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Podcast Season 2, Episode 2: Is the battle for marketing talent, or just begun?

iMG. Co Founders, David Coghlan & Richard Johnson talk to Alec Frusher & Kamila Zielinksa about talent, employment, loyalty, 4 days weeks and business culture.


Transcription S2, Episode 2: Is the battle for marketing talent over, or has it only just begun? We use AI to record and transcribe our podcasts, so while we give it a whizz through to make sure there's nothing shockingly wrong, the below is our verbatim conversation so it might get a little odd to read in places... Speakers: David Coghlan, Richard Johnson, Alec Frusher and Kamila Zielinksa David Coghlan Hi, everybody, and welcome to episode two of the second season of the IMG podcast, really pleased to have you with us. Again, we've got quite a big topic today. So we've got quite a bit to get through. So I might speak quickly. As always, I'm joined by Richard Johnson, my co-founder. Richard Johnson Hello. David Coghlan And today, we've got a couple of people with us today. So I'm going to quickly introduce him. And I'm going to set this up as, like I said quite a bit to cover. So first up, we've got Kamila, who is currently working for the eComplete Group, and she's also a member of our community. Hey, Kamilla. Kamila Zielinska Hello. David Coghlan And we're also joined by Alec Frusher. Hi, Alec Alec Frusher Hi there David Coghlan So, Alec is from a slightly different world to the normal marketing world that we we talked to here. Alex is currently head of people for San Digital. He's also worked in talent acquisition for BJSS, The Access Group and Experian, so got the HR person with us today. So what are we talking about today? So this is going to be a really interesting conversation. Well, I hope it's going to be interesting. I hope you agree. But there's obviously been loads of news and changes in the world of work over the last two years. And what we're going to talk about today is almost the battle for talent over or is it just getting started. So we've obviously had what was being called the Great Resignation through COVID. And recent labour force surveys found that resignations rose sharply from the end of 2020. Significantly exceeding pre pandemic levels. And then in q3 of 2021. That was the highest level of resignation since q1 of 2019. And then while q1 of 2021 showed better signs of slowing off might be Christmas. But it still remain higher than the pre pandemic levels. So basically, people just quitting their jobs. And I guess what's most interesting is that now while wages seem to be climbing, employers are offering bonuses just to recruit staff, the labour markets actually smaller. So the ONS releasing statistics that indicates that there are now actually half a million less people in the labour market than they were before the pandemic. So that means the labour market shrunk by 2% in the first quarter of 2022, which means that the country has actually done 11 million fewer working hours than it did it started 2020. So the market shrunk, which is actually contributing to inflation, then the Bank of England, this is a massive concern for and actually the governor Andrew Bailey, he was given testimony, saying that he expected that actually when the economy opened back up, people would go back to work. And the sort of economy would get going again, but actually, that hasn't happened and the resolution foundation think tank. They have seen no evidence that the sort of pandemic induced inactivity is showing any signs of reversing. Obviously, you can then add on to the fact that there's 110,000 EU nationals in the first quarter of this year that aren't here versus 2019. And all of this is sort of combining it to mean that unemployment in the UK is now at its lowest rate since 1974. Which is sort of even before I was, even for you were born Rich right. And in terms of the people that have left the job market, maybe unsurprisingly, on the surface of it. Over half of those sort of half a million people were in the 50 to 64 age bracket. But actually, those folks, they're not quite at retirement age, but what they're doing is binning their jobs and they're not coming back. And it's it's kind of interesting in terms of how people reevaluating what's important to them and where they want to spend the time what they want to do with their time. And actually, a study in Microsoft 2021 Work trend index also reported that they surveyed 25,000 hasn't people 74% of them said that the pandemic has made them consider their job, or their career choices. And on LinkedIn own podcast, they were talking about this. And they sort of said that people have realised that life's too short to do a job you don't love, or for a company that you don't think cares about you. So there's a lot of stuff going on. And that same LinkedIn research found of 41% of people are considering leaving their jobs within the next year. So there's a whole heap of stuff going on. I haven't even mentioned the cost of living crisis. We've got flexible work the four day week. We've got Elon Musk's email that's demanded everybody go back to the office and how divisive that's been. So basically, in a nutshell, what on earth is going on? What has happened, and what's going to happen in the future? Hopefully, this is going to be really interesting. And I'm really, really keen to hear what people think so folks, last two years, what's it been like? Alec, I really want to start with you. Because we speak to a lot of marketers, and I want to know what it's like, from a recruiter side from an HR person's side. Alec Frusher Yeah, absolutely. I think the first thing to say is that, you know, really interesting stats that they're looking at the labour market as a whole, I think clearly my lens, just to, you know, thanks for the introduction, but is on primary tech sector. You know, that's, that's really the full focus of my role at BJSS, which has been the most of my experience over that last couple of years. Huge changes over probably each six months period over the last two years. You know, I think, for example, you saw some people who, when COVID hit, were on furlough, or in businesses that they seem to identify as high risk, at that time, those people probably moved for, under their market rate, because, you know, they were thinking they were going to lose their job, you know, fast forward, a year or less, and the market is so buoyant in technology, that, you know, companies may have hired people under market rate, and then that rate has risen, you know, companies, even ones that, you know, really great are trying to retain their people, you know, step up salaries, through salary review processes, can't then keep up with where the market has moved to over that period of time. So I think that is something that we have seen, generally in the market. One of the things as well, that is a big ongoing thing is that remote working culture or, you know, want that people have, again, in technology, I think, you know, we've been an industry that has adopted some of that already throughout our history, because the nature of our roles and have been able to do that and more so is something that people seem to want. Interestingly, one of the things that we're seeing is companies that have perhaps offered, what they're terming remote contracts, and then six months down the line saying, Oh, actually, you know, come into London once every few weeks now. And, you know, my view is, that's, that's not really a remote role, you know, that's probably less of a remote role than perhaps I've offered as part of my organisation's but we call it a hybrid role. So I think one of the things that we're interested in to see, and I'm interested in other people's view is how that develops, how much, you know, to your point about the likes of Elon Musk, how much people stick to that, you know, as leaders or as a company culture. But one important thing, which I think doesn't get brought up very often is that nature of all of our roles being remote, by definition, Due COVID, and more remote working generally, I think, brings less engagement that employees have with their company, if they're, you know, less connected to that company. And those employees, which then as a result means they perhaps move on quicker, because they don't have that that connection that they might have had if they're in the office. So I think actually, what you're seeing is all those factors flowing through, as well as many of the others. But, you know, I think we're still in such a position of seeing how that goes, we're in the middle of it, and trying to work out what it what it all means. So I think it'll be a while before we really, you know, understand where things are at what people really want. People themselves think, yeah, I want remote working, but I know people who then a year later have gone, you know, what, I miss an office, I miss, you know, collaborating with colleagues in whatever way. And I think, you know, it's this middle ground, people don't want to be five days a week in an office that that has, I think change for, for good as much as it possibly can. But, you know, somewhere in between fully remote and in the office five days a week, but I think people, you know, are still working it out for themselves as well. Richard Johnson I don't know where to begin on all of that. You've touched on so many elements there. And I was jotting down while you were talking. So one thing I've not considered loyalty in actual it's a lot easier to build that loyalty within a business When you're in, and you're drinking the Kool Aid, if you're remote businesses seems to work a lot harder. So actually, yeah, people always say, Don't they, you know, are not, you know, I don't I won't miss necessarily miss the company, I miss the people. But it's harder to build up that rapport. If you're working remotely. What what do you do with that? One thing you really touched on was, I think, to summarise a lot of that is it still goes back to it's an employee's market here, they're demanding a lot more. And actually was one word I wrote down was control. And it was almost about, you were saying around, some people don't want to work in the office, some people do want to work in the office. Previously, that was never a discussion, it was dictated by the company. I think now the individuals are controlling that conversation. You know, I previous companies, if I wanted to work from home, I had to fill in a form and get that approved by HR. That's now an open conversation in the office. And and one thing which hit me like a bullet at the conversations, which I've had many people in the past, over the last sort of six months is what's been offered today is not the reality now. So yes, I was told it could be fully remote. And now there's almost this underlying pressure. Can you come to that meeting on Monday? Or why don't you just come into the office on a Monday, and I spoke to three or four or five people in the last sort of six months, where they've actually resigned from that job going back to control owning it, because what they were promised on day one has slowly sort of drifted away and gone back to were we'd like in the office more than more than more than not really? Sorry, not what I signed up to? David Coghlan What's, um, what's your sort of observations then Kamila over the last because you've gone through the cycle, right, from employment, freelance, back to employment? Kamila Zielinska Yeah, pretty much. And it was definitely a roller coaster for me. And I think everything, every single thing that all three of you have mentioned, had an impact on me personally, and people around me as well. You know, for me, I went freelance in the middle of the pandemic, early days into my career as well, I had only when only was only two years after I left uni, and I went freelance without contracts waiting for me to without clients waiting for me with little savings, and I just went for it. And I never imagined that I would have done. I think two things led to that for me. One is I experienced and I watched so many people around me, my flatmates. my friends, my colleagues, my family lose their jobs, jobs that seems so secure, you know, people who were, you know, starting off really great careers. And, you know, very often like, as young people were told that there's a risk of like losing your job, if you do something bad, or, you know, becoming redundant, very often, we've seen it around people sort of hierarchy, people who are older, like that's, that's what we were used to seeing, in terms of redundancies and, and things like that. And next thing, you know, every single one of my friends lost their job. In that same within like those six months, I was even going to leave the company, I was out to another job, and I lost my job offer, when I was three weeks into my notice period, and had to beg the company to let me stay the company I didn't want to stay out. And, you know, all of that came from COVID. But also not directly just from COVID. Some of it just came from other things that tumbled down because of what was happening with COVID. And I watched all of that. And I think that was resulted in two things sort of lack of lack of fear and lack of loyalty, that that's what it resulted for me with because one, I had to face that fear. I watched every single one around me suddenly face that we fear of being jobless that used to seem like the worst thing in the world, something that would crumble down and just like that's hitting rock bottom, not having a job lined up, not having that security. And we were all forced to see it even if every single person at least maybe in this country, we've we've COVID happening you're either faced with it yourself or you watch someone close to you someone you know, go through that, you know, go through either losing your job or losing your hours or something similar to that. And you know, when you've once you face that fear, suddenly you realise it's not the end of the world because we were forced to go through it. Suddenly the idea of not having that exact job lined up not having that that security that paycheck. It was you know, it's still risky, but we realise so many of us lived through it. And we survived and we learned from it. And then the other part was loyalty. Richard is you mentioned as well. Loyalty, like the company I was with working before I went freelance they they have a lot of perks in the office. We have parties and Prosecco and, you know all sorts of different things. But actually the culture was really toxic. And when we were all working from home, suddenly we realised that without all those things we didn't, you know, nothing was covering our eyes from from everything that was actually going on in the company, there was nothing to distract us from there that they did in the office. And, you know, at the same time watching everyone around me sort of losing their jobs, you know, I've sort of realised you know, why that loyalty isn't there within me with my friends anymore, because we just realised that, you know, working for employers isn't secure anymore. And they could drop it very, very quickly. And many companies did, even companies who ended up coming on top of COVID and making even more profits. And a lot of those profits started off first with, you know, letting people go. And yeah, so that that loyalty just disappeared. So, you know, take those two, and suddenly, I know, I felt fearly this, you know, I felt like, everything turned around for me. Yeah. And yeah, you know, whilst I was freelance, I had the opportunity to go back full time. And, you know, I actually ended up choosing to stay freelance, because I felt like I needed, I needed to be in control of that. And like you said, I did actually come full circle, I am in a permanent role now. And, funnily enough, it's, it's a role that actually, you know, I didn't expect I'd go for to five day role, it's actually makes less money than I made freelance. But it's it just gave me the flexibility that I wanted. And the only reason I think I actually considered full time rather than freelance is because the system just wasn't ready for me to be freelance, you know, I struggled to apply for, you know, search apply for like, apartments and things like that. And that's, that's what was really difficult for me. But I knew as soon as I started looking for a full time role that the most important thing for me was that control, like you said, and being able to know and now I work remotely, I have a team under me of people live in all sorts of different countries and international team. And I have flexibility. And I think that's what's important for me. David Coghlan Yeah. So really interesting. And I think some of the points you made, they're really insightful Kamila. And so Richard and I were talking earlier today. And there's a few bits and bobs in there, I just want to pick up on so I think it's really interesting that you highlighted the culture thing, because I think, you know, the classic free fruit Wednesday, you know, ping pong table, Alec, you'll know this right? Working in the tech sector, right? This is standard, see other perks, but that does when like you say Kamila, when you're not actually in the office to enjoy those benefits? Is there any cultural at all? And then you just go, Well, I could just be doing this for anybody, or from anywhere. Richard Johnson I was just looking for actually, because I've seen a stat and I found it now. That basically that's it one of the reasons why I think Hays did a study and they quoted BambooHR. And they talked about when when people went remote, there, it was in their own home then. And then actually, they had time to think without all of that camaraderie in that office kind of environment as it were, they realised they just didn't actually like the job. And it will be masked by everything going in. And that contributes, people just go in. Do you know what? No, good, you took that fear Kamila, you lost that fear. And you went, you know what, yeah, I'm going to resign. And it clearly happened to that. And again, one thing, which I wrote down as well, talking about what we've got to remember, as well as COVID, was massive. So a lot of things happen after a life changing event. So for argument's sake, that is to you, you know, if somebody god forbid close to you dies, or whatever, and they haven't, you know, they die young, or whatever it looks like, they don't make retirement, those people around them, and that that kind of circle is generally quite small. They have that sort of lightbulb moment where they are I need to make a change, I need to go to the gym more to get fit, or I need to do this. They have that real moment of self reflection. This wasn't a localised issue. This was COVID. This was global. So it's almost like instead of, you know, 10,000 people going through it on any one day, there was a whole world going through these life changing moments. And yeah, it just makes people think differently. David Coghlan Have you seen that in terms of other requests or demands that people want need expect radically changed? Or is it become slightly more narrow in terms of just paying more money? Alec Frusher Yeah, you're right. I think there has been a shift in priority. I think some of those those perks, as we talked about, you know, have have fallen down the list. I think, interestingly, so there's, so I'm based in Nottingham, there's a great tech community in Nottingham through tech Nottingham. And you know, there's a lot of chat on there about various things. I think, you know, the second most important thing is pension and I think that's always an important thing, but I think that's probably gone up the list. We which is an interesting thing I don't you know, and Kamila's talking about risk. And, you know, there's two ways of looking at that there's a way of looking at this, there's some individuals will be thinking, okay, cost of living, you know, is going up there for security is the most important thing with with a role potentially. However, you know, we're talking about a sector where, you know, it's usually in demand, we're talking about fairly highly paid people compared to average. And, you know, people look at it the other way, which is, okay, if I move in, it doesn't work out, I can walk into another job with no problems whatsoever, so I can take a risk. So it's really interesting mix of, you know, individuals who have slightly different perspectives, but I think we are seeing people taking those risks, because the market is so buoyant, and because to Richard's point earlier, they feel they have the control, you know, whereas previously even in markets that still, you know, were niche roles, etc, I think people were a little bit more risk, risk averse. But we're certainly seeing salaries going up. One of the things talking about being a Midlands based talent acquisition specialist is that, you know, organisations that are, let's say, London, companies are saying, Okay, well, we can offer remote, we can go and speak to people in Nottingham, let's say on a Nottingham salary, that would traditionally be a very good salary for Nottingham. But we can offer them less than we'd have to do in London, but still quite a bit more than, you know, that traditional good Nottingham salary. So that's what we're definitely seeing, you know, from organisation, you know, organisation I've worked with the last couple of years, there have been several people that have have moved on to that type of role and seen a significant salary increase because of that. Richard Johnson And I think that's one thing you could see change it isn't it is actually, you know, London weighting or whatever it was called before, where roles in London used to get paid more, because that took into into consideration the commute and the cost of living down in London. Actually, now you're exactly right. And when we used to recruit Dave used to have your Nottingham office, you'd have a 30 mile radius where that's really where nobody's going to do more than that. Right now I could get the best person may live in Ipswich. But it's no longer an issue. If you're, if your business is flexible. I would ask you a question, Kamila, actually, because you talk again, going back to risk. Do you feel more secure? Now in your full time job? And you did being a freelancer? Kamila Zielinska I don't see a difference. Like I said, there's, there's there were a few small reasons why, you know, it's, it's maybe a better opportunity, maybe for right now or for like a specific moment in time, like I said, something as silly as applying for an apartment or something like that. But no, because I just realised that either way that that risk exists, I think like risk of, of losing your role. I was, like I said, I watched so many people losing their roles. And I don't really see that much that much of a difference. And at the same time, I after being freelance and after, you know, working with so many different clients. And so I realised that, you know, as what, because what's been said earlier that people realise that even if they don't find something, you can probably just walk into a role, even if it's not your ideal role, and especially with the way that the you know, everything is right now, you sort of, you know, you start seeing that there's so many roles out there. And obviously, if there's, if there's a labour shortage, it almost makes, you know, makes it feel like we're in control, right, we're in control, to be able to, to lose a job, leave a job, change job, and then even if it doesn't work out, we'll find one, it almost seems like that opportunities out there, and we've risk as well. I think it's really important, maybe, at least for me, a big factor was that I didn't have any commitments. So when I went freelance, and when I've been changing jobs, and, and sort of, you know, choosing between jobs, I didn't have to think about kids, I didn't have to think about a mortgage, I didn't have to think about a partner, nothing was even keeping me where I am sort of location wise. And I think a lot of people from my generation are very similar, because we all know, I don't really have the stats on this. But obviously, we were aware that people are having kids later or less people will have for cultural reasons. So changing culture, but also changing economy. We, you know, people my age, we don't really get mortgages, we're not capable of it. And maybe that came with like a silver lining that because of that we don't have those commitments to worry about right now. Richard Johnson I think the question, yeah, and I agree with all that. I think the more sort of in lasered into that, David I often talk about this is the fact that a notice period traditionally is provided that comfort to people, it's almost like Oh, I'm on a month this month, three months notice but actually what COVID I think did was proved that if a company is to get rid of you that that notice period is irrelevant in for one of the better way you know more secure with notice period when you are freelance and I guess that was my the question I was getting to and at least Right, you don't feel any difference? Because I think that ultimately is is right. Kamila Zielinska Yeah, yeah, definitely. That's a really good point. You know, we used to have a lot of conversations with our friends, when we were signing new contracts, you know, for new jobs, you know, what's your notice period like? And now we don't even, we don't even we're not even concerned about that, because we realise that some of that's something that a lot of companies have waived in the past. And yeah, like you said, it's no different at this point. And if you are freelance, it's just as risky, you know, those that that client or that company can stay with you or they can get rid of you i guess Richard Johnson I should point out obviously, legally notice periods are paid, but you don't have to work them, but equally. Yeah. It is kind of you could be walking into a building today about that building today. Yes. paid off. But it's not. It's not security blanket. Kamila Zielinska Yeah, exactly. Yeah, David Coghlan it is that is. And again, this may be because of the sort of where the market is at the moment, obviously, there's an abundance, there's an abundance of jobs, and there's a demand for talent. So it almost feels like if it didn't work out, wherever, for whatever reason, you could just go and go and get another job, which we know is not always easy for everybody in every sector, every situation. Do you think that just because of the nature of what the markets been like over the last couple of years, in particular, because you're relatively young in your career? Is that a factor? And I guess, Alec, are you seeing more of a similar sort of attitude amongst folks that you're recruiting in the last sort of two, three years versus what it was like? Before when there were less opportunities and more people? Right? Alec Frusher I don't think I am sort of seeing that or it's not, it's not clear, you know, pattern or, you know, hard to draw down onto that, I guess, and see, I mean, one thing that is sort of related to that, that is interesting is because, you know, there's a such a war for talent, or, again, to use some terminology that you might have seen out there is companies, you know, taking a less rigorous approach to assessing people and equally, whether people are getting the opportunity to see what they're getting themselves into. Because when, you know, there's such competition out there, you know, as a time acquisition leader, we get told, Hey, I'm interviewing for other jobs. This other company, I came in, and they offered me a job on the same day. Well, you know, they may have met one person, you know, I've worked at places that, you know, we want to try and do a rigorous process to make sure it's right for the candidate and right for us, but, you know, that, you know, creates, you know, a longer process, which creates the risk that they're gonna get a job elsewhere. In the meantime. So some companies are really shortening their process to be as lean as possible. But my question is, is Yeah, are they getting a robust decision on whether this person is right for them? And then on the flip side, is that person seeing enough of that organisation, the people they might be working with to make a really informed decision? So I think that's, you know, a challenge for the industry at the moment to get the right balance, because as talent acqusition folks, you know, we're at the mercy of whatever targets that we have, and are trying to, you know, strike that right balance. So, you know, I'm interested in other people's thoughts on that as well. Richard Johnson We see that in our business. So basically, what we do is we provide talent to organisations. And we find that the nimble businesses who act quickly get the talent, we've been through numerous sort of conversations where we've said, for argument's sake, Kamila is amazing, you know, have a conversation with Kamila. If they dilly dally on that conversation, it takes one or two weeks to organise it. And then they come back and go, Oh, yeah, we see Kamila like next week. Now she's gone elsewhere. And that happens more than people think. And yeah, it's almost. Yeah. Well, you said the war on talent, shortage of talent. I don't know what it is. But there is, there is people are trying to hire the best people more so than ever now without a doubt. And it's tough. I think you've got to be quick, but you've got to have the right checks and balances in. Agile is the word from two yeas ago. You've got to be agile? Alec Frusher Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, one thing I will say is, you know, I'm amazed. And he talked about control. But I'm amazed at how things have shifted. So for example, you know, when organisations aren't great at providing feedback, or don't provide any feedback, understandably, that gets caught out, you see social media posts and those type of things and Glassdoor and services like that. What I've found in the last year, is that, you know, let's say someone has a final interview today. And you get a call an hour before and go, I accepted a job yesterday. You know, or they don't attend the interview, and then you call them and say what happened? I accepted a job yesterday. You know, that's not something that you in the same way that you would put on social media to call out a candidate but if a company did that you'd say, what, what what's going on? But that, for me is a, you know, that happens so much more and is is an indicator of that shifts in control as per first sort of conversation. So I'm amazed that that does happen surprisingly regularly. David Coghlan Yeah. So I think there's anecdotal evidence then right, that this is definitely an employee's market at the moment. Alec Frusher Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm interested at back on sort of salaries because we started getting to a little bit and then does I think, David, you mentioned at the start around, you know, access to more data around that type of thing. And I do definitely see that people understand their value in the market a lot more through those tools, like glassdoor, or whatever salaries that they might see, I think people do their research more. You know, and yeah, really do know, their value, which, again, is a generally I think, a good thing. Because, you know, people should, but that definitely has also been a shift for me. So I don't know if other people have found that as well. Richard Johnson So Alec, are you? Are you, i'm not expecting you to give confidential information away, But are you because of David, I had this conversation earlier on today. Obviously, a lot of businesses work on benchmarks, sort of ranges and will pay between this and this to get the talent. Are you finding you're moving higher up those quartiles now, so let's random numbers, roll pay between 50 and 80. And previously, you could use the term get away, you could be lower quartiles and pay and 50 to 60 grand for this role now, are you find it pre pandemic, you're moving what those quartiles and having to pay more for the same or not? Alec Frusher I say broadly, yes, the organisations that I've I work at now, and most recently, actually, consultancy organisations. And we've had quite a sort of a flat structure. So we don't have levels, Junior Senior etc. So we take a slightly different view of it. And and, you know, bands aren't quite as we don't have salary bands in the same sort of way. But yeah, in terms of how things change in terms of needs pay more. Yeah, I think that's true. You know, I think the the market factors were discussed, clearly, inflation cost of living people are doing that, but I think they just know, their value more probably have a few conversations, they realised that, hey, you know, I can go out there and, you know, continue my interview process and see, and again, talking about control, I think, you know, not too many, but we see candidates, essentially accept an offer, and then continue interviewing elsewhere. You know, that's probably always happened. But it's probably even more common now. Because they think, you know, we'll, I'll see, I'll see what offer I can get elsewhere. You know, maybe play people off against the other not something that happens regularly, but definitely more so than I experienced other times in my career hiring people. David Coghlan And do you think we ultimately get to a position where the businesses with the deepest pockets will get the best talent? I mean, that's probably always been the case anyway. Right. But Alec Frusher Yeah, I think it's an interesting question. I think, you know, people who are the ones that are going to go for the role, looking at it from a monetary basis, again, as a business, you know, if someone if we offer someone a role, and they want to really negotiate and playing hardball, we genuinely question, okay, even if we think we have some room to manoeuvre, are they the right persons for our business, or our culture, because of the way that we're interacting with them through this negotiation process? Or wherever we might seen? Because you know, that that's really important, you know, you start to think, Okay, well, if they're this motivated purely by the bottom line, do they care about what we are as a business, what we're doing as a business? Are they going to be here X amount of time? And, you know, you start asking yourself those questions, and you start asking yourself those questions throughout the process. So I think it's, it's really interesting. I mean, you know, there are some businesses that do enter markets that I've worked in and, you know, deliberately positioned themselves as we're new, we're going to be paying you more than the local competitors. And they do okay, out of that. And I think, you know, that combined with a shift of people's priorities, being more to the bottom line means they've been a bit more successful than historically, you know, but I think in some respects, it's really early to say, we're still in the middle of this, you know, I'm a data lead person, you've had some really good statistics at the start. But, you know, I think, as Richard said, you know, three months, and these, these statistics are out of date, it's moving so fast, that's the other thing, everything is moving faster than before, in terms of the dip with COVID in terms of the uplift after COVID. And now the, you know, still going in the direction that it is. So I think things are just moving so fast. It's hard for employers to keep up, you know, as a people leader, as well, involved in some of those conversations about uplifting people's salary based on you know, performance time at the organisation And it's really hard to keep up with the market. Because you know, as people know, you know, there's a budgeting process, you set this aside, and then, you know, six months later inflation is X amount. And you know, it's really challenging to, you know, add that on top of what you already had planned for, you know, again, Richard's comment earlier about agility. I think that means agility is more important than ever, David Coghlan I guess. Yeah, go on Rich. Richard Johnson No, no, I was gonna say it's, I think you're right about the stats. So I think we've got stats, obviously, show post COVID, increased resignations increased again, we're due the next set of results. Now, I think what you what you will probably see my opinion, rather than fact, is that they'll go down again, because I think there's a general unease or uncertainty in the UK now that nobody really knows what's going on. And I think, to coin a phrase, someone else's phrase, the only certainty right now is uncertainty in the fact that, you know, diesel prices highest ever, you know, energy price cap, looking to top three grand a year, in terms of energy by sort of January next year. I think in times of uncertainty, people almost, I don't wanna say revert to type but that they go back to what they know. And I think there's a, there's probably, whilst people want to use that use our sort of business business model, they want to freelance. I think there's an attractiveness to employment now, because it feels safer. And I think you will see that resignations dipping, people probably doing not what they want to do in they're sort of heart, but their head is saying, grab as much certain certainty as you can. And therefore, full time is, is what we know is certain. Alec Frusher I think one thing that is interesting is HR Departments, leaders in organisations that I've conversed with recently, they're sort of default is to say, okay, attrition is going up, how do we invest in, you know, retention, what can we do, and it, you know, understandably, is become very sort of reactive, and it you know, my perspective and my take on it is, you know, people need to accept that there is going to be a level of higher attrition. And actually, you know, they're looking to short term in, what can we do to retain people, and actually, it would be better off investing longer term, or investing in continued talent, attraction strategy, or a longer term, sort of, you know, culture view and learning and development. But I think, understandably, businesses are panicking and going, okay, what can we do now to help retention, and I don't think they can do anything, I think we're in this position where, you know, the market is what it is, and so many people are looking, we'll find, you know, opportunities that have a bigger bottom line, I think that's a real challenge for the industries as a whole. And, you know, of course, leaders, particularly Richard Johnson It's generational as well. So in terms of with the millennials coming through my, my kind of, you know, my parents sort of ethos was, you know, job for life getting a good job with a good pension staying there for forty years. And I couldn't think of anything worse than being in the same company for 40 years, whereas Kamila's already touched on it, it's almost like, you know, I'm, I'm as free as I can be. And, you know, I've put the words into sort of Kamila's mouth for her, it's almost like almost the worst that can happen i lived through or a pandemic, when millions have died. It's like, if I quit, and I don't have a job, or I take this job, I'm not sure it's quite right. What's the worst that can happen? Alec Frusher Yeah, I think that's absolutely a long term trend that has been accelerated, exacerbated by some of these, you know, market conditions that we've seen, you know, and I think as well, clearly, the types of roles again, I talked about, you know, the tech industry and sector. You know, we've seen shorter tenure, pre COVID over the last five years anyway, in roles, because, you know, they're still quite in demand roles now, more than ever, but even pre COVID, you know, the type of people that were hiring were, you know, starting to work with cloud technologies, and those types of things were so in demand anyway, that we're seeing shorter tenures from that perspective. So yeah, I think long term trend anyway, you know, and even more so with some of the sort of recent developments. Kamila Zielinska In terms of attracting talent, we've discussed some two key things right, we've discussed like the, the flexibility and remote working and we discussed salary, these seem to be sort of two key things that that companies touch upon to attract new talent or retain new talent. And I was wondering, Alec, from your perspective, do you find that companies are more likely to go one way than the other like more likely to offer remote work? And then increase his salary are more likely to increase his salary than remote working? Alec Frusher No i don't, I think the big challenge is a lot of them are doing both, you know, remote working and attractive salaries. You know, companies I've worked for really striving to get a balance between, as I say, what we're calling hybrid working, and creating a culture and environment in which people do, you know, create a connection with in a way, as well as providing them the flexibility that's required. And again, you know, I think flexibility with hybrid working is very, almost close to remote working. But it's not a situation where you're gonna have a home based contract. It's like, Hey, you can work how you want to work. But this is your local office, and this is your base, technically. So that's how companies I've worked with have primarily approached it. And again, I'd be interested in see the reality of people who have been working remotely for a prolonged period of time, how they feel in six months, years time, how, you know, yeah, how that how they feel about that social aspects of their life, I think, you know, there's gonna be a mix of opinions on on that I'm interested, I guess, Kamilla, in your example of an organisation that did a lot of social things, parties, etc. You know, you reflected on that in a certain way, do you think there is still a place for that, from your perspective, in the future, depending on how things go? Kamila Zielinska I think it really is mixed. And maybe it's going to be very divided between different types of people. My, my good friend is still works for that same company, and I know they are back in the office now, five days a week. And, you know, she's quite happy to be in the office a lot more productive in the office, whereas I've also heard many people leaving because of it. And it's such a divided opinion, that, I wonder if you know, if there's going to be almost like a divide between companies, these are companies that are more focused on remote, these are more companies that are focused on sort of going to the office, and it's going to, you know, come up with a very divided strategy of attracting those specific candidates, or our company's gonna, you know, come in and actually let people decide how they want to work. And, you know, and focus more on that. Yeah. I'm not sure how that's going to turn out actually, Richard Johnson I think Kamila that's the thing, isn't it? Like these debates are typically either or, and actually, so you take an HR policy it's pretty black and white, in terms of we do this, we'll do that, do whatever, I think you're going to have to allow people if you're going to get the right mix, and talent, allow people to work, how they want to work, and I wouldn't work while in office at all, you might work brilliant in an office, the two can work together, together. Whereas normally you have a work from home policy or in an office, Elon Musk everyone back in the office? Well, that's a very polarised view, compared to, you know, Deloittes going everyone work from home, you're not going to get the best out of your workforce with those two black and white strategies. It needs to be a hybrid without a doubt. Alec Frusher Yeah, and it's really interesting, because in my work for BTSs, we're a company that we're very social in that respect. And, you know, have, I guess the word we would use is encouraged people, but without any, you know, need to come back into office, quite a lot of people have done, but then a lot of practicalities that you didn't think about present themselves. So for example, if to Richard's point, you get a mix and say, hey, look, it's down to you, we get a lot of people come into the office, that before would have collaborated in the office. And now they're on video calls all day, because of the other people they're collaborating with or working from home, which is one sort of slightly defeating the purpose of that social aspects come into office and to present some practicalities around the space that you have in the office. Because, you know, what BJSS we're looking at around the time that I've just moved on is, you know, things like, Okay, well, do we have space for people to take video calls, because previously, there were so few people doing that, that we haven't set up our office in order to do and then that takes time. So there's lots of these sorts of sort of micro things that change have changing, that, understandably, people hadn't considered and still in that sort of journey? Yeah, Richard Johnson I think, as well. Sorry Dave, I'll keep jumping. It was a big watch out on working from home as well, because I think we talked about sort of previous podcast with Ross is the technology's been there for ages. And actually, what it's done is that you've brought your office into the home, and you have to be quite militant about turning off and turning on. Because, you know, your mobile phones always been there and you can access it. But there's no some employees see that as there's no excuse anymore. You're at home. You've got your mobiles. I'm just looking at some stats here, Microsoft is saying that the average team's user is sending 42% more chats after traditional working hours. Now, is that a good or a bad thing? It depends. But I think you've really got to be careful with that, working from home, but it doesn't become, yeah, this, this real, it takes over your life more so than the commute ever did. David Coghlan But I think there's I'm going to try and sort of join all of this together. And I'm conscious of time. But I think the one thing that resonates to me that you mentioned Alec, and also that you mentioned Kamila is, culture, and I think, the real driver of what the future will look like, because, like you say, we're right in the middle of this right now, it's a very dynamic sort of environment. But I think businesses have got a hell of a lot of changes to make, in terms of what their culture is, what they want their culture to be, how they want people to act, how they want them to interact with each other. And I think, you know, I, I had a LinkedIn post removed, because I called out Elon Musk email is not particularly good. However, having reflected on it for the last two days, and in fact, I saw somebody else commented on it was that that's the culture that Elon Musk wants to create at Tesla, because he's got a bunch of people on the shop floor, they can't do their jobs from anywhere else. So he wants everybody in the places, working together collaboratively as a team to build and deliver and create these things. And if you've got half the workforce on the shop floor, and half the workforce, sort of working from home or working from remote locations, then he's not able to create a culture of sort of, you know, that we're all in this together. And we're all working to a common goal. So his, what I thought was, how he worded it was probably a bit brusque and a bit sort of draconian, but it comes back to culture in terms of the culture that he wants to create in that business. And that's his choice, right? And if you want to work in a business that has got that culture, then that's your choice. And if you don't, that's your choice, too. And I think that's probably where we're going to end up getting to in terms of this is what it's like to work for this business. And Alec I guess your role in that sort of people will there's going to be a lot about, this is who we are, this is what we do. And this is how we operate. Are you on the bus? Oh, and by the way, you know, because all of this sort of transactional stuff in terms of how much you're gonna get paid, what's your pension, all of that stuff just becomes sort of academic in terms of you want to get paid 50 grand here? Or do you want to walk out the door and go next door and get paid 50 grand there? That's it's all the same? Right? Alec Frusher Yeah i mean, I'd say, my, my views on Elon Musk aside, trying to put them aside, you know, he's got a luxury of such a brand, that, you know, other organisations would suffer more with their leader, perhaps saying that and really struggle to attract talent. But, you know, the brand probably means they can, you know, I think one thing that leaders, especially in industries, where, you know, you talked about the shop floor and perhaps being different is, you know,look at productivity over COVID over people having to work from home. My understanding and looking at... David Coghlan Alec your audio is gone really weird. Technology. Yeah, sounds a bit better. Rich you're on mute. This is all collapsing. Richard Johnson Oh, god right. Here we go. I've said I'll pick a lot of sources audio out. Alec Frusher Hello, I'm back. Richard Johnson I don't disagree with you about cultures driving that. But it happens. I was talking to somebody I used to work with. And their view was, we can't have a work from home policy because we build stuff. So if you imagine like Toyota shopfloor, we build cars, and it causes a great amount of conflict between what you would traditionally call back office that marketing, sales, finance, and the people on the shop floor if they're allowed to work from home, but they can't. I think at some point, though, it doesn't have to be again, why does it have to be a black and white conversation? Why does it have to be a unified approach? You clearly cannot have a Toyota production plant in your front office, but that's the job you've got. Have that different conversation. But if you want to make the culture work, then why can't you have different policies for different roles, just like you have different pay scales for different roles, just like you have different benefits for different roles. It's just a new iteration of the perks or benefits which come with a roll. Alec Frusher Yeah, no, I mean, I can certainly see that. I think it's interesting in terms of the data, whether I think there might be a view that that would breed resentment of management from people who are having to come into the office. You know, I think that might be something that's there, I think. So I think I might have got cut off for the point I was making, I think was, you know, looking at productivity over COVID. And when people had to work from home, my industry or my understanding of the analytics has been, it was better than productivity when people were all in the office, therefore, you know, leaders who are going people need to come back into the office, there's really very little data that suggests that is necessary, based on you know, having worked through COVID. David Coghlan Yeah, it's kind of interesting and on productivity. Last question. So, four day week. people's thoughts. Obviously, the UK has just entered a pilot 70,000 businesses taking part think, trialling a four day week, and I guess, still early days, there's no data, some pilots, I think they've done some pilots in Iceland, maybe Spain, I'm not sure. But it's still early days views on the four day week, folks, how's that going to work? Richard Johnson The pilot, though also do four days on five days wage as well. So there's no drop in wage because that was the original conversation, where it was almost like, we'll do four days, but you're only going to get paid for four days, which then people are not going to drop 10 grand a year for for four days. Personally, I'll be very honest with it now. I think I've had people work compressed hours, and I've not noticed any drop off. I think in reality, sometimes they do log back on on that Friday, just to clear a bit off if they want to and there should be no pressure on that. Ultimately, I think you can find many ways within an office to lose a day of productivity. Anyway. Dave, we've been there breakfast Fridays, let's talk between nine and 10. Last hour got a bad day, I think. Yeah. I don't see why it wouldn't be wouldn't work. Kamila Zielinska Yeah, um, interestingly, actually, Richard, you said, you know, a lot of people probably won't accept lower wage. Personally, I would, I would happily dropped 10 grand to work four days a week. Maybe I wouldn't say that 10 years from now, obviously, you know, I mean, I'm no mortgage, as I mentioned. But I actually, you know, I used that for negotiation when I was looking at, you know, going back full time. And, you know, I mentioned that in, you know, some some businesses weren't ready for it. Somewhere, some, you know, some even we're discussing the idea of keeping the same wage. But I think in terms of a four day week, as you mentioned, you know, maybe this is like a chance for for businesses to rethink and review, like the efficiency of our tasks, how much do we focus on our jobs? How, how much time do we spend on tasks that aren't bringing us any results in the first place. And you know, we've a four day a week, a lot of companies, I think, and a lot of people tend to see it as, like a stigma around, you know, do we just want like, a weekend to, you know, just to be lazy, when really, in reality one, it's almost obviously all about work life balance, we realise how much it's important for us to build relationships with people around us and how important that is for our mental well being and for our own productivity. But also for me, when when I did a four day week, I to me, I use the the other day to work on myself, my development, my interests, I did courses, I worked on, things that helped me become better at what I do when I do work those four days, on the job. And to me, that was that was priceless. That was really important to me, and it's still really important to me, that's why I had to take that cut. You know, Alec Frusher I think in some respects, it's similar to the remote in office debate in the you know, okay, let's say you have a mix of some people that are working five days a week, and some people are working four days a week, is that achievable? Or should everyone work four days a week? Because when you've got five days a week, is there a meeting that someone's going to miss out on? You know, are people going to resent the other people? You know, there's all of these things. I think one of the things too, you know, and perhaps it's down to individuals and their ability to manage this, but I know people who've worked part time who work, you know, X amount of days a week, and they, yeah, end up doing compressed hours, even though they're not meant to, you know, they're working longer because their work commitments mean that they feel a need to do more in order to keep up and that's what the business and managing the businesses need to really be better at that in order to provide an environment to do that. You know, interestingly, I think there is a shift, you know, a friend of mine who's in his early 30s, he started working three is a week from requesting it to his employer. You know, one of the former employers that I worked at, you know, I think, again, a previous generation, it'd be unheard of, almost for someone in their 30s to go, Hey, can I do three days a week? You know, but but they're doing that. And, you know, I think it's great that people have the option and that businesses do support that. But I think it'd be a long journey to see wider adoption of a four day week potentially. David Coghlan And that, but I think that ultimately, it comes down to outputs, right. So again, if you're going to going to pay somebody full salary, and they're going to work for days, you still want, you want to have that you get paid 100% salary, you want 100% outputs, which I mean, you know, this is we've been banging this flipping drum for years in terms of measurement on outputs, not on the time, I'm sat at my desk spinning around, or like you say, Rich, having a full up full Friday fry up. You know, it's, it's not about presenteeism, right? It's about what, what, what you deliver. And I think it's, it's really, you know, it's just a mind shift, because as much as we say, you know, measure us on outputs, we charge our folk on a day rates, and it's kind of it's, it's crazy, there's a whole sort of shift in how we'll need to operate and how we need to think about stuff. But, you know, Kamila the point you made is absolutely right. And we have this conversation with clients in terms of, we need somebody five days a week, but we don't have the budget, we can't afford that person for that, we'll have them for four days. And that kind of we've had that conversation a number of times, and they've ended up with the right person for that, within budget for that, that amount of time, and then they get the outputs that they want. So it's yeah, we're still on the, on the journey? Alec Frusher I think. Yeah, I think that's also linked to, you know, a more inclusive and diverse, you know, workforce in a lot of respects, because, you know, I say before work in sort of consultancy, and we have challenges, because we have no clients around, you know, part time and those sorts of things. So, you know, I think four day weekend, and just a greater flexibility of mindset, and the ability to offer, that type of thing will be good for people with different backgrounds, you know, people returning from maternity leave, for example. And those type of things that traditionally have perhaps, you know, struggled to, you know, get into that next level of role or be able to balance work, life and work commitments, so it could open up a new sort of market of labour and people getting into things that that wouldn't, which I think is a great thing, and I think should be supported. But, you know, I, I thought we might get there through more flexibility of our current working arrangements than more a formal sort of four day week. But it'd be really interesting to see how it goes.

David Coghlan And I guess the points, you know, when we open this around the fall in employment market, or the amount of the labour market, it's just less people, right? So you've got to you can get more done by having more people that would traditionally be excluded, you know, working part time working day or two or week, get those people back involved, that works around the other things that they want to do whatever that is, whether it's childcare, looking after family or whatever. Yeah, there's all sorts of ways that actually you can supplement shortfall potentially in capacity with flexible work and different sort of modes of working. Good stuff, right. That was a really excellent conversation. I could spend, you know, hours talk like that. So I really hope you've enjoyed it. It was great to have you all on board. I really appreciate your time. And thank you. really insightful, really valuable. As always, we'll have another one coming up soon. Stay tuned for that. If you'd like to find out some more about us then pay a visit to our website, the IM Group .co.uk. And if you are a kickass marketing superstar, and you want to join us as one of our community members, then go to the he IM Group .co.uk. slash join and say hello, and we would love to have a chat with you. Thank you very much, everyone for coming along. Really appreciate time. Thanks for joining and we'll catch you on the next one. Cheers.


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