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The Team at Laudale

PERMANENT ROLE: join a truly purposeful organisation and establish a brand new change portfolio management function.

We’re really excited to be working with this new client, helping them to recruit a Head of Change Portfolio Management in a newly created permanent role.

It’s an organisation with true purpose – they do very meaningful work and are establishing a brand new target operating model.

Click here to download more information on the role or talk to us hello@laudale.com

 

Why traditional recruitment methods might be failing to spot key digital skills

The Digital Skills gap: oft-mentioned, lamented and commented about, in business, it is an issue we are all too aware of and the figures support the facts with recent statistics from the UK Commission for Employment & Skills reporting that employers struggle to fill 43 per cent of STEM vacancies 

This isn’t news, but we were interested to read a recent CITY A:M article which suggested outdated recruitment processes and attitudes might be to blame?  

There’s lots of focus on encouraging the study of STEM subjects in schools and across genders plus initiatives and programmes to encourage the learning of digital practices all in a mission to equip the next working generation with the tools they’ll need for the modern workplace. However positive as those steps are, they weren’t in place for the current generation joining or moving through the ranks of the workforce but that doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable digital skills to offer.  

Are digital skills missed using traditional recruitment methods? 

The generation entering the workforce right now is truly digital, from smartphones to social media they have known little else but it’s less likely they’ve studied these subjects at an academic level. Now consider the last job advert you saw almost regardless of what the job was it probably requested some sort of level of qualification and likely in a certain subject.   

To truly attract today’s digital and technology talent businesses should be looking beyond the traditional requirements and channels, requesting a degree in computer science and refusing to interview anyone who doesn’t have one is a narrow-minded view and one which means businesses are missing out on available talent. We’ve experienced first-hand that those who have studied non-STEM subjects or even those who didn’t embark on further education at all are still able to move into and develop successful technology careers but based on traditional methods wouldn’t have got past the first application stage.  

From relying on ‘old school’ approaches like graduate fairs or only advertising on job boards, businesses must look beyond the traditional methods used to attract talent, particularly those just entering the workforce. 

It’s no surprise that the UK is seeing record numbers of young people set up their own businesses, in 2017 the number of company directors under 30 broke the 300,000 mark, in a clear demonstration that these digitally empowered entrants into the workforce will simply go their own way if businesses don’t step up and embrace new methods of attracting talent.  

Technology is synonymous with change, it’s what most tech professionals are hired to do, but businesses can’t expect to hire someone to effect change if they’re not willing to do so themselves.  

Struggling to attract the talent you need? Consider a different approach. 

Let’s have a conversation hello@laudale.com  

An authentic employer brand wins, in more ways than one

Your reputation as an employer and your value proposition to employees make up your employer brand, and every business has something unique about its culture and its offering. Yet, glance at many corporate careers pages and you’ll find a great business to work for, opportunity to develop and grow, happy, diverse employees… fairly standard stuff.

Why isn’t more employer branding truly authentic?

It’s not that businesses are trying to mislead, but ‘personalised’ employer brands appear only in the minority of cases, with the majority offering vanilla messages that appeal to most job seekers.  But do you want to appeal to all job seekers?  Getting your messaging right from the outset is actually the start of your selection process – done well it could allow applicants to self-select, encouraging applications from the right people and discourages applications from those who don’t fit your culture.

Just to be really clear here: we’re not advocating a message that talks to a particular demographic or encourages applications from ‘clones’ – diversity and inclusion is non-negotiable if you want to be successful in attracting the best talent.  It’s more about core values: does your employer brand authentically portray what you stand for as a business and the characteristics that work best there?

For example, a professional services firm’s careers page might emphasise the ‘generally’ appealing values and the promise of development, whilst saying less about the long hours, frequent travel, and limited work-life balance involved in building a career there. Whilst, at face value this message is arguably less appealing, it’s authentic and speaks to a particular audience.

There are many brands and businesses that embrace this authenticity well.  Investment bank Goldman Sachs is clear about its employee proposition: a quick look at the careers site shows employee testimonials describing a culture in which you can grow with support, whilst emphasising that you’ll have to be committed and put the hours in. Netflix is crystal clear about its offering and expects employees to be independent and not focused on process or rules. Neither message is negative or harms the employer brand – they are authentic and personalised.

Let’s be frank…

It might feel easier to paint a ‘me too’ picture of an employer brand or culture but, consider this: your employer brand already exists anyway.  It’s formed by the people and experiences within your business every day, across all channels and in person.

Not everyone will want to work for you and nor do you want them to.  Where employer brand is concerned ‘authenticity’ really is the best policy.

What’s your view? Talk to us @LaudaleHQ

 

 

 

 

Laudale is 5!

This year we’re celebrating our 5th birthday. Here’s some of the statistics we’re most proud of from the past five years in business…

It’s been a great five years, thank you to everyone who has been part of our journey.  

VIDEO: Focus on Women in Technology

In March 2018 we partnered with The Manchester Evening News to shine a spotlight on the women leading in technology in Greater Manchester. Laudale MD Alec Laurie discusses why in our latest video:  

Why women in technology 

It’s an agenda that we’re incredibly passionate about and if you work in technology you should be too. Gender equality is a business issue not a women issue – improve gender equality and by proxy you increase the available talent pool and I’m yet to meet a business that doesn’t want to do that.

Through the work we do day to day we know who the outstanding technology professionals are in Greater Manchester and we know a lot of them happen to be women. This campaign gave us an opportunity to showcase the outstanding talent in the region and we really enjoyed doing it.  

What did we learn  

We learnt a few things number 1 was there are some outstanding women technology professionals in Greater Manchester, and this confirmed that for us. Secondly was the route into technology was quite interesting not a lot of the women we talked to went through the traditional education route of computer science and up through a normal technology career. A lot came into technology careers,  whether that’s through industry or functions a little bit later in their career or through a slightly different route at university. And thirdly it was a very supportive community of women technology professionals, there was very little ego and everyone was really encouraging about each other. We got a lot of referrals and people who recommended other women to feature in the list and that was really nice to see.  

What next  

We need to continue the conversation, keep the momentum, keep pressing for progress and keep celebrating outstanding women in technology, I think there’s a lot being done at the grass roots level, there’s a huge amount of initiatives aimed at encouraging young women into the profession or into the technology sector which is great. I still think employers need to do a little bit more there’s something still here around the glass ceiling we need to break that glass ceiling for women in technology careers who want to climb the ladder, there’s much more that can be done by businesses and employers to achieve that.

You may also like:

Revealed the top women in tech in Greater Manchester

How leading firms are grasping change to succeed

Gender equality is a business issue not a women’s issue.

Why are there so few women in tech?

 

Quick tips for making faster, smarter decisions

In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business world decision making has emerged as a key management skill.  Yet, despite the demand to move quickly just to keep pace with innovation and change, many leaders still find decision making processes challenging.

Nobody makes the right decision every time and many leaders just aren’t comfortable with the possibility of failure. From genuine indecision to procrastination, it can be difficult to lead a team, business or project to success with these blockers in place.

Through talking to some outstanding leaders in our network, we have curated the following quick tips for making faster, smarter decisions which yield better results for your projects, business and leadership style.

  1. Be both independent and collaborative

The best decision makers are the ones who seek thoughts from others in their decision-making process. They’re the leaders who surround themselves with great teams and who draw on their thinking to ultimately inform their decision.  However, relying too heavily on others can lead to problems like groupthink.  Great leaders don’t insist upon decision making by committee nor do they need everyone to be in agreement. The key here is to take in the information and act on it fast.

  1. Trust your gut

Making the right decision is often more about being intuitive than being analytic. Take appointing a new supplier to your business: you’ll be provided with facts and figures designed to inform and influence your decision, but the final choice often rests with how you feel about the situation.  And, whilst it can be tempting to think you need to spend lots of time analysing information, sometimes a snap decision or choice driven by instinct will be the right one.  Of course, relying solely on your gut can also be problematic, as work by behavioural scientists like Daniel Kahneman has demonstrated so convincingly, but 9 times out of 10 an experienced leader intuitively knows what to do.

  1. It doesn’t have to be perfect

Businesses are now agile and responsive. Situations are rarely perfect and most great leaders would rather get things done and manage the relatively low risk that comes with imperfection. Effective decision makers are comfortable to jump in and make a choice without all the answers, because they have the confidence in their people and processes to arrive at the right answer.

  1. It’s ok to make a mistake

In fact, it’s more than just ok, it’s inevitable.  Poor decisions are made every day in business, large and small, the clincher is how you handle and respond to them. If you make a poor decision, admit it was a mistake and resolve it, your team will respect this approach.  After all, the wrong decision is better than indecision.

  1. Switch off

Some decisions are big no doubt about it and take more thought than others. If your mind is whirring and you’re unable to come to a decision you’re happy with, it’s time to switch off. Just like those lightbulb moments in the middle of the night, the brain is pretty impressive at finding the right answer when you least expect it.

And finally one bonus tip, don’t over-think it, it’s important with every decision to take a moment to ask if it really is a meaningful decision and if it’s not, it’s time to make a judgement call and move onto the next thing.

Talk to us @LaudaleHQ 

It’s the question hiring managers want the answer to, what do great candidates want?

What do great candidates want?  Here’s what some experienced professionals had to say…

It’s the question hiring managers want the answer to (or should want the answer to) ’What do great candidates want?’.

What you think might appeal about the role you’re offering, versus what is actually important to high calibre candidates, can differ entirely.  So if you’re complacent with your ‘pitch’ to candidates, you could be missing an opportunity to attract the right people.

During a search for a Senior Programme Manager, we asked candidates about the most important factors when weighing up an opportunity – and here’s what they had to say.

Adam, Programme Manager, currently in Retail

“I look at the role ahead of the company, industry etc.  It’s important that the work is challenging and I’m able to genuinely affect the delivery of change. I’m not even all that fussy about the job title, it’s more about the nature of the role – will it challenge me intellectually?  And is the business ready for change and capable of changing?  A competitive salary is important but it’s not the driving force behind my decision.”

Adam’s Top 3: Ability to affect change, Culture, Career Progression

Sarah, Programme Manager, currently in Financial Services

” That the work I’m doing is providing business benefit is really the critical thing for me. I want to know will the customer or the business benefit from this? Can I see the purpose in what I’m doing and am I engaged? These are really big things for me. Like-wise I’d be asking these questions about the culture of the place, are people bought in to the work they’re doing? As a contractor the day rate is important – I don’t work all the time so the numbers need to add up but rate doesn’t outweigh the need to see real business benefit in the work I’m delivering.”

Sarah’s Top 3: Interesting and impactful work, Culture, Day Rate

Richard, Portfolio Manager, currently in FMCG

“It’s really all about culture for me. I want a company that I’m investing time and effort in to be forward-thinking, transparent and committed to change.  This is really important in my role, as is a real need for clarity around the organisation and how people are managed.  These are key elements that are sometimes taken for granted as far as I’m concerned. Salary comes into it, but only as a hygiene factor. I need the other boxes ticked to find the right fit.”

Richard’s Top 3: Culture, Organisation and Management Style, Salary

These are just three examples of course but of over 50 candidates we engaged with during this project, more than half (55%) cited the need for challenging/interesting work or intellectual challenge as the top consideration when looking for a new role. 

Granted, these candidates’ requirements could simply be characteristic of programme managers, but we hear similar feedback on other searches – it’d be safe to assume there are very similar requirements across most dynamic roles.

Whilst this might not come as a huge surprise, are you really describing the challenge, the ability to affect change, and the culture as effectively as you could at interview? 

Laudale offers a range of advisory services designed to help you increase the success of your recruitment processes, which includes tools and methods for attracting the right people.

Get in touch today for an informal chat 

 

Tech talent: is it time to look North?

In our last infographic we took a look at why Manchester adds up for tech talent, with attractive salaries and an even more attractive cost of living, Manchester came out tops with its’ major competitor for tech talent, London but what about the other Northern cities and the tech opportunities within them. How do they measure up against some other Southern tech hot spots? our latest infographic takes a look…

 

Let’s first consider two of the larger cities we looked at Leeds and Birmingham. Average salaries in the West Yorkshire city sit at £50,041 whilst Birmingham comes in at a slightly lower £43,718, if you want to purchase a property there you’ll pay around £15k more however if you’re renting then you’ll feel more pressure on your pocket in Leeds putting the second and third largest cities in the UK on an even footing on first look but what are the opportunities like? Unsurprisingly there are more digital/tech jobs in Birmingham with more than 36,000 currently employed versus the figure in Leeds of 23,747 however taking into account the relative size of the cities both of these figures account for around 3% of the total population of the cities.

We also took a closer look at Newcastle and Bristol with the average digital and tech salary coming in at an attractive £51,213 whilst Bristol comes in at £47,063, take this and look at the average house price in each city at £167,890 versus £329,950 and in this example the figures are stacking up in favour of the North. However we know it’s not exactly that cut and dried sure, the salary sounds great on paper and the cost of living and housing in particular are highly competitive but what if the jobs just aren’t there? Well those figures look pretty good too there’s over 35,000 tech and digital jobs in Bristol whilst Newcastle boasts over 20,000 roles in the sector, slightly less but when considered that Bristol is a bigger city with more than 140,000 more people, this accounts for 7% of the Newcastle population versus 8% of Bristol.

For both Leeds and Newcastle versus their southern counterparts, there appears to be less opportunity however considering the relative size of the cities there’s also less competition in the Northern cities for roles with higher salaries and a lower cost of living, it would be foolish for tech talent not to look North.

You may also like:

Why Manchester Adds up for Tech Talent 

 

 

Revealed the top 30 women in tech in Greater Manchester

There are plenty of reasons to celebrate the great women working in the tech sector in Greater Manchester.

There are plenty of reasons to celebrate the great women working in the tech sector in Greater Manchester.

Not only do they prove that tech has equal opportunities but they are implementing necessary digital change to some of the region’s biggest businesses as well as putting GM on the map.

These women are doing some seriously impressive work so it is about time to find out a little more about each of them and shout about how they are enriching the sector.

Working alongside Greater Manchester Business Week has identified 30 of the top female tech talent in Greater Manchester. Here is the list (in no particular order):

View the full list here 

 

You may also like:

How leading firms are grasping change to succeed

Gender equality is a business issue not a women’s issue.

Why are there so few women in tech?

Who are the top women in tech?

 

Removing obstacles for all working parents will increase the tech talent pool

The third feature in our Women in Tech series with Greater Manchester Business Week focuses on Manchester’s position on the global tech stage and asks female tech leaders whether the city can rival Silicon Valley

Read the article here

Revealed the top 30 women in tech in Greater Manchester

Alec Laurie

Alec Laurie

Laudale Managing Director Alec Laurie shares his view on how removing obstacles for parent friendly careers will increase the tech talent pool and help Manchester increase its’ chances of becoming a tech capital.

Here’s what we know: there are outstanding women technology practitioners, leaders and role models in Greater Manchester.

But there’s still a huge opportunity to improve gender balance in technology here, to the benefit of the entire regional economy – not just women in tech.

A recent report by Tech North shows that, whilst Greater Manchester is one of the most ‘balanced’ City regions in the North (roughly 80:20 men-women), there’s still plenty of room for improvement to compete on a National and International level.

Fortunately, this is the type of challenge that we rise to here, and the GMCA’s Digital Strategy targets 60:40 men-women in technology by 2025.

But how do we get there? It’s encouraging that there are so many initiatives aimed at getting young women into technology and digital careers – I doubt we’ll ever run out of steam in pursuit of this objective.

At the same time we have to break the glass ceiling for women in technology. For me, this includes solving the problems that all parents face – men and women. Employers still need to do more here; that is, take concerted action to remove obstacles for
working parents, and by doing so significantly increase the available talent pool.

Indeed, if Greater Manchester became the most parent-friendly region in the World for technology careers, that would be something to be proud of.

You may also like:

How leading firms are grasping change to succeed

Gender equality is a business issue not a women’s issue.

Why are there so few women in tech?

Who are the top women in tech?