The Challenges faced during a job search: Understanding the potential company

Job searching can be difficult at the best of times but to make it even harder, it can sometimes be confusing when trying to understand exactly what the new company has to offer. They might have a flashy website or a busy social media, but what do they really do? In our recent poll on Linkedin you told us that while looking for a new role, one of the challenges our candidates struggle with most is understanding the new company they are applying to.  

When you’re looking for your next role, the process is often daunting and difficult. Everything down to updating your CV, writing cover letters, and sending out more emails than you care to admit. However, once you’ve managed to find that job advert which appears to describe the perfect role, now comes the time to figure out if the company shares the same values as you. 

|| “The website might be outdated or confusing” 

Sometimes, the company has very little information about itself online. The website might be outdated or confusing and any reviews of the business are unhelpful or rare. A great place to explore is social media. More and more companies are expanding their presence on platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc, which makes it far easier for you to learn more about what they do and what the working environment is like.  

|| “figure out if it’s a place that fits your needs” 

Social media allows for business to show off what they do, who their team are, and make them more available to contact. All of this provides more in depth understanding and behind the scenes knowledge about how the company runs so you can begin to figure out if it’s a place that fits your needs. In any case, it will hopefully help you to gauge what the people are like who work there and engage with the business, giving you a clearer idea of how the work environment and culture are represented. 

|| “our consultants at Highfield do the leg work for you” 

Even though it is free to have social media pages and incredibly easy to set them up, some companies still lack an online presence. There is only so much research you can do, and by now you’ve probably already had to search through a vast number of potential employers. To take away all of these steps and give you more time and energy to spend elsewhere, our consultants at Highfield do the leg work for you. With their expertise and connections within the industries they specialise in, any questions you have about an employer and their company can be answered by our team.  

|| “They will take care of you through every step of the process” 

You no longer have to spend hours sifting through either too much or too little information and instead allow your consultant to match you with the right job and tell you all you need to know in a simple phone call or email. They will take care of you through every step of the process and check in even after you’ve successfully got a new job so they can make sure you’re settled and happy. We’re always open to candidates looking for new roles so whenever you’re ready to start down a new path or progress further along the industry you’re in, our team will be there to guide you to the next stage of your career. 

|| “We have the skills and resources to provide you with all the information and opportunities you need” 

Make the stress of job searching and understanding the new company far easier by letting our team handle it for you. We have the skills and resources to provide you with all the information and opportunities you need, including an in depth understanding of our clients and their requirements for your new role. This can allow you to be as prepared as possible for interviews and help guide you to the dream job without having to figure it all out alone. 

In just one phone call, your whole career path could change. Call our consultants now on 01489774010 and kickstart the process towards enticing, new opportunities. We’re excited to hear from you and waiting to lead you to a role perfect for your skills and aspirations. 

The skills of the future for technical engineering in a post pandemic world

“Reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic” is this year’s theme for World Youth Skills Day as it pays tribute to the resilience and creativity of young people throughout Covid-19.

UNESCO-UNEVOC listens to peoples stories

Here’s what they’re asking young people (ages 15-24) to consider and have a conversation about:

  • What skills/work do you wish to acquire for the future?
  • What skills do you think will be most important in the post-pandemic era and why?
  • What is your message to decision makers in your country to support youth employment, skills development and entrepreneurship?

In order to ensure the importance of young people being well equipped with skills for employment, the United Nations General Assembly stated from 2014 that the 15th of July will be World Youth Skills Day. Its purpose was to create a conversation for young people and encourage engagement and dialogue of important topics. The youth are the future, so providing education, training, and support is vital to the growth and development of industries, particularly those needing higher skill levels like technical engineering.

Specialist training is essential for many high-level positions and roles, making it crucial to provide it to new candidates. This can be reinforced with mentoring schemes as the aging workforce transfers its knowledge and skills alongside supportive education.

This can be a major benefit in maintaining expertise not just in an industry but also contained within a company, as the youth pick up knowledge from more experienced workers.

It’s not just the younger generations that can benefit from this. As people look to change careers later in life, specific training can help to establish new talents whilst support can be provided to develop their transferable skills. Many older candidates who are new to construction industries can bring a collection of highly valuable skills.

The pandemic has affected us all in some way, however, young people aged 15-24 have been particularly exposed to the socio-economic consequences. School and workplace closures have led to a loss in learning and training, alongside many in this age group being hit hardest with unemployment rates. As with all new generations of workers, new demands are being made and expectations changed, which is particularly prevalent in a post pandemic world.

More just, equitable, and progressive opportunities and solutions are being demanded of society by youth as they face a range of challenges such as education, health, employment, and gender equality. Highfields own Co-founder is on the board of the local school, helping to inspire and raise awareness of opportunities and skills for young people.

Flexibility and acceptance from companies is desperately required in order to support the skills of the youth, which is part of the conversation that World Youth Skills Day aims to open up this year.

Challenges for the youth

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Experience
  • Gender Equality
  • Health

Solutions

  • Equal opportunities
  • Flexibility
  • Support
  • Training

Interviews with inspiring women this international women in engineering day

Wednesday the 23rd June 2021 marks International Women in Engineering Day and this year we are celebrating the thriving women in the industry. In this article we have quotes from Lucy Smith, a Senior project manager at Morgan Sindall who is a respected leader in her career. As well as, we go over some great advice from the women who been guests on ‘Inside Data Centre Podcast’ by our very own Andy Davis.  

|| How did you get into the construction Industry and were there any key moments that led you there?  

I went to a career’s fair at school, not really knowing what I wanted to do and my Dad who was a Lecturer in the Built Environment suggested I go and ‘see the Civil Engineering stall’ as I enjoyed Maths and Sciences. I spoke to the guys on the stall and was hooked from there on in. When I was in my 5th year at senior school my dad (through his contacts) arranged for me to do some work experience with Wimpey Construction on an extension to North Manchester General Hospital. I spent some time in the office and some time on site with the engineer. My Dad also arranged for me to do some work experience with Taylor Woodrow in the design office. I loved the work experience on site even though as a female I was somewhat of an anomaly! This confirmed that I wanted to pursue a career in Civil Engineering. Once I completed my degree, a great opportunity came up to do a PhD in Civil Engineering which was sponsored by Miller Civil Engineering (now Morgan Sindall). I then started life on site with Miller Civil Engineering as a graduate Civil Engineer in the water industry. I’ve worked my way up from there from site engineer to Framework Delivery Manager for Morgan Sindall within the water industry. 18 months ago, I decided I wanted a new challenge and I’m now working in the nuclear industry (still for Morgan Sindall). 

|| What are three things you like most about your role? 

I know it’s a cliché but everyday is different and there is always a complex, challenging problem to solve. It is certainly never boring! I also love the fact that on a day to day basis you meet so many different people; one day I can be speaking to an operative digging an excavation, the next day a farmer to gain access to their land, the next day someone from the supply chain negotiating a contract or even someone from the Regulators. You need to adopt a different way of communicating with each stakeholder to achieve an outcome that suits all parties. I think most importantly of all, as a Civil Engineer I can say that I am improving the world we live in. When I go into schools to talk about what I do, I always say that we wouldn’t have the lives we have if it wasn’t for the work that Civil Engineers do. From a job satisfaction point of view, not everybody can turn to their friends and family and say that, nor can they show them something that they’ve worked on and say ‘I built that!’. This obviously has a lot more impact on the prestigious projects such as structures, bridges and buildings than a Sewage Treatment Works which is where I’ve spent the majority of my career! 

|| What challenges do women face working in construction and in your opinion how can the industry change these?  

I’m in a fortunate position where I’ve never really had a negative experience as a female working in the construction industry. I’ve been fortunate to work for a company that are very supportive and I’ve never really had to work away from home for long periods of time which I have been grateful for, especially as I have a son who is now 13 years old. When I first came back to work after having him, diversity and inclusion were almost unheard of and as such, there was no consideration for the provisions needed for feeding mothers. I am thankful to say that time has moved on and diversity and inclusion is now starting to become embedded into businesses. One of my frustrations at the minute is that within the industry there are talks of fulfilling quotas for numbers of females at a senior manager/ director level. For me I want to know that I’ve got a position on my own merit, not just to fulfil a quota. It is disappointing that throughout my 20 year career, I have seen little increase in the numbers of female engineers working on site. I have however noticed an increase in numbers in design/ engineering from a consultancy point of view but not contracting. I believe this is down to perception and teachers not understanding what opportunities there are in construction and in particular in my area, what a Civil Engineer actually is. We have to educate the education professionals as to what opportunities and career paths there are within the construction industry. It is essential that we change the perception of the construction industry and I believe that this starts in primary schools. 

|| What would your one piece of advice be for other women who want to go into the construction industry? 

It’s a fantastic industry to be in; be fearless throughout your career, believe in yourself and grab every opportunity that you can. 

Alongside Lucy Smith’s great insight, there have also been some amazing guests on Andy Davis’ ‘Inside Data Centres podcast’, with Theresa O’Brien, Amber Villegas-Williamson, and Jen Reininger all agreeing that more awareness needs to be made for young girls to enter industries like data centres and to take on engineering and technical roles. Theresa O’Brien is a Global Talent Resourcing Leader within CBRE Data Centre Solutions and her insight into how the industry has evolved to be more diverse goes down to even the simple act of making job descriptions gender neutral. Changing the language that is communicating to candidates to avoid exclusion and create a more even playing field for gender, ethnicity, and more. Theresa knows just how much engineering, particularly in the data centres, can offer “there’s so much growth and so much opportunity, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to work in the sector.”  

As Amber Villegas-Williamson says “it’s about telling people we’re here and making them feel welcome.” She encourages candidates, students, anyone to reach out to those already working in technical roles and ask questions, with one piece of advice being “Have a conversation. Find those people to speak to, search LinkedIn or platforms such as ‘I’m an engineer get me out of here’ and connect to each other to find inspiration and knowledge. The only way to learn is to ask and waiting to the industry to come to you will not get you there. “ 

Jen Reininger makes similar points as she advices finding a great mentor as we start to see a lot more growth and expansion globally for the data centre sector and subsequently engineering and technical roles. During her career, Jen has seen diversity changing in companies as they work towards attracting more women and focus on moving away from the old ways. She has first hand seen what good can be achieved with a diverse team, as women bring different traits into teams! There is a shift in ideas and ways of thinking, allowing teams to grow, which is extremely important to keep a business alive and moving with the times.  

Collectively, it can be agreed that awareness and education about what opportunities are available in these careers is one of the biggest and most important steps to take. Showing young girls what is out there and the support available to mentor and guide people so that everyone feels they have an equal opportunity to be a part of these rewarding roles. Diverse teams provide new qualities and opens up creativity and progression. Women in engineering is a solution to many challenges faced by the industry, and we can make those changes start today.  

Men’s health week advice, awareness, and the CAN DO challenge

June 14th is the start of men’s health week this year, addressing the physical, mental, and emotional health of men around the world. Awareness of men’s health is vital, particularly for male dominated industries such as construction and engineering. There is often a reputation surrounding careers in construction and on worksites that a level of ‘masculinity’ is expected, potentially leading to unhealthy work practices and wellbeing. This is why it is important to continue providing support systems for men, allowing for a new, and positive message to be spread as well as reducing the stigma surrounding emotional and mental health.

Wellbeing is highly supported among our teams at Highfield, with fitness opportunities like yoga and meditation classes in the office, as well as two trained mental health first aiders. We always aim to look after staff and provide as much support as possible; engaging in their wellbeing to create a positive and enjoyable work environment.

We thought it would be a great opportunity to speak to one of our consultants, Josh, who is very successful in his role and someone who is committed to looking after his health both physical and mental. Here are some of his tips!

||           What do you do to care for your mental and physical health?

I always do my best to make sure that I’m in a good headspace and can tackle any challenges that are thrown my way. I attend a CrossFit gym most days and compliment this with running, swimming, cycling or walking. As well as this, I try to find time in my day for reading/listening to books to make sure I’m always learning about new ways to deal with life!

||           How often?

Every single day I’ll make sure I do any or all of the above – these are my non negotiables and I’m pretty grumpy if I don’t do any of it. I guess that’s proof that it works!

||           Why do you do it?

These are the things that make me feel good. I think it’s great to always be learning and growing whether that is personally of professionally and I’m by no means the best at any of the above so it’s a journey that helps keep me motivated and mentally robust.

||           What challenges do you think men face in regards to their health (mental, physical etc)?

I think there is a lot of pressure for men to put on a brave face and not show weakness when in uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations. It is ok to ask questions if you’re unsure. I think it’s always a lot quicker to say you can’t deal with a certain situation than to struggle through it, get anxious about it and then not be able to do any of it. People need to understand it’s okay not to have all the answers and that they can’t always be good at everything all the time.

||           Do you have any advice for other men wanting to do more for their health?

Be brave enough to be bad at something new. Find something that interests you and makes you feel good/happy, obsess over it, go through the initial stages of learning and then continue to grow and excel. Maybe try it with a friend or someone that has similar interests – who knows, you could make new friends or join a new community of like-minded people!

Be selfish with your time. Time is finite and we only have a limited amount of it, don’t spend time doing things that don’t result in you being a happier, better version of yourself.

For international men’s health week this year, there is the CAN DO challenge which focuses on helping any negative effects this pandemic may have had on the health and wellbeing of men. With communication being such a main focus over the last year as we turned to working and living remotely, there is a desire to continue this drive for connection and extending it towards a more personal level. Discussing mental health worries at home and in the workplace will always be the first, and biggest step to take.

For each day of this awareness week, there is a themed task to complete for the CAN DO challenge to help our journeys back to stability and positivity. It is flexible and adaptable, allowing for creativity in how you choose to take part. This helps to keep the focus on ensuring men’s health is prioritised, while being achievable and accessible for everyone. Anyone can take part and it is designed to help reconnect people and get you active, improving men’s wellbeing.

#connectmonday

                Connect with other people. For example call an old friend that you haven’t spoken to since before lockdown, or check in on your neighbour and see how they’re doing.

#activetuesday

                Get out of the house and get your body moving. Take part in any form of exercise or activities to keep up your physical health.

#noticewednesday

                Have a break from social media, phones, and computers in order to take notice of the environment around you. This can be embracing nature, people, hobbies, etc.

#discoverthursday

                Learn something new. Read a new book, try a new skill, learn a new language (maybe in preparation for when we can start travelling safely again)

#offerfriday

                Do something for someone else. It’s been proven to boost mental health when we perform kind gestures for other people, whether that’s family, friends, or strangers

We often miss our surroundings as we get caught up in busy lives and routines, so it can be important to regain perspective and enjoy what’s around you or something you love. It easy to get caught up in our jobs without taking a step back to review our health, ensuring we have perspective and the chance to focus on what we need or want.

Mental, physical, and emotional health should always be cared for, but with stigma still surrounding these for men, it can be difficult to take the right steps. The idea of having to be ‘masculine’ often means the avoidance of expressing emotion and feelings, creating a damaging way of working and living. Embrace this week as a chance to reflect on your personal health and that of friends, neighbours, and colleagues. We can all work together to make an environment that is supportive and positive for men’s health.

We are carbon neutral!

After years of supporting the renewable energy industry, we took steps into becoming carbon neutral. After an analysis of our emissions, we have become a part of carbon offsetting programmes in and around the UK as we continue to move towards an overall reduction of the energy and carbon we produce. Urgent action is needed in order to care for and save our planet, and Highfield are excited to be a part of that as we pursue this journey of sustainability.

Why did we decide to do it?

There is no doubt that the planet needs us all to drastically reduce the amount of carbon and waste we are producing, sooner rather than later. We take our responsibilities as a company seriously, with a constant effort to improve our environmental and social impact. Over the years, we have made consistent small steps so that the actions we take have minimal negative effects, such as being a paperless company and ensuring lights and heating are switched off inside unused rooms. Alongside this. we have embraced remote working, helping to reduce the amount of Highfield team members who commute on a daily basis. 

How did we do it?

The first part in understanding how to reduce your carbon emissions is knowing how much you have and what areas are the most damaging. An assessment of the company allowed us to see exactly where we were using the most energy and creating the highest amount of carbon, so we could begin working on solutions to reduce them. This first step can be done independently, however, we chose to have Carbon Neutral Britain calculate it so we could be sure of the most accurate and detailed results. 

After some weeks of researching various companies, we chose Carbon Neutral Britain because they worked alongside you throughout the process of becoming carbon neutral, offering support and guidance at any stage. There are a wide range of companies keen to assist businesses, offering a range of packages to suit their needs. 

Once the carbon emissions had been calculated, we were able to decide on which offsetting portfolio we wanted and begin working on reducing the emissions we produce. This is currently an ongoing process as we aim to reduce the amount of unsustainable energy we use, instead of relying on balancing the environmental cost afterwards. 

What’s next?

Offsetting is a debated solution. It is a great option to counteract emissions that cannot be reduced or created sustainably, however, it risks creating other problems in the future. We want to be fully supportive of the environment and therefore continue striving to create as little carbon emissions as possible. It is a far healthier and efficient process to start with sustainable practices in the first place, rather than compensating it later on. Highfield are a trusted recruiter, so acting with legitimacy and honesty is important to us. Everyone has a responsibility as we all live and thrive on this planet, and as a company we are keen to do our part. 

Highfield are incredibly proud to be carbon neutral and even more excited to keep improving and making changes for a better world. Businesses are the third most emitting sector in the UK, below transport and energy supply, making up around 18% of carbon emissions. As a part of such a largely contributing industry, we aim to be a part of the progression to sustainability and green energy. A report from the government shows provisional estimates from 2020 of a fall in carbon dioxide emissions in the UK by 10.7% compared to 2019. This large decrease is primarily due to the pandemic and the lockdowns as it caused a reduction of 19.6% in CO2 emissions for transport, making up over half of the overall decrease from the previous year. 

We want to help lead the way to a sustainable future, taking action and responsibility to provide an example of what can be done as well as encouraging others to follow. Offering support for other businesses as we tell our story and collectively work for a brighter, greener planet.

Highfield are a Certified Carbon Neutral Business