Below we have summarised three top articles for March 2021: Lockdown boredom drives the UK video games market to a £7bn record high During 2020 the UK video games market has been fuelled by an unprecedented boom in the popularity of mobile games, consoles and VR headsets. This soaring demand can largely be placed with the increased need for at home entertainment during the pandemic. The result was a huge £1.9bn increase on money spent on gaming entertainment compared to 2019’s figure. This boom in demand for entertainment has also prompted gamers exploring new technologies, such as VR. Meet music’s most hated man—and he is the industry’s top dealmaker In recent months, huge waves have been caused within the music and IP rights industry. Most music fans have never heard the name Merck Mercuriadis, CEO of Hipgnosis Songs Fund. But they may well be aware of the assets he’s been aggressively buying up for the past three years. In just three years he has spent $1.8billion of investor funds buying the rights 60,000 songs. That includes thousands of songs, including some penned by veterans like Neil Young and Barry Manilow and others from newer artists like Ed Sheeran and Shakira. A year on from the first lockdown, what has become of travel? As lockdown restrictions are lifted and the roadmap out of the pandemic starts to take shape, people can begin to contemplate what holidays might look like in 2021. This article explores emerging trends around staycations and the growth of the UK adventure holidays. In tandem, the article also interrogates if cities will avoid over-tourism, if travellers will utilise electric travel to avoid airports and what people want from a post-pandemic holiday.
TeaserChange & Transformation
In the modern world of business, change management plays an important role in delivering results and ensuring employees are successful. With rapid development in technology and new digital solutions, it’s all the more important that businesses know how to adapt their processes and use change management methods to pave the way for organisational transformation. Effective change management is crucial for the growth of any business. It’s essential for achieving long-lasting success and navigating through the “new normal”. Now’s the time for business leaders to assess existing models and evaluate what needs to be changed to keep moving their companies forward. We’re exploring some of the key areas of change management and why they’re so important for business transformation. The Employee Experience Companies that want to endure must be skilled at organisational transformation. Effective change management remains integral to successful business transformation. While change management covers a broad range of processes, it’s always focused on the people. Change management involves maintaining a constant workflow while communicating seamlessly with employees. Thus, enabling them to remain motivated during the introduction of new tools and technology. Transformation in the workplace is vital for realising growth, and change management has a significant impact on employee engagement. Managing successful periods of change can increase employee morale and drive positive team-building. However, during this process of change, leaders must understand how to change their employees’ mindsets to ensure everyone is moving in the same direction. Improving performance The change management process is about positioning a business so that it can meet the challenges of constant change in a competitive environment. It’s imperative for staying relevant. Change management is intrinsic to business transformation, and a key advantage is that it has a positive and direct impact on performance. Change management encourages innovation and increases productivity, which in turn, leads to stronger business performance. If companies want to succeed long-term, leaders need to understand the importance of continuous improvement, upskilling and flexibility in the face of uncertainty. As change management strategies progress from defining the vision to target setting, every level of the company is affected, including employee performance. By implementing new methods, leaders can improve processes and the overall performance of their teams. " Leadership and cultureLeadership and culture have a massive impact on organisational transformation. Modern leaders have a growth mindset and are able to think globally, developing full-fledged strategies that will serve the company for years to come. Therefore, leaders have a fundamental role to play in managing change. When businesses grow and change, this can often lead to much stronger leadership as managers will have to prepare for the responsibility, inspire their team and take on new initiatives. Right now, there are few skills more important than a leader’s ability to manage change and adopt new practices. However, it’s worth mentioning that despite the importance of change management, many organisations fail when launching new change initiatives – which is often the result of poor leadership and communication. That’s why it’s all the more important for leaders to be able to articulate their vision to employees to pave the way for concrete, systematic change.How Marks Sattin can help your businessAt Marks Sattin, we have a dedicated team of recruitment consultants who are committed to developing careers and helping clients secure high quality candidates. We specialise in a variety of markets, including financial services, professional services, executive search and commerce and industry. We pride ourselves on delivering an effective and efficient service to our clients, and we’re able to build positive and strong relationships with the companies we work with. If you would like to learn more about how Marks Sattin can help with your recruitment, contact our team today. Alternatively, keep reading our content for more interesting news and insights.
We recently asked our community two questions via a quick poll on our website: When do you think employees will return to the office? Do you think we will ever return to the office full time? We are pleased to report that 1,573 respondents took the time to give us their opinion, thank you for your contribution! Here are the results: We must caveat the above results by stating that we ran this poll the back end of last year, before the second strain and third lockdown came upon us. Our circumstances are changing rapidly, however when we originally asked this question, most people thought that we would return to the office sometime in Q2 (45%). Regardless of when we will return to an office environment, most respondents believe that flexible working is here to stay, with 'a large percentage continuing to work from home due to a reduction in office space to save costs'. Another respondent echoes the above by commenting: Now that people have proven that they can work just as effectively and collaboratively while being remote, I think most people and businesses will adopt far more flexible work patterns where appropriate. This means that cost savings can be realised through cutting down on office space, while also giving employees a better work life balance. " You can read a related article we published called, ‘Rethinking workspaces – how will your company adapt to the new normal?’.However there were challenging arguments to the above train of thought, with one participant stating, 'Though it was a good experience to do smart working, for creation and idea development, working together is a more conducive environment'. In addition, some respondents flagged that the road to recovery will not be so clear cut, commenting, 'Due to the disruption, recovery is likely to be asymmetric and non-linear across industries and geographies', while another drew attention to some of the challenges, saying 'most organisations haven't yet implemented the correct H&S approach in terms of safely bringing people back to the office'. The dominant answer to this question, at 43%, was ‘No, we won’t return full time’. The main reasons participants voted this was the substantial savings that businesses have made when they cut the office rents and related facilities from their overheads, as well as the benefits of not having to face the daily commute.However, with 38% of respondents voting for ‘Yes, we will return full time’, and a substantial number of people saying they are not sure, there isn’t a clear cut winning answer to this question. Interestingly, there were far more arguments in favour of the return to the office environment in the qualitative data, for example, one comment said, 'It's more efficient to work at the office, it allows for a better balanced work life, and people are naturally attracted to working with people'. Other comments echoed this sentiment for instance, ‘People miss the social aspect of the office environment, they miss their colleagues’, ‘An office environment is more conducive for collaboration and innovation’, ‘collective work is more focused and purposeful. This makes gathering in one space natural’, and ‘there are mental health implications from working full time in isolation’. One participant drew attention to the loss of office culture that we all experience when we work remotely, and pointed out that New and/or young employees need the office environment in order to network and learn a company’s culture and the way things are done. " While we all acknowledge that we are overly dependent on virtual meetings at the moment, one commented on the drawbacks of virtual meetings, saying, ‘Body language and personal interaction are a core component of work and interpersonal relationships, which you cannot get remotely'. Similar to the sentiments in the first question, many participants believe that the answer isn’t ‘a’ or ‘b’, the answer is one of flexibility and a ‘blended’ approach. (You can read a blog we published pre-Covid on this topic called, ‘Is flexible working a win win?’, which examines the practical challenges of ongoing flexible working, and some legal obligations for employers).It’s clear that people are keen to get back to normal at least some of the time - the office is normal, with one professional citing all the ‘normal’ things we are missing, such as ‘Connecting with people. Sharing a conversation without having to dial in. Going for a coffee break. Travelling. Having a proper desk. Sharing a smile!’.
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.
TeaserFinance & Accounting
I think we can all agree on a less than fond farewell to 2020, and a warm, but cautionary welcome to 2021! While I’m not one to dwell on the past, I think it can be useful to reflect on the hiring trends of last year in order to understand and anticipate some factors that may impact the market this year. As we know, when the pandemic hit last year, everything went on pause - pretty much all hiring processes went on hold as we all tried to understand the economic impact - cue no hiring! As time went on and restrictions eased, this abated slightly, however it was only in Q4 2020 when employment opportunities began to return across finance, technology, project management and consultancy. A trend we are noticing now is that expectation levels on job fit have jumped considerably, clients are being more particular than usual. The consensus from clients is that unemployment is high, which is the case for some industries and demographic groups, however, that has not translated drastically into the realm of professional job opportunities, where it’s business as usual to a large extent. January 2021 sees us still in a “full employment” market across the professional services landscape." I am pleased to report that our business has enjoyed a very strong start to the year with plenty of jobs and activity. Throughout Q1, we would expect to see investment return, projects to gear up once again, and digital transformation will restart, or start at pace. Coupled with the above, pent up demand will likely see a sizeable increase in hiring levels from March/April onwards as the vaccine roll-out begins to take hold. An influx of professionals We are likely to see an influx of professionals returning to Irish shores throughout H1 this year. From speaking to candidates who are based abroad at the moment, the pandemic has given impetus to return home, perhaps a little faster than they originally planned. We are expecting to see a similar trend with candidates returning from the UK, driven by Brexit finally coming to fruition. EU regulators want certain business conducted in the EU, meaning Ireland’s financial services industry could have much to gain. In summary, there will be a demonstrable increase in opportunities in the Irish professional jobs market which we believe will coincide with strong talent returning to the country from overseas, where they will have gained invaluable experience. These factors point to a busy period of business and economic growth as we begin to get back on track in 2021 and beyond. Professionals will have plenty of opportunity, and firms will need to be agile in their hiring practices to secure the talent that is required to deliver on ambitious plans.
I don’t think anyone would disagree that 2020 was a tough year. In recruitment we are usually on the sharp end of economic turmoil, so I’m very empathetic to people’s struggles, especially those seeking new employment. However the good news is that over the last couple of months we have seen some glimmers of hope. Since last September there has been a slow but steady incremental demand for accounting & finance talent in London. This was precipitated by the gradual reopening of offices, and clearing the hiring backlog which was created in the late spring and summer months due to the COVID restrictions and the extreme uncertainty. Candidate needs have changed Whilst firms were constrained and had conservative hiring plans, the risk appetite among candidates for a new role, company, or location change surprised us - this has no doubt been triggered by the enormous lifestyle changes that we’ve all been contending with recently. Many people have decided to escape that city in search of open, more green spaces, and the vast majority of candidates we speak with are expecting a new level of work flexibility to support their personal and family interests.A large dichotomy between company attitudes to hiring! Some firms are making the hiring process so cumbersome that both parties lose interest half way through the process. It’s not uncommon to see a candidate going through six or seven rounds of interviews, without receiving an offer at the end of the saga. Whilst other organisations are very quick to bridge the skills gap, recognising that finance departments need enough resources to operate effectively. The overwhelming message that we are receiving is that accountants are feeling jaded, given they are working harder than ever with less moral support and fewer resources. Now businesses are starting to see cracks appear and recruitment is back on the agenda. " It has largely been an employer’s market lately, where candidates have very realistic expectations and businesses have been able to secure strong candidates quickly. We are also seeing a fresh demand for niche skillsets, such as: Regulatory Reporting, IFRS 17, and Technical Accounting, which has led to competing offers and a shortage of candidates with the right skills. The projects that were put on the long finger are now back in focus.In contrast to the 2008 crisis, we haven't seen many redundancies within financial services firms. Nevertheless, businesses are reassessing what skillsets they require from senior finance leaders in this uncertain environment. Unfortunately we have seen some cost cutting at the very senior end of the market with opportunistic or knee-jerk removal of CFOs and Directors who may have been seen as an expensive luxury in a stale economy, however these people will be an absolute necessity to have in place when businesses return to growth mode. We’re expecting risk appetite to accelerate Going into spring 2021 we fully expect that positive news on a vaccine will spur a newfound confidence, and risk appetite will accelerate the need for additional resources and new expertise, leading to a war on talent. Our advice would be to really look after those star employees who you want to keep as they will be approached by other companies! If you are thinking about growing your team or department, it may be worth getting ahead of the game and kicking that process into action before you lose out, or have to pay salaries over the odds.If you are considering recruitment options, or want to discuss your own personal circumstances, then please feel free to call me for a chat on 079 6337 0126, or drop me an email.
Having spent two years at a Big Four firm and three years working in the part qualified market for Marks Sattin, I have a vast amount of market knowledge and have worked with a variety of clients within financial services. The part qualified market forms a big part of our business, however some of our clients have never recruited a PQ candidate before or are unsure of what this candidate pool looks like. So, we thought we would answer some typical questions/opinions regarding PQ recruitment below. ‘We are a small team and cannot afford to lose a member of our team to study for weeks at college’This is a common misconception from clients who have no experience in study support for junior accountants. If you are a practice-trained ACA your personal experience will be very different to accountants who have qualified in industry. It’s important to note that typically candidates don’t get sent to college for vast amounts of time, and there is always the opportunity to offer candidates online courses or evening/weekend courses taken outside of core working hours. A typical study support package towards ACCA/CIMA would look like this:- Exam and membership fees - Study materials- An additional one or two day’s leave for revision plus the exam day, per exam ‘We don’t want to invest in someone and then they leave our company’ Investment in candidates is always rewarded with harder work and longevity which are key attributes clients look for when hiring! The ultimate goal for aspiring accountants is to become qualified and have steady career progression, and without investment by their current business, they may be more likely to seek investment from a competitor who will provide study support. " When offering a study support package most clients can protect themselves with a clawback clause, meaning if an employee leaves during their studies or a short period after qualifying, they will have to pay back a percentage of the fees incurred by the employer. ‘Why would good candidates be on the market for a new role before they’ve qualified?’ This ties in well with the above point, whilst study support is very important to candidates, equally to that is career progression and continued professional development. I am sure if you are reading this then you will be able to relate, especially when thinking about your own decisions and choices that you have made to get to where you are today! Coming from a big 4 background myself, I know how uncommon it is to leave an ACA training programme before you are qualified - you could even say it is frowned upon. There is a completely different culture to accountants who train and ones who qualify in industry. Just because they are on the market as a part qualified accountant does not mean they are underperformers. In fact it just means they actually are committed to bettering themselves! ‘We are looking for a smart and ambitious graduate but we don’t provide study support’ In short you’re saying you want the best of the best without giving them anything in return. Smart and high achieving graduates will be sought after by many businesses. From my experience, these types of candidates can usually end up with more than one job offer on the table. For example one of my candidates recently graduated from a top university (University College London), and within a week had three offers on the table! In this scenario, more often than not, money is not a key motivator. By contrast these candidates will favour career progression opportunities, study support as well as the culture of the business. You need to make yourself competitive to win over ambitious candidates, unfortunately a good salary isn't enough. ‘We would prefer a newly qualified accountant’ Depending on the type of role a good question to ask is: Why do they need to be qualified to do this role? Part qualified candidates ultimately show value for money. A part qualified accountant with 2-3 years experience, will know how to do the job itself. For example, processing invoices, journal entries, bank recs, preparing management/financial accounts. Their salary expectations range from £33k to £44k. You can then compare this to a newly qualified accountant coming from an audit background that may never have performed a hands-on accounting role, only external audit. Their salary expectations are usually around £55k if they’re big 4 or around £50k outside the Big 4. Alongside the savings you could make, PQ accountants tend to be more willing to take on some of the transactional tasks which qualified accountants want to move away from, recently qualified ACA candidates typically do not like financial reporting roles, instead they’re looking for more ‘commercial’ roles. This is proving to be a massive challenge in recruitment. You can achieve greater longevity from a part qualified accountant as they work towards becoming qualified, especially with the help of clawback clause. ‘We prefer to hire directly for junior roles’ With everyone looking to cut costs now more than ever, it also means there are an abundance of candidates and more people applying for jobs. One of my adverts received over 2,000 applications! This may seem like the ideal situation with plenty of options to choose from but the reality is that the majority of applications are candidates who are not suitable for the role. A lot of job seekers have the ‘throw everything against the wall and see what sticks’ kind of approach. And the reality of finding the right CV becomes ever more daunting. By using a recruiter who specialises in this industry, and who spends their days building relationships with these candidates, you can cut this down to receiving a few top quality profiles tailored to your business. Not only will this save you time, but you will also receive an extra level to the interview process. Speeding up the entire hiring process (especially if you are looking to replace a team member who is leaving, this notice period window can be crucial). As everyone in business likes to say; time equals money! Long hiring processes can mean losing candidates to other offers, or losing their interest if you make them wait too long - it doesn't reflect well on the business. At that point you may find yourself starting the whole search process again, not ideal or cost effective. If you would like to discuss a part qualified role, or if you're looking to expand your team please get in touch with me here.
As we start the final furlong to Christmas and the end of a pretty eventful year, I wanted to give my overview and thoughts on the current state of the UK compliance and financial crime market, taking a positive outlook and working towards what to look forward to in 2021. The current market in the UKWhen looking at unemployment statistics for 2020 it might feel a bit concerning, The Office for National Statistics confirms the estimates for June to August 2020 showing an approximately 1.52 million people unemployed, representing 209,000 more than a year earlier and 138,000 more than the previous quarter. This puts the current unemployment rate at 4.5%, considerably less than most of the other G8 nations and still some of the lowest figures on record. However, despite the UK dipping into a recession, there’s still been plenty of recruitment activity within the governance space, fuelled by the UK’s position as a global financial services hub, with a special mention to the growth of the fintech (the UK has three of Europe’s biggest fintech firms in its grasp). London especially continues to perform well in global rankings for innovation and investability, regularly coming in at the number one spot and continuing to lead the world in forex trading with an estimated $2.86 trillion per day going through London and as such businesses continue to maintain their presence in the square mile. A new way of workingAgile working has never been more prevalent with working from home now firmly entrenched in many businesses cultures, coupled with investment in digital and virtual processes which have been implemented over the last 6-9 months. Within compliance and financial crime our clients have responded well to all changes and have adapted with ease, meaning less need for employees to worry about making too many adjustments or needing to come in to work on a regular basis. Compensation in the compliance and financial crime sectorPositively, salaries and benefits for permanent roles have remained fairly consistent this year although there has been a marked decrease in day rates on offer for contractors with £500 to £700. This is where we have found most businesses comfortable operating in a volatile market. This has also been affected by the anticipated arrival of IR35, which will come into effect in April 2021. Why choose compliance and financial crime? Compliance and financial crime continues to be a popular career choice for school and university leavers, driving the competition for graduate level roles. We continue to see an increasing number of qualifications available from the ICA, ACAMS and IRM which are being more desirable when applying for a new position. " This is unsurprising given the UK’s position within the world of banking and financial services. It’s also due to the fact that a career in compliance is now possible straight from university, rather than the traditional route through legal or audit.Relocation is high on the agendaWhen looking at available vacancies it’s worth noting that a large number of roles are being relocated to Europe, particularly Benelux. Amsterdam is boasting a strong selection of risk, compliance and financial crime roles, particularly within the attractive Fintech space. However, we know that it’s not simple to uproot from London and move abroad, and there is still high appeal in London for both the employee and company side.Marks Sattin has continued to perform well and above expectation this year. Whilst some businesses have reduced headcount, we have maintained and in some places expanded our existing teams to ensure we can continue to support clients across all locations. We are anticipating a marked increase in the number of hires next year and would love to support you with any future hiring plans. For more information on how we can support you or if you have any other needs you would like assistance with please get in touch.
As the year comes to a close, we thought we would share some market information on what we see happening within the Thames Valley region: How well have businesses been performing in the Thames Valley?There are definitely many positives to take away from the last 6 – 9 months and we have seen businesses adapt quickly and efficiently to the new world of hiring. Remote working has become the norm for many of us and it has been refreshing to hear good stories from around the area as to how teams have responded and how business operations have been working well for the majority. We are sure this is something that will continue to be the norm once we come through to a more “normal” time. Onboarding and interviewingWe have seen a dramatic change in the way these process would normal have worked, and maybe this is a step in the right direction? Through the year we have supported our clients and candidates in understanding best practices for video interviewing and virtual onboarding. For many businesses in our market they have been conducting their usual two stage processes, albeit with the necessary changes. The initial telephone interviews and two or more video interviews via Teams or Zoom, sometimes even WhatsApp video. These have all proven to be highly effective and we have seen success conducting many processes like this remotely during the course of the year. Onboarding remotely has been a positive experience for both our clients and our candidates starting new roles. We have luckily heard no horror stories which is amazing, especially considering that we were plunged into this new way of working without very much warning or time to plan these new remote processes. We are positive about these new tools we are using making attending interviews and integrating new employees easier than ever, and we're sure this was of working will carry through to the future of recruiting.The interim and temporary marketOne of the areas which we have been successful is helping business navigate their own situations by finding interim or temporary talent to meet certain demands. This has seen a boom in the desire for short term placements. If you're looking to hire during financial and tax year end, or if you're a candidate looking for an interim role - please get in touch here.