Confidence in the current job market seems to be holding steady, but not strengthening. Our results for the last quarter show that over 70% of our delegates resettle within 6 months. In fact, 60% of our delegates who resettled into employed work took just three months to find a new position – but the proportion successfully finding another external role reduced in favour of more finding a job in their existing organisation.
Since our delegates are almost always at the stage of having been put at risk of redundancy, this may seem surprising. It suggests one of two things. Either a failure to thoroughly check whether a suitable alternative vacancy exists prior to suggesting redundancy, or new roles being accepted within the same organisation are not obvious, perhaps not even suitable, alternatives to the existing role. A third option may be that only as they begin to work with Chiumento do our delegates start to realise and explore their potential to offer something more where they are. Sadly our statistics do not allow further probing to discover which of these is true and I suspect it is a combination of all three.
Supporting evidence instead lies in discussion with our HR contacts. It is clear that many line managers have for some time been shying away from open career discussions with their staff. Recession made such discussions harder. With simply no ‘good news’ to share and little to offer to their star performers, career conversations have been avoided. As a result, often staff have no idea how to ‘get on’ in their organisation, what the process and senior management attitude to seeking progression is, or even what jobs might be available. Their fear is that by applying for an internal move you may be taking a big risk. If you don’t get the job, will you become ‘persona non grata’ in your existing team?
Such has been the impact of redundancies over recent years that many of us are afraid to put our heads above the parapet. Asking for promotion, seeking a change of scenery, driving yourself to learn new skills all draw attention to you. Yet in this fast-moving world, all of these things are essential to drive a truly successful organisation. One where employees have broad knowledge of the business and a good understanding of how things work and how they can get on. One where they are also offered every chance to develop their skills to be relevant as well as leading edge, even if that does mean moving sideways.
Revisiting our statistics, there is evidence of the temptation for some to move instead in the direction of self-employment. The self-employment/contract/interim options amount to choices made by almost 30% of our delegates both this quarter and the last. Extrapolated out, that amounts to a significant proportion of the working population although the last government statistics talk of a figure closer to 15% – my suspicion is this figure is rapidly on the increase.
In my own experience, I have seen interest in self-employment, once a route more popular among those in the twilight years of their careers, become an increasingly attractive option to the younger generation. New ‘co-working’ office facilities are springing up in London in particular, but also across the country. They offer relatively low cost serviced facilities at affordable prices in prestige locations. Not just a desk and place to work, but also equipped meeting rooms, private booths for video or teleconferencing, free tea and coffee facilities and full connectivity. This creates a vibrant atmosphere providing opportunities to collaborate and develop by learning from other users.
They boast of their support for entrepreneurial spirits, and are attractive particularly but not exclusively to those in the hi-tech and service functional areas. Some even provide topical development, social activities and support for personal wellbeing including yoga classes and the like. And all for an affordable, easily set up and cancelled monthly fee.
It’s a far cry from the typical serviced office epitomised by the likes of Regus and MWB, and recognises the trend away from a permanent fixed abode to embrace a more flexible, fluid and virtual world that still acknowledges the need for interaction and collaboration and is affordable for new start-ups.
When you think about it, why wouldn’t most service companies move in that direction? What stops them from allowing staff to find their nearest local facility and working from there? The environmental impact and reduced stress in travel to work times is evident, and it also embraces some people’s preference to have the option of working from home – another growing trend.
A combination of home-based working with a flexible office desk facility seems to be the way forward – using cloud based systems that facilitate the dream for many of us in this technological age – to work in the Martini way: ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’.