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The Power of Networking - 5 Benefits Networking Can Have on Your Career

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In last week’s blog we looked at 5 Tips to Build Your Professional Network, this week we want to take a look at why networking is so important to your professional development. It can be a daunting task for those who wouldn’t consider themselves overly social, but the rewards to your professional and personal growth are endless.

 

1. Get Help and Be Helped

One of the most significant parts of building a professional network is the opportunity it presents you to ask others for help when you need it and to help other people in your network. It happens to all of us at some point when we need an extra pair of hands to help us solve a problem. All jobs present bumps in the road and it’s great to have a professional network you can lean on in times of struggle and vice versa you can lend a helping hand when your network need help.

 

2. Be Inspired by Ideas

Networking can be so beneficial to our creativity and inspire us to do more in our work. If you’re feeling a little lost or not as pumped about your job as you once were, go to a work event or conference and start talking to people! These people can have a similar role as you or a completely different role, or just work in the same industry. Don’t focus on what level they are either. Different levels of experience will bring you all kinds of different insights. It doesn’t matter what role they are in or what level they are, they will always share something new with you. It’s a great way to come back to the office with new and exciting ideas.

 

3. Build a Good Reputation

Building your network will get you known among those in your industry. More visibility is a great way to build your reputation. Getting yourself out there and being noticed by your peers will help you make a name for yourself. Word of mouth can go very far and if you make enough good impressions a level of trust for you and what you do will follow. This will stand to you if you decide to apply for a new role. You may not know your interviewer directly, but they may have a connection to you through a mutual contact, who has nothing but positive things to say about you.

 

4. Grow your Confidence

Career advancement isn’t the only benefit to networking. It can help with your personal growth as well. By continually putting yourself out there and meeting new people and stepping out of your comfort zone on a regular basis, will help you to build invaluable social skills and self-confidence that you can take with you anywhere. The more you network, the more you’ll grow and learn.

 

5. Gain New Friendships

The last benefit doesn’t impact your professional career, but it doesn’t make it any less significant. Spending time socialising and building your network will naturally lead you to making friends. Some of the strongest and long-standing friendships have started as work connections. The people you network with will be like-minded with similar aspirations and struggles as you so it’s not unlikely that a work relationship could develop into a friendship.

 

We have heard it time and time again, advancing in your career is just as much about who you know as what you know. That’s why networking is so important to your career, but networking can benefit you personally just as much as it can professionally. Spending time networking will be very worthwhile and the best part is that it’s never too late to start investing in your network.

Posted by Clare Reynolds on 27 March 2019

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IT Jobs Market 2021

IT Jobs Market 2021

2020 was an interesting year for Ireland’s IT jobs market with the initial impact of Covid causing some companies to reassess their recruitment practices - either pausing or freezing completely. However, most sectors have bounced back since March and we even saw some companies take advantage of a less competitive market and increased their hiring plans. In 2021, we expect to see a release of this “pent-up demand” for candidates as businesses begin to move back towards BAU models. Digital Transformation Digital transformation projects that typically would have taken years to plan happened practically overnight or over a few weeks as COVID-19 restrictions forced companies to speed up their digital adaptions in what became an “adapt or die” environment. 2021 will see a further increase in demand for individuals with digital transformation experience as companies accelerate further the digitisation of their customer and supply chain interactions and of their internal operations.   Companies who failed to innovate or tweak their processes to suit the demand of the market felt a larger impact than companies who remained agile and changed quickly depending on the market demands. Consumers have moved dramatically toward online channels during the pandemic, so companies are having to create digital or digitally enhanced offerings in response. Cybersecurity Unsurprisingly with the adoption of remote work and the planning for transition to the next “normal”, we have seen huge demand for infrastructure and security professionals which we foresee continuing in 2021. As organisations pivoted to work from home models, security engineers rushed to establish secure connections and prevent network threats that targeted remote workers. At the same time, with the surge in online shopping and e-commerce transactions, they had to bolster their organisation’s e-commerce platforms. 2021 will see organisations continue to increase their spend on cybersecurity as companies look to how they will operate in a post-pandemic world. With many organisations such as Google planning for a “Hybrid” work-from-home model, i.e. employees working a few days in the office and a few at home, network security will be a priority. MedTech, Life Sciences and Healthcare Given how health has never been more in focus than it has been in the past year, it is perhaps no surprise that there has been a huge demand for IT professionals in the wider health industry. MedTech and Life Sciences companies are continually developing new and innovative treatments and consequentially developing technologies to enable this. We have seen an increase in demand of more “hybrid roles” such as IT professionals with experience working specifically within class 1 medical devices fields. Biotech and digital transformation within gene cell therapy in particular is set to be a large growth area for 2021. Connected health is set to be a large growth area for 2021 also, as medical practices are forced to digitize and with telehealth being forecast to grow exponentially. Candidate-led Market Despite the initial dip in March 2020, the market very much remains candidate driven. Particularly now as candidates are no longer bound to jobs within commuting distance of the office. Regional talent pools have flourished as candidates who would have worked in major cities, now have the opportunity to work remotely meaning they can move to their preferred location and still do the same job on the same salary as before. Regional companies also benefited as they are now able to tap into larger talent pools due to remote working practices. Perhaps what has been most surprising about 2020, is that salaries have stayed relatively stable, but candidates have been seeking increases in their packages over base. With the increase in remote working opportunities, candidates are no longer distracted by “bells and whistles” (free food, ping pong tables etc.) and instead are more interested in actual projects, technologies being used and career growth and progression. Therefore, our advice to employers is consider how you are marketing your positions. Contractors We saw in our 2020 Q3 survey findings that many businesses looked to Contractors to fill gaps in their teams while coping with the uncertainty in the market due to COVID-19. From recent discussions with our clients this trend is likely to continue in 2021. We particularly foresee an increase in demand of contract roles for Frontend/Fullstack Developers, DevOps Engineers and Data Analysts. As a result of the increase in demand, contract rates have been on the rise. With many large and SME organisations reverting to remote work this has opened the market up to all areas of Ireland. A big trend is seeing Contractors based in the regions now being able to work for the large organisations in the cities and receive the same rates of those based in the cities. Therefore, rates in the regional areas of Ireland have increased due to the remote access of new roles in the industry. All-in-all, we are optimistic about the IT jobs market in 2021 with plentiful opportunities across digital transformation, cybersecurity, MedTech, pharma etc. The roll-out of the vaccine should increase confidence and create further opportunities as the year progresses. Download our IT Salary Guide Ireland 2021 (PDF)

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The Dos and Don’ts of Hiring Contract Workers

The Dos and Don’ts of Hiring Contract Workers

Taking on temporary staff can increase efficiency and productivity while offering workers flexibility. Here are some tips for finding the right candidates.  Published in the Business Post 18th October 2020 The trend towards increased temporary and contract hiring has been magnified with the onset of Covid-19. Traditionally hired for cost-saving measures, temporary and contract staff are now hired more for their skills and expertise, for the efficiency and productivity they can bring and for the flexibility they give organisations. At Sigmar Recrutiment, we surveyed 1,000 companies in Ireland recently and 91 per cent said they were more likely to hire temps or contractors now than they were before Covid-19. This may be reflective of the need for flexibility in an abruptly volatile and uncertain market. The good news for employers, however, is that the pool of talent available for temp and contract work is probably the biggest it has been in a decade.Attitudes to this type of work have also changed post-Covid-19. In addition to our company survey, we surveyed 3,500 candidates and found that 82 per cent would be willing to consider temporary work if they were offered some flexibility, such as remote working. So, what is the best way to find and recruit these candidates? Here are some dos and don’ts to get you started. Dos: 1: Have a strategy for temps While recruiting temp or contract labour is sometimes brought on by unforeseen circumstances, successful hirers of temporary staff generally have a plan. Plans for 2021 are being formulated at most companies right now, so consider your plan for engaging flexible talent as part of your overall strategy. Who will own it, for example, HR, managers or procurement? Will you hire directly or through an agency? What is your projected spend – is it seasonal or year-round? 2: Have an EVP for flexible workers Employer brand and company culture are central to any talent acquisition strategy, but organisations predominantly focus on permanent hires. Multiple studies show the link between employee engagement and business performance. How costly is it to your brand if a temp worker is disengaged, feels undervalued, yet is customer facing for your company? Make sure you consider your employee value proposition (EVP) for temp workers. Get it right and it will yield a loyal and sustainable pipeline of flexible talent. 3: Be honest If there is potential for the job to turn permanent, shout this from the rooftops. In our recent survey, the possibility of a permanent post was the number one reason for candidates to consider a temp or contract role. On the other hand, if no permanent opportunity exists, be honest with this and manage expectations from the outset. Remember, many temporary and contract workers won’t consider a permanent job either, so honesty is always the best policy. 4: Consider a specialist partner At least consider the benefits a good agency partner can bring. Specialist agencies will already have pre-screened and pre-qualified candidates available immediately, saving you crucial time and effort. The agency takes on the costs of advertising across multiple channels, again saving you money and time. They look after employment contracts, help keep you compliant, and run payroll, saving you further on admin overheads. Good agencies can also validate salary levels and advise on availability of talent in the market. Don’ts: 1: Wait Apart from unexpected emergency cover, don’t wait until the last minute to look for temp or contract staff. Like all recruitment, forward planning will allow you to access better talent in higher numbers either directly or through a partner. 2: Ignore compliance Understand legislation as it applies to temps and contractors. Don’t assume that because they are temps, they have few or no rights. A good agency partner will help here. 3: Forget to measure No matter what size your flexible workforce is, don’t forget to audit it. How is spend on flexible workers controlled, for example, by HR, procurement or hiring managers? Keep an eye on tenures also. 4: Undervalue This is crucial. Remember, today’s temp may be tomorrow’s permanent member of staff. A good experience for a temp will encourage them to return, but also provides a rich pool from which permanent hires may come. While some view contractors as expensive, bear in mind the specialist expertise they can bring with them, and remember they can also transfer their knowledge to your internal staff, improving the overall level of expertise within your organisation.

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“K-shaped” Workforce Patterns Begin to Emerge with Major Spike in Flexi-labour

“K-shaped” Workforce Patterns Begin to Emerge with Major Spike in Flexi-labour

The latest data from Sigmar Recruitment’s Employer Sentiment Report suggests that most companies plan on hiring more contingent labour in order to deal with the extended market turbulence. Having surveyed 1000 Irish based companies, 91% of respondents said they are more likely to hire temps or contractors than before COVID-19.    Commenting on the results, Barry Rudden, Director, Sigmar Recruitment says; “This may signify a fundamental shift in how workforces will be constituted moving forward as employers are wary of future market shocks. Whilst demand has rebounded since March, companies just don’t know how the market will react to a possible second wave of infections, topped with Brexit fears, so there are still challenges ahead for organisations and as a result they are hesitant to commit to permanent hires.”    One third of all companies surveyed said it was likely or highly likely that they would increase the % of temp/contract staff they already engage. “This is the norm in early stages of an extended recovery. Seeing this trend emerge at polar ends of the labour market is indicative of a new K-Shaped labour market.” says Rudden. He adds; “When viewed, in parallel with the explosion of the gig economy in the last decade, we now see increasing demand for temporary or contract workers in most white-collar industries, not just the traditional area of office/administration roles.” Companies surveyed expected requirements for temp/contract talent to be highest across IT, engineering & life sciences, accountancy, and HR along with office/administration.     Hiring on a temporary or contract basis gives organisations an opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ i.e. hiring initially on a temporary basis before converting to permanent. “Given companies’ uncertainty at present, this model is potentially a perfect solution that enables businesses to ramp up and meet demand while the future looks uncertain. At the same time, it enables jobseekers to find work quickly. In our corresponding survey of 3500 candidates, the majority said they were more likely to consider temp or contract work than before the COVID-19 pandemic struck,” says Rudden.     Flexible labour in demand at polar ends of the economy; powering growth in recovering sectors and offering interim cover for harder hit sectors   91% of employers plan to expand contingent worker numbers as increasing uncertainty looms    82% of candidates would consider temp or contract positions if given more flexibility, like remote working    Further, 82% of candidates said they would be more likely to consider temp or contract work if they were offered flexibility, such as remote working.    This is significant change in attitude considering 60% of respondents had not worked in a temporary or contract capacity in the past two years. Rudden adds, “It likely not only reflects the impact of the current crisis in terms of people having lost employment but perhaps a wider acceptance that flexibility may be required as we move forward.”     Whilst market uncertainty prevails, what is certain is that we are in the midst of an extended period of transformation in the workplace with blended workforces i.e. a mix of permanent and temp/contract staff perhaps becoming the norm. “Prior to COVID-19 there were already several examples of major multinationals with a significant proportion of staff engaged as agency temps or contractors. We predict an increase in such models being used by other businesses going forward,” says Rudden.     For a copy of the report, contact Barry Rudden on +35314744612 or email brudden@sigmar.ie