Category

Work employment

Are you work ready? A guide to stepping back in

By | Education, family, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Flexibility Matters

This summer you may be preparing to send your little ones off to school in September, making way for some time when its finally about you again. It may be time for you to step back into your existing career or a completely new one and if you’ve been out of the workplace for a while it can seem daunting diving back in.

No-one understands these challenges more than flexible recruitment experts Flexibility Matters who, since 2007, have been working with employers and talented mums filling roles outside of the traditional 9-5 working hours. Dedicated to flexible recruiting, best practice in flexible working, events and training, here they share their step by step guide to getting work ready after a career break.

Regain your confidence by understanding your skills
The very first step is to regain a handle on who you are in the workplace and what you really want from it, acknowledging the practical elements such as pay, commute and environment. Identify your talents (what you are good at naturally) and do a soft and hard skills audit categorising your strengths. This exercise alone will show you the unique offerings you have, affirming your value.

Identify, as well, your transferable skills and experience drawn from your entire career and from any career breaks. Doing this will reveal that you have even more to offer than you may have initially considered – widening your options.

If you feel out of touch with the latest technology and market trends of your target industry, don’t just worry about it – do something about it. Do some research and find out what you need to be back on top.

Perfect your CV
Now you have a handle on your potential and direction, you’re able to present yourself with confidence in your CV, keeping in mind that it will work best for you if you tailor it to the individual roles you apply for.

Keep it to two pages and don’t be afraid to explain any career break, highlighting all the new transferable skills and personal strengths you’ve gained during it. Start with a succinct and authentic personal profile that you can adapt to individual roles to instantly convince the hiring manager of your qualifications and experience that match the job requirements.

Create an adaptable cover letter too and, to demonstrate you have done your homework and are up to date, cite challenges and recent trends in the sector relevant to the role you are applying for.

Create a dazzling LinkedIn profile
A LinkedIn profile is an absolute must for any job seeker but particularly important when you have had a career break. It’s the perfect way to get in contact with old colleagues and clients as well as educating yourself with up to date industry trends and news.

Your opening headline and summary are key – use the headline space to showcase your specialism or area of focus and the summary to concisely convey your professional history, qualifications and personality.

Fit in some interview practice
You may be nervous about the prospect of a job interview, so get some practice in using friends and family – perfecting a confident hand-shake with lots of eye contact.

Make sure you know your CV inside out as it generally structures the process. Be clear on what your project examples are in response to competency-based questions.

If you’ve been out of an office for a long while, you may want to get yourself back into a workplace zone and think about the image you want to present based on the roles you are seeking. A wardrobe review may be in order or it could be a great excuse to visit the High Street for a confidence boosting revamp.

Get yourself out there!

At Flexibility Matters, we are not only matching flexible working talent to their ideal job roles in businesses around Sussex, but we also offer free events, such as networking and interview workshops to help all our members, whatevertheir backgrounds, get there.

Register on www.flexibilitymatters.co.uk or get in touch with us directly on email: emma@flexmatters.co.uk, Tel: 07810 541 599.

Should I go self-employed?

By | family, Finance, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Ten2Two Sussex

We’re told top talent is scarce to find at the moment. As a flexible recruiter, Ten2Two Sussex has lots of brilliant professional talent on its books. But not everyone can find the flexible employment they’re seeking as they care for children or ageing parents.

1. Going self-employed to find flexibility
For those working mums seeking part-time jobs, and finding it a tough act to get into, it’s no surprise many turn to self-employment as their main way to keep the balls juggling in the air. If you’re able to go freelance or self-employed, it’s an attractive option where school holidays are concerned.

Not only that, but when the school plays or assemblies crop up, you’re able to plan your hours and be there without feeling like you’re asking your boss for another ‘favour’.

2. Looking at the long-term picture
Many working mums seeking part-time jobs often start their own businesses, as we know. It helps to fill a gap of time while children are very young and often sleeping indiscriminately. But if the business is far removed from your original line of work, and you find that if you want to get back into that work later on, it’s not always the easy option after all.

While the initial years of child rearing can be tougher than any paid job you’ll ever do, they don’t last forever. We say you should always take a long-term view of your career.

3. Talk to a flexible recruiter
If you’re considering your career options after starting a family, self-employment isn’t necessarily the only option on the table.
More and more flexible recruiters are appearing.

Ten2Two has been operating for eleven years now as a flexible recruitment agency in Sussex and our role is specifically to recruit for professional jobs that are local. Register with Ten2Two and we’ll tell you about professional roles that are suited to your skills and experience.

4. Think wage negotiation
A tough market brings other employment concerns, like wage negotiation. The self-employed professionals we know are often being asked to reduce their rates. This can affect confidence, forcing the contractor to feel a lack of self-worth or recognition.

When you work at home by yourself, this isn’t so great. But hold your nerve – if you’re being asked to earn less than you did ten years’ ago, there’s something wrong. Say no and you won’t look back – other work usually turns up. Say yes, and it could get sticky, particularly if you face other obstacles down the line.

5. Can you work from home?
When you’re self-employed, there’s a strong chance you’ll be working from home. Yes, you can catch up on the washing, but some people find it hard to focus at home and others miss the companionship of having colleagues to talk to.

It can also make certain parts of a job more challenging, depending on what you do. Others find the time more productive, without having to do a long commute.

Still not sure whether to go self-employed?
If you’re not sure whether to go self-employed, take heart. More and more employers are seeing the benefits of flexible workers, and we’re slowly seeing a shift towards part-time senior briefs as employers get great skills for less than a full-time wage.

Ultimately, self-employment isn’t the only option on the table for working parents. It might sound cheesy, but it’s best to always take your time making your decision and stay true to yourself.

If you’d like to register with flexible recruitment agency Ten2Two Sussex, please contact Emma Cleary at 07810 541599 or email emma@ten2two.org today.
Or if you’re a business in the local area, get in touch to see how flexible workers can help your organisation this year.

Flexible working

By | Legal, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Ten2Two Sussex

Five steps to making a flexible working request – when you’re already in a role.

If you’re in a current job but you’d like more flexibility, what should you do? Well, there’s a set procedure as outlined by ACAS that both you and your employer must adhere to when making a flexible working request. The same goes for asking for Shared Parental Leave.

We look at how you can have those tricky conversations with employers about flexibility and work-life balance.

Emma Cleary, Partner at Ten2Two Sussex says, “When you’re in a role, it can be difficult to find the right moment to discuss any changes with your employer. If your company is large, it’s likely to have a Human Resources department handling any changes to an individual’s contract. If it’s smaller, your conversation could be setting a precedent and your employer may be entering new territory for the first time.”

Choose your moment
If you work for a small company, asking for flexibility or Shared Parental Leave may feel uncomfortable but you’re within the law and it’s your right to ask, as long as you fulfil the conditions of service.

Know your rights
Look at what your company’s policy says about how requests should be made. You can find further advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

To have the statutory right to ask for flexible working arrangements, you must: be an employee and have worked for your employer continuously for 26 weeks at the date on which you make your application. For Shared Parental Leave, this needs to be at least 26 weeks up to the end of the qualifying week (the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth). You must still be employed by the same employer in the week before any Shared Parental Leave is due to start.

Be clear about what you want
There are lots of ways flexible working hours can be packaged. Think about how you want to work the time. With flexible hours, these can be anything from staggered hours to nine day fortnights. If you’re not sure, the Ten2Two website outlines these, so have a think about what it is you really want.

If you’re making a Shared Parental Leave request, who will take what time off, and when will you do it? Are you asking to have time off during a particularly busy period? An employee is entitled to submit three separate notices to book leave. For example, you could choose to come back to work to help cover a particularly busy time for the company before going on leave again afterwards.

Set it out in writing
Flexible working and Shared Parental Leave requests must be made in writing. Follow the guidelines, date it and format it. Set out what you want and when you want it to come into effect.

If seeking flexible working, add how you think this will affect the existing business and how, in your opinion, this might be dealt with. You can only make a request for flexible working once every 12 months, so it’s important to get it right. Remember to provide solutions and benefits rather than present your employer with problems.

Expect a meeting to discuss it
An employer will likely want to talk through your request, although not always. A flexible working process needs to be completed within three months of the request being initially made. You can bring a work colleague to the meeting if you wish. A Shared Parental Leave request needs to be made at least eight weeks before the leave is due to be taken.

What happens if they say no?
Your flexible working request will likely be met by one of three outcomes – either it will be accepted or your employer will suggest a compromise. In the case of rejection, your employer needs to set out clear reasons for doing so. You can appeal this and you should be offered a meeting if you feel the application wasn’t handled responsibly.

When it comes to Shared Parental Leave, leave must be taken in complete weeks and may be taken either in a continuous period, which an employer cannot refuse, or in a discontinuous period, which the employer can refuse.

Emma Clearly, Director at Ten2Two says, “It’s traditionally viewed as simpler to ask for flexible working once you’re already in a role – but that is beginning to change. Many employers are realising that flexible working is becoming accepted as a standard work practice, and a key retention tool. It’s also an important employee benefit for businesses seeking to attract new talent as the skills gap squeeze begins to bite.”

If you’d like to find a flexible career role, talk to Emma Cleary at Ten2Two Sussex today.

Contact Emma at emma@ten2two.org or call us on 07810 541599.
Ten2Two is a flexible and part-time recruitment agency providing professional staff for forward-thinking companies across Sussex and
the south of England.
Register at Ten2Two.org

 

Maternity leave – how is it spent?

By | Education, Finance, Uncategorized, Work employment

Research has revealed the top things that pregnant women plan to do during their maternity leave, with 15% stating that they plan to start their own business and become a ‘mumpreneur’. According to the poll, a third of new mums go back to work earlier than they are required to, with the majority citing ‘financial reasons’ behind their decision to return early.
The days of maternity leave being used to rest and relax, have tea breaks and bond with other new mums are long gone, according to new research that has found British women have far more ambitious plans to keep busy during their leave. Taking up a new hobbies, setting up businesses and learning a new language are among the top things that expectant mums plan to do while away from work.

The team at www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk conducted the research as part of an ongoing study into the financial situations that Britons find themselves in. 2,319
British women aged 18 and over, all of whom stated that they had given birth in the past five years, were quizzed about their maternity leave and how they spent their time.

Initially all respondents were asked ‘How did you plan to spend your maternity leave?’ to which the most common responses were ‘taking up a new hobby’ (18%), ‘setting up a business’ (15%), ‘learning a new language’ (12%) and ‘travelling’ (9%). All respondents were then asked if they had spent their leave doing what they had planned to do, with the results revealing that half of those who wanted to set up a business did indeed become ‘mumpreneurs’ (50%) and 41% of those who wanted to learn a new language realised their dreams, though just 11% of pregnant women who planned to travel ended up venturing abroad.

All respondents were then asked ‘Did you return to work before your full maternity entitlement was up?’ to which 55% of respondents stated that they used their full entitlement, whilst the remaining respondents either made the decision to return to work early (33%) or chose not to return to work at all (11%).

Those who returned to work early, without using their full maternity entitlement, were asked to share the reasons why they had done so. When provided with a list of possible reasons and told to select all
that applied, the top five responses were as follows:

1. Financial reasons – 81%
2. Needed more adult company in the day – 70%
3. Worried about long-term job security – 52%
4. My child was in day-care, and it gave me something to do – 46%
5. I felt the company needed me back – 39%

All respondents who had returned to work were then asked ‘Did your return to work go as you had planned?’ to which 74% admitted that it hadn’t. When asked to elaborate, 44% of those who planned to return to work full-time ended up returning part-time, compared to 13% who planned to return to work
part-time and ended up working full-time.

George Charles, spokesperson for www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, made the following comments: “It’s fantastic to see that so many women are using their maternity leave to do something positive. Obviously they’re already doing something incredible, by raising a child, but it’s important that they take the time to do something for themselves at the same time. Taking up a hobby, meeting new people and studying something new, these are great ways to pass the time, keep occupied and also get your child engaging with others too. They’ll also leave you in a better position when it comes to returning to the working world – assuming that’s something you wish to do.”

Will flexible working help to close the gender pay gap?

By | Education, Relationships, Work employment
by Emma Cleary
Ten2Two Sussex

Part-time work often has a gender pay gap that’s twice as big as the full-time pay gap, because it’s not as well paid and it’s mainly women doing it.

Yet are we happy as a nation to let the gender pay gap be explained away by the fact that men are largely leading our businesses and driving thought leadership rather than women? Simply because of what is being termed a ‘motherhood penalty’? It’s all too easy to view the gender pay gap this way – but there’s more to it than that.

A lack of promotion hits part-time working mothers
Lack of women in senior roles is one reason the gender pay gap is present, although many organisations are working hard to alter this.

It’s actually amazing what can be achieved in a 30-hour week. And if you take into account how productive part-time workers actually are – after all, they are always working to a deadline to get their work done in their hours – this may not present much less output than a full-time worker’s hours.

Yes, it’s true that senior part-time people may not want greater responsibility if they are already stretched to capacity with other commitments to fulfil elsewhere. But bosses must be careful not to assume this is always the case and be under-standing of employee’s needs.

For example, if employers are expecting workers to shoe horn a full-time working week into part-time hours, this will only lead to burn out and ultimately, the employee will end up leaving.

Attitudes to part-time workers simply not acceptable
We have heard of cases where employers have said to their part-time workers, “If you don’t like it, you know what you can do.” This is simply unacceptable.

Part of attitudes like this feed into the old-fashioned thinking that presenteeism is more productive than part-time or absent remote workers. This has to change if any movement in gender equality at work is to really be achieved.

As a flexible recruiter, we work with countless forward-thinking businesses who don’t take this view – and they see the benefits of flexible working really pay off in the long term.

Returnships – often one sided
Dare we say it, returnships can feel rather one-sided in favour of the employer and, in reality, don’t solve the problems of the gender pay gap. For us, most returnships don’t address what it is that women really need in the workplace.

Returner roles are generally full-time but often the issue is that women simply can’t work full working weeks when they still have to carry the majority of the childcare burden. Not to mention caring for older parents and requiring flexibility to manage health issues as they get older. Ten2Two’s recent research suggested women shoulder 63% of childcare responsibilities.

Time to address ageism – not just children
Ageism is the next big barrier that needs to be talked about.

We’ve seen Women’s Hour addressing the menopause and work in 2018 – a big step that has until now been swept under the carpet. Fact is, until we bring issues like this into the open, we won’t see real change in the way women rise through the ranks at work.

Deborah O’Sullivan, Managing Director at Ten2Two, says, “We believe that flexible working can play a big role in closing the gender pay gap once and for all. As we’re increasingly seeing, senior roles can be done part-time, and yet there’s a widely held view that the more senior you become, the more hours you have to work. It’s simply not true.”

“We know, the more senior you become, the more skilled you become at delegating and organising your time and resources and using your own skills in the best way possible, so there’s no reason senior positions can’t be part-time.”

If you’d like to hear more from Ten2Two Sussex on the subject of flexible working, please contact
Emma Cleary at emma@ten2two.org

Returning to work – after having a baby

By | Work employment

By Emma Cleary, ten2two

 

When you’re returning to work after a period of maternity leave, there’s a lot to think about. It’s likely you’ll need to find a fresh way to make your old job fit around your new circumstances. We look at how you can feel more in control of a return to the workplace.

 

Consider your childcare carefully
Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, you’ll need to find childcare for the hours you’re at work. But did you also know that many parents have to do this while their child is still in the womb? The waiting lists for nursery provision can be long, so the sooner you get this ball rolling, the better. Likewise, if you need to hire a nanny or au pair; the selection process can take time and it’s important to get this right so you avoid issues down the line.

Many people these days ask grandparents to help out. But have you thought about what you’ll do in case they have holidays or are unwell, for example? The same can be said for child§minders, although this type of childcare can be more flexible than nurseries, for example, if you are late or stuck in traffic.

The childcare you choose will also give you a good idea as to whether you’ll eventually be earning enough to cover these bills and the other associated costs of going out the front door every morning, such as transport costs and lunches. And if you’ll be working long hours, you may also need to think about getting a cleaner or other household support.

It’s also worth bearing in mind your rights to unpaid parental leave. You can have time off to look after your child’s welfare, for example, if your child has long-term healthcare requirements. Find out more about parental leave at www.gov.uk/parental-leave/overview

Make the most of keeping in touch days
Some parents we know have reported a crisis of confidence returning to work after having a baby. You may even start to question whether you can do the job any more or whether you’re so ‘out of the loop’ that you won’t keep up when you return to work. This is probably the sleep deprivation talking. Like riding a bike, you probably did your job very well before, so there’s no reason you won’t be able to do it again. If you think this might be you, you might like to consider keeping in touch days.

You can have up to ten keeping in touch days, which are optional and paid, without it affecting statutory maternity pay see www.gov.uk/employee-rights-when-on-leave for further details. It’s best to talk to your employer directly about this so they can make plans about how best to use your time. Some people go in to perform a normal day of duties, have a meeting with colleagues or additional training, so they’re not at a disadvantage when returning to work.

Going back to full-time hours
There are lots of ways to make returning to work after having a baby work. But if you’re worried you won’t make the nursery pick up time, you might want to approach your employer to discuss a change in working hours. You could ask for staggered hours, where you go in early and leave early, still completing the same hours as you did before. A popular choice is to work compressed hours, where you work your full-time hours in four days. Or you might ask for a day working from home to help you use your commuting time more effectively.

If you feel you need to work more flexibly still, you can ask your employer to drop your hours by a day or two and go part-time. Your employer doesn’t have to agree to this, and you will likely have to go to a meeting with the HR department (if your company has one) to discuss the reasons you feel you can better fulfil your position in this way. Find out more about requesting flexible working at www.acas.org.uk

What to do if work isn’t working
If your employer doesn’t appear to be supporting your return to work by agreeing to a change in working hours or if you feel you can’t make your existing job work once you’re a parent, it can be hard to take.

If an HR decision doesn’t go your way, you might begin to feel resentful towards your employer. Employees no longer have a right to appeal a flexible working request, but every company is different, so it’s worth checking what your work’s policy is on this. Find out more at www.gov.uk/flexible-working/appeals

If you find your employer isn’t going to accommodate your needs, all is not lost. A rise in flexible working has meant that many companies are more accommodating than they used to be. You might decide to look for another position elsewhere, which could be a good step for your career. Or you may consider offering your professional services on a contract or freelance basis.

At Ten2Two, we deal solely in flexible career jobs for professional working people. These vary from part-time roles to contracts for maternity cover or short-term projects, through to freelance and full-time flexible positions.
Contact emma@ten2two.org or 07810 541599
Visit our website www.ten2two.org to register with your CV
Follow us on www.linkedin.com/in/emma-cleary-762bab2a/
Facebook Ten2Two Sussex Twitter @emmacleary2:Ten2Two
Blogs www.ten2two.org/category/blog/