoing adoption of digital technology, has radically improved the work/life balance for many people, fixed-term contracts have become more attractive to a range of professionals. Not only have vast numbers of candidates been forced into a career rethink through redundancy and furlough, but multiple surveys have recently suggested that employees won’t hesitate to switch employers if the same flexible working options aren’t maintained in the future. This has also resulted in many employees choosing to quit their permanent positions and go freelance or become a career interim professional, to retain the flexibility they have become used to over the last year.In addition to the flexibility that an interim position affords, there is also an opportunity for candidates to broaden their skillsets and gain further experience, due to the variety of options available. Working for different types and sizes of organisation, even if it’s in a similar role in the same sector, gives a much more rounded experience on a CV, and as such is becoming an increasingly popular choice. The stats are showing that candidates are still earning a premium if their particular skillset is in demand, such is the shortage in some areas, so there’s no loss on a financial front.For employers: Flexibility has been a key buzzword for employers too. The uncertainty worldwide in the wake of the pandemic-induced economic downturn means that organisations increasingly need a flexible workforce. Interim finance professionals allow a company to respond to busy periods, market fluctuations and trends, and continue their isolated project plans. When there is a gap in resources or skills, or a specialist is needed for a certain period of time, a contractor is often the better solution than a permanent hire, given their breadth of experience and their ability to hit the ground running. Not every team has bench strength in enough depth to cover an absence or move resources onto a project and boosting the team with an interim professional is an ideal way to develop a future role should a permanent need arise.From a hiring angle, once the IR35 compliance is understood and adopted by businesses, there are savings to consider. Contractors do not have the associated costs of permanent recruitment, onboarding, training and development, and the recruitment process can be significantly quicker, as it can be wholly about skillsets over cultural fit. Interims are used to parachuting in at short notice and as such require less management, and most are flexible by nature, used to extending contracts to suit the requirements of the role, should a project overrun.If you would like to discuss your career as an interim professional or need to hire interim talent, contact us today.
Is a move into commercial finance what I really want?
The majority of ACA NQ accountants have been on a pretty rigid career path since they entered the profession – typically three years of hard work in a specific discipline such as audit. Once their training contracts are done, it’s often the first chance they have had to consider what comes next, and for many the natural tendency is to want to leave all that financial reporting behind and head for the bright lights of commerce. After all, the grass is always greener, and they now have a sought-after qualification that hiring managers want. But is rushing into industry at the first opportunity the right thing to do? Candidates often tell us that they want a more “commercial” role, often not fully understanding what that means. In the short term, they probably want to get their teeth into something more strategic than reporting, something that can “add value”, and they’re often disappointed to hear that most roles open to them still involve an element of financial reporting. It’s at this point, we always advise them to take stock and try to think longer-term about their ultimate goal because the decisions they make at this stage will almost certainly affect their career path in the future. If a candidate knows that all they want is to be an FD or a CFO in a blue-chip, then the question they need to ask themselves is what do I need to do to get there? The reality is that most commercial leaders in any organisation will at some point in their careers have been willingly preparing financial statements and statutory accounts, knowing that this invaluable experience will provide a crucial competitive edge and become a stepping-stone to a more senior commercial role. Consciously taking a role for a couple years that gives a thorough grounding of analysing a company’s operating performance and its financial position is more likely to lead to a better commercial role as a second move. Of course, this is a hard sell to someone who has done three years of audit, but it’s exactly this insight that a specialist recruiter can bring to an NQ’s career. Conversely, without considering the bigger picture, it may be that embracing what they have achieved so far and a move to another practice in the same discipline is actually the best career move to make. A good recruitment consultant who works with ACAs will be able to map out every element of a next move, to align it with long-term career goals. They have the relationships with line managers and can advise on company size, culture and fit. For some ACA’s, the move into commerce can be a huge change, particularly when you consider they might be the only qualified accountant in the team when they get there. For others, they may find that the grass wasn’t greener and that even though they are technically in a commercial environment, their role has very little contact with business leaders and they are looking at the same accounts every month. In extreme cases, those who haven’t done their homework may even look to move back into practice. Before you commit to anything, take time out to partner with a specialist recruitment consultancy who can work with you to confirm whether a commercial role is what you want long term, and how you can get there. For a confidential chat about your future, contact us today.
What will the biggest impact be on the cyber security world in 2021?
Year on year, keyboard criminals and their attacking methods get more advanced. Cybercrime since its recognition, has been on a constant rise and therefore each year presents itself as a new challenge for cybersecurity specialists. Each year has the potential to be their worst yet as they battle against a constant stream of new security challenges and work to stay one step ahead. For all of the challenges COVID-19 presented businesses with, it also posed itself as a massive potential security issue. The transition to remote working increased the risk of breaches due to the higher usage of home networks and personal devices. With the rise of the cybercrime and the shift in working practices, cybersecurity is more of a priority than ever before. After numerous conversations with clients and candidates alike in the founding months of this year, there seems to be two common trends of conversation around cybersecurity that may be the biggest impact in the security world in 2021: 5G. 5G is the next generation of mobile connectivity and with every new generation, as well as being presented with new capabilities, we are equally faced with new issues, often more complex than the generation before. With 5G expected to be such a dominant force and impactful on smart cities, defence facilities and intelligent power grids, it is evident that it will require strong attention to security. Cloud breaches. As mentioned above, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are transferring to the cloud to assist with new working practices and challenges. It is highly probable that this will cause a significant increase in cloud breaches due to weak security practices. Cybersecurity can be pertinent to a company’s success. Years of building trust and growing brand reputation can all be undone overnight with a security breach. With that being said, 2021 is shaping up to be the most important year yet to date in world of Cybersecurity. New technology, new challenges, and all in a new working world.
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