Jobs market is finally starting to catch up with the rest of the economy

There is no doubting that market conditions have improved markedly over the last two quarters and as a result the recruitment sector is starting to feel the benefit.

There has been a definite upturn in trading across the board and the change in sentiment is filtering through in just about every sector of the economy.

Commentators and financial experts have been in agreement for some time that we are heading in the right direction.

All of the major indicators are pointing to a rapidly improving situation with the markets, employment and the housing sector all showing marked signs of improvement.

And that surge is growth is now starting to have an effect on the employment market after six years of stagnation. The reality is UK’s economy is actually faring much better and is in a healthier condition than many of its counterparts on the continent and further afield.

It is actually performing far stronger than many economic experts had been predicting or were forecasting.

The pace of the recovery has actually started to pick up over the last two quarters and the signs are continuing to be very encouraging.

And now it is becoming apparent that the sense of renewed confidence is starting to be felt by individuals as well as the major business, government and financial institutions.

Consumer spending still has some way to go before we see the levels of a decade ago and people are still being cautious when it comes to personal finance – and rightly so.

However just as importantly it appears that there is a new pattern emerging within the recruitment sector that could have a major impact on the improving economic picture.

It is important to remember that the employment conditions have a direct impact on the economy. If companies are to grow and prosper then they need to be able to recruit the right people with the right skills and qualifications.

However, over the last six years the recruitment market, with the exception of London, has remained largely static. People have been staying put and keeping hold of their job, recessions mean that employees are far less likely to take any risks.

That lack of movement has been coupled with low wage settlements across most sectors. Employers managed to keep redundancies to a minimum by keeping tight control over spending – and that includes employment costs.

But if the reports are correct then the congestion in the employment sector is showing signs of starting to ease.

The most recent report from accountancy firm KPMG on the UK Employment Sector backed up this point of view.

It appears that after years of caution people are finally starting to wake up to the fact that the economy is in recovery mode and as a result there are employment opportunities available for those looking to move their career on to the next stage of its development.

But that also means that employers will need to change their mind-set. Along with economic growth will come an inevitable growth in salary levels and wage settlements.

The pendulum is now swinging back in favour of employees and with more opportunities opening up for them they are now in a stronger bargaining position.

The market always decides and employers who fail to offer the going rate will lose out to their rivals.


Want to land that dream job – then do your homework

One of the key factors when it comes to success in any walk of life is preparation and attention to detail. It doesn’t matter what task you have been given or what role you are being asked to carry out preparation should always be the starting point. And when it comes to job hunting and trying to land that dream job then putting in the hard work before an interview really can make all the difference.

There are various factors at play during the recruitment process and many of them are outside the candidate’s control. But when it comes to the interview process every candidate gets an equal chance to sell themselves and has the opportunity to show themselves in the very best possible light.

To give yourself the very best chance to succeed it is important to take as much control of the situation as you possibly can.

That means doing your research when it comes not just to the role you are applying for but also about your potential employees.

The first place to start is the job description as that should contain all the clues about what skills, experience and characteristics are wanted by the employer.

You should spend as much time as possible studying the job description and analysing every word of the advert, that information should form the basis of how you present yourself in the interview. The key is try and match your skills and personality to the role and the traits that will be expected from the successful candidate.

Just as important it is vital to research the company and gather as much information that you can on how they operate, their strengths and weaknesses and the kind of people they like to employ.

There is plenty of information out there on the internet and you can also use your contacts to talk to people who may have an insider’s knowledge on your prospective employer.

Finally make sure you do some personal preparation. Give yourself plenty of time to think about exactly what it is you want to say about yourself and the type of image you want to project.

In other words have a properly thought out plan of action in your head before you go into the interview.

Just as importantly make sure you get your personal appearance right, if you look the part and feel good about yourself then it will give you that little bit of confidence that just might make that all-important difference.

You cannot control every factor in the process but if you do put in the preparation properly then you can drastically improve the odds in your favour.

Any decent recruiter can spot someone who has not done the necessary homework. Conversely people who have properly prepared and know what they are talking about will always stand out from the rest of the pack.



Why we should never forget

Last week was a truly humbling experience as the whole nation paid tribute to the millions of men and women who lost their lives in the First World War.
What was so moving about the events that were held across the nation to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War was the way the entire nation took part in honouring out fallen heroes.and in our major cities individuals were also given a chance to make their own personal tributes.
It would be hard not to be moved by the moving and truly stunning artwork that has appeared at the Tower of London in recent weeks. The c

As well as the major events here in the capital

ascade of poppies on the walls of one of London’s most famous buildings is truly beautiful and appears to have captured the public’s attention.

But the simple and moving tributes that took place across the nation on the night of the anniversary were equally as moving. Millions of people turned out the lights and placed a solitary candle in their windows in honour of the fallen.
It was supposed to be the war to end all wars but sadly that turned out to be a forlorn hope and less than two decades after the end of the Great War the world was once again plunged into global conflict.
Both wars are fast becoming something we know about only from the history books rather than from personal experience.
The generation who fought in the trenches at the Somme and Ypres have departed and with each passing year there are fewer and fewer surviving veterans from the Second World War.
Our parents and their parents’ lives were directly affected by both conflicts and very few families escaped without losing a loved one.
We should count ourselves incredibly lucky in this country to have grown up in an era of relative peace and stability. There has been conflict in our lifetime but nothing on the same scale that took place in the first half of the 20th Century.
The First World War was particularly savage because a whole generation of young men sacrificed their lives to protect our way of life.
It would be all too easy to confine the terrible events of 1914 to 1918 to the history books but last week was a true demonstration that people will never forget the sacrifices made by an entire generation.
And just as importantly we should never become complacent and allow ourselves to forget the devastating effects of war or allow our guard to slip.
It really is true that those who turn their backs on the history books are doomed to repeat the terrible mistakes and failures of the past.



People should get their just rewards

If you are lucky enough to have a job that you love doing then you are probably going to be completely committed to your career and to your work.

But the reality is that the majority of people get out of bed in the morning and make the journey into the office each day because they need to pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads.

Owners of businesses and senior managers tend to be completely committed to the cause and it is in their own interest to make sure the company flourishes and prospers.

But it is easy for senior people to forget that employees will usually not have the same level of commitment to furthering the cause of the company.

Of course, when you take staff on you want them to be self-starters and highly motivated but it is important not to take your staff for granted.

The people who work for you will know what the going rate is in their sector and those who are good at what they do will expect to receive decent pay for their skills and experience.

Any company or business which has ambitions to be the very best at what it does has to be prepared to invest to do well and that includes in its people.

I have always believed that everyone that works for a company should bring value to the business. It does not always have to be measured in monetary terms – but every employee should be able to make a difference.

That means that you should always be able to measure your staff’s performance in one way or another. Of course, when it comes to a sales environment the people who are the best at what they do will always stand out from the crowd.

But if you can measure the performance of all your staff that also means that you can have a bonus system in place.

Bonuses and performance-related pay should not replace salaries because if you go down that route then it will be almost impossible to keep and retain the best people in the sector you happen to be operating in.

But there is no doubt that a bonus system can be a very handy tool for a manager to get the very best from employees.

As well as recognising and rewarding the efforts of staff a fair and open system can also be used to create a healthy sense of competition within a business.

The key is to ensure that everyone is treated in the same way and also stands a fair chance of landing a bonus on a regular basis.

But if you set impossible targets or make it extremely difficult to land a bonus then the system can actually impact general morale in the wrong way.

Bonuses can be an extremely effective management tool as long as they handled with care, are equitable and are properly thought through and executed.



The competitive spirit is alive and well


THE Commonwealth Games may not have the glamour and reputation of other major sporting events but this year’s competition was a surprise hit with viewers and sports fans alike.


And perhaps the main reason for the unexpected popularity of the games, which in the past has played second fiddle to bigger and more prestigious competitions, was the spirit in which the event was held.


The athletes taking part and competing against one another appeared to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the whole tournament was surrounded by a sense of fun and enjoyment.


With the stakes so high in professional sport that sense of fun can often disappear altogether with the desire to win the main objective for those taking part.


And when it comes to the world of business it is essential to have ambition and drive if you are looking to be successful and there is no denying that it is also important to have a competitive streak.


The sales environment can be particularly competitive and you have to be tough and strong willed to survive and prosper.  And it does not matter what sector you are working in, if you want to get to the very top then you have to have that competitive streak.


But I have always believed that if you are going to be competitive then it is important to do it in the right spirit and in the correct manner.


In other words having the will to win is important but not if you want to win at all costs and with little regard to the people around you.


I believe it is perfectly possible to be competitive and ambitious without being ruthless and cut-throat.


There are plenty of cliches and misapprehensions when it comes to world of business which often paint a false picture of the way really successful people go about their business.


Of course, there are people who will stop at nothing to come out on top but the reality is that the really successful people are the ones who are tough negotiators and single minded but are also fair and straight-forward.


Sometimes it can be tough to tell people something that they do not want to hear but it is always the best policy to say exactly what you mean. You can be tough and stick to your guns but you also need to honest and fair when it comes to deals and negotiations.


The harsh reality is that in business not everyone is going to get what they want and as a leader or manager some people will be left feeling disappointed or let down as a result of the decisions you take.


It can be a tough balancing act to make sure you got your own way in negotiations or meetings but you can still be fair and honest in your dealings.

The key is to treat everyone the way you would want to be treated and to be direct without being discourteous or aggressive.


How to move on

Taking up a new job is a big decision to take and a major life choice so if you are moving on you want to make sure that you are doing so for all the right reasons.
In my experience too many people make the really big decisions about their careers without thinking through the consequences fully.
After family and friends work is probably the most important thing in our lives so it makes perfect sense to take a rational and properly thought through approach before making any career moves.
It makes no sense to move to a new job unless you are going to be moving your career forward and you are moving on to bigger and better things.
Not everyone can get a promotion when one comes along or be the boss’s favourite and the grass is not always going to be greener at a new company or organisation.
I would suggest that if you are moving to a new post on a whim or out of a fit of pique then you will probably regret the decision further down the line.
But if you have decided to move on to pastures new then it is important to handle the situation in as professional manner as possible.
As well as dealing with the exit from your current role you also need to prepare for the new challenges ahead.
It is worth bearing in mind that you will have to work through your notice period and I would always encourage people to behave as professionally as you possibly can.
There is no point in burning any bridges so you should try and stay as committed as you possibly can until the very end but this needs to be balanced with preparing properly for your new role.
First impressions always count and you want to make sure that you hit the ground running when you start your new job.
The most important thing is to do as much research as you can about your new employers so you can know what to expect and what will be expected of you. You will want to try and find out about working practices and the ethos of your new company.
If possible talk to people who have first-hand experience of your new business or organisation so you can get a real feel of what it is you will be walking into.
Take a look at your work wardrobe and if necessary freshen it up, as well as creating a better impression it will also make you feel more confident as an individual.
Finally if you get the chance try and pop into the place where you will be working. I would suggest ringing ahead and making sure you are welcome, it could be a big mistake to turn up unannounced.
There is no harm in saying hello to your new colleagues and you will want to appear keen and eager to start in your new role as soon as possible.
Like anything in life if you want something to be a success and get the most from the experience then doing the necessary groundwork really can make all the difference. 

Why it is so important to switch off from time to time

All of us deal with stress in different ways and have different coping mechanisms and techniques when it comes to tackling the pressures of modern life.
The reality is that human beings are incredibly complex creatures and we all react differently to the pressures of the modern workplace. For some lucky people stress is not even a major issue.
I have spoken before of the importance of getting the balance right between work and pleasure. Personally I enjoy my work immensely but the time I spend with my family and loved ones is equally as important.
Taking time out from the office can help to refresh the batteries and will also give you a better perspective on live.
Being totally focussed on work and nothing else in life can warp your worldview and ultimately have a negative effect not only the individual but also on the people around them.
It is simply not a healthy approach to focus solely on work and the best managers are the ones who encourage their team members to take a balanced approach to work and play.
But it is not just about taking time away from the workplace the quality of your leisure is just as important.
The advances in technology and the advent of social media mean we are constantly connected to the outside world. Pretty much all of us now carry a tablet or a smart phone with us at all times which means we are now in a state of constant communication.
You only have to pop into a bar or a café to see that people are constantly talking to one another via their handheld electronic devices.
In fact people below the age of 30 have grown up with the internet and are more likely to talk to one another through social media than more traditional forms of communication.
I have long felt that the new form of constant communication can be as much a curse as a blessing if it is used or handled in the wrong way.
We are all guilty of spending too much time on the internet or reading emails rather than actually talking to one another.
That is why that sometimes when you are away from the workplace and enjoying time with people who are the most important in life it is important to get away from it all.
If you really do want to spend some real quality time with loved ones then sometimes a complete break from technology can make all the difference.
If you really do want to switch off and relax then actually switching off you phone of tablet for a few hours really can make all the difference.
After all the world will not come to an end or the business come to a crashing halt if you are out of contact for a couple of hours.