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  • The Woolf Partnership

The Holy Grail

The past few weeks have been incredibly hectic in the build up to the summer holidays, well my children will be out of school - our hopes of a holiday abroad are slim! As we entered July and the flurry of sports days, end of year performances and parent / teacher meetings took place, none of which we were able to attend, I also noticed that the nature of the calls I was having with candidates were changing drastically.

We have spent much time talking about what will happen to offices in a post pandemic world, but what will happen to people? What has happened to people? Setting aside flexible and intelligent working (and I am by no means diminishing the importance of that), how have our behaviours changed and what does this mean for our careers?

Each and every one of us is different, so this is not a blanket statement, but the candidates that I have spoken to over the course of the last 3 months have all expressed an interest in one or more of the following:

  1. To work for a purpose led organisation, one which they truly believe in, where they can have an impact.

  2. To work in an environment where they believe in the leadership.

  3. A complete change in career.

Out of these three areas, the second is not really a new phenomenon. Over the course of the last few years more and more people have told us how much value they place on believing in their leadership. The other two points are a little different.

What does is meant to want to work in a purpose led organisation? Those who know me well, and I hope there are a few of you reading this, will know I am a very direct person. In that vein I drilled down to what 'purpose led' means to people. The answer is always reflected in what they are currently lacking. The need to give back to the community, to society or to the environment has really grown over the last 18 months. Perhaps not surprisingly, when people feel vulnerable and dependent on others, they feel they need to give something back too.

Now let's consider point 3 - the full blown career change. This is the holy grail for so many people. My 9 year old nephew recently asked me if I could go back to any year of my life and change something, when would it be? I gave it some thought and explained that I would go back to my early career and do something different. Apparently, most adults he asked said the same! The truth is many of us choose careers when we are so young we have no clue what we actually want to do. As a business we regularly coach candidates on unlocking their skills and refocusing their careers but the truth is a complete career change really is easier said than done. Employers are still reluctant to take a punt on someone who could do the job but hasn't demonstrated it just yet. That is not a reason to stay in an unhappy career, it is merely the impetus for pushing yourself to find the key.

Whilst we work with talented candidates, we also are trying to work with employers to help them see the value in the unknown. It will take time, but I am absolutely convinced this is a shift that will happen. If you would like to find out more about our thoughts on unlocking the potential of new talent, get in touch!

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