UK labour market transformed 2020 was a year like no other. Every business had to adapt and evolve their operating model to survive and grow in the ‘new norm’. The UK labour market was transformed by the disruption of Covid-19, while some sectors grew as a result of changing consumer habits, many others faced declining revenues, heavy job losses and widening skills gaps. The December 2020 report from the Office of National Statistics paints a gloomy picture. It shows that from February to December 2020, the number of payroll employees fell by 819,000 - although the larger falls were seen at the start of the coronavirus pandemic - and the period of August through to October saw redundancies reach record highs.Unsurprisingly, the Bank of England November 2020 Monetary Policy report highlights, that redundancies in 2020 were predominantly in sectors that were hit hardest by lockdown including hospitality, retail, travel, leisure, automotive and aviation. New hope for 2021 Although we start 2021, with a newly agreed Brexit deal which governs bilateral trade worth more than £650bn and we have the hope brought by new Covid-19 vaccines, it remains clear that we still have huge economic challenges ahead, with a long road to recovery. The ongoing impacts of Covid-19, particularly the recent increase in infection numbers and subsequent national lockdown, making sense of Brexit and the upcoming IR35 tax reforms (for the private sector) all present challenges for UK business. This uncertainly doesn’t make for very pleasant, uplifting New Year reading! However, unlike any other economic downturn or crisis, it is important to remember that this pandemic has forced innovation, business wide transformation and prompted organisations to adopt new ways of working - all of which may have positive long-term effects.There are also areas where employers have ongoing or even increased demand for specific skills and expertise - especially when it comes to driving their digital transformation agenda and ensuring their organisational structure is fit for purpose in this new era of work. We are also working with a (significant) minority of organisations that see the current volatility as an opportunity to invest, grow and seize market share. Well capitalized, forward looking organisations are pressing hard on the accelerator and we remain optimistic about the prospects for new opportunities in 2021.Find out if your skills are in demand in 2021, check back here soon to read our specialism market updates and top senior roles in demand this year. Our first specialism update, ready to read now is for Senior Finance. IR35 impacts to contractor market 2020 saw Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay announce that IR35 tax reforms to the private sector would be deferred to 6th April 2021. The decision was announced among a £330bn financial package to protect the UK economy from the coronavirus outbreak and helped to alleviate one aspect of uncertainty for a large proportion of UK contractors.Although this was supposed to give private sector businesses crucial extra time to review and refine their interim hiring strategies - organisations needed to prioritise cashflow preservation, business continuity and their survival last year.As such, what we saw was an immediate shift to many organisations dramatically reducing Interim / Contractor resources and hiring flexible labour on an inside IR35 basis only. Indeed, many businesses made the decision to institute a blanket ban of personal service companies (PSCs) rather than contend with the perceived risk of potential financial liability for tax, should contractors later be deemed in scope of IR35. We started to see that these blanket ban, risk-averse reactions to IR35 were depriving some companies of their competitive edge and ultimately, their ability to attract the best interim talent. We saw other companies take a more measured response, engaging with third parties to apply IR35 determinations for each role, such that they could continue to benefit from the breadth of the interim labour market. That said, as Covid-19 continued to put increasing pressure on the cost-base for many businesses last year, we saw a swing from the use of LTD contractors to umbrella companies, fixed-term contracts and Statement of Work consulting delivery to resource transformation programmes and projects.So now, with the clock ticking to April 6th 2021, we are likely to see a revival of day rate contract roles as businesses continue to review and amend their processes to ensure business-critical projects stay properly resourced in 2021. As such, we anticipate much more of a balance this year between permanent, fixed-term contract and both inside and outside IR35 contract roles as the level of understanding of how to apply the IR35 rules in a compliant, yet pragmatic manner increases. Contact us to learn how our solutions for individual IR35 determinations and Managed Solutions can help deliver a compliant and cost-effective answer to flexible labour demands in 2021. Brexit hinders access to flexible labour market The UK now implements a points-based immigration system, similar to the one already in effect in Australia. Under the new rules, the vast majority of foreign nationals trying to work, live and study in Britain will have to apply and pay for an online visa. For many, these new visa requirements are now a pre-requisite for working in the UK. There are extra checks and implications that employers need to be on top of; and risks if they are not. There are fines and criminal sanctions if business employ people unlawfully. This increased level of bureaucracy and the subsequent compliance implications for UK employers is likely to hinder and slow access to the flexible labour market across Europe. As such, ‘visa ready’ candidates will have a competitive advantage as employers won’t need to go through all the extra checks. Under the immigration system, points are awarded for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, knowledge of English and being paid a minimum salary. Skilled worker visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.Applicants will have to reach a mandatory threshold of 50 points before they are considered for immigration to the UK. Mandatory criteria from the Home Office says migrants will need to have a job offer in the UK from a licensed sponsor (20 points), the job must be at or above the “minimum skill level” (20 points), and the person applying must be able to speak English “to an acceptable standard”, (10 points).There are, however, special rules for individuals who are already working in the UK. If they’ve been a resident here for 5 years or more, they will be granted ‘Settled Status’. If they’ve been in continuous residence for a shorter time period they will be awarded ‘Pre-Settled Status’. However, even if an individual has the existing right to work in the UK under one of these statuses, they must still apply to stay lawfully employed. If you are an employer or candidate and unsure if or how these changes affect you, please contact us. We are happy to help and point you to the right resources.
11 Jan 2021
Will the office exist in a post Covid-19 world?It’s fair to say that the world of work has changed forever as we enter a new era of remote working. But what is the sentiment to remote working amongst the professional working population now?The cost and time savings of not having to commute every day are hard to dismiss and as lockdown eases, employee expectations are bound to have changed when it comes to the ‘return to the office’.So, how many days in the office do working professionals really want - given their varied individual experiences over the past few months? Over 70% of professionals now want to work in the office less than two days per weekStanton House’s recent poll, taken by over 600 professionals, reveals that a large majority (72%) would prefer to work two days or less per week in the office going forward. Less than a third (29%) would prefer to work three days or more per week in the office and only 4% would like to go back to four days plus per week.One to two days in the office comes out on top, with over half, (54%) voting for this as their preference and 18% say they would prefer to work from home 100% of the time. These findings suggest that while some crave the return to an office environment the vast majority have come to the conclusion that they will never want to work in the office five days per week, ever again. 43% more men than women want to work remotely 100% of the timeInterestingly, when comparing sentiment to remote working between gender, our poll reveals that a higher proportion of men (20%) would prefer to work remotely all of the time - compared to only 14% of women – that’s a 43% increase. The opposite is true for one to two days in the office, where a higher proportion of women (58%) voted for this as their preference - compared to 51% of men.Our poll cements what we already know - that organisations will be required to rethink their approach to remote, agile, and flexible working - putting People and Culture teams, front and centre, to design and drive this change. But have employers really seen clear benefits from this forced change to a homeworking environment and how committed are they to expanding and extending remote working, organisation-wide, for the long term? Will new HR policies align to the consensus revealed by our poll, or indeed go even further and flex to the individual?Employers realise the benefits of remote working Many of the business leaders I speak to tell me, that they have had their eyes opened to the benefits of remote working, not least the tremendous cost savings that can be achieved with reduced real estate needs.Not including utilities, security and maintenance the rent per seat in the UK can range from *£150 to £1500 per month, depending on location and the amenities available. London’s West End tips the scales, where it can cost **£207 annually just to put your laptop down on a desk.If you consider the floor space some large corporates take in the expensive high-rise buildings in Canary Wharf and The City of London for example, these cost savings can amount to millions. There can be no doubt that employers across the country will be modelling different scenarios with reduced office space. Leadership teams within organisations, both large and small, will be debating not if, but how much and to what extent, their workforce will continue working remotely in the long-term.Just a few of the companies that have already announced intent to expand work-from-home in the UK include Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Thomson Reuters, Vodafone, HSBC, Twitter, Facebook and Unilever. “We’ve proven we can operate with no footprint….I see a future where part of every week, certainly part of every month, a lot of our employees will be at home.” James Gorman, Morgan Stanley, CEOHowever, this commitment to expand remote working it is not just to save costs on office space. Most leaders I speak to tell me they have experienced increased productivity, better collaboration and teamwork, increased employee engagement and a significant reduction in absenteeism - dispelling the many concerns and misconceptions to homeworking pre-Covid-19. Having the right, secure technology and communication channels has been critical to achieving this, however, as has having managers, who don’t revert to micromanagement amidst uncertainty, but are able to trust and enable their teams.Training needs have also been highlighted and identified, particularly for middle management, where resilience, adaptability and agility are often cited as key competencies which are lacking. Additionally, the spotlight on employee wellbeing has only magnified through this crisis as has the continued importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The challenge for employers right nowAs many employers once again pivot their people, processes and systems from full remote working, to a hybrid (office/home) working environment, maintaining the benefits gained amidst lockdown and addressing the technology and talent issues identified will be critical to lasting innovation and growth. The ramifications of getting the technology, talent or operating model wrong will be catastrophic for the competitiveness of any business as we enter this new era of work. Employers now need to ask themselves - do they have the internal expertise needed to design, implement and sustain the huge culture shift that is required? And if big corporate offices are a thing of the past where and how will people come together to collaborate? How do individuals continue to nurture the ‘social equity’ they’ve built over the years with colleagues and customers - remotely? Can we ever really replicate the benefits of socialising after work, the corridor conversations and meeting someone face-to-face? The critical questions many business leaders and HR professionals are now trying to answer now are:1. How do we once again pivot our people, processes and systems from full remote working, to a hybrid (office/home) working environment?2. Do we have the right / secure technology and communication channels to support a hybrid (office/home) working model?3. How do we maintain the benefits gained from remote working amidst Covid-19? 4. How do we tackle the tech and training needs identified and truly enable our manager population? 5. How will we evolve our employee value proposition (EVP) to attract and retain the best talent, now that flexible and remote working is the ‘new norm’?6. What are the ramifications of getting any of these considerations wrong? *Instant Offices UK Commercial Market Summary 2019 ** Instant Offices Get in touchIf you need help finding talent with the necessary expertise to transform your business for the new era of remote working, please get in touch. About the pollThe poll was posted to Stanton House’s company LinkedIn network of over 25,000 followers. The poll was live for 1 week from the 27th June 2020 to the 4th July 2020. 611 people voted answering the question: “How many days in the office would you prefer to work per week?”
21 Jul 2020
We have all heard the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but when are we going to apply the same rule to recruitment? I am not talking about judging a candidate by their appearance, culture, religion, age or anything that could possibly discriminate against them; in fact, I am not talking about how we perceive candidates at all but rather how today’s top talent judge potential opportunities far too quickly. Holding job titles in such high-regard, they are missing out on their perfect opportunity by failing to read job descriptions and organisations are partly to blame. We are all admirers of great job titles, take Sandwich Artists at Subway and the countless ‘gurus’ we have on LinkedIn as examples of that but looking closer to home in the Finance World, we are having the same conversations and its debilitating our top talent. Candidates are getting so caught up in job titles that they aren’t even entertaining a job description and be it a result of keeping up appearances or working as a coping mechanism to filter extensive search results, its hindering their and your success. Take a Financial Controller for instance. They are no longer purely transactional but commercial and strategic in the same way Finance Directors are now expected to be engaging and approachable leaders. Roles change but job titles haven’t and while I would encourage every candidate to be open-minded in their search, organisations need to be mindful of the role they are advertising or rather, how they are advertising the role. Hiring managers are fantastic at looking at a professional’s CV and looking beyond the buzzwords – identifying key achievements over titles and seeing adaptability and competencies first and foremost. Unfortunately, candidates aren’t following the same thought-process and looking straight to a job title that may not carry the term ‘senior’ and it’s an instant no. It’s a problem elevated by the start-up culture we find ourselves in which offers huge job titles for smaller responsibility. A CFO in a start-up for instance may be a Head of Finance within a larger firm and on the reverse, a Financial Controller within a corporate may find themselves as a Senior Business Partner in a smaller organisation, contributing to one of the many reasons professionals move to the disruptive world of work. For instant growth. With this in mind, a professional heading back into the corporate world would no longer appreciate a smaller title as despite being a side-step to their current role, the job title doesn’t match their progression. I met with a FTSE 50 organisation recently which is a microcosm to the organisational issue we find ourselves facing. A hugely attractive business that entices great talent across the board but attracting and retaining financial talent is an issue for them and it’s clear to see why. The Financial Controllers manage the Senior Business Partners who in another company would be a Head of Finance and then on the reverse, the Finance Business Partners who sit underneath them would otherwise be known as Analysts. The organisational structure almost has it that you come in on a fantastic title and digress as you grow which matters more to the professionals filling the role than they realise. Ultimately my advice is simple. If you are a candidate embarking on a new search, be open-minded, look beyond the job titles and present your CV around your key achievements and not former titles. For organisations, its fairly simple too: consider how your future talent pool may react to a role and what flexibility might need to be on the table for it to work. I’d like to hear from you – have you turned down your dream role due to a title or, do you think titles are depriving you of your best talent?
05 Dec 2019
I’d like to introduce you to the concept of Reverse Mentoring. You may already be familiar with the term - introduced in 1999 by General Electric and used to up-skill a Board of Executives on how to use the internet, Reverse Mentoring is now transforming workplaces across the world by simply pairing together, unlikely employees and I’m one of them. In November 2018 we produced a comprehensive white paper on Reverse Mentoring to explore how the tool can be used to support an inclusive workplace culture, diversify your current and future talent pools, broaden your demographic, retain millennial talent and support your commercial objectives and it was a huge success. Having spent more than three months researching, interviewing and studying Reverse Mentoring and the organisations that have used the tool to achieve greatness, we shared the paper with our network and the results were overwhelming. We had a whole community of HR professionals contact us with their stories of mentoring in different formats and amazingly, we had organisations that we had never spoken to before – tell us we had inspired their entire programme of learning and development. We decided we couldn’t possibly not use this as a perfect platform to start our very own Reverse Mentoring programme and so at the start of 2019, I became the Reverse Mentor of Managing Director, Lee Costello. What an incredible journey it has been. Almost reaching a year of our mentoring relationship and we have not only learned a huge amount from each other but we have helped each other to grow as employees of Stanton House – as leader and consultant. While I have been given an insight into leadership and what that requires, I was able to offer Lee a millennial voice and a fresh perspective on how business-wide decisions impact the rest of the workforce. I wanted to share our white paper with you once more because aside from the incredible thought-leadership from the likes of EY, Microsoft and BNP Paribas it might give you the inspiration to start your own journey with Reverse Mentoring and see if you too can build a more inclusive work-place culture. Have you ever been Reverse Mentored or perhaps you are a Reverse Mentor yourself? Please do get in touch and share your stories about how you have been impacted through Mentoring. Download our white paper on Reverse-Mentoring white paper
03 Dec 2019
Within the talent realm we often come back to our childhood experiences. Nature vs nurture, the thought-processes ingrained from early influences, and the habits we picked up along the way. While, I’m a firm believer in the ideology that we are shaped by our early years experiences - I had almost forgotten my own. I went to a school that focused on pausing, we practised meditation at the beginning and end of every lesson which amounted to maybe 20, 30-second pauses each day. While I didn’t necessarily appreciate it at the time, I recently attended a conference in Berlin which made me fully reflect on this powerful tool that I had side-lined all of these years. The Berlin Change Days 2019 Conference really emphasised the power of being present and how any change starts from within. This echoed almost everything I had ever learned during childhood and combined all of my current thoughts and feelings around my own emotional awareness – if you do not take the time to fully pause and reflect on your learnings, how can you positively react and try to influence change? I would love to hear how your recent experiences may have brought back early learnings or how you try to remain present every day. Please join the conversation – Do you remember your childhood learnings?
20 Nov 2019
You can barely get through a conversation with an HR professional without hearing the term ‘unconscious bias’. It’s been crowned the HR buzzword of 2019 and if I’m honest, I can’t wait to see the back of it. That isn’t because I don’t believe in the cause nor do I question its existence, in fact, it’s for that very reason that I am wholly against us promoting the term in the same way we pay lip service to gender, racial, intergenerational, hierarchical and disability diversity. Unconscious bias is defined as prejudice or unsupported judgements in favour of or against one thing, person or group compared to another that is deemed to be unfair and it’s most commonly found within the recruitment process. Often we see organisations turning away candidates due to an implied origin, sexuality, gender or ability – which is very different to competency – and, as a result of these systemic prejudices and ingrained behaviours, the recruitment world has introduced measures like blind CVs, AI-tailored sourcing and a whole range of initiatives to improve diversity on a whole such as balanced shortlists. But, while it’s healthy and encouraging to have these conversations – are we just allowing the worst offenders to continue their hiring habits, hiding in the noise of the trend? And, are we just mirroring the gender pay reports and ‘me too’ movements dominating headlines with little changing in terms of behaviour or attitudes in the Board room? Many organisations; especially big ones, do a great job of publishing big and brash statements to portray their collective outrage about diversity imbalances such as gender and mobility yet, many fail to actually put any mechanisms or process in place to ensure the agendas are seen through. What’s more, how many organisations do you know that have measurements in place to assess the successfulness of such initiatives? I’m seeing the very same thing happen with unconscious biases in the hiring process. Many organisations will request a female candidate rather than seek out diversity of thought for instance which not only promotes positive discrimination but also begs the question, do they care about gender diversity at Board level, or, are they filling a quota to meet their external branding? In a similar fashion, many organisations claim to leave unconscious biases at the office door yet refuse to accept blind CVs. The resume, competencies, experience and skillset remain the same – it’s the name that paints a full picture of a person which ultimately, infers bias. I’m really keen to hear from my HR network about the plight of unconscious bias. Are we papering over the cracks with the conversation or, is work going on behind the scenes to really, really improve this?
29 Oct 2019
Last week I took a trip to Hong Kong and it was incredible. The food, the culture, the people and the roleplays. All 12 hours of them! Over the course of the week the team in our Hong Kong office and I performed role plays ranging from business development calls and client meetings to first interview calls and candidate meetings. It was fascinating to see the way our consultants have learnt to engage with customers across the APAC region, how they handle objections, and how they deal with situations outside of their comfort zone. The role plays helped to uncover many great things that our Hong Kong team are already doing. What was really interesting was to see how the team has learnt, working in a diverse city, how to tailor their approach to people of all walks of life. A big focus was placed on building relationships with all of our contacts on a personal level which is at the very core of what we do across Stanton House – it was amazing to see this living and breathing in a different environment. The week of role plays also uncovered a range of development issues for the people and the team which were truly insightful not just for the individuals but for the management team in understanding where pain points exist and what steps we can take together in solving them. For me, the most gratifying part of the week was hearing our leaders talk about developing their local learning culture which they now believe should include role plays as part of their everyday. As I embark on a new week back in London I have reflected on the incredible journey I took just last week and am truly overwhelmed to see how seriously all parts of our business take their learning journey and excited to see what’s to come!
22 Oct 2019
SCC Transformation Lead Up to £600 a day Reading Learning and Development Manager £45,000 - £50,000 per annum + bonus + benefits West Sussex Process Analyst - Telecoms Estates Transformation £400 - £475 per day Hampshire P2P Process SME £500 - £600 per day London Security Software Engineer US $90,000 - $110,000 per annum Chicago Senior Project Manager £65,000 - £70,000 per annum + bonus West London Head of Pricing & Commercial Finance £100,000 - £105,000 per annum + car allowance + bonus London A wider selection of current vacancies can be viewed on our opportunities page or get in touch for a confidential discussion about how Stanton House can help you hire great people or assist with your own career goals.
17 Oct 2019
Generalisations, until now, have indicated that millennials want few things. Access to leadership, flexible working and sustainability at work. Surveys have evidenced this too with hundreds of young workers claiming they want open offices, relationships with stakeholders, work-life balance and an organisation that really cares about making a positive social impact. But, as we approach 2020, are attitudes shifting back to a more traditional way of working? In the last few days, articles have populated social media platforms about the negative side of open-plan offices and how its having an adverse effect on young people, women in particular. A recent study published on The Royal Society claims open-plan offices designed to encourage collaboration and enhance transparency are actually leaving female workers feeling overexposed and ‘continually observed’ with one female study even likening the architectural style as a ‘fish bowl experiment’ where she feels constantly monitored and watched. At Stanton House, open-plan offices are ingrained in our culture – access to leadership, relaxed hierarchy and open communication – I can’t imagine it working any differently and as an HR Consultant, I also can’t help but think about the array of positive things my network have told me about open-plan working and how it’s motivated them to be better. I’d like to hear from you – are we finding a negative within a positive or is open-plan working soon to be a thing of the past?
15 Oct 2019
The tobacco, alcohol, gambling and fast-food industries have together carried a bad reputation for some time as prospective employees chose against working for companies that have ‘political or negative’ connotations. But, as we approach 2020 it seems attitudes are evolving with professionals caring less about a company’s product and more about the good they are giving back to the community. I ask every professional I meet about their ideal role - The industry, company and salary that they are looking for in a future employer and the three things they deem as 'non-negotiable'. The answers are often unanimous. Primarily, its salary, location and the scope of the role in first place but what is cropping up and more and more in second, is ethics. While ‘ethical companies’ have always been seen as most attractive to their prospective talent pool, it’s not so much the product or reputation of the company that now gets taken into consideration but rather, what they are doing to change it. It’s no longer about Coca-Cola littering streets with empty bottles or supermarkets stocking palm-oil based products or tonnes of unnecessary plastic. Now employees are more concerned with what companies are doing to redeem themselves – the ocean hoovers pledged by Coca-Cola for instance and the likes of Iceland making a move away from Palm Oil. Philip Morris International (PMI) is also on the list. Tobacco companies have always struggled with talent attraction with many professionals either anti-smoking or anti its effects but this is changing for the world’s largest tobacco company – valued at more than $175 million – as it launches an anti-smoking campaign with the slogan “The best choice any smoker can make is to quit cigarettes and nicotine altogether.” PMI and Coca-Cola are just two examples of high-profile companies making the move to sustainable branding and it mirrors the evolving mindset of many professionals within my network. While ethics have always been high on the agenda of professionals seeking a new career, what is fascinating is this move away from a hatred of ‘negative brands’ and a new focus on what they give back – the source of their products, the good they are bringing back into the community and how they use their power for good. I’d love to hear your views on the move to what I like to call ‘redemption ethics’ – are you a professional looking for a company with an inspiring social impact or perhaps you work for an organisation working to promote it’s goodness?
04 Oct 2019
Browse a selection of this week's top jobs across Accounting and Finance, Technology, Cyber Security, Human Resources, Change Management and Finance Transformation: Finance Business Partner £65,000 - £70,000 per annum + package Reading IT Governance Reporting Analyst £450 - £550 per day London Azure Security Architect Negotiable Luxembourg Finance Analytics Manager £70,000 - £75,000 per annum + benefits package Surrey Project Manager - Sales Data £450 - £510 per day London Senior PHP Engineer £45,000 - £55,000 per annum Edinburgh Finance Manager - Germany £350 - £450 per day Hampshire HR Business Partner £50,000 - £55,000 per annum + car allowance and benefits package London A wider selection of current vacancies can be viewed on our opportunities page or get in touch for a confidential discussion about how Stanton House can help you hire great people or assist with your own career goals.
02 Oct 2019
Senior Commercial Analyst £45,000 - £50,000 per annum + bonus + benefits package Buckinghamshire Senior Data Scientist £600 - £650 per day London Enterprise Security Architect Negotiable UK wide Back End Developer (AEM) £375 - £550 per day Edinburgh Finance Analytics Manager £70,000 - £75,000 per annum + bonus + benefits packageSurrey Senior Business and Data Analyst £475 - £525 per day Hampshire Finance Manager £60,000 - £70,000 per annum London A wider selection of current vacancies can be viewed on our opportunities page or get in touch for a confidential discussion about how Stanton House can help you hire great people or assist with your own career goals.
25 Sep 2019