Featured Client – OPEN Health

Who are they?

OPEN Health are one of the UK’s leading healthcare communications agencies, with offices spanning the UK, USA and Dubai. Their vision is to be the most respected healthcare agency group on the planet, and they are well on their way to achieving that following recent changes to the way they operate. Having acquired Peloton Advantage last year, they have rebranded the multiple companies that fly the OPEN Health banner and now work in 4 distinct areas:

  • Medical Communications
  • Patient & Brand Communications
  • Value, Informatics and Evidence (VIE)
  • Consulting

Having started in 2011 with just 4 people sharing a unified idea, OPEN Health have seen rapid growth since then mostly owing to the high quality of work they have produced for the hundreds of clients they work with.

What do they do?

They have expertise in oncology, rare diseases and specialist medicine, with in-house digital experts supporting their global teams. We have recruited a variety of roles for them; from account managers and directors to senior medical writers and project managers, and everything in between, which is one of the main benefits of working with such a large industry titan: they can offer our candidates the perfect role to suit their skills rather than shoehorning them in. At OPEN Health no two days are ever the same; from creating the building blocks of a healthcare campaign to supporting a product launch, there is never a dull moment. Whatever your skillset, If you have the knowledge, experience and positive attitude, there is a role at OPEN Health for you to get stuck in to.

Why should you work for them?

With more than 500 people skilled in their field, and in excess of 1000 client accounts, OPEN Health are healthcare communications heavyweights who treat all their employees with kindness and respect. With benefits such as your birthday off and flexible working hours, a varied and interesting client base unrivalled in the industry, and a dedication to training programme Bloom, OPEN Health offer fantastic opportunities.

What do they look for in a candidate?

Most of the roles Media Contacts recruit for with the OPEN Health group require previous healthcare comms agency experience, and a life science academic background would be preferable. All OPEN Health offices also have a very open atmosphere, with a culture of learning encouraged in both junior staff and directors alike. They look for people who are inquisitive, embrace the challenges of healthcare communications and have a laser focus on the smallest aspects of their work. If that sounds like you, please do get in touch with us.

If you have any more questions about OPEN Health, or want to know more about Healthcare Communications in general, email the head of Media Contacts’ Healthcare division, Julia Walton, at [email protected] or call 020 7359 8244.

Does Flexible Working Actually Work?

One of the trends we’ve been seeing recently is flexible working – this can range from starting an hour later to working a 4-day week. These are becoming increasingly popular, so we thought we’d have a look into whether flexible working is actually beneficial.

Firstly, why do this? The thinking behind any form of flexible working is to boost morale – a happy employee is more likely to be productive. But in a situation that involves doing the same amount of work in fewer hours, the mental benefits might be mitigated and simply lead to increased pressure rather than mental levity – having to work longer hours in order to benefit from time with the family on a Friday could just not be worth it.

Recent trials found that there was no drop in quality of work and there was a 24% boost in productivity; there was also an improvement overall in mental health and morale, but this was lessened by increased stress and pressure from doing 5 days work in 4 days.


So, is this a benefit or something to be avoided? Naturally everyone has a different opinion, so I asked some of the Media Contacts team what they think:

Our Office Manager Jess thinks it’s a great idea, but suggests working an extra hour and having two 30-minute breaks throughout the day as well – would this increase morale at your current company? Comment with your opinion!

We then have Naomi , who said that rather than having a whole day off, it could be better to have 90-minute breaks for a full 5-day week to both boost morale but maintain a full weeks’ work, which our current placement student Michael also agrees with.

Our new resourcer Alex thinks the whole idea has potential but only in specific industries. Any industry that relies on consumerism will struggle to implement/maintain a four-day working week, due to consumer demands and interactions. However, a well-planned five-day working week should allow enough time for out of hours rest and recovery, so he personally wouldn’t push to have it.

Finally, our MD Rupert weighs in – his view is that it doesn’t work in a service-based industry – who is going to look after someone’s customers on the day that the person is not working? It also risks pushing more work onto the person to do out of hours, further blurring the line between leisure and work and shrinking work/life balance, which is not conducive to long term mental or physical health.

The biggest problem we have in the UK workforce at the moment is that productivity growth for most businesses more or less stopped in 2008. Previously, annual productivity growth was expected to be 2% (vital for the economy and wages/standard of living going up), whereas we have now taken 11 years to achieve 2% productivity growth. This is despite people working longer hours and taking calls/emails at home as well as at work – being engaged with work almost all of their waking hours. Rupert’s view is that if people want to maximise both productivity and work/life balance, it is more about ensuring that they are achieving their targets (both official and personal targets) within standard working hours – too much time is spent being non-efficient. The standard UK worker needs to relearn how to pack more into their day and maximise efficiency.

When Rupert first became a £300K a year biller, he didn’t do any work when I left the office – smart phones didn’t exist. He also spent no more than an hour a day checking emails or going online. He’d be in the pub or home by 6pm most evenings. Cut through the electronic distractions and restore work/life balance through being more efficient, and people have plenty of time to do non-work stuff without wanting a 4-day week.

So there you have the Media Contacts view on flexible working – we’d like to know your opinion too, so please let us know: have you tried it, would you like to or do you think it’s a bad idea?

I’ve been told my benefits package is comprehensive, but I want to be sure. What are other companies out there offering these days?

Over and above competitive salaries, companies are increasingly getting creative with their benefits packages. We’ve even seen the likes of ‘golden hellos’ in addition to the old staples of bonuses, profit sharing, medical, disability and life insurance, paid holiday and secondments, free meals, free drinks, expense accounts, social activities, phones and laptops, retail discounts, use of a company car, season ticket loans, pensions, stock options, childcare, gym membership, company holidays, personal days, sick leave, other time off from work, retirement and pension plans.


But what you have to weigh up is the complete package. Some, often smaller, companies offer fewer benefits but compensate by paying higher salaries. You also need to take into consideration the tax implications of having company cars and private medical cover, for example. If you’d like to discuss what is out there and what is fair to expect in your industry, our recruiters are happy to talk to you in more detail!


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.