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We deliver the best recruitment news and advice to the Tax, Legal, Finance and HR sectors, including market updates, CV tips, interview advice, and exclusive interviews.


Create a culture where everyone has equal opportunities

There has been a growing recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace over the years. This year it has been very refreshing to learn how firms are promoting a positive integration between work and life, to create an environment that influences career development and that empowers everyone. Furthermore, promoting an environment regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, disability, religion or sexual orientation, encourages individuals to feel valued for being the person that they are. Take some time to read some examples of how the Big 4, Mid-tier firms promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace: Big 4 PWC EY Deloitte KPMG Mid-Tier Grant Thornton BDO RSM Encouraging diversity at Pro-Recruitment Group: Here at Pro-Group, recruitment consultants are trained on diversity and inclusion and for each individual piece of recruitment we do, we will ensure that we present a diverse pool of candidates to our clients that match the brief. We have strict guidelines on equal opportunities and diversity and pride ourselves on ensuring our attraction methods reach as diverse a pool of talent as possible in-line with our client’s own policy. Some examples of this include: - GDPR compliant recruitment website & CRM system. - Drafting advertisements in a way that encourages applications from all suitable backgrounds. - Support for the unemployed – offering interview training and coaching free of charge for those in long-term unemployment. We also provide business attire and dry cleaning in preparation of interview as well as working with a firm who work exclusively with ex-service personnel looking for employment. - Engagement with colleges, universities and schools. An example of this is when Tom Eagle, Associate Director, recently presented to students at LSBU about a career in tax and finance and provided key interview tips and guidance. - Engagement with groups such as LGBTQ, disability, communities and BEME groups. This is an ongoing progress and championed by our own diversity and LGBTQ champion here at Pro – Matt Davidson – Principal consultant in our Not-for-profit team. - Women in Tax – Alison Keogh, Director, is part of a network for women in the profession to raise the voice of women. We have also chaired an event with Sue Kukadia (Global Immigration Specialist) on diversity and inclusion and an event with BDO challenging views on disabilities and those facing long-term unemployment. - Our Not-for-profit and charities team have key relationships with many charities that exist to serve the disadvantaged and a wide section of the community and society. We regularly engage with our contacts in these organisations when searching for talent both for specific pieces and on an ongoing basis. - Our CRM system has over 90,000 candidates on it from a wide range of industries and backgrounds. Example of our own Findings Below is our analysis of that last six months placements around D&I and gender: - Out of the placements we have made this year in tax across both in-house and consulting, 65% of them have been male. - Out of 22 placements that we have made in-house 12 male and 10 female. - Out of 111 placements that we have made in consulting 64 male and 47 female. - Out of the 22 placements that we made in-house, from consulting firms only 3 were female and 5 were male. - Out of the other 14 people that we placed in-house they were all from in-house tax teams 7 were male and 7 were female. - In terms of advertising, 53 of the 111 were from advertising the rest were from pro-active approaches on our database and LinkedIn. - Out of the 53, 24 of them were female and the rest male but its about 50/50 from in-house and consulting. - Diversity and inclusion have a big influence towards my role and the relationships that I have with my network, to ensure that I can deliver the needs of both my candidates and clients that I am working with. For more information about this article, or to speak to Christina about opportunities that promote diversity and inclusion, contact her on 02072696357 or


5 Signs That One of your Team is Considering a Move

Every manager dreads that conversation with a valued team member, often pre-empted by the email that reads ‘can I have a word?’ We have done a lot of research at Pro-Legal to help our clients retain their best people and being able to spot the tell-tale signs of dissatisfaction so that you can proactively manage the situation. I am not going to be so facile as to list: short notice leave requests, dubious “Doctor’s appointments” (people rarely book a Doctor’s appointment for the middle of the afternoon, by the way) or furtive whispered conversations on their mobile in a meeting room with the lights off or in the stairwell. These are all signs that someone is at final interview stages and in most instances, that’s too late. As an aside, if you are on an interview, never take or make calls in a stairwell, impaired lines of sight and how far sound travels in a stairwell are the perfect ingredients for being overheard by someone you don’t want to overhear you! But I digress… For the purposes of this article, I am going to focus on those very initial stages when people are considering a move. How can you spot a festering dissatisfaction at an early enough stage? Not wanting to talk about their career aspirations If a team member is evasive or non-committal when asked about their career aspirations, they are starting to feel that you might not be a part of their career aspirations. Lawyers are ambitious virtually without exception. This is not to say that they all want partnership or to be a GC but they all want continuous development. Bland appraisals and one-to-ones I am always amazed by the number of times I hear something along the lines of, “The resignation came out of the blue, we had his/her appraisal about a month ago and he/she said he/she was everything was fine…” I have never known EVERYTHING to be fine! If we as managers are honest with ourselves, we often suspect that we are being fobbed off but we are scared of pushing the point and hearing something that makes us uncomfortable. No manager has a monopoly on reason or good ideas and consistently asking your team members what they would change about the current set up will open up the possibility of them suggesting improvements that could really make a difference and give you the edge. It also enhances communication and their feeling of enfranchisement. It will also give you an early warning of them losing their commitment to your cause. They are ambivalent to change Lawyers are, generally speaking, a risk-averse bunch. They will meet any change, such as those to working practices, strategy, policies, reward structures or hierarchical structures, with scrutiny. That scrutiny will result in them concluding that it is a good or bad thing for them and reacting accordingly. If the reaction is ambivalence they are not considering the change to be something that will affect them for very long. They have booked a holiday for a few months’ time but not booked the time off The situation here is quite advanced; they (possibly subconsciously) have an exit timeframe in mind. You have no choice but to confront them about this but do it in a way that will precipitate a meaningful, productive conversation. “You’re an important member of this team and experience tells me that when someone books a holiday without booking annual leave, they’re checking out…” They have had the same job function for over 18 months and there is no sign of it changing in the next 6 months 64% of lawyers we surveyed said they would consider a move but that number rises to a whopping 86% when just surveying those who have been in their current role for over 18 months. If we exclude the lawyers who are currently in practice and want to move in-house, the most common reasons for leaving are to get more seniority, responsibility or complexity. In short, if an individual isn’t progressing internally roughly every two years, they start to think about looking externally. It is all well and good to be able to spot these signs but dealing with them is another matter. It is important to remember that a) you may not be able to change their mind and b) the sacrifices you might have to make to change their mind may not be worth it from a commercial or personal perspective. It is also worth remembering that prevention is better than cure and that there is no panacea for the broad spectrum of staff disquiet. Moreover, nothing will eradicate staff turnover entirely but being able to spot these things will help you prevent departures in some instances and be it will prepare you for departures and enable to plan accordingly in other instances. For more information about this article, or to speak to Nick about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696328 or


The Pro-Group Christmas Quiz 2018

On Tuesday 4th December, Pro-Recruitment held its infamous annual Christmas Quiz, and what a night it was. With the best and brightest from across the worlds of HR, Tax, Finance and Legal, 26 teams went head to head for the much-coveted title of Pro-Recruitment Christmas Quiz Champions 2018. The competitive streak in some of the teams was evident from the outset and with company rivalries and reputation at stake, the night promised to be a hotly contested one. With Directors Pat and Ali compèring, the first three rounds flew by. Who knew the USA won the boomerang throwing championships in 12 out of the first 13 years when it was introduced in 1981? The picture round proved to be a point of contention for many teams and “Ohh that’s what’s his face” and “I know her but I just don’t know her name” were heard up and down the room. With the first half of the quiz out of the way, it was time for some well-deserved food. Whilst the room was happily munching away and assessing their individual performances the scores were being totted up by our expert markers. Scores at halftime showed that it had been a very tight half, with a mere three points separating the top five teams. With the food cleared away, the quiz was underway again with everything to play for. The Science, Christmas and What Comes Next rounds really put the teams to the test and threw out some curveballs such as, Who played the character Lee Christmas in The Expendables series of action films? The final (and most popular) Music round was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the quiz. We had Director Alison rapping the lyrics of the hit song In My Feelings, Drake eat your heart out is all we can say! We found out that Paul McCartney’s middle name is actually... Paul, go figure. To top it off we had the whole room singing along to the Lighthouse family trying to figure out the next line. The quiz concluded with the revealing of the answers to the picture round, Elon Musk makes a very convincing Santa. Pat was responsible for the big reveal and coming in a very respectable third were PWC’s We Are The Quiz Wells hot on the heels of Elman Wall’s Penny Patrol in second. The undisputed champions of the Pro-Group’s Christmas Quiz 2018 were Kingston Smith’s We Count Ants who now have bragging rights going into 2019’s quiz. Thank you to everyone who came and participated, we hope you all had a fantastic evening. Special thanks to all the staff at Pro who worked so hard to make the event such a success. We all look forward to seeing you again in 2019. To find out about upcoming Pro-Recruitment events or to speak to George about your recruiting needs contact him on 02072696318 or


10 Things You Didn't Know About: Michael Ruck, Partner at UK law firm TLT

Michael Ruck is a partner in TLT's financial services team in London. Michael previously spent four and a half years at another City law firm in the corporate crime, investigations and enforcement team and before that spent almost six years working in the FCA's Enforcement and Market Oversight Division. Michael is a highly experienced investigations lawyer. What made you want to become a lawyer? When I started out I wanted to be a criminal defence solicitor as I not only wanted to help those who were wrongly accused but also to help those who often found themselves to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was fortunate enough to be able to do this for almost six years following qualification. What does TLT do well? TLT has a very collegiate and supportive culture that stands out in the market. It's also very good at meeting client needs, whether that's going beyond the call of duty, developing new services or offering an excellent standard of client service. A good example of this is the firm's Future Law initiative, which was announced recently and is designed to drive change more rapidly in the way the firm delivers services and products to clients. The firm has been consistently growing for years and I joined because I was already aware of its leading reputation in the financial services market. What’s your favourite thing about working for TLT? My favourite thing about working at TLT is the supportive culture which extends to supporting our staff, clients and others via our corporate social responsibility activities. What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago on how to shape your career? Ten years ago I had recently joined the enforcement division of the Financial Services Authority (now Financial Conduct Authority) to conduct regulatory and criminal investigations. My advice to myself then would have been to ensure I made the most of the opportunity to work at such a high profile organisation, and to gain as wide a variety of experience as possible, while not being afraid to consider a move to private practice when I had achieved everything I thought possible at the FSA/FCA. When is the right time to start building your network and how is best to achieve this? Networks are important from the very outset of a legal career. I continue to be in contact with people I have met or worked with in previous roles and you never know when you may need someone to assist you or when others will need your advice or support. I believe that the best way to achieve this is to have as wide and varied a network as possible of those people you would want to work with. Who has had the greatest influence on your career? My family have probably had the greatest influence on my career. My family have always supported me and offered guidance on how I could deal with what have sometimes been difficult career decisions. What qualities do you look for in potential candidates hoping to join your team? I look for ambition and a desire to get involved with all aspects of the role, including business development and the nitty gritty of investigations. What do you think will be some of the major changes to the legal profession in the future? While legislation and case law will continue to evolve, many of the major changes likely to impact the legal profession in the future are technological and cultural. The evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) and how this can be used will impact numerous aspects of the profession, with firms seeking to utilise and engage with such technological advances to benefit clients. For example, TLT has partnered with a US AI company to launch our product TLT LegalSifter for clients. It completes a contract review in a minute or two, increasing the speed, quality and value of day-to-day contract reviews for businesses and freeing up in-house legal teams to work on more rewarding and value-added tasks. We will also hopefully continue to see an increasingly diverse profession at all levels, bringing new ideas and approaches to how legal advice and support can be provided in the future. How will flexible and agile working impact law firms in the future? Flexible and agile working will hopefully ensure that the diversity of the legal profession continues to increase – by offering the ability for individuals to support clients in a way that makes a variety of working patterns and locations possible. One of the key challenges will be ensuring that all individuals continue to be fully engaged as part of a wider team and firm with the opportunities to maintain and grow their network. How can lawyers and firms ensure they are at the forefront of progress and innovation in the legal market? The main thing is to never stop learning and never stand still. The industry is changing every day as new technologies make new ways of working and servicing clients possible. Lawyers should engage with their firm's transformation programme – like the Future Law initiative at TLT, which encourages everyone to share their ideas for new solutions to client challenges and is supported by a £500k investment fund – and never be afraid to put their ideas forward.


October 2018: Legal Movers & Shakers

Thomas O’Connor, Finance Partner and former head of Transactional Finance at Morgan Lewis has moved to Akin Gump as part of a four Partner hire for the firm. This hire includes two heads of practice and is set to strengthen Akin Gump’s transatlantic offering across restructuring and global finance. All four Partners joining Akin Gump reunites them with their former Bingham McCutchen colleagues. Mike Pierdes and Simon Lightman, have joined Morgan Lewis’ London office from Pillsbury. They have been brought in to strengthen their outsourcing, technology and commercial transaction capability. A trio of Herbert Smith Freehills Partners, including City Private Equity Head Mark Geday have also joined Morgan Lewis. Nicholas Moore and Tomasz Wozniak have joined with Mark Geday to strengthen Morgan Lewis’ Corporate practice in London. Matthew Oliver, Bird & Bird’s head of tax has joined the London office of Osborne Clarke. Matthew brings solid Corporate Tax expertise in M&A, venture capital and corporate structuring. He is also experienced at providing VAT advice on commercial matters, both in the UK and internationally. Gilles Teerlinck has joined White & Case from Kirkland & Ellis to grow their Capital Markets practice further. Terrlinck advises issuers, sponsors and underwriters on international securities. He has also worked on IPOs, private placements, restructurings, liability management transactions, corporate governance and other corporate matters.


Is Your Long Commute Really Worth It?

Are you a Finance, Tax, Legal or HR professional commuting over two hours every day? According to the TUC, the service sector has seen the biggest increase in travel time over the last decade, with 130% more workers travelling for two or more hours a day than in 2004. Serious disruption at Paddington, a week of strikes on South Western Railway coupled with major signal failures has spelt misery for thousands this month. Leading many sector service professionals to question whether their commute is worth it? This blog will take a quick look at the pros and cons of making long commutes and what alternatives are out there. Money Let's be honest, money is the reason a lot of people commute to London. According to the office for national statistics, jobs in London topped the regional list for median earnings for full-time employees by place of work, at £713 per week. This is £124 more per week more than the next highest. Salary bands for jobs in London are often higher, but, there a few things you should consider. It is well known that rent and house prices in London are far higher than anywhere else in the UK. You get less for your money and pay a premium for the privilege. Whilst rent prices are often lower outside of the city you have to consider the cost of commuting into London. According to the BBC, a full-time worker on the median wage for London will spend an average of 11p in every £1 of their salary on an annual pass, after tax. Prices are set to rise by 3.2% next year too. While jobs in London are often a popular choice among professionals, it is worth looking at opportunities outside of London. For example, a Tax Director working for one of the Big 4 firms in London can earn anywhere from £110,000 to £200,000. If you compare that with one of the Big 4's regional offices, Tax Directors can command anywhere between £95,000 and £140,000. We recommend that you speak with a regional recruiter, whether it be Finance, Tax Legal or HR, you never know, there could be something a lot closer to home! Timing According to the government's transport statistics report, people working in London have the longest average commute. With the average rail commute taking 59 minutes compared with the average driving commute taking 30 minutes in the UK, how much of your time is lost getting to and from work? As the saying goes “Time is Money” and while there are many compelling arguments in favour of counting time spent commuting as work time, this has yet to come to fruition. Working locally gives you the flexibility to drive to work and cut down on the time spent in transit. That means more free time to spend with the family, exercising or even finishing off your CV. Again there are a few things that you need to consider about commuting via car. Firstly, do the local roads become carnage at 8 am and 6 pm? Also, will finding that elusive parking space add to your morning stress? Ref: Department of Transport. Transport Statistics Great Britain 2017 The commute to London isn’t straightforward either. House prices in commuter towns are still pretty high, even more so when they’re in walking distance of a rail station. If you’re not fortunate enough to live close to a station how will that impact your commute? Will you need to drive, get a lift or even take a bus? These all add time and money to your commute and a missed connection is the worst way to start a working day. When you do finally arrive in Central London, how far from the office are you? If you’re lucky you can walk or make use of one of the many cycle hire schemes the capital has. Otherwise is it another packed bus or tube ride? One upside of a long commute is the opportunity for a bit of personal time, you can make the most of your transit time in however you see best. According to a study conducted by Dr David Bissell of Australian National University participants said commuting time was the only time they got to themselves during the week, and so used it to dream, relax and meditate. Conclusion With everyone’s situation being different, there's no clear answer as to the best solution. Different routines work for different people, however, you can always make an informed decision if you know the facts. Essentially, it is a toss-up between time vs money. Does the money you earn at work justify the time you spend commuting? Gain an understanding of salary differences for jobs in London compared to where you live and then look at the financial impact that both options have on your life. Take into account commute options and you can start to build a picture of which option works best for you. Don’t forget to take into consideration flexible working options that may be available to you which could ease your commuting situation. There are clearly a few options here and depending on influences such as salary and expense, the following could work for you: Live regionally but work in London - rent is a lot cheaper and your salary will still be at a premium, although travel costs may be significant Live and work in London - save money on travel but use a lot of that top end salary on higher rent prices Live and work regionally - generally earn considerably less but benefit from cheaper housing prices. The problem is that with less public transport, comes the need to potentially own a car, another sizeable cost. Pro-Recruitment is a recruitment agency in London and our consultants specialise in Tax jobs, Finance jobs, Legal jobs and HR jobs. Our recruiters are able to offer expert advice on jobs in London and nationwide as well as CV advice. Contact us today on 02072696333 for a discussion on your next career move.


Never Underestimate The Influence Of Company Culture on Staff Attraction

Due to the competitive nature of the market, high-quality candidates are often presented with four or five offers of employment for their next position. As a result, clients are constantly asking my advice on how to attract and retain the best talent out there! Whilst excellent rates of pay and opportunities for progression are two of the most obvious ways to attract the right team members there are other more subtle and engaging ways to maximise your staffing potential. According to Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. With that being said, below we will explore some creative ways to motivate and reward your employees when they go above and beyond. Not to mention ways to create a company culture that'll be the envy of your competitors and attract the top talent in the market. Social functions We spend between eight and ten hours a day with our work colleagues so having positive relationships is important for both productivity, employee relations and staff morale. Having regular social functions strengthens these bonds and leaves your staff looking forward to going to work! It is also beneficial to break down some of the hierarchal barriers that can unconsciously arise in a formal office environment. Extra holiday allowance for charity and community work Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been one of the industry's key areas of focus for 2018 and what better way to engage with your team than support them in causes close to their own heart. Deloitte found that 76% of Millennials now regard business as a force for positive social impact. Whilst CSR benefits the employee directly they will feel that you as the employer see them as more than a body on a chair and are aligned with their motivations and ideologies. Flexible lifestyles need flexible working A common market misconception is that flexible working means an hour either side of rigid core hours in one location. In fact, flexible working is so much more than this due in part to technological advances. According to a survey conducted by PowWowNow, 67 % of employees polled wish they were offered flexible working. On top of that 58% of people believed that working away from the office would help the become more motivated. Several of my key clients have implemented flexible locations whether this is working from home, regional offices or we workspaces. If you are reactive to your employees’ needs, chances are they will be appreciative. Let staff chose their own benefits and incentives Not every employee is the same and every individual will have key drivers as to what would make them feel rewarded. By allowing employees to have an input in their own personalised incentive scheme you again reinforce that you are a people focused company. Whether this is additional time off, financial reward or something more tangible such as a bottle of wine or meal with a loved one allowing them to chose can really pay off. These are just some of the ideas that I have suggested to clients and have been implemented across several offices. If you feel that your company does not value you as an employee, or indeed you are an employer looking to attract and retain the best staff in the market please do call for an initial discussion. For more information about this article, or to speak to Callum about your recruiting needs or Finance jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696369 or


6 Staff Retention Tips To Improve Your Business

Are you supporting a high growth business in the UK but also one who suffers from 15% or higher staff turnover rate? As recruitment specialists, we know that a key goal of yours it to keep your staff happy, so your business can flourish. According to Glassdoor, the average employer spends about £3,000 and 27.5 days to hire a new worker. We work with businesses who are working really hard to improve their staff retention. This speedy 2-minute read will give some insight about how you can improve your employee relations and your staff retention. 1. Certainty 2. Variety 3. Significance 4. Connection 5. Growth 6. Contribution 1. Certainty Job security is one of the key aspects that you need to promote within your company to improve staff retention. Whether you are a HR Director or a Tax Recruiter, all employees need to have confidence in the security of their job. Doubts over the company's success will have a big impact on performance and your bottom line. If employees feel stressed, their work will suffer and this will have a knock-on effect on the team. How do you prevent uncertainty and negative gossip? Keep your staff informed on how the company is performing. Keeping your team in the know will build trust and develop strong employee relations. If your staff can see how well your company is performing then they'll feel more certain about their job security. Also, reassure your team of their value to you and the company. Employees like to feel wanted and needed. 2. Variety Variety is the spice of life! Talent and skill utilisation is another factor your key employees seek in your workplace. Often, when candidates register with us they want to try something new but are unable to do so in their current firm. Motivated employees want to contribute to work areas outside of their specific job description. Think about offering work that wouldn’t fit into their portfolio. How many people in your business would value from working in another team or on a different project? You need to know their skills, talent, and experience, and take the time to develop this to your advantage. 3. Significance Everyone loves to feel important! However, With 69% of workers polled saying their boss didn’t support their career goals, it seems as though this point is being overlooked by many. We like to think that our actions have an impact in the world and that we add real value. If someone is doing a good job, ensure that they know about it. Making sure that your team know that they are valued will go a long way in the company. Frequently saying ‘thank you’ goes a long way. As recruitment experts, we head from candidates looking to move and there is a common theme that people don’t feel valued. Your staff members must feel rewarded, recognised and appreciated. This can be reflected by pay rises, job titles or heaping praise on someone in front of others. No member of staff should be made to feel like an unnecessary cog in the machine. 4. Connection Team rapport is essential for any company to be successful. Team building activities, nights out and regular meetings are great ways to ensure staff bond. The change of scenery can only add to this positive feeling. This is something many companies miss out on and it does make a difference. We at Pro-Group pride ourselves on our family-feel office and this team-bonding time is essential in maintaining a happy workplace. The saying “You spend more time with the people you work with than you do with your friends and family” is very true. That's why creating a welcoming place where people enjoy their environment is imperative. Don’t get us wrong, employees are there to work but you must strike a healthy balance to create a conducive environment. 5. Growth People like to feel that they are growing/progressing in life. To achieve growth, they must be challenged, do not let someone stagnate! According to a survey by totaljobs, 68% of employees have changed jobs because of a lack of learning and development opportunities. Your best employees, those you want to keep, seek opportunities to learn and grow in their careers. Without the opportunity to train, attend seminars and courses employees feel they will stagnate. A career-orientated and valued employee must experience growth opportunities within your organisation. They also need to see a space that they can grow into; otherwise, they won’t grow. When was the last time you asked an employee if they felt they were developing or asked them what else you can do to help develop them? 6. Contribution This is tied in with several other points in this guide to staff retention. You need to remind your team of how they're contributing to the company and how well they are doing! There are a lot of points above that feel very obvious, I’m aware of a number of companies that don't install the simplest of these policies. Try to implement just one or two of the above suggestions to retain your best staff, or stop and ask yourself, do you do this for your staff already? Some of these suggestions cost you nothing but a little time and effort. The outcome - You will be more likely to keep your superstars with you for the long haul. It’s essential to take a step back sometimes and ask yourself - How happy are your staff?. Are you meeting all their needs? If not, why not!? If you’re struggling with retaining your staff and seeing your attrition rate creeping up, speak with one of our experienced recruitment experts who will give you an insight into the current candidate market. Pro-Recruitment is a recruitment agency in London and our consultants specialise in Tax, Finance, Legal and HR jobs and are able to offer expert advice on employee relations, generalist hr to talent acquisition. Contact us today on 02072696333 for a discussion on your recruiting and talent needs.


WEBINAR - How to negotiate a pay rise

We’ve all thought about it… asking for an increase in salary. Salary negotiation is a key skill which will help you throughout your career. Whether you’re a Solicitor or Accountant, a Tax Manager looking to get to Tax Partner, or just a Generalist HR professional exploring salaries in your current role, this webinar will give you some essential advice to plan and execute a strategy to help you get you the pay rise you deserve. This webinar will explore: How to successfully negotiate a pay rise in your current role and for a new job or role The 3 key things you need to do to prepare BEFORE you go in and ask for a pay rise How men and women approach pay rises differently and what you can learn from each gender How to calculate what you are really worth to your firm What to do if your firm doesn’t agree with your pay rise How to answer the question from a recruiter “what’s your current package?” When should you tune in? Thursday 22nd November 2018 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm GMT Join Heather Townsend and Pat Keogh and take away tips on how to best negotiate your salary and pay rise! Heather Townsend is the co-author of ‘‘How to make partner and still have a life’. She is the global expert in what it takes to make partner in a professional practice. In the last year, she and her team of coaches have helped several people make partner and worked with clients from all the major continents of the world. Pat Keogh is one of the founders and Managing Director of the Pro-Recruitment Group which was formed in 2007. As well as running the day-to-day business, Pat also recruits at Partner level across several sectors. He has an extensive network of Tax, Legal, Finance and HR professionals in both practice and in-house having recruited across several sectors for over 20 years. Can’t attend live? You should still register! We’ll be sending out slides and a recording of the webinar to all registrants.


5 Scary Candidate Profiles that give us the Fright!

It’s Halloween and the spookiest time of the year. However, some of these candidate profiles continue to haunt recruitment processes throughout the year leaving prospective employers howling at the moon. Below are a few examples of the phantom offenders that can keep us up at night. The Crypt The Cryptic candidate who holds back on valuable information. Whether it be parts of their salary package, dates on their CV, who else they’re interviewing with or the real motivations for leaving. Not only does this hinder in getting the candidate across the right positions in the right time frame but gaps on CVs will be picked up on throughout the process, references won’t correlate, salary negotiations will fall down at the end of the process and a level of non-commitment will linger throughout on all sides. The Ghost That great candidate who we’ve built up a good relationship with, registered and got the CV out the door to their agreed options. All is going seamlessly and then they disappear. Like a ghost they don't return calls or reply to emails, they can even fail to turn up to meetings or interviews, never to be heard from again. It, of course, leads to a barrage of calls and emails from us which is understandably even more frustrating and infuriates the employer too – who won’t forget very quickly. The Jekyll & Hyde This is the candidate who we’ve spent a lot of time talking to and even met, we know their backgrounds and aspirations, we’ve prepped them and sent them to the interview. Then a transformation happens to the candidate en route. Suddenly when it’s crux time in front of the interviewer all the preparation goes out of the window and the candidate becomes a different person. Overbearing, argumentative, unengaging, shy, or even beastly. The Swarm Beware of the swarm! It might seem like a good idea when first starting out on your job search to apply to many multiple agencies. However, this is a very diluted market and with your CV being sent out multiple times by different agencies it very quickly muddies the water with internal recruiters and employers. It is also much more difficult to keep track of where your CV has been sent, by whom and how you are being perceived. By using a specialist recruiter, you are sure to work closely together to approach each role specifically and to the correct line in a slicker process. The Witch or Warlock These are harder to spot at first. Excellent candidates boasting excellent CVs and experience able to bewitching throughout their recruitment processes summoning offers with the purpose of leveraging for counter offers, promotions and salary hikes. Whilst perhaps short-term gain, often this will lead a sour taste in the market and statistically, 80% of people who have accepted a counter offer will not be at their current employer in six months and 93% will not be there in eighteen months’ time. If you are reading through any of these and hearing yourself relate to too many of these traits and wondering why the recruitment process isn’t running quite as smoothly as hoped, then have no fear; we have a number of blogs to help with everything from preparing your CV and interviewing techniques to addressing the counter offer. If you're looking for an experienced Tax recruiter I recruit from Big 4 heads of departments to Tax Managers and more. With nearly six years now in recruitment and two specialising within London tax recruitment, my London tax network is expansive, interesting, varied and ever growing. Get in contact today for more information on the current market or a discussion about your recruitment needs.


10 Things you didn't know about: Andrew Pannell, Senior Associate at MJ Hudson

Andrew joined MJ Hudson as a lawyer within the venture capital practice in 2017. He has extensive experience advising venture capital, private equity and corporate clients on venture and growth capital transactions. What made you want to become a lawyer? Honestly … growing up reading the likes of John Grisham and watching various low-grade legal dramas such as Perry Mason and Kavanagh QC - seeing them strut their stuff in the Courtroom! Suffice to say that the reality of life as a corporate lawyer is somewhat different… On a more serious note, I have always had an interest in law and feel it plays such a significant role in our day-to-day lives. I always hoped that the work as a lawyer would be interesting, intellectually stimulating and challenging and I haven’t been disappointed in that regard. What does MJ Hudson do well? A dedicated focus on the asset management community, providing a multi-faceted, complimentary package of legal and non-legal services to our fund management and investor client base – this specialist focus on the asset management sector has been, and will continue to be, a key differentiator for us. Within MJ Hudson’s legal services, venture capital is one of our core areas, being the practice in which I operate. We typically act on both the investor and investee side. Central to our strategy is to support our VC clients throughout their entire fund cycle – from fund formation/structuring to the downstream investment work, through to exit. Clients benefit from the continuity of the same team throughout this journey. What’s your favourite thing about working for MJ Hudson? MJ Hudson has a clear identity and stands for something genuinely different from the rest of the legal market. It is also a young, dynamic and energetic place to work, entrepreneurial and free of bureaucracy and no egos. What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago on how to shape your career? Ask as many (preferably intelligent) questions as you can from the start and do not be afraid by what you don’t know. Stretch yourself and continually strive to push yourself out of your comfort zone. When is the right time to start building your network and how is best to achieve this? From day one. Of course, as a junior lawyer, your primary focus should be on development of your technical skills (something we should all keep developing irrespective of seniority) but there is no reason why, in the meantime, you shouldn’t also be developing your network – whether that is existing or new contacts that you may encounter e.g. on a transaction that you are working on. That way, as you progress through the ranks and are looking to build your own business, you will not be starting from scratch. Who has had the greatest influence on your career? While having role models that you can learn from is clearly valuable, it is also important to determine your own identity and a style that best suits you. So, by all means, learn as much as you can from others but at the same time have the conviction to be your own person. One person who does stand out, however, is Andrew Harrison – at the time, a Partner at what was then Wragge & Co. Aside from being one of the best technical, but at the same time commercially savvy, lawyers that I have worked for, I remember him setting me a drafting exercise as a trainee to prepare the rules of knots and crosses - an elementary task you might think and one which he started out by complimenting me for a job well done … and then proceeded to unpick my drafting with a significant amount of red ink – a good learning experience I suppose! What qualities do you look for in potential candidates hoping to join your team? Speaking with my VC hat on for a moment (rather than for the wider MJ Hudson platform), an interest in working in the VC/start-up environment is certainly important. Other qualities include: · A positive, can-do attitude and a willingness to learn and stretch yourself · An ability and willingness, even at a comparatively junior level, to take the responsibility of running with a deal (with an appropriate level of supervision of course) · Attention to detail and accuracy and getting the basics right · Speed of delivery/turnaround to clients (without sacrificing on quality), plus an ability to multi-task several deals at any given time · An ability to combine strong technical skills with pragmatic and commercial advice as one gets more senior · Being a good egg What do you think will be some of the major changes to the legal profession in the future? There has been a clear trend (which I suspect will continue) of law firms adopting an expansionist strategy (whether that be through merger or organic growth) to turn themselves into full service, global players or, at the other end of the spectrum, keeping themselves more boutique and focused on what they excel at. I think there is a place for both strategies in the market, however, for those firms who occupy the space somewhere in the middle, this may prove challenging unless they have a clear identity, value-add that they can market to clients. At MJ Hudson, we are clearly positioned at the boutique/focused end of the spectrum, albeit with ambitious growth plans, which is an exciting place to be. How will flexible and agile working impact law firms in the future? This is an increasingly important dynamic and a key part of balancing the demands of work with home life. Being someone who lives outside London and commutes into the City daily, having the flexibility of working from home from time to time makes a huge difference to my life at home with the family. As far as I am concerned it is irrelevant where people work from and what hours they keep, provided that we, as a firm/team, are able to keep our clients happy and excel at what we do. The more we can treat people as grown-ups (as we all are) and put trust in them to work productively in the manner that they see fit – whether that is in the office or remotely – all the better. How can lawyers and firms ensure they are at the forefront of progress and innovation in the legal market? As a profession, we have probably been a bit slow in embracing technology within law and there is no doubt that we need to do more to adapt to the developments in technology that will undoubtedly have (and is already having) a significant impact on the legal market and how our services are provided to clients. Within the venture sector, a number of our VC clients are interested in, and already investing in, businesses with a focus on AI in law so there is no doubt that technology is going to play a significant role in future innovation in the legal market – one therefore for us all to embrace and see as an opportunity (not a threat).


A Look into 2018 Candidate Recruitment Trends So Far…

It’s been the story of 2018, we are in a candidate short market. But what does this mean? The September IHS Markit/REC Report on Jobs data highlights once again that: Strong expansion in permanent placements, but temp billings growth softens Starting salaries increase at the second-fastest rate in over three years Staff vacancies continue to rise at a historically marked pace Steep increases in the demand for both permanent and temporary job categories were seen, with vacancies expanding at a rate only slightly behind July’s eight-month record; the demand for staff is notably strong and is driving starting salaries higher. Average starting salaries awarded to newly-placed permanent staff rose at the second-sharpest pace for over three years in August. Neil Carberry, Chief Executive at the REC says: “Businesses are getting on with it driving Britain’s growth – jobs are being created and starting salaries are rising. There are big opportunities out there for candidates right now looking for a new role. In the UK, the recruitment industry saw a total revenue of £32.2 billion in 2017 (Sonovate) with 41% of recruitment agencies reporting that candidate acquisition is their top priority (Bullhorn) which is leading recruiters and employers to look for new and innovative ways to attract and secure the right talent. Skillsets and Demand are Driving Salaries With more and more vacancies being created coupled with lower unemployment rates, and companies really focussing on staff retention; salaries are being driven higher and higher. New Ways of Working ‘Flexible working’ is no longer a term filled with stigma and is now hugely common throughout the workplace. Whether this be altered times around the core hours, working from home or part-time setups; it is now a working norm for most environments that are being offered. The market has a new way of working and thinking and much more happily adaptable to attract and retain the top talent. Technology Plays a Vital Part The search platforms are changing and long gone is the time of scouring the job sections of the paper. Even the emphasis on traditional job boards has evolved and newer generations of candidates are far more savvy with social media stages such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Adverts are now linked to pictures and videos, they’re accompanied by immediate web spaces, links to websites and further detailed job descriptions. Adverts are having to be bolder and brighter, more dynamic in approach to stand out amongst the rest in a very competitive market. According to a report; ‘How often do people change jobs?’; on average, a person changes jobs 10 to 15 times during their career and typically stays within a job 4.2 years, so there is candidate availability and continuous movement on the market but will often come down to a company’s recruitment process with how whether someone will change jobs. “People who enjoy the candidate experiences are 38% more likely to accept a job offer”. (IBM, The Far-Reaching Impact of Candidate Experience, 2017) Here at Pro-Tax we are constantly looking at new ways to reach out and speak to the top talent in the market and with more new roles coming in every day across all our clients and regions and committed to working in a manner that puts your needs at the heart of the process, now really is a truly exciting time for candidates to be exploring new positions. For more information about this article, or to speak to Rebecca about your recruiting needs, contact Rebecca on 02072696320 or


8 Key parts to hiring, retaining and developing the best team around you

Recruitment Process We all know that hiring that amazing team can be a daunting task but we’ve compiled a list of 8 key parts to hiring, retaining and developing the best team. In our experience, a key part of creating your perfect team is getting the decision right at this stage. A few very important things to consider are; 1. What Is Your Process>> 2. Take References>> 3. Hire People That Raise the Average>> 4. Its Ok to Ask a Second Opinion>> 5. Give Them Room to Grow>> 6. Show Them Some Love>> 7. Remuneration Fairness>> 8. Personal Needs>> 1. What is Your Hiring Process? - Ensure there is a thorough interview process, is just one stage enough for you to make an informed decision - Have the key people in your team met with and approved with your decision - Do you complete a competency-based interview, if not, know what your competencies are and test these thoroughly at interview 2. Take References - Have you taken references, not just HR references but have you picked up the phone to the person's old employer to see if there are any positive/negative indicators. (Ask at interview who the potential candidate would recommend you call from their jobs) 3. Hire People That Raise The Average - An age-old saying is recruit people that will one day be better than you, don’t be worried about people being better than you or wanting your job, they will make you look good if they come on board and do a great job. - Constantly look to improve your team, upskill and raise the average 4. It's Ok to Ask for a Second Opinion - Never “take a punt”, if you are slightly on the fence about recruiting then either it is a no or you need a second opinion, if you are working with a recruiter you trust they will listen to you and will advise against a hire as they don’t want things to come back and haunt them at a later date if you get this wrong. Retaining the best team Companies with employee engagement programs achieve 26% greater year-over-year increase in annual company revenue, compared those who do not have formal programs. Staff members are just the same as you and I, think about the basics and put them into practice; 5. Give Them Room to Grow - You need to be able to offer development, opportunity to learn and interesting work/projects for them to get involved in. - Your best people are the ones that want to develop and better themselves, these are the people you want to keep, think back to the start of your career and how you went about developing and getting further in your career. 6. Show Them Some Love - It’s the little things that count for many people, offering small incentives that can range from an early finish on a Friday for a good week's work, ice creams on a hot day, pizza lunches for the office right through to buying them and a friend/spouse dinner one Friday evening. 7. Remuneration Fairness - Do your research when it comes to salary, all employees really want is to be paid market rate and have fairness in accordance with the rest of the business, if you have huge disparities at the same level you will get disgruntlement and unhappiness - Equally, don’t become an easy hunting ground for your competitors, yes you do need to pay market rate but understand what benefits you offer over and above the salary - Consider car allowance, bonus, salary, overtime, holidays and pension contributions 8. Personal Needs - The biggest thing to offer your employees is an understanding of their personal circumstances. Having a genuine interest in their life, what makes them tick, is it the gym, their family, a sport or a hobby. If you don’t know this then you can’t meet their basic personal needs. - Most people in life need their personal needs met to the point that sometimes just allowing someone routine and time makes them very happy in their working life. Recruitment is a network of sharing knowledge so if you have any of your own groundbreaking tips I'd love to hear them. For more information about this article, or to speak to Alison about your recruiting needs, contact Alison on 02072696312 or



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