Recruitment Q&A – March 2019

Dear Aunty Recruiter

I really want to keep my employees happy but my finance director has put a lock down on salary increases for the foreseeable. What can I do?

Worried Manager, Wigan








Dear Worried Manager

You will be relieved to hear that money is seldom the key driver that makes some one leave or remain in a job. Don’t underestimate the power of:-

    • The people. It is almost always all about the people. Only hire people are talented AND nice. Not either/or, but both. Always.
    • Rewarding good work with time off. A day, even an hour or two, off can mean so much.
    • Giving praise and showing appreciation regularly and generously.
    • Holding team events, competitions and doing charity work together.
    • Offering plenty of training and opportunities for career and personal development.
    • Making sure your benefits and pension packages are competitive.

Hope that answers your question! – Julia Walton


If you have any more questions for our consultants to answer, please send them to [email protected].

7 Tips for Negotiating a Pay Rise

For those of us who don’t work in sales or finance it’s difficult enough discussing money, let alone asking outright for it, so here are a few tips to help you secure that pay rise.

  • Check your contract. Some companies will be really clear about when your appraisals are. For those that aren’t, ask for a meeting with your line manager but be sure to give yourself plenty of time to prepare.
  • Do your homework. Find out what your market rate is by looking at adverts for jobs similar to yours. Speak to your recruiter – any recruiter worth their salt will want to keep in touch with you between job-moves and they should have a really good idea of your worth in the market.
  • Think carefully about why you should have a pay rise. Have you outperformed your colleagues? Have you regularly met and exceeded your targets? Are you performing duties above your paygrade? Also think about why your employer should invest more money in you – what will they be getting out of it?
  • Get your timing right. Has the company just secured a big new client? Or have they just invested heavily in a rebrand?
  • It’s not all about money. Will an extra £2K a year make much of a difference after tax? Perhaps you could negotiate a later start or an earlier finish to aid the school run. Or maybe a season ticket loan so you don’t have to fork out a lump sum. Improving your work-life balance or your cash-flow may be more valuable to you.
  • Make sure you’re armed with a written proposal – it doesn’t have to be a huge, laminated document, just something your line manager can go away with. They may not be the final decision-maker so arming them with your research may help your case.
  • Make the first offer. You should be confident enough to do this if you’re well prepared. Research shows that making the first (sensible) offer helps to secure discussions in your favour.

This article by the Financial Times gives some similar advice about negotiating a pay rise, and if you’d like any further advice, call your friendly neighbourhood recruiter for a chat on 020 7359 8244.

Five Minutes with… John Bowen

Each month, we’ll feature one of our team members in a brief Q&A, so you can get to know us all better! This month we’re meeting John Bowen who is opening a new PR office for us.

How did you get into recruitment?

I was working in PR very much enjoying it but decided that I wanted to make more money. I enjoy talking to people, so thought recruitment might suit me. My recruiter suggested to me that it would be the perfect job for me and I should check it out. Having done so, I’m delighted… It’s a great job, I meet really interesting people and work for an agency I like with supportive management.

Tell us about the sectors you recruit in…

I recruit in PR across technology, corporate, digital, property… To be honest, whatever our clients need, we do our best to make sure their needs are filled.

Why do you think your clients and candidates like working with you?

I think people find me to be genuine when I talk to them, I’m on their side, I’m honest, I’m in recruitment to build long term relationships, it’s something I’ve learned from working with clients in PR and now I have candidates as well. I’m keen for people to come back to me in the future, so want to build trust.

What are your plans with the new office you’re opening?

The Midlands and the north of the UK are untapped for Media Contacts, well we do have some clients there already, but there’s a lot more opportunity there and now we have the resources to open an office there we’re going full throttle. Some people think London is the be all and end all for work, but there’s a lot of rich talent out there and we’re keen to ensure we’re engaged beyond London.

Why are you moving?

I’m moving because my wife is from Birmingham, so we know the city very well. I’ve got two young children now, so we’re keen to see what life is like outside London and spend a bit more time with family.

Now to get to know you!

If you never had to work again and money was no object, what would you do?

I’d like to pick papayas on a desert island with my family and live a very simple life.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I’m a closet gamer, I’ve never given it up since being a kid, I’ve always had some sort of console or PC and for me it’s a great way to relax.

What sort of games do you play?

When I was a kid I’d play role-playing games but now it’s first person shooters… it’s probably the stress of recruitment!

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Naturally, George Clooney.

What’s the worst job you’ve done?

It’s a toss-up between two. Collecting eggs on a chicken farm, that was stifling and I was attacked by cockerels all the time, even though I’m 6”3 I couldn’t fight them off. The other job was phoning up offices selling reams of A4 paper, which was really tedious. On balance, probably collecting eggs was worse.

What’s your favourite book?

That’s tough. I think the book that’s had the most influence on my life is 48 Laws of Power. It condenses lots of excerpts of philosophy and history and gives examples of what to do in life and how to succeed.

And your favourite song?

That would have to be Lost in Music by Sister Sledge.

We’ve already discovered that you want to be stranded on a desert island with your family but, if you were stranded on a desert island on your own, what’s the first thing you’d do?

Having watched Bear Grylls’ Celebrity Island, it would definitely be build a shelter while I have the energy to do so. I want to make sure the rain doesn’t affect me too much and I don’t get bitten by bugs. I’ve genuinely thought about this a lot.

And finally, what’s your favourite colour?

I’m a bit of a lover of pink. If it suited me, I’d wear it more often.

Media Contacts – Birmingham office!

In its 25-year history Media Contacts’ PR team has predominantly focussed its efforts across London. Given the vast concentration of PR agencies and practitioners, the capital has long been recognised as a public relations hub. Yet there is a hive of PR activity across the UK and some of the best, award-winning agencies can be found in cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh, to name but a few.


In order to strengthen its relationships with existing PR clients in the Midlands and the north of the UK, and also to tap into some amazing new talent streams, Media Contacts is delighted to announce the creation of its Birmingham office. Former Weber Shandwick PR consultant turned recruiter, John Bowen, will head-up this exciting opportunity and has already been busy building relationships with new clients and candidates alike.


Regarding this new enterprise, John said: “Media Contacts is consistently seeing great PR talent created outside of London, fostered by agencies that dare to be different. We want to act as a conduit for gifted PR practitioners who are looking to make their mark anywhere in the UK and the creation of the Birmingham office will play a key role in this. So if you’re looking for an exciting new job in PR or are in an agency looking to make some great hires, please get in touch!”



Market Update – February 2019

Although, strictly speaking, nothing has changed legally yet, we are already noticing a change in our markets ahead of Brexit. Some people are moving back to the continent, still others are deciding not to move to the UK after all. In some markets this is creating a skills shortage, so it’s a great time to be looking for work. The skills shortage is highest in London and surrounding areas, closely followed by the North West and then the Midlands (where we’re opening up a new office – it’s almost as though we have a plan!).

We’re also encountering continued wage inflation. While in post-depression Britain, wages stagnated, in the last year or so they have risen dramatically. If you’re looking for a new job or you’re due an appraisal and would like advice about how much you should be being paid, call us on 020 7359 8244 or email your CV to [email protected].