Bigger budgets.


As George Osborne delivers the budget this week in the hope of further improving the economic circumstances, many businesses may too be drawn to thinking of their spending plans for the year ahead. If you want to descend into clichés, then there are plenty currently apposite: you have to speculate to accumulate; nothing ventured, nothing gained; make hay while the sun shines; and so on. With increasing commercial opportunities available, many directors will be starting to dream of all that extra potential hay, and wondering if they couldn’t do with a few more farmers to help out.


Apologies if you got bogged down in the metaphor there and I hope you’re managing to keep up – that was of course supposed to be a general point about the job market and not a comment on improved employment prospects for agricultural workers (if anything the recent flooding is unfortunately likely to mean the opposite for those involved in the actual business of making hay). Essentially what I’m trying to say is that if you’re thinking about your hiring needs, or about changing your job, now might be a good time to put the wheels in motion.


You may have noticed that the improving job market is a recurring theme in our blogs (and quite frankly, if you can’t work out why, then you need to go and sit in the corner). The economy is on the up, businesses are growing, good quality candidates are in demand and we’re here to help.

Happy days. (Alys Barber)

So, the sun comes out, England and Wales with the first Ashes match, Murray wins Wimbledon, the British and Irish Lions beat the Aussies, Chris Froome will probably win the Tour de France. Granted, if you’re not into sport or sunshine, it’s not a great time. Though not even the least sporty people I know have failed to be caught up in the “isn’t it great to be a Brit” fever (or Irish, sorry Lions).

And now, to add to it, we hear that unemployment was down again in the three months to May. Here at Media Contacts we’re always a cheery bunch (not in an annoying way though). But this is particularly pleasing and fits with what we’re noticing in the market. Reed, the job board, have noticed a similar trend too, with available jobs up 7% from Q1 to Q2 this year and a 22% uplift year-on-year. Because we’re experiencing an increase in available jobs too, as the economic recovery continues, I thought it might be an idea to publish some tips on how to recruit or how to get a new job in an improving market – especially given that some of you will never have needed to do either in anything other than a recession / failing economy.

So, here goes. If you’re recruiting:

  • Act quickly – candidates will be off the market before you know it and those who are not on the market, i.e. headhunted, will be happier, perhaps being paid more, in companies that are doing better.
  • Pay competitively – there will be more competition for candidates from your competitors now, so candidates will be worth more on the market.
  • Be more flexible in your approach – what are the essential skills a candidate needs and what skills / experience are on the “wish list”? It’s worth your while interviewing candidates who don’t fulfil the wish list requirements – this is what your competitors will be doing and you don’t want to miss out.

If you’re looking for a new job:

  • Act quickly – vacancies will be filled quickly. Companies will be under greater pressure to fill vacancies fast, so if you are interested in working somewhere you’ll need to be quick throughout the process.
  • Make the most of the increase in opportunity (depending on the market you’re in) – why not explore your options? People are, understandably, a little nervous of moving jobs in a poor economic climate. Now is a good time to start looking before everyone else gets their confidence back too!
  • Consider your options – now that there will be more jobs out there, consider options you might not have done before. You never know when / where you’re going to find the right job and company for you – and you can’t find out without interviewing with people.
  • Get your CV in tip top shape now so that, when you’re ready to apply for something, nothing will slow you down.

Well, hopefully you’ll have found that useful. Do, of course, get in touch if you want to discuss the market from either point of view. In the meantime, enjoy the sunshine, and here’s to an Ashes series win, the England ladies getting through with a last gasp win against France, a Chris Froome triumph and, while we’re asking, and Arsenal premiership win next season please.

“The most universal quality is diversity.” Michel de Montaigne, 1533-1592

It’s one of the big debates raging around Europe at the moment. We all know that we mustn’t discriminate against people on the basis of age, race, religion or gender etc. It also seems clear that companies and industries tend to perform better and cater for their customers more successfully if the people they employ, not just on the board but throughout the company, are diverse. So, how to we improve diversity in the workplace? Certainly cracking down on any form of discrimination is an excellent start, but it doesn’t solve the problem on its own. Improving education and access make a big difference and many industries and individual companies are driving this (for example, see here for the CIPR’s Diversity Strategy My colleague and I are off to the CIPR’s Equal Access Networking event on 4th December and I’m looking forward to learning what the PR industry is doing to improve diversity.

Many of the brightest minds in the world are convinced that positive discrimination is the best way to solve the problem of lack of diversity in the workplace and the boardroom. It’s a difficult debate. For someone who has an answer for everything, even I struggle with this. I instinctively find it morally wrong to choose one person over another because of their gender, or whatever, but I also want a diversity strategy that works and positive discrimination has worked in some places. All the work that governments and industries are doing doesn’t seem to do enough. I’d much rather we could change attitudes rather than need to have quotas for women on boards, for example. But, how best to do this? I don’t know.

Anyone got any bright ideas? (Alys Barber)