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The Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators

The Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (WCCSA) is a modern livery company of the City of London. While Livery Companies had their origins in the trade guilds of medieval times, they now represent many modern professions and trades.

The Company aims to enhance the Chartered Secretary profession governed, since 1902, by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), by fostering fellowship amongst its members, and by educational and charitable activities. In my short time in the Corporate Secretarial Arena, I have heard many a whispering of this association; however it wasn’t until this week that I fully came to understand how the organisation operates.

At the recent ICSA Event on the new CSQC Scheme a representative from the association (Steve to be precise!) came along and finally filled in the blanks explaining both the Apprenticeship scheme and consequent succession through the company. In a career as diverse as CoSec the livery company provides the opportunity to not just meet people in the same industry, but a support network for those who want it. Through a range of socials, lectures and charitable events it allows people to engage, learn, grow and eventually pass on their knowledge and experience to other generations. From what I can gather, it’s not just about what you can get from it, but what you give back as well. The livery company is the perfect opportunity to engage with the corporate secretarial arena, furthermore their apprenticeship scheme provides a brilliant stepping stone for all those embarking on a career within the industry.

As someone who has just embarked on a new career myself I can fully understand and appreciate how useful a support network of experienced hands is and as such, it would be wonderful to see a greater number of trainees and CoSec Assistants participating and making use of everything the WCCSA offer.

Employer Reputation Management

With one week to go till our Social Media breakfast seminar, spaces are filling up quickly.

The aim of the seminar is to educate employers that their reputations are now being defined in the social space. It will outline where these conversations are talking place and the steps that can be taken to monitor and influence them.

For a snapshot of what Carve Consulting plan to address, please see the presentation below.

http://www.slideshare.net/carveconsulting/employer-reputation-in-the-social-web

If you would like to register your interest, email me, jcf@blt.co.uk, quoting the subject line “BLT Breakfast Seminar”. If you are unable to attend, be sure to follow the #BLTlive hashtag on twitter for updates on the points discussed.

Women, Money and Management Consultancy

It didn’t take long for the women and earnings topic to appear again … …the first week of the New Year saw a controversial article which claimed women wanted to marry a man who earned more than they did. Dr Catherine Hakim who is a senior research fellow at the London School of Economics has asserted that women want to marry men who earned more than they do. The feminist camp was outraged whereas others felt she spoke the truth. She believes that women make their own choices about work and home life and this is what leads to women earning less.

So what do I see in the world of management consultancy recruitment?. I can honestly say in seven years at BLT, I have never seen a situation where I felt a job offer to a woman was less than it would have been to a man. Similarly, women at the same grades as men earn the same as they do. We see lots of bright female graduates coming in to management consultancy with plenty of women with two to eight years experience coming to us to look for a new role.

It’s no great surprise that after this, we see fewer women competing for the more senior roles – these are the years when family responsibilities are coming to the fore. As a woman in consulting you can continue to climb the career ladder and the opportunities are there but many women choose that the sacrifices are too great. The formal maternity leave and flexible working policies are in place but some decide “It’s just not worth it “on all fronts. Most women in consulting I know have partners in equally demanding jobs, so the simple fact is that one of you has to be the main “available” parent………or alternatively subcontract out all areas of your life, including your children, and have no salary left at the end of it!

In addition, even for women remaining in the labour market I think you move jobs less frequently – if you’ve negotiated a flexible working week with some informal flexibility thrown in, why move elsewhere and start again? Does that mean your career prospects and subsequently, earnings are compromised? Well, yes it may do partly because you don’t benefit from the incremental pay rises that often occur when candidates move jobs or because you don’t knock on the door for promotion.
Shout me down if you like, but it’s not all bad news – if you have a job you enjoy on a part time basis and have reached a stage where you have an informal flexibility to cater for some of the other commitments in life …then maybe that’s a deal worth making. The office will always be there but the school gate passes in a flash!

Market developments

As some of you may be aware, I had an extended period of sick leave in 2010 …..I’m now very pleased to be back and looking forward to the year ahead. So, what have I found on my return?

Well, the first thing I have noticed is generally a feeling of optimism…sometimes a little cautious but optimistic all the same. I left at the end of 2009 when we’d had waves of redundancies, there wasn’t much hiring activity and good candidates were not active on the market – when times are tough “better the devil you know “ seems to be the only option.

And now what’s happening?…….
* The top tier strategy houses are hiring again and the focus is on interesting projects, strategic initiatives and not just stripping out costs.
* Deals are back on the table and so the Transactions Services teams are back in business too.
* The Big 4 are back in the market again.
* Financial Services and Consumer Goods seem to be sectors in demand – traditionally sectors in consulting which lead an upturn and fall off a cliff when times get tough.
* There’s much more candidate interest – people interested to have a conversation and explore options…..and ultimately make a move. (As you can imagine, people getting cold feet about moving are not ideal for us!)
* The one area which seems subdued at the moment is Public Sector recruitment – no great surprise there I guess. However, even in this area there are rumblings that there might be some activity after April -we’ll look forward to that.

So to those of you who know me and thought I’d disappeared last year …please feel free to give me a call if there’s anything I can help you with and let’s hope it’s a good 2011 for all of us!

6 months on……

So 6 months ago I took the plunge and went into recruitment. To some it seemed like a great move, to others they didn’t think much of recruitment consultants and “one level below an estate agent” was heard after making the announcement to friends. So what has the last 6 months given me? I thought it was time for an update.

When I joined BLT I was slightly terrified that I would fall flat on my face. Recruitment shouldn’t be difficult on the face of things but what if I wasn’t cut out for it? What if the knowledge I’d built up meant nothing and I was really starting from scratch.

Well fortunately the management consulting industry didn’t completely change its spots just because I went from media to recruitment. People I had met previously still remembered me and candidates didn’t bite when I interviewed them.

I’ve had offers made, offers turned down, candidates disappear off the face of the earth and offers accepted. It’s been a rollercoaster and no doubt will continue to be so. I’ve had thank you flowers, chocolates and cards and days when I want to hide in a dark cupboard and not answer the phone.

The past 6 months have also seen a real change in marketplace. In July 2010 we were looking at a possible double dip, no-one really thought any recovery would come despite optimistic predictions. The public spending review hadn’t happened and no-one had a clue how that would affect either the private or public sector.

Now we’ve had all the announcements and consultancies are realising that there is life after a recession. The public sector is on life support but stable and the private sector is proving pretty resilient with Financial Services consulting leading the way. Cautiously optimistic is a phrase I find myself saying a lot.

So all in all, it’s been a great 6 months and I have a sneaky feeling it’ll be a good year. I’ve learnt to multi-task beyond that of any normal female and my diplomacy and tact are coming on leaps and bounds!

If you’re looking for a new consulting role do get in touch sgb@blt.co.uk or tweet at us @BLTrecruitment

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