January article highlights: Job interviews, working from home and relocating

Thomas Wesseldine our consultant managing the role
Below we have summarised three top articles for January 2021:


Throughout our lives we are conditioned to tell lies, to make both ourselves and others feel good (or to protect someone’s feelings). Does this come out in job interviews? Psychologists think yes and by both the candidate and hiring manager. One of the first pieces of advice we give to candidates is that a job interview is a two way process; it’s about a company deciding if you’re a good fit for them and for you to see if they are a good fit for your career and ambitions. With this in mind, all parties are selling and as such it’s likely that both are lying as much as the other! In my experience as a recruiter for instance, a hiring manager has never told me: ‘our culture is terrible and we work longer hours than we have to’. Yet sometimes, this is the case! Equally, candidates rarely say that their next job is ‘all about the money’ or that they like to ‘put in the minimum required and clock off at 5pm on the dot’. Of course, interviews are an integral part of all processes, recent studies have just investigated people’s behaviour in more detail.


With the tax year coming to an end we thought it important to revisit one of Martin Lewis’ best finds last year. With the pandemic forcing millions to work from home, the UK government sent up a microservice to enable remote workers to claim tax relief. Even if you have worked at home just for a day, you may be entitled to a years worth of relief. Martin Lewis explains more.


The pandemic caused economic turmoil last year however UK house prices still rose, hitting a record high at the end of the year.  It still remains relatively unclear as to what the ‘new normal’ will mean for time spent in the office however, what can not be denied is the interest in residential housing outside of the major cities. One positive of the pandemic is that businesses are better set up than ever to offer their employees flexible working and there is no doubt that whilst some will go back to normal, many will not. For this reason, the property market in 2021 will be looked upon with keen interest by many. 

With companies now set up better than ever to enable their workers to operate remotely, many have been thinking about relocating to outside of the major cities. It does however still remain unknown what the new normal will look like with regards to time spent in the office but one positive is certainly that businesses are now better setup than ever for their employees to work flexibly. 

25/01/21
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The future of in-house legal for 2021
The future of in-house legal for 2021

Teaser

Financial Services

Content Type

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03/02/21

Summary

It was a quiet start to the year in 2020 for in-house legal recruitment as law firms were offering cheaper fees with secondment opportunities competitive to the cost of hiring. This choice was favoured throughout the year, leaving recruitment quiet. Although we expect this model to change because of the hidden costs of instructing external solicitors. With the impacts of the virus arriving in Q2 the market froze, with a wake up call in the later part of Q3 and Q4 where we saw a hiring pick up in fintech and payments. This was down to start-ups receiving funding, where investors saw a "safety net" in place internally taking the form of a legal, risk, or compliance professional. This unfortunately did not turn into direct hires for legal professionals still leaving them to the wrath of external firms (as mentioned above), and an abundance of time wasting recruitment processes prevalent in the uncertain market of 2020. Looking Forward to 2021  We are not out of the woods with the pandemic (by any stretch) and we will still be feeling the strain of future uncertainty when making decisions on technical and expensive hires. Although most businesses are comfortable with offering positions under newfound working from home capabilities; in a lot of cases, businesses haven’t been making hires where there has been company demand (due to uncertainty). This has manifested as a strain on the successful growth of businesses and we are hoping this will be rectified through 2021.  Brexit on the other hand has had a positive impact on the in-house legal market, as businesses have been putting their contingency plans in place (establishing themselves geographically within the EU). We have seen great opportunities for in-house counsel and this could continue through 2021. The potential growth and change of regulation that Brexit will bring could see an emergence of Brexit specialist lawyers, much like the GDPR in 2016.  In 2021 we expect the backlog of roles, put on hold during Coronavirus, to rear its head. " This demand should grow over the coming months, and below we look at how this might manifest by industry sub sector and position: Financial Services - Like the market itself, benchmarking salaries and predicting areas of hiring is very tough to do. The following is based on regular candidate and client conversations and explores the main areas of practice applicable within a few core sub-sectors of the in-house legal and the financial services market.General Counsel, Fintech & Payments - the position of general counsel became exceedingly popular in 2010 and has continued to rise in popularity throughout subsequent years. Changes in regulations and business management styles have led to companies hiring in-house lawyers at very early stages of company growth. This is particularly true in the payment and fintech market, where we have seen notable growth over the past few years, where cost saving proves to be a choice when looking to hire in-house legal counsel at early stages rather than outsourcing legal work. With this in mind, it’s important to note that key commercial attributes are required for general counsels in the start-up and scale-up markets, another key skill is risk management. I predict this area to pick up in the coming months.Company Secretary, Financial Administration and Outsourcing businesses - the typical in-house company secretarial appointments have been in decline over the past few years, with fewer limited companies choosing to make this instruction and more businesses offering excellent ‘outsourced’ co-sec services. With this in mind, I’d predict that the businesses we predict continued growth for company secretarial positions in financial administration companies.Legal Counsel, General Commercial (low-mid PQE) - hiring at this level is often a favourite for heads of legal and general counsels across all of the in-house FS market. Taking the view that candidates who’ve had a great technical grounding at a top 10 firm will be able to directly transfer their skills to the commercially minded in-house teams. Though this strategy often works, it certainly has its pitfalls. Q1 2021 will see a push on hiring from private practice as technical skills become more desirable. Though the real battle starts when marking sure the incoming candidates have the commercial acumen needed to succeed in-house. Brexit Lawyers (Global) – as mentioned above, the impact of Brexit on the in-house legal FS market can certainly be seen as a positive, especially as more businesses start expanding their teams to include specialist lawyers within separate legal jurisdictions. We expect to see this impact take several years to fully establish around what the requirements will be. With this in mind, cross-border counsel and dual-qualified lawyers could be in higher demand through the year.Final wordsPositively, it’s going to be a good H1 for in-house lawyers, certainly in comparison to all of last year. In a nutshell, the pending market growth will be down to an uptake of confidence about hiring amidst the pandemic, meaning the recruitment market will be able to pick up on the roles put on pause through 2020. In light of a hopefully improved market, where will we be focusing our attention?In Q1&2 will be focusing on senior positions in the start-up/scale-up markets and the consumer-focused fintech market. We will also be focusing on low to mid-level PQE commercial lawyers looking to step out of the practice environment. Armed with this knowledge, we will continue to be reactive to the market as we proactively provide our recruitment and search services to our clients and candidates, and offer career advice to anyone looking to move roles or expand on their teams - find out more on our legal team here. 

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Will IR35 affect your business?
Will IR35 affect your business?

Teaser

General

Content Type

General

20/09/20

Summary

Employees in the United Kingdom can be categorised as full-time, part-time, casual, freelance and contract workers, with the self-employed bracket now making up 15% of the entire working population. The number of self-employed workers jumped from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017, with a corresponding fall in the unemployment rate showing the overall boost in jobs growth from the rise in self-employment. However, the attractive market for freelancers and contractors has been hit with some uncertainty in recent times, thanks largely to the 2018 Autumn Budget’s announcement of IR35 tax reforms. Here’s what the new IR35 rules could mean for you and your business: What is IR35? IR35 is a piece of legislation originally introduced to the UK in 1999. Its purpose is to differentiate between those workers who operate as genuine contractors and those who work as ‘disguised’ employees to avoid paying tax. It came about to challenge contractors who were taking advantage of the tax efficiencies of working through a limited company, with the aim of defending both the Exchequer from lost taxes and protecting workers’ rights from unscrupulous employees. However, the IR35 has proven to be ambiguous for many, with some contractors taking advantage of loopholes and a lack of clarity. Hence, the new IR35 rules aim to tighten up the contractor market and ensure tax avoidance loopholes are closed. How does IR35 work? There are three principles that can help to determine employment status and whether a contractor falls inside or outside IR35: Control (the degree of control the client has over the work a contractor does and how and when they do it) Substitution (whether the worker needs to do the work themselves or if they could send a substitute in their place) Mutuality of obligation (whether the employer is obliged to offer work and the contractor is obliged to accept it). Additionally, the contract type, provision of equipment and whether a worker is “part and parcel” of a business can all help to determine whether someone falls inside or outside IR35. The change in IR35 rules shifts the responsibility to determine tax status away from the contractor and onto the business that takes them on. Until now, contractors have been able to self-determine their status, however as of April 2020, when the new rules come into effect for the private sector, companies will risk being fined if they don’t make the correct assessment.  How will IR35 impact contract workers? It’s anticipated that many contract workers who have been enjoying the tax benefits of working outside IR35 will fall under the legislation when employers are tasked with determining their status. This will see more contractors having tax and National Insurance contributions deducted from their pay. However, if you operate as a legitimate small business and are determined to work outside of IR35, you will not be affected by the rule changes. How will IR35 impact employers? The major change for businesses is that they will now be responsible for determining the IR35 status of any contractor working for the company. The new rules will only apply to medium and large sized businesses, so contractors who work for small businesses can continue to set their own IR35 statuses. Those businesses that the IR35 rule changes do apply to will face paying back taxes and fines should they be found to be noncompliant. What should I do to prepare for IR35? Contractors may wish to speak to an accountant or personal finance expert to determine whether IR35 will impact them and if a move to permanent work may prove to be more beneficial after the rules come into effect. For many, contracting will remain appealing regardless of increased tax responsibilities, however it’s important to factor in any change in income that IR35 may bring about. Businesses are being warned not to make blanket assessments that cover all their contractors, as this can leave workers without a fair assessment and risk them paying unnecessary taxes without equivalent employment rights. Instead, businesses should consider IR35 status on a case-by-case basis or they may risk losing out on top talent. The HMRC has released a consultation document for businesses to prepare for the IR35 changes, recommending identifying and reviewing current contract workforce status and putting processes in place for taking on new workers. At Marks Sattin, we pride ourselves on keeping abreast of all industry legislation, updates and changes that affect our candidates and clients. Speak with us about how we can help you. References: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44887623 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/trendsinselfemploymentintheuk/2018-02-07 https://www.contractorcalculator.co.uk/what_is_ir35.aspx https://www.axa.co.uk/business-insurance/business-guardian-angel/how-ir35-changes-will-affect-freelancers-and-self-employed-contractors/ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/ir35-rules/new-contractor-tax/ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/ir35-rules/how-will-new-rules-impact-business/ HMRC consultation document

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The business case for a robust diversity and inclusion strategy in your organisation
The business case for a robust diversity and inclusion strategy in your organisation

Teaser

HR

Content Type

General

05/08/20

Summary

The past few months – and indeed, years – have demonstrated just how important diversity and inclusion are in modern society. Through the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, a light has been shone on the inequality and injustice that persists, not just in our day to day lives, but also in the workplace. We can no longer ignore how important diversity and inclusion are to businesses, nor can we expect things to get better without actively working to improve conditions and outcomes for everyone. And while promoting diversity and inclusion is absolutely the right thing to do for employees, there are also business benefits to doing so.  What is diversity and inclusion? Diversity and inclusion aren’t just a priority for HR departments – it should be a key business strategy for all organisations. Workplace diversity can be defined as the understanding, acceptance and promotion of differences between people. This includes those of different genders, races, ages, sexual orientations, disabilities and religions, as well as people who have different educational, socioeconomic and experiential backgrounds. Meanwhile, inclusion is about creating a supportive and respectful work environment that values collaboration and participation of all employees, helping everyone to feel included. Together, diversity and inclusion make companies more welcoming, accessible and harmonious for everyone, not to mention more profitable and competitive. Why is diversity and inclusion important? First and foremost, diversity and inclusion are essential to make workplaces better for everyone. Purely from a compassionate perspective, it’s the right thing for employers to create environments where people feel comfortable to be themselves and can succeed without limitation. Commercially, diversity and inclusion have a significant number of benefits. Firstly, a strong focus on D&I can significantly widen the candidate talent pool , giving you access to more candidates who may be excluded by non-diverse hiring strategies. With 70% of job seekers looking for a company’s commitment to diversity when applying for new roles, it’s clear that you may be missing out on top talent if you neglect to address D&I in your organisation.  On top of that, diverse organisations have better business results, higher employee satisfaction and are more innovative, according to Business in the Community . McKinsey research shows that executive teams in the top quartile for gender diversity were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than those companies who perform poorly in terms of executive-level gender diversity. This figure jumps to 36% when analysing teams with ethnic diversity. Diverse teams have also been proven to be more innovative, solve problems faster and have more engaged employees.  Small steps to move the dial on D&I in your organisation The current emphasis on working from home presents a key opportunity for employers to rethink their D&I hiring strategies, with current conditions potentially opening up more flexible, part-time opportunities for those who may not have otherwise been able to commit to a 9-5 office job. To welcome more working parents and caregivers, disabled people and those with neurodiversity requirements, consider whether vacancies could be flexible, remote working or on part-time hours. Now is the perfect time to rethink your workspace and how it can be made more accessible to more people.  A dedicated diversity and inclusion policy, taskforce or officer can help to highlight its importance within your business. You could perform a D&I audit, examining the levels of diversity that exist within the company and specifically at the executive level, and set goals to achieve a more balanced, inclusive environment within a certain time period. Have open conversations with your team members about D&I and ask them what would make them – and new team members – feel more welcomed. It’s also important to acknowledge the diversity that already exists in your company, such as by celebrating different cultural and religious events, greeting bilingual employees in their mother tongue or inviting families into work.  Finally, while diversity and inclusion should be championed at the very highest levels of your business, it’s crucial that every single team member feels safe to contribute to these discussions and voice their opinions and stories. Prepare to tackle some difficult topics and be questioned. While subjects like the gender pay gap, lack of executive-level diversity and opportunities for progression can feel difficult to address, they are important conversations that need to be had in the process of making real change.  Marks Sattin can help to diversify your talent pool. By partnering with a specialist recruitment agency which has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion , you’ll benefit from having access to more candidates and guidance on how to actively recruit from diverse talent pools. At Marks Sattin, we can help you identify, attract and retain exceptional people across financial services, technology, change management and more.  Contact us here to have a chat about how we can work together. 

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