Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Uncertainty equals Opportunity

Uncertainty is the go-to word at the moment, as people try to describe the post-“Brexit” world in which we are now living. Many of our clients and candidates are thinking about what’s next, how to adjust to the new situation and how much risk to take in terms of their next hire or career move. It’s not all doom-and-gloom however, for example we’ve just had our record quarter, and there are plenty of opportunities to be had if you take the right steps. We recently surveyed a number of senior corporate affairs professionals on the impact of “Brexit” on their organisation, and whilst the majority spoke of an uncertain future, a fifth said that it was a real opportunity and 25% said that they were investing in new staff. 

One particular area of concern is graduate employment, highlighted in The Times in July, as major employers expect to cut their graduate schemes and entry-level roles, as part of cost-cutting measures. The major issue, here, is that it creates a gap in the talent pool down-the-line, as was discovered in the years after the 2008 recession when businesses reacted similarly, if anything multiplying the effects and stunting recovery.

Elsewhere, the recruitment market generally has seen a slowdown in the number of available permanent roles, as companies take stock and reassess their needs. So, how can you put yourself ahead in this atmosphere and turn uncertainty into opportunity?

First and foremost, embrace it! Change will bring risk, but risk also brings reward, and those who are willing to risk failure are those most likely to reap the biggest rewards. Typically us humans are a fairly conservative group, preferring predictability and calmness, but why stick to what you know when things are no longer predictable or calm? Why not push your boat out and see where you can take yourself? In a world where control seems to have faded, take control of what you do and make something happen – doing nothing is not without its own risk. Remember, after all, that fortune favours the brave.

Secondly, be agile. With uncertainty comes rapid change – decisions are made, then un-made and new ones replace them – so be in a position to react to them. Don’t adopt a head down approach and just wish and hope for all to be alright. We’ve all heard stories about people blindly following a GPS into a pond (or similar) so keep your head up, look around and assess what’s happening – it’s remarkable how much you’ll see.

Finally, do something different to set yourself apart. If what you’re currently doing isn’t getting you to where you want to be, then take a step back and think about what you could do different. One of the best bits of advice my Dad gave me as a kid was to make sure I helped sports coaches tidy up at the end of a session – teacher’s pet you might say! – but it’s incredible how quickly your name is then remembered and the benefits come back. If you’re the only one doing something different, you’ll get noticed.

Taking control doesn’t have to be a big step, you can start by updating your CV or LinkedIn profile, take a look at what roles are available on job boards to get an idea of the market or even speak to a recruiter just to get some advice. Even if nothing comes from it immediately, you’ve made that first step, and that’s often the most difficult.

It might even be that the uncertainty gives you a chance to make the career change that you’ve been wanting, to take the family holiday you’ve been dreaming of, or do some voluntary work etc. The point is, you don’t know what will come of taking that step out of the comfortable, but if the comfortable isn’t working, why not take it?

Whatever you decide, good luck.

Written by our Researcher, James Quinlan

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