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- Specialism: Compliance
- Sector: Public Sector
- Office: Manchester
Type a day in the life of sellick from Sarah Kelly
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 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
If you are seeking a public sector legal role, you should ask the right questions about the organisation’s flexibility and wellbeing policies to make sure that any prospective employer is able to meet your expectations and align with your work-life priorities.When applying for a legal role in the public sector, most candidates will be focused on showcasing their skills, credentials and competencies to prospective employers. However, it is just as important for employers to demonstrate that they understand the needs and expectations of the candidates.Today’s legal jobs market is highly competitive and candidate-led, with employers having to compete for a limited number of available applicants. At the same time, candidate expectations are evolving rapidly, with the pandemic encouraging many professionals to reconsider their career pathways and seek out roles that prioritise flexibility and wellbeing.As such, when you are interviewing for a public sector legal role, it is important to ask the right questions to ensure that any prospective employers are going to be able to deliver working conditions that align with your goals.Recently, we conducted a #legal survey to find out exactly what public sector legal professionals are looking for in a new #job. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing our findings, but in the meantime you can access the full report here: https://t.co/ryHdgdce6vpic.twitter.com/QUZjfWAVzz— Sellick Partnership (@SellickGroup) May 16, 2022What do today’s candidates want out of a public sector legal role?Today’s public sector legal candidates are looking for a flexible, supportive working environment that prioritises career development and personal wellbeing.This emerging trend has been demonstrated by a recent survey carried out by Sellick Partnership, which polled 172 public sector legal professionals on exactly what they are looking for when considering a new job. The survey demonstrated the following:70% of those polled said the prospect of better progression options would motivate them to move jobs, as 45% do not feel they have a meaningful opportunity to progress their career in their current role.47% said they would be unlikely or very unlikely to move jobs for a role at the same level.Only 5% would be willing to apply for a role that involves working in the office for five days a week, with 28% looking for at least three days working from home, 19% wanting four days at home, and 20% wanting to work entirely remotely.76% cited enhanced flexi-time as a perk that they will be looking for in their next role.52% said they want more annual leave, 39% are seeking additional training and 35% want their employer to subsidise opportunities to gain new qualifications.76% said they would be put off applying for a role if the salary banding was not included in the job ad, while 37% are put off roles that require too much specialist knowledge and 35% are put off by overly generic job descriptionsThese findings highlight the fact that legal professionals are now expecting their future employers to be responsive to their needs, and deliver working arrangements that reflect their priorities.What questions should you ask during your interview?When considering a public sector legal role, it is vital to make sure you are asking the right questions at the interview stage. After all, the purpose of an interview is not only for employers to evaluate candidates — it is for job applicants to assess whether the employer is able to deliver a job offering that they will be satisfied with, and whether this is somewhere they truly want to work.The opportunity to ask any questions will usually come towards the end of the interview and it would be considered very unconventional for a candidate not to be given the chance to do so. Employers should also expect questions to arise earlier on in the process than what would have been the norm some years ago.Below are some examples of the topics you can bring up to ensure that your prospective employer will be able to meet your needs:Working conditions and flexibility:What kind of flexible working arrangements are available? How often will my flexi-time be usable?What level of control will I have over my own hours?Will my flexible working allowances be written into my contract, or will these be decided on an informal or discretionary basis?What will home working look like? What kind of support and equipment will be provided? What arrangements will be available for staying in touch with the rest of the team - for example, regular team video calls or social events organised for the whole team?What is the average daily workload for this position? How often are staff members expected to deliver more than their contracted hours? Will I be able to regularly take the breaks to which I am entitled?Wellbeing and company culture:Why has this position become available? What is the average length of time that people remain with the company, and how long has the current team been working here?What is the team culture and workplace environment like? Do you regularly organise team-building events and social gatherings outside of work? Are team members expected to attend regular meetings, or do staff largely work autonomously? How does this differ if I am regularly working outside the office?What kind of support can I expect to receive from my line manager? How responsive are they to questions, and how easy are they to contact? If I am primarily or exclusively working outside the office, will this change the level of support I receive?What makes this organisation different? What are your cultural values, and what aspects of your corporate environment are you most proud of?Career development opportunities:How does the career progression structure work here? Is there a formalised pathway for advancement, or is every individual career trajectory different? How long on average does it take to get promoted? Would someone else have to leave in order for this to happen?Ask the interviewer about their own career progression: how long have you been here? What pathway have you taken to reach your current level? What support have you received from the organisation to achieve your goals?What kind of training opportunities are available? What additional qualifications and capabilities can I achieve, and what level of support will the firm provide to help me do so?The takeaway for employersBecause candidates are becoming increasingly aware of their own needs in the employment market and more willing to ask for a generous package that meets these needs, employers themselves should be more proactive about adjusting their offerings to reflect their applicants’ priorities.This means focusing on things beyond the salary that they are willing to offer a candidate, especially following on from COVID-19 where importance lies with other benefits such as flexibility, establishing and maintaining a healthy work-life balance and having a clear pathway to progression.Being aware of the questions they are likely to be asked during the interview stage will facilitate this, and equips employers with the tools they need to show a willingness to go the extra mile in order to provide generous terms for the best talent.Find out moreTo find out more insights into what public sector legal candidates are looking for when searching for a new role, take a look at the full findings of our recent survey of solicitors, lawyers and legal executives.If you want to learn more about how Sellick Partnership can help match candidates with ideal legal sector roles that meet all of their expectations, please visit our legal recruitment hub, where you can browse our latest legal job listings and find out about the services we offer. You can also contact us directly by calling us on 0161 834 1642.