Public sector legal recruitment has changed considerably in the last few years, as evolving market conditions and professional norms have led to a major shift in what candidates are looking for in a role. As such, employers in the public sector are keen to gain insights into what is most important to candidates, in order to better tailor their employment offering. To explore these trends, Sellick Partnership has carried out a survey of 172 solicitors, lawyers and legal executives working in the public sector, in order to find out exactly what today’s legal professionals are looking for when weighing up their career options. Take a look at the analysis and download the results here. Here are some of our key findings: Nearly half of those polled - 45% - feel unable to progress their career in their current position. 47% said they would be unlikely or very unlikely to move jobs for a role at the same level. Only 5% would want to look for a role that involves working in the office five days a week, with 20% seeking to work remotely full time. When asked about perks and benefits that would appeal when looking for a new role, 76% chose enhanced flexi-time that would allow them to control their own working hours, making this the single most popular option. When asked about factors that put them off applying for a role, 76% cited salary banding not being included in the job ad. What motivates public sector legal candidates? The findings from our survey demonstrate a number of key insights, highlighting the factors that are motivating today’s public sector legal professionals to change careers. It also serves as an indicator of what employers need to focus on when creating a compelling offer for top talent. Here are some of the results: Flexible and remote working are top priorities for candidates Better career progression options can persuade staff to change roles Employers need to offer more perks and benefits beyond salary… …but candidates still want clarity and transparency on what they will be paid Effective targeting of job adverts is essential A good working environment can make the difference A salary guide has been provided in this report A salary banding table has been provided to accompany this report which is intended only as a representation of the market, according to the research and data acquired from our network. Any information presented in this document is made in the opinion of Sellick Partnership. The full report is available to download here. Contact and further information If you wish to utilise any part of this data for editorial purposes, please credit Sellick Partnership at www.sellickpartnership.co.uk. To find out more about our insights into how public sector legal employers can improve their offering for candidates, please visit our legal recruitment hub, or contact us by calling 0161 834 1642.
If you are training to become an Accountant, you will need to think about what educational route and career path would suit you best. By doing so, you will be able to find an accountancy job that meets your long-term professional goals.To have a successful career in accountancy, you will need to ensure that you have the right training and professional qualifications to give you the skills and credentials that employers are looking for. This means thinking carefully about what is needed when training to become an accountant.Fortunately, accounting offers a great deal of flexibility as a career path, meaning there are numerous potential routes that candidates can take to secure their accounting qualifications, obtain essential skills and secure a desirable role with an accountancy firm or private company.Here, we will discuss the various pathways that accountants (or those thinking about a career within the sector) can explore to obtain the accounting qualifications they will need, as well as exploring additional soft skills and credentials that can maximise your chances of landing the accounting job you want.What are the different routes to obtaining accounting qualifications?One of the most positive aspects of training to become an accountant is the broad range of different routes and pathways that can be taken. Rather than being locked into a single career path, you will have several options available, allowing you to progress your accountancy career at your own pace, according to your level of prior learning and your preferred industry focus.Becoming a chartered accountantMany accountants choose to go down the academic route, focusing on getting the professional qualifications they need to become a chartered accountant as quickly as possible. This approach is most suitable for candidates who already have a relevant educational qualification as a starting point – this will usually be an accountancy or finance degree, or a qualification in a related area of study, such as economics. Going down this route to become a chartered accountant is generally seen as the more technical and workload-heavy approach, involving significant amounts of study and reporting. The key benefit is that you can become a fully qualified accountant much sooner, as this will exempt you from having to obtain the foundation-level AAT qualification stages, skipping straight to professional qualifications such as the Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). By committing to take on the workload required to get fully qualified through the chartered accountant route, you will be able to obtain high-level credentials in just a few years, meaning you will be able to command a better average salary in the early years of your career, and potentially put yourself in high demand among leading accountancy firms.Becoming an accountant through industry placementsThe main alternative to becoming a chartered accountant is to pursue an industry route, which involves taking on an entry-level placement or apprenticeship with an accountancy firm, performing basic administrative work such as processing invoices while studying at the same time.This approach does not require the same level of prior academic training, making it a good starting point for candidates from a wider range of educational backgrounds. Through this pathway, you can become an AAT qualified accountant through a combination of studying in your spare time and practical work on the job, giving you a solid grounding in basic accountancy work before moving on to a professional level ACA, CIMA or ACCA qualification.By qualifying through this industry pathway, a broad range of career opportunities will be available to you. Although the starting salaries tend to be lower than for chartered accountants, industry roles tend to pay better at the top end, and by forming relationships with an accountancy firm or business during your time spent as an apprentice, you can often transition naturally from a training agreement to a full-time role. This can however, put limitations on opportunities eventually as more senior roles within Finance require a professional qualification.Which route is right for me?Choosing the right training pathway will often vary depending on whether you have an existing accounting degree to help you obtain chartered status, but it will also depend on what kind of accounting role you are ultimately looking for.For example, if you are interested in auditing, it will be easier to get this sort of work through the chartered accountancy route, whereas those who are more interested in management accounting will usually find more of these roles in the business world. When you are just starting your career, you may not immediately know which accountancy specialism is right for you, so taking time to work this out can be very helpful in mapping out a career route.You should also remember that many careers within accounting can be quite fluid, giving you the opportunity to switch the focus of your job over time as your skills and interests evolve. Many chartered accountants move into industry roles later in their careers in order to achieve a higher salary, while other professionals will choose to move laterally between roles and accountancy specialisms, using their transferrable skills to pursue new challenges.Whether this will be possible for you will depend on your specific skills. For example, those with auditing skills will find that these can transfer easily to general accounting and reporting roles, whereas skills relating to tax and filing tax returns are more niche and specialised.What other skills are accountancy employers looking for?When applying for an accountancy job, it is vital to remember that employers will also be assessing your practical skills in addition to your accounting qualification status. This means you will need to work on cultivating and obtaining any additional soft skills and qualifications that may help to differentiate your application from others.Although these practical skills will depend on the exact role, many employers will be looking for the following:Good working knowledge of the systems and technologies that are used most often in financial accountancy. In particular, this should include Microsoft Excel, due to the significant reliance on spreadsheets in processing financial information.Qualifications in using common business accounting software platforms such as Sage and Xero, both of which offer online courses to obtain a qualification. Accountants can then learn to utilise larger-scale accounting systems such as SAP as their career progresses.Personal attributes and capabilities such as problem-solving, self-motivation and a strong commitment to the highest standards of financial accounting. To succeed at an accounting firm, you will need to have drive and hunger, with a willingness to study and expand your knowledge in your spare time to pass your accountancy courses.By exhibiting these credentials, you will give yourself the best chance of progressing through your accounting courses quickly and landing a desirable job within this fast-moving and flexible sector, setting you up for a long and successful career in financial accounting.Find out moreIf you are looking to become an accountant and want guidance and support in navigating the accounting jobs market, Sellick Partnership can help. We can offer advice on training to become an accountant, including your career path options and the key skills that are valued most highly by accountancy firms and other employers.Learn more by visiting our Finance and Accountancy recruitment hub, where you can browse our latest finance & accountancy jobs, or call us on 0161 834 1642.
Today’s public sector legal professionals are more likely than ever to prioritise wellbeing support when choosing a role. Employers need to be aware of this and improve their offering in this area to attract the best candidates.Public sector organisations traditionally do this by focusing on a number of key metrics, such as salary, career progression and other professional perks. However, in the current marketplace, it is important that they do not underestimate the importance of wellbeing initiatives.The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant shift in career priorities for many professionals. After an extended period of furlough or remote working, it has become increasingly important for legal professionals to feel they are being supported in their roles, and that they are being given the opportunities they need to focus on their wellbeing.As such, public sector organisations need to be doing all they can to ensure that they are providing the right environment and wellbeing measures to properly support their existing workforce — and to provide a strong offer for prospective candidates.What are today’s professionals looking for?The growing demand for proactive wellbeing support in the workplace has been demonstrated by Sellick Partnership’s recent survey of 172 legal professionals, which polled them on what to look for when considering a new job. The results highlighted the following trends:● When asked to choose which perks and benefits would appeal to them the most when looking for a new role, 76% selected enhanced flexi-time to give them more control over their working hours — making this the single most popular option.● Only 5% were looking for a role that involves working in the office five days a week, compared to 67% who wanted to work from home at least three days a week, including 20% who wanted to work entirely remotely.● 52% wanted their next role to offer more annual leave, while 36% were looking for private healthcare options, and 22% sought wellbeing benefits, such as gym memberships. Looking at the specific responses regarding what people are anticipating from a new role also revealed a consistent demand for better wellbeing standards: ● “A supportive team environment, training opportunities, focus on stress management and wellbeing.”● “Manageable workload — the ability to actually take the leave (including flexi leave) accrued, which the workload doesn't easily allow for.”● “The potential for a better work/life balance.”● “My current role is very convenient and provides a lot of flexibility. A new role would need to at least match benefits and improve on salary to justify forgoing any of the current convenience.”● “I think home working is the new normal and I would not consider any role that did not have at least some element of that.”● “Friendly and fair staff/bosses are important.” We spoke to one of our clients, Magda Dyson, Senior Solicitor at The Borough Council of Calderdale, who outlined the plans in place to support staff. Magda said: “We have weekly team meetings where we allocate work to individuals. This keeps everything transparent and balanced so no one is taking on more work than anyone else. It also gives everyone a chance to talk about any specific matters relating their workload, so it feels much more like a team caseload rather than an individual’s. “We organise social events outside of work and also share funny anecdotes we have seen; I think this really shows the human side to everyone.“We have a plan in place for continuing our working from home arrangements. We will maintain working from home on a permanent basis but each team will have one day per week where they may go into the office if they want to. The decision to attend the office will be left up to each individual. This means everyone will have flexibility of choice, whilst maintaining stability and transparency.”When analysing these responses, a number of recurring themes emerge:A renewed focus on working culture and team spiritAlthough remote working is in high demand, not every aspect of working from home has been seen as positive. During the pandemic, many legal professionals have felt isolated and cut off from the broader organisation, without being able to spend time getting to know their colleagues.As such, candidates for public sector legal roles are keen to hear about an organisation’s working culture and team ethos, and will consider these factors. Employers need to clearly communicate their values and team ethos, particularly in terms of social events and the steps taken to ensure that people working remotely can feel fully involved in the organisation’s culture.Employees need to feel supported when they are strugglingMany legal professionals experienced significant stress during the pandemic, becoming overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn for support, due to a lack of physical proximity to their colleagues and managers. Now that pandemic restrictions have eased, staff are keen to ensure that they are not put in this position again.As such, applicants for new roles are likely to have questions about average workloads and the likelihood of having to work extended hours, and will be looking for an employer that prioritises the mental health and wellbeing of the team, including putting clear systems in place for workers to get help if they are experiencing a lot of strain.What kind of wellbeing improvements can employers provide?In order to ensure they are delivering a competitive employment package that can attract the top legal talent, public sector organisations need to make sure they are considering wellbeing and work culture as a top priority. This means: ● Be proactive about wellbeing and culture - since these factors are seen as important to candidates, your recruitment efforts should reflect this. Provide a clear picture of what support is available, what your working environment is like, and what benefits you offer, rather than making applicants have to ask you about it.● Treat remote working as an opportunity to cast your net wider - by treating remote and flexible working options as the norm, you can unlock a number of advantages for the organisation. Many employers are taking this opportunity to expand their hiring policy, allowing them to recruit staff who are not local to the office, on the basis that they will only need to visit occasionally. By doing so, you can gain access to a wider pool of talent.● Take an individualised approach - every individual applicant will have different wellbeing needs and cultural priorities, so your recruitment approach should reflect this. Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all concept to your wellbeing package, being flexible will make it clearer that you are serious about accommodating people’s personal needs.● Provide clarity and certainty - at a time when many employers are reconsidering their flexible working arrangements, your organisation can stand out by providing candidates with certainty about long-term benefits and wellbeing support, thereby addressing a key pain point for many professionals.● Make sure staff can realistically take advantage of these benefits - the value of flexi-time options and other workplace perks will be undermined if staff are habitually too busy or overworked to ever take advantage. By providing realistic workload estimates and schedules, you can make sure that the benefits you provide can actually be realistically utilised most of the time.By taking these steps and emphasising them to prospective candidates, public sector organisations can deliver a powerful selling point for new legal recruits — while also ensuring they are better equipped to improve retention among current staff members, who might otherwise be tempted by higher salaries offered within the private sector.Find out moreTo find out more insights about the wellbeing benefits that public sector legal candidates are looking for, take a look at the complete findings of our recent survey of solicitors, lawyers and legal executives.If you want to learn more about how Sellick Partnership can help public sector employers to access the very best legal talent, visit our legal recruitment hub, or call us on 0161 834 1642.
When it comes to writing a CV for an Actuarial-focused role you might need some guidance on best practices, especially if you are a graduate looking for your first job or have been at your current place of employment for a number of years, leaving your CV outdated. The Actuarial team at Sellick Partnership look at hundreds of CVs every single week and are regularly asked by candidates how they can make improvements or how they should structure and format the document.With a plethora of knowledge for what the Hiring Manager or HR team will be looking for, we have put together some tips and suggestions on what to include in your CV, how to structure it to maximise your chances of getting an interview and what you can remove. Finding the balanceOne of the key elements to writing a great Actuarial CV is getting the right balance between being concise but also having enough detail. We all know there is no benefit to having a CV that is too long, however, if your past experience, qualifications and technical skills warrant two or even three pages, then this is absolutely fine.Fitting everything on to one page and, as a result, eliminating crucial areas of expertise will not help you in your job search. As long as you include a good overview of your experience, your relevant skills and education, as well as prompts for interview questions and quantifiable examples where ever possible, you will be on the right path.What you should includeA professional summary:Not all candidates do this, but we think all Actuarial CVs benefit from a professional summary at the top of the page. This should include information that succinctly outlines your skills, qualifications and work experience. Two or three lines should be enough for this and you should always include your level of qualification at the time of applying, including further details if you are studying towards a higher level, alongside your main specialism within Actuarial. This will offer a helping hand to HR who might not work within the Actuarial sector themselves.For example, for Life Insurance you might explain that your specialism is within longevity. Similarly, within General Insurance you might be a ‘motor pricing specialist’ rather than a ‘pricing Actuary’.Details about your next steps:Providing clarity on what you are looking for next or what is driving your job search is always useful. This might be due to one of many things such as: relocation, redundancy or you are looking for a step up in responsibilities. Similar to the previous point, these details can save time figuring out whether or not you are a suitable candidate.A good, active tone throughout: This can be taking into consideration words such as: ‘monitored’, ‘created’, ‘pioneered’ or ‘led’ and makes your experience sound much more impressive.This can also give you the edge on other candidates, showing that you had ownership of pieces of work and it displays your willingness to take on additional responsibilities.Quantifiable examples:We often see phrases which show that a candidate has ‘improved systems and processes’ which is useful but it would be better to give an example.I built XYZ which reduced the time taken for this process from four weeks to two weeks. It also made it easier for the team to generate different reports, different results or different data.This is a much stronger statement which gives the interviewer things to ask you about when the time comes. Equally, if you are someone with past experience in a consultancy setting, you should always provide information on the size of the client or the size of the deal you have worked on. This could be a range or an average but often, candidates might be working on multimillion, or even multibillion-pound clients. This is impressive for Hiring Managers to read and provides some interesting talking points.Education: Most employers will want to know details of your entire education, not just your university degree or Actuarial qualification/s.Not only does this speed up the process of going back and forward with a recruitment agency like Sellick Partnership, but it also removes the chance of anyone thinking you have something to hide. If there is an element of your education history that you aren’t happy with or something you wish had been better, we would still encourage candidates to include that information. If you have a good degree and Actuarial progress alongside it, your D in GCSE French shouldn’t be an issue.Other helpful additions within this section are things like dissertation topics and theses, particularly if you did a maths or statistics-based degree. If you’ve done multiple degrees, put them all on and if you have additional qualifications and accreditations such as Data Science courses, list them.Technical skills:You should include as much information on the different systems and coding languages you have used as possible. Try and include these in the experience section as well, detailing exactly where you have used those skills and how frequently.Exams:We would always want to see full, comprehensive details of any relevant exams. This includes: which have been passed and whether or not they were first time passes, which, if any, were exemptions from university, which exams you are waiting on results for and also which exams are scheduled in the next sitting. This shows history to date and what you have planned next.The first time pass acknowledgement is an extremely strong aspect to have on your CV. Similarly, if you get strong results for particular exams (top five per cent, for example), you should always highlight that as it will be a good talking point in an interview.What to removeNow we’ve provided an idea of what you should include in your CV, it’s handy to know what is irrelevant. Here are some of the things that are unnecessary to prospective employers:A picture and/or personal information such as your address, gender, location and age – these would be removed from your CV by the HR department in the first instance anyway, to eliminate discrimination. Cover letters – more on that below.Scales of proficiency – choose content over style. For example, some candidates will have four out of five circles coloured in for a particular skill. These graphics and images are much easier to lay out in a ‘technical skills’ section. It is better to say I am an advanced user of Prophet or I have done XYZ course, instead of illustrating that you have four out of five circles coloured in for Prophet and nothing to back it up with. It looks nice, but it isn’t quantifiable.‘References available upon request’ – if you are successful in an interview, a reference will be taken.No cover letter, no problem…As a rule, unless you have been explicitly asked to provide a cover letter, we would usually advise candidates to leave this stage of the process out as it could be a completely unnecessary step.Most cover letters provide the opportunity for you to explain why they are interested in the company and suitable for the role. However, generally speaking, that is what is expected from the interview.Grammar, grammar, grammarIt might sound obvious but the majority of CVs we receive have basic grammar or spelling mistakes. You should always check that everything is the same font, same size (unless you are using slightly bigger subheadings, for example) and same colour.You should also make sure that the correct words are capitalised, that the margins are aligned, and it reads correctly. One tip is to read the entire document out loud to yourself to guarantee that it makes sense. Or ask someone else to proof read it for you.Keep your CV up-to-dateThis doesn’t mean just adding in new roles and responsibilities but also checking whether the rest of your CV is still relevant. We see CVs of more experienced candidates who add in their current work but haven’t updated their previous role to the past tense, implying that they are still working at the company.You should also review your past experience and ensure this still sells your skills in the best way possible. There might have been something you did in a previous role that’s profoundly applicable to the job you are applying for. In these instances, you must make sure they are included.Non-Actuarial roles – keep them or ditch them?Some of your previous experience might not showcase the mathematical and/or analytical skillset you want to display but you can keep them on your CV. You might not necessarily need to list all of your responsibilities, particularly if it was a role that you had throughout university…The exception would be graduates or very junior candidates who may not have that much else to speak about and provides a way of showing you were working during university. These roles should demonstrate your ‘softer skills’ (communication, time management etc.) whilst your technical skills will be developed when you secure a role within Actuarial.Communication is keyWhen it comes to Actuarial jobs, many candidates are dealing with complex statistics, have exceptional analytical talent and possess good mathematical knowledge. This means that it can be integral to list communication details, especially if there are certain things that you have completed or were involved in that showcase those attributes.It’s always worth detailing which stakeholders or clients you have engaged with, including details of their seniority. Were you writing reports for them? Or, were you presenting to them?This is also important for people management credentials. Whether it’s ad-hoc or formal line management, showing that you possess good interpersonal skills is a great addition, whether this is managing people on projects or resource distribution within your team. For junior candidates, you might have been involved in mentoring and training graduates, which can help you stand out from other applicants.StructureYou should begin your CV with the professional summary section at the beginning. Then we would advise candidates to list their education alongside their exam history/upcoming exams and professional qualifications.Technical skills should come after this and levels of competency, this can be bullet pointed. We would follow this with details of relevant work experience.Candidates should list their experience in chronological order. If you’ve been in your current role for a good amount of time, you will probably have at least five to ten bullet points outlining your responsibilities. If it’s a candidate that has been at a company for a substantial amount of time and has been promoted within their team or changed roles internally then you can expect more.Hopefully, this can provide you with enough information needed to create an exemplary CV, showcasing your skills and qualifications as well as building compelling talking points for the interview stage.Here at Sellick Partnership, we are working on filling a number of positions with a multitude of flexible employers, meaning that we should, in theory, have something for everyone. Visit our Actuarial recruitment page here or take a look at our candidate and client resources for any assistance you may need.
When Lewis Dainty joined Sellick Partnership he had no experience in recruitment and instead came on board armed with a degree in geology and petroleum engineering as well as a background in teaching. Despite having very little industry knowledge, just two and a half months after joining the company he was promoted from Resourcing Consultant to Recruitment Consultant.Here, Lewis outlines what secured him his promotion as well as the things he loves about his role and what his future looks like here at Sellick Partnership.Before joining the companyAfter finishing university, Lewis completed his PGCE which enabled him to start working at a school where he was covering subjects including Geography and Religious Studies. However, with some doubt that a full-time job teaching would become available, Lewis was in limbo and questioned his next steps.Despite teaching being a hugely rewarding feeling for many, Lewis felt isolated in the classroom and, although he was grateful to support young people take their next steps in life, he didn’t feel the role itself was for him and made the decision to move away from the industry.Starting at Sellick PartnershipAfter applying and going through the interview process, Lewis secured a job as a Resourcing Consultant with Sellick Partnership, working within the public legal sector. This role involves speaking to legal candidates to find out whether they are available for work, before preparing CVs that Recruitment Consultants will send to their clients. Resourcing Consultants are also be responsible for the co-ordination and management of job advertisements, as well as registering candidates on our internal customer relationship management (CRM) database.The role is challenging and fast-paced, therefore those interested in working in recruitment must possess excellent organisational skills as you will often start out by supporting a number of Recruitment Consultants with multiple vacancies.With a clear career progression path outlined Lewis spoke about his future goals, saying: “When it came to the next steps in my career, the focal point was always progression. Although the commission is a huge benefit to anyone, it’s less about the finances and more about the long-term ambitions. “Eventually, my aim is to become a member of the management team at Sellick Partnership. The pathway to progression was something that attracted me to the company. There are gaps for managerial roles to be created and filled which offers people the opportunity to grow.”“For someone coming on to a graduate scheme as a Resourcing Consultant, it would be perfect. You get a lot of experience here as well as getting a feel for what an office role is. I also love how the more effort you put in, the more you get out.”The positive aspects of the roleDespite having flexible working options for all staff at Sellick Partnership, Lewis enjoys and chooses to be in the office full-time and appreciates the variation and pace of his job, meaning that he never finds himself clock watching. He explained: “I love how quickly the days go because you're busy all the time. There's always something new and I thrive off the variation.“I don't think I will ever learn or have even got close to learning how many varied situations you can be put in. You can be structured in your approach to recruitment and follow all the processes but there are those little things that can come into your day and completely throw you off. It's not dull and it's not mundane.”Giving an example of a recent situation that tested him, Lewis went on: “I battled recently to find three candidates who all do the same thing within a niche area of the legal profession. I sent their CVs to the client and the only three they looked at were those. They went on to interview each of the candidates and the first one they spoke to was offered the job.“You're changing people's lives, you don't really see it until you've offered them the role and they’ve accepted."Offering another example, Lewis remembered: “A candidate that I spoke to following an unplanned phone call is now going to work for really large organisation. He is getting his life back on track after having a baby and a couple of years out.“They are just some of the reasons I enjoy working in recruitment. It gives you that buzz, every time you place a candidate with a client. It's great, it's rewarding. I know I'm doing the right things. It's a really nice feeling and they are really thankful and grateful.”If you are considering a career move, or would like to take advantage of the ever-changing world of recruitment, get in touch today on 0161 834 1642 or visit our Work for us page which provides details of all our available roles. Alternatively, you can contact our internal recruiters on the details below: Simon Briffa - 07715 416009 - LinkedInEmma Phillips - LinkedIn