Thursday, 9 March 2017

Working 9 to 5 …. What a way to make a living!

This is an article written in 2013 however still has relevance 4 years on ...
Well, that was the famous song in the late 70’s, when woman were trying to have it all and were desperately trying to compete in the board room while juggling family life and yes, most people were working 9 to 5pm.  How things have changed ….

Dolly Parton has recently brought her musical version of the film to the Edinburgh Playhouse and having had the good fortune to go along; this feel good show certainly gave me some food for thought.  Set in the late 70’s there were no computers just type writers, no mobile phones and most people  clocked in at 9am and left at 5pm.  Our working lives have changed so much since then and although we have far more technology help to make us  more productive and efficient, there’s still the day to day juggle of family life that has to be taken into consideration for both men and women.  We have converted work patterns over the years so there is no longer a 9 to 5 mentality in most work places however that brings it’s own pressure of having the facility to work 24/7, another challenge.

Having gone through one of the worst recessions we have known it has made employers and employees revaluate their life/work balance and there have been some interesting evolvements, particularly over the last 4 years.  Employers are more aware that their survival and growth works hand in hand with how happy their employees feel at work as this will also result in longevity and commitment.  As such they have been far more responsive to part-time workers as it has been a good resource to save on their cash flow while still getting the job done. Working from home for a number of positions has also had some great advantages however if this is not done correctly it can be disruptive for all involved.  We have seen a massive surge in the amount of people working on a self employed basis doing consultancy work, again this creates opportunities that can be mutually beneficial but isn’t always as straight forward as it would seem.

Working on a consultancy basis may seem attractive but it’s the back office challenges you have to take into consideration that working for a larger organisation you very rarely notice.  Admin, IT, accounts and suppliers all need to be dealt with no matter how much work you are bringing in and they are the thing’s that usually eat away extra hours or money if you outsource.   Most people who give up a job to become a self employed consultant do so as they want more flexible working arrangements and to earn more money however statistics show that in the first 3 years, most work longer hours than they have ever worked and for less money.

All the flexibility that employers now show and that we look for in a job comes down to one thing …. Are we happy in our work?

Data gathered since 2006, shows that people everywhere feel less confidant, motivated, loyal, resilient, committed and engaged.  Research, involving 9,000 people from around the world, reveals some astonishing findings. Employees who report being happiest at work:

· Stay twice as long in their jobs as their least happy colleagues

· Spend double their time at work focused on what they are paid to do

· Take ten times less sick leave

· Believe they are achieving their potential twice as much

If you’re really happy at work, you’ll solve problems faster, be more creative, adapt fastest to change, receive better feedback, get promoted quicker and earn more over the long-term.

So in 2013 we will see yet more changes in the workplace, fortunately there should be more opportunities whether that is promotional, working patterns or new jobs coming to the market place as companies put their growth strategies back in place.  So to quote another old time favourite ‘come on along get happy’ …is this your time for New Year, New Job?

Pauline Dickson is the Director of Dickson Lewis and the Director for Scotland of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP)
Dickson Lewis offers one to one career coaching and through workshops Dickson Lewis is based at Wemyss House, 45 Frederick Street, Edinburgh Tel: 0131 225 2000 e-mail:

Should I look for a new job?

Is it time to find your dream job? If “Yes” is your answer, then where do you start?

We have experienced changing times for businesses with many challenges. This has meant that for organisations who would like to take on a new recruit and for candidate’s considering a move or career change, a number of new challenges need to be faced.

When companies take on a new recruit or promote from within, this gives greater confidence to both the person involved and generally within the organisation. A new job or promotion usually means an increase in disposable income to those who have been successful, which leads to other decisions such as moving or buying a house, the purchase of luxury items or going on holiday.

It is no surprise then that the recruitment industry is a great indication of how the economy is improving and how important it is for everyone, both employers and recruits alike, to encourage as much of this movement as possible.

We have seen a dramatic change in how we look for work and how employers recruit. One of the main changes has been the use of job boards i.e. S1 jobs, Total Jobs etc. They are relatively easy to use and as we live in an age of technology, it means that submitting a CV is literally a 2-click process. This has therefore resulted in a very high number of applications per vacancy that can often only be managed by recruitment companies that are equipped to handle this volume of responses.

So what should you do?
  • Start looking and understanding your market.
  • Network - Make contact with people in your market that may have opportunities or let your boss know you are looking for promotion.
  • Register with a recruitment agency that understands your market, ideally a specialist.
  • Spend time on your CV and if you need to, get professional advice.
  • Commit to doing something for your job search every week – you will be surprised how many opportunities you uncover.
Work with a Career Coach.

Stay positive.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

I Have An Interview, What Now?

To get the job, however, applicants need to impress hiring managers on several levels, and the key to accomplishing that is to be prepared.

Where to begin? Start by doing some research on the company by turning to the Internet. A company’s website provides bountiful information about the company’s products, services and history. Knowing just a bit about an employer’s business will show hiring managers that you can be counted on to take initiative.

It also pays to know a bit about the people who will interview you. Here, the social-media website LinkedIn can help out, providing background and other information about people in the company that can help you keep the conversation rolling should a lull enter the conversation during the interview.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

It’s a new day, it’s a new year, it’s a new job and we’re feeling good……

Or are we? Traditionally we take stock after the bells strike 12 on the previous year. With renewed enthusiasm, we make new plans and goals to put in place for the year ahead.

Looking at our work life balance and cash flow sits fairly high on this priority list, particularly when you have a young family to organise and support.
So what does 2011 hold in store for us? Well the last few years have been challenging for many to say the least and unfortunately, although there is light at the end of the tunnel, it would seem we still have a bit of a journey ahead to reach it.

When juggling family life and the increasing strains work commitments are putting us under, understanding your skills and the current job market can make changing jobs or going back to work after a career break far less stressful.
There are jobs! With the right skills and approach to the market, 2011 could be a very lucrative and exciting time for some.

Be prepared to wait…. the recruitment process now takes longer than it has previously. This is mainly due to employers taking their time to make sure they get the best fit for not only the job but also their organisation. However, it does mean that there are great long term opportunities available now, which have proved to be sparse over the last couple of years. We are starting to see a bigger upturn in people moving jobs rather than sitting tight and this means the job market is becoming more fluid again.

The recession has changed the way many employers think about how they should resource their businesses and this has resulted in facilitating a far more flexible approach. Great news when you are juggling family life. A full-time position can now be adequately managed either by working from home or a shorter working week (i.e. working full time hours in 4 days). There has also been a huge upturn in the amount of professional jobs becoming available on a part-time basis. We now recruit far more financial controller, book-keeper and credit control positions on a part-time basis than ever before.

So where are all the jobs then? Well, not necessarily in the papers and on the job boards! Statistics have shown that during the last few years, the majority of new jobs filled are being done so by word of mouth and not through advertising. When an organisation advertises for positions in this market, they can be inundated with responses, some of which are not even relevant which makes for an administrative headache. It is no wonder that if they are told about someone appropriate, they will follow it up and in most cases look no further.

Many organisations use a bounty system that offers their employees money if they recommend a successful applicant, so this could be doing everyone a favour! The main thing is to get word out that you are looking for new opportunities and stick to your guns on what will work for your family life. Employers know that if someone has high job satisfaction that they are likely to be doing a good job, so getting an opportunity that works for you is a win-win for everyone.

Research organisations that you would like to work in, whether it’s because they are in the right location or they share your values. Whatever the reason, you can make sure you are in the right place at the right time when they are looking for new staff. You may be surprised to find out you already know someone who works there.
Social networking is making the world a much smaller place and is opening a whole new world for recruitment. Many busy mums I speak to are relying on Facebook as a welcome lifeline to keep in touch with family and friends. Don’t be afraid to ask them to help you find new opportunities as it might also help them if they get a cash reward!

So when making your New Year resolutions, make a list of what you need to have a happy, healthy and prosperous year and speak to people to make it happen. This just could be a great year.

Friday, 9 April 2010

What's it all about??

Having had a blog account since August 2009 like many others I understood the importance of having one but time and content has always been putting me off making regular updates. Having had an inspirational chat with a good friend this evening it is now clear that what I should be telling you about is the market not only for accountants but also for jobseekers in all walks of life.

Dickson Lewis as well as focusing on Accountancy Recruitment offer all jobseekers career advice and guidance to help them not only understand the modern day recruitment process but also what they can achieve even in an economic downturn.

Our workshops can be fully funded by the DWP so in most instances can be free to the attendees.

I intend to use the Dickson Lewis blog not only to update you on Accountancy recruitment info but also to give tips/advice and inspriational stories on what is happening in real terms in todays job market.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Now is not the time to be going back to work or looking for a new job. Or is it?
2009 saw one of the most difficult years in history for both employers and employees. But this is 2010 and we can start the year with new resolutions and renewed optimism. The government and many employers are starting to see what they call ‘green shoots of recovery’ but the market is still remaining cautious. One thing that is certain is that when the recovery comes, you need to make sure that you are well placed to take advantage of it and be ready to put your foot on the ladder sooner rather than later.

So where are the jobs and what are they? We have seen a lot of changes when looking for work. Having the right credentials (qualifications, experience etc) used to be enough to safeguard a good job or move easily and productively into a new role. Now you not only need to have these credentials, but also the ability to ‘rise above the competition’.

This can be daunting at anytime in your career and particularly if you have taken that important and well earned break to spend time with your young family. However don’t let this put you off.

We are seeing an upsurge in the number of part-time, temporary and long and short term contracts appearing in the job market. When looking to fit a work life balance around child care this could prove beneficial for both companies and jobseekers alike. This could offer a fantastic opportunity if you have strong transferable skills and are keen to get back into the work place. It allows you to approach employers with flexible arrangements that could help you build your career while your family grow and thrive. An arrangement such as this also provides a much needed, cheaper alternative for employers.

Employers have never been more open to flexible working. They are far more likely to think out of the box when filling a traditionally full-time, permanent role. It may provide the opportunity for a working parent to put their transferable skills to good use. In times where cash is tight, knowing that you can potentially save a full-time salary and employ someone who has bought into your organisations visions and values is extremely appealing. There are also many more opportunities for home working as this can also have the advantage to employers in saving office overheads.
For some it may be the time to consider going self employed or working in a consultative role. This maybe an alternative answer to fast tracking you back into the job market on your own terms. This is not without hard work and a certain amount of risk but can give you long term rewards you never thought you would achieve. Consider taking stock of:

- Your personal interests
- Skills and abilities (what are your achievements?)
- The market opportunities for your skills

This is a worthy exercise to understand what you have to offer and what is likely to give you the most job satisfaction while fitting in with your desired lifestyle.
A staggering 70% of job vacancies are unadvertised. Believing you can get your dream job on your terms is the first step to achieving it. The next step is creating opportunities with potential employers in a way that will be mutually beneficial for you both. Don’t be afraid to network. This doesn’t mean getting suited and booted with a pile of homemade business cards! There are of course circumstances where this can work, but really, it’s about speaking to people around you. You will be amazed at how many opportunities are around. However, until you identify what you have to offer and specifically want, they may never appear.
So don’t wait another year for the media to tell you it’s time to get back into the job market. Historically after every recession the job market comes back stronger than it was before. If that’s the case then creating an opportunity on your terms now means you will be in a stronger position when things are good. Take things into your own hands and work at creating the opportunity. Plan your career goals and how they will work with your chosen lifestyle and go for it. After all …. it is a New Year.