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Happy Birthday Ma’am

Yes, despite some mutterings from certain republican quarters here at BLT (the Scottish contingent here at BLT seems particularly vocal on the subject….), we’re all getting out our paper hats and party poppers to celebrate Her Maj’s big day.

Going the distance is an underappreciated quality we feel – BLT is now in our 29th year of trading, and whilst admittedly we haven’t served anywhere near as long as Queen Elizabeth’s 64 years on the throne, we’re particularly proud of our longevity.

So for a bit of fun, we’ve been thinking about what else we share with our esteemed monarch:

  • Deep knowledge of our specialist subjects…..for corgis and horse-racing, substitute Indirect Tax & Management Consultancy
  • A strong appreciation of history – we know what has worked for our clients in the past enabling us to advise all the better in the future
  • A comprehensive database of contacts to compare with the Royal Stamp collection
  • An ability to adapt to constitutional change – the recruitment process is very different these days from when interviews happened down the pub and the BLT database was catalogued on index cards.
  • A perfect partnership – our Indirect Tax and Management Consultancy teams work closely together to give us great insight into change and developments in the world of business. Which team is Prince Philip I wonder.
  • Public figureheads – its not just about recruitment here at BLT; we’re regularly called on for input into thought leadership in the fields of Indirect Tax and Management Consultancy
  • Titles and honours – our MC team was recently voted ‘Best Management Consultancy Team’ for the 8th successive year by Top Consultant.
  • The Queen is known for her strong beliefs – we’re also of the opinion that there is a ‘right’ way to go about business – our ethics underpin everything we do.
  • We’ve both had the occasional ‘annus horribilis’ and got through to the other side! We know how to survive challenging times and how to advise clients and candidates during ‘job market downturns’.

So whilst I’m sure the Queen is reminiscing a little today over her jelly and icecream at the same time as contemplating the future, we’re also looking back on the lessons learned from our three decades in the business and are looking forward to the next three! We’re also taking a moment to admire someone who has been ‘in business’ for over twice as long as us…..its a right royal achievement Queen Elizabeth, so congratulations and many happy returns of the day!

Queen's Birthday


Is three the new five?

A recent study on workers over the age of 40 in Australia suggests that the optimal working week for this age group could be just three days. The study measured the cognitive function of around 3,000 men and 3,500 women and found that people working roughly 25 hours a week tended to achieve the best scores.

The report states: “Work can be a double-edged sword, in that it can stimulate brain activity, but at the same time, long working hours and certain types of tasks can cause fatigue and stress which potentially damage cognitive functions.”

Consultants look away now because the report goes on to say that the most pronounced drop in cognitive function is seen in people who work more than 60 hours a week. Yet more evidence that those late nights are no good for you…

Should these findings be given some thought by employers? Obviously a 3 day week probably isn’t viable for the vast majority of businesses, but is there a compromise to be found in the spirit of employee welfare? Or is there even an argument to be made that a 4 day working week would result in greater overall productivity? Hard to say, but with constant improvements in technology making flexible working more and more feasible, these are questions employers may want to start asking themselves.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36069754

3 day working week


Equal Pay or equal footing? A tenuous tennis link to business?…

The debate around equal pay has been served up very publically this week with regards to the tennis world, but it is a hot topic that’s been bubbling away for a long time across the wider business world.

The issue was sparked by the controversial comments of Raymond Moore – who was CEO of the prestigious Indian Wells tournament (‘was’ – he resigned shortly after the controversy hit) who said that the women’s game was “very, very lucky…they ride on the coat tails of the men”. Perhaps more shockingly, he suggested that if he was a ‘lady player’ he would thank god for Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal for carrying the sport as they have.

The comments generated a wider debate on the issue with men’s number 1 Novak Djokovic, women’s number 1 Serena Williams, and legend and campaigner Martina Navratilova among those weighing in with their views.

While the idea of equal pay in tennis may be a valid debate, it is a strange and quite redundant one in business.  The issue of equal footing however is an interesting one.

Much has been written (and I’ve weighed in on this myself before too) about the lack of female CEOs and the lack of women in partnership, board or genuine ‘influencer’ positions at high end organisations. It’s a well-worn argument that many women who are in such positions are only there due to a PC need to have a diverse boardroom, or because they have indeed ridden on the coat tails of the Rogers and Rafas in their own market.

There are two possible service returns to this though: one is to say that addressing the line between men and women only widens the line itself at a time when treating everyone the same regardless of physical differences should be encouraged. The other is to accept that massive differences do exist and it would be self-defeating to ignore that fact.

Indeed, perhaps more should be made of the pioneering women who have been the true influencers and inspiring figures for women like Carol Bartz, Marissa Mayer and, yes, Serena Williams. Perhaps more should be made of these same women being the trailblazers themselves?  They’ve no doubt achieved what they have in spite of the coat tails hanging from the men in positions above them. They’ve ensured that those following in their footsteps won’t be hanging on to an apron but a business suit or grand slam trophy.

There’s nothing wrong with aprons of course – but you get the point.

But to return to the tennis, I wonder if Raymond Moore did actually have a point…

There was universal shock at Moore’s comments, and the way he expressed himself was only ever going to be taken one way.  He seems like a man who either has never had any media training, or at the age of 69, after a semi-successful tennis career and a number of years in the Indian Wells job, he simply doesn’t care about holding back anymore.

However, the most interesting aspect to all this is perhaps the things Moore said which were far less-widely reported;

he essentially said that the women’s game needs new leaders and new pioneers who will be catalysts for growing what is a ‘great product’. Ok, he did veer down the ‘some are physically attractive’ avenue (I swear, no training or just doesn’t care!), but his main point is one about leaders who are more ‘competitively attractive’.

His suggestion was that the women’s game has one bona-fide superstar (Williams) who operates at a far higher level than everyone else – which is great for her but not so great for the game as a whole. Williams will hang up her racquet at some point soon and Moore believes the women’s game needs to work harder to ensure that the process of marketing and celebrating her successors needs to be addressed now and more effectively.

It’s hard to argue with that.

Navratilova essentially bemoaned the conversation even coming up again as she believed the idea of equal pay had ‘been settled years ago’.  Obviously not in tennis! Unwittingly or not, Moore struck an ace for those wishing to discuss the issue.

What should already be settled however is that idea of equal footing.

Djokovic wants more money to be paid to men because they bring in more money and fans to the overall game. I understand his point – he thinks the women’s game should fight for what they can, and the men’s game should do the same.  The alternative is to pay both sides the same and ignore some essential facts which Djokovic highlighted. Paying women more simply because they are women is a dangerous and unstable foundation for this issue. People should be paid on merit and on what they bring to the table – whoever they are.

I’m not a fan of positive discrimination or hiring/promoting for the sake of ticking diversity boxes. The starting point itself needs to be equal.

 

martina-hingis-leander-paes-file


Easter at BLT

We’re very much looking forward to the Easter break round here at BLT….and there’s been much discussion around favourite chocolate eggs.

But back to the Topic of recruitment: life’s not always a Picnic at work, so the holiday season is a perfect Dime to be considering making your career more Aero-dynamic. It’s too easy just to Rolo over from one day to another, without taking the time to Revel in your potential.

Provided that you’re not a Whole Nut, contacting BLT will help you Boost your chances. It’s a competitive market out there, so it will be essential to Mars-ter your interview technique – its important to bring out your inner Lion in order to ensure you don’t Fudge it and come within a Wispa of being made an offer. You don’t want to Flake out at the final stage after all.

Indeed, Snicker not – when it comes to the Crunchie, many employers could be prepared to offer a decent Bounty to secure your skills. And we’re not talking Buttons either, so long as your expectations are not from another Galaxy.

So calling all Smarties in the Indirect Tax and Management Consultancy Milky Way – why not give us a Twirl and get in touch at vat@blt.co.uk or mc@blt.co.uk . You could always browse our website www.blt.co.uk as well, where you’ll find a few (Mal)tesers as to the type of roles we handle.

And don’t forget, there’s always contracting if you find yourself be-Twix-t jobs.

Golden Egg

 


The Budget: A BLT Roundup

So that’s it, another year another budget, and despite George Osborne’s best efforts to talk it up the growth of the UK economy has been cut for every year between now and 2020. This of course means that in the short term public borrowing will be higher, although we are still on track for a budget surplus by 2019 (albeit not as high as originally predicted).

The move to cut corporation tax to 17% is an interesting decision, suggesting that the government is trying to lure more multinational companies to set up shop here in the UK. Business rates for small firms have also been slashed with the threshold for paying tax more than doubled from £6,000 to £15,000. The oil and gas sector has come out of this well too with cuts announced for the industry.

On a personal tax level it’s good news for drivers and beer drinkers (not at the same time though please folks!). Duty on fuel as well as beer, cider and whiskey has been frozen, but it’s unfortunate news for smokers as duty on cigarettes rises by 3%. The personal allowance has been raised to £11,500 from April next year and the higher rate threshold has been increased to £45,000.

One of the more eye catching announcements was the introduction of a new levy on the soft drinks industry. This is predicted to raise in the region £520m and the plan is to use this extra income to help schools extend their opening hours by offering more extra-curricular activities (with an emphasis on sports).

And millennials rejoice! There’s something in there for you too as a ‘lifetime ISA’ is announced. Available to anyone under the age of 40 the government will contribute £1 for every £4 saved in these accounts until you are 50. The limit on these savings accounts has also been lifted from £15,000 to £20,000. The aim of this is to encourage people in their 20s and 30s to save more towards a pension or the deposit for a house.

Of course we here at BLT are most concerned with how this will affect the job market, but in this spectators eyes there shouldn’t be a huge effect either way. The looming EU referendum is likely to have much more of a bearing but until then, why not give us a call?

 

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