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Latest figures from financial services roles, show a boom in short-term contract roles.
Permanent placements dip

Professional recruitment firms reported that overall placement numbers for permanent roles dipped by 1% in January 2017, while contractor placements simultaneously increased by 2% year-on-year.

Financial services sector scrambles for contractors

Recruitment of professional contactors increased by 2% across the board year-on-year, with much of this activity attributed to a surge in the number of roles within financial services.

Despite the fact that permanent placements dipped by 6% year-on-year in this sector, contract placements increased by almost a quarter (24%) during the same period as uncertainty around the City’s future post-Brexit deters decision makers from committing to permanent hires. Engineering was the only other sector which enjoyed modest growth in temporary hiring, with contract placements increasing by 3%. This is likely to be attributed to the number of large-scale infrastructure projects currently underway across the UK, coupled with acute skills shortages in the sector as reported by industry body, Engineering UK, this month in its annual State of the Nation report.

Average salaries down

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors dipped by 1.4% year-on-year. This figure is characterized by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with IT, for example, recording an uplift of 1.8% while in banking average salaries were down 4.7% year-on-year.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) comments: “This data suggests that as the as next month’s deadline approaches for the UK to start its formal withdrawal from the EU, organizations are slightly more hesitant to commit to bringing on board permanent staff. Thankfully, the strength of the UK staffing market lies in its flexibility, and it seems that organiz­ations are bridging gaps with contractors to keep the wheels in motion.”


Depression will be the focus of World Health Day on April 7 2017. Our sleep patterns and mood are closely connected and chronic insomnia may increase the risk of developing anxiety or depression. Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental health disorder in the UK*.

Sleep guru, Anandi, demonstrates in her book, ‘Breathe Better, Sleep Better’, how working with the breath as a tool can bring your whole being back into balance by soothing the nervous system and increasing serotonin levels, giving you the gift of better sleep.

After suffering with insomnia and bouts of depression for over fifteen years, Anandi cured herself of her sleep problems using an entirely natural solution which uses the principles of Ayurveda, a powerful ancient Indian healing system. She says, “I discovered the breath takes us from the dungeon of sleeplessness to the heavenly experience of sleeping well. Sleep is vital for repairing and rejuvenating every organ of the body, from skin to the brain and it is as vital as water and food.

“Everything looks better after a good night’s sleep. When you’re not tired, you’ll see the world differently, most likely from a positive space. Havoc is wreaked on the mind and body from sleeplessness causing irritability and stress whilst healthy sleep enhances wellbeing.”

Besides good sleep, there are multiple benefits that can arise from good breathing including general mental and emotional wellbeing, a better immune system and the feeling of being grounded and calm during stress. Working with the breath can also lower blood pressure and enables the body to be more efficient at releasing tension in muscles and internal organs.

In ‘Breathe Better, Sleep Better’, Anandi offers a proven step-by-step system to improve your sleeping pattern, soothe your nervous system and naturally increase serotonin levels using the healing power of the breath. Anandi has devoted a chapter in her book to the power of vyana vanu. The energy of vyana, if flowing freely with space to move, will enhance mood.

In Ayurvedic teaching, vyana means expansion and it is this energy that allows you to be open. Anandi says, “Vyana is the world’s best antidepressant and increasing vyana will bring you a sense of joy and openness. It will make you feel full of vitality. If you are feeling low and anxious, it means you have disconnected from the universal spirit and become separate and small. Take time out to breathe. “

Over the past five years, Anandi has developed a five-step personal sleep review method to help people conquer their insomnia. This step-by-step tailored approach is based on her personal experience of Ayurvedic healing. She says, “I absolutely know it’s possible to overcome insomnia, stress and anxiety using the principles of Ayurveda, a powerful natural healing system dating back 5,000 years.” Unlike more traditional methods, it works to remove the cause of the sleep disturbance, rather than masking the problem with drugs, leading to long-term results.

Anandi’s top tips to improve a night’s sleep are:

• Go to bed early and avoid technology for at least one hour before retiring

• Avoid caffeine and alcohol

• Lengthen and deepen the breath, which calms the mind

• A busy mind is never going to sleep well – a daily ritual that nurtures the soul is vital for deep sleep

• Enjoy a diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables

• Turn the lighting down in the evening

• Avoid heavy conversations before bed time

• Keep your bedroom tidy and free of clutter

• Aim for a minimum of seven hours of solid sleep per night.

More helpful tips and exercises can be found in Anandi’s book and on her website. The book offers many practical tools which can help detox the digestive system, calm the nervous system and stimulate the circulatory system.

Breathe Better, Sleep Better is now available on Amazon and on Anandi’s website.

Anandi’s Website:

Source* (October 5 2016)

Most of us let chance decide what our networks should be like. It means that we establish the contacts we make by chance. In short, we lose control of our goals and efforts when networking without a strategy.

When we are not focused, we tend to establish lots of accidental contacts that are not very close.

Two important things about networking: It takes time to build good relationships, and you have to CULTIVATE your important contacts.
With too many contacts in your network, your guilty conscience is bound to come up – and that is not very nice. You will be running out of steam very soon because the time you spend on networking sessions, follow-ups and taking care of relationships exceeds your possibilities, and consequently your network will become inefficient.

What should we do? Recent research shows that we cannot handle the great number of contacts we establish. Actually, a loose, extensive network has a paralyzing effect, which is why we have to prune it.
First of all, we now know that most people can handle a maximum of 100-230 contacts. In return, networks this size can establish deep and close relationships, which, according to experts, will give you far better quality.
Secondly, we should not let chance decide our networking. Therefore – create a vision for your network! Find out what you want to use your network for and how it can help you!

By creating a vision, your work will be focused. You will know what to go for and you can more easily sort out what you do not need. Your wish for networking will grow because the strategy works, and your results – be it job opportunities, promotions or establishing businesses – will begin to show. Moreover, you will see that smaller efforts can result in greater output.

Life as a conscious cognitive networker is fantastic – when you see your goals being achieved.


Simone AndersenAbout Simone Andersen: is a speaker and author of the bestseller: The Networking Book, 50 ways to developThe Networking Book strategic relationships. Simone is a journalist and has a Master’s degree in media science. She worked for many years at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) as an editor and talk show host. She is an expert in business networking and building relations. Simone has just written the bestselling book “The Networking Book” and gives talks on this subject.


Contact: – +45 26161818




“There are simply not enough hours in the day and that’s the end of it” the MD said to me. He meant it.

You could see that he was exhausted, trying to do too much and ending up chasing his own tail. His wife was now pregnant, he had to recruit three new roles and the bank and shareholders were starting to make unreasonable demands.

He continued, “I just have to work evenings and weekends like I always do. That’s the only way. And hopefully something will happen to ease things up begore the baby arrives. But I am not sure quite what it will be.”

Jerry was stuck on a treadmill. He couldn’t get off. Couldn’t really see a light at the end of the tunnel.

My simple if glib reply to him was, “Surely, it is all about priorities.”

His response was “But what do you do when all your priorities are equally important?”

I chose not to tell him about the true meaning of the word priority and that by definition you cannot have lots of “the single most important thing”. A priority is a singular word. You have a priority, a number one. Just the one.

I decided to talk about how to fill a large vase with rocks, stones, sand and water. He knew this one.

He went on, “It’s a total mess if you start with the water. And you won’t have a chance of getting the rocks in if you leave them till last. What you do is start with the rocks, the stones, then the sand, then you top it up with the water at the end.”

Clearly, he knew this exercise but not as a metaphor for priorities.

I continued. Your big ‘priorities’, what is most important, are like the rocks. You should deal with them first. Then, you can fit the progressively smaller tasks around them (stones then sand) and you finish infilling (if there is space or time) with the least relevant, the water.

Boom! He got it. Not all projects are equal. Some are more important than others. Some are crucial; some are nice-to-haves. As soon as you create order then everything starts to fall into place.

However, he was still faltering, “There still isn’t enough time to do it all. Not unless we create a 36-hour day or a 9-day week.”

But no sooner had he said this than the penny dropped. The exercise was about choice and about his role in making choices. His inability to say “no” had created this untenable situation where he felt he was letting everyone down. Failing everyone and feeling rotten about it. He had created an impossible schedule and unreasonably high expectations. He was bound to fail.

Staring into the distance you could visibly see him having his own aha-moment.

“I need to choose my top rocks, the must-do projects in my life. Only then can I fit the less important ones around it. And, you know what, it is OK to say no to things, to things that I don’t really want to do or don’t help me to progress. And maybe, if I do fewer projects better, then the overall results will be better. This is about gaining clarity about what matters and taking control.”

In his moments of clarity, he was able to turn his life around (and the business as well). He systematically identified the several big rocks in his life and the secondary stones that would fit around them. By getting the important things done and cutting out the less important he not only became more focused but he was also working on higher impact activities. A sense of direction brought with it a sense of momentum. And, because of significant de-cluttering and a generous use of the word “no” and delegating, he was able to take ownership of his own evenings and weekends. A result.

Robert Craven (@robert_craven) is an international keynote business speaker, author, consultant and owner of The Directors’ Centre, a consulting and training company which helps owner-directors run the business they want to run.

Robert Craven photo

His latest book (co-authored with Adam Harris) is the Check-In Strategy Journal: Your daily tracker for business and personal developmentCheck-In Strategy Journal: Your daily tracker for business and personal development

Believe in your brandYou have to align what you sell with the principals you have. When you misalign what you do, it undermines the association others have with you. The last thing you want is conflict where messages become messy and there is no connection.When it comes to alignment, the ventures that you pursue have to match your mission.

The Athlete And The Chocolate Bar

This is something that Cadbury’s seem to have missed last week. They will be the Premier League’s next sponsor (currently Barclays). Premier League football from August 2017 will endorse high sugar confectionary.

Not the best choice for an athlete, but great for a boardroom of men in there 50s wearing suits.

Whilst this is a decision by Cadbury’s to ‘stay relevant’, it says more about market share and share price than it is about the relevance of the health of the nation and dealing with obesity in the UK (if a sugar fee chocolate bar is released, I will delete this post).

The company has its origins as a meaningful ethical Victorian firm, set up by Quakers. Cadbury’s values were founded in looking after former employees. In 2013, something changed from board level. The alignment went off the scale.

Long-term employees were given a gift each Christmas, as a small thanks for their service over the years. The owners then decided to scrap the gifts and since Christmas 2014, no more ‘thank you for the years of service,’ gesture. Not even a packet of Buttons.

Sport and food will always be a sensitive alignment for any brand. From McDonalds and Coke being Olympics sponsors, the door will always open for attack.

If Cadbury’s made a promise to invest in grass roots football and community initiatives, then that changes the balance. The connection has to be easy, rather than people having to dig deep.

What I am trying to highlight, from a business perspective, is what you sell and the alignment that you create from it has to be something that you are proud of and what others can easily connect with.

Finding The Links

On a personal level, the work I stand for is ownership and how businesses can build their own media brand by communicating to a targeted audience on a consistent basis. The You Are The Media Lunch Clubs are ways to validate this by bringing in others who are already doing this or endorse an approach of ownership and delivering a more compelling message. The message, at least, is consistent.

When your product and your message do not match up, it causes conflict. It doesn’t become believable.

Alignment is critical, as it is something that is with you for a very long time. This can become the bargaining power that becomes your heart pendant (where the other half is with someone else), where you are both focused on helping the same person.

For instance, this is where it doesn’t work when it comes to alignment:

  • An estate agent aligns itself with sponsorship opportunities for various local business events.

This is alignment:

  • An estate agent aligns itself with likeminded suppliers from the property ecosystem from removal companies to solicitors. They team up and the focus is on the customer and the process for the whole home moving experience.

Alignment is about others recognising something you genuinely believe in, in order to build trust. As highlighted in the Edelman Trust Survey, we are all at an all time low where people trust businesses. Have a read of the Edelman Trust Barometer 2017 UK article that highlights that business trust is at its lowest since 2012 and CEO credibility is at an all time low.

Authenticity And The Belief System

In an age where the content that people and businesses produce and distribute is what they want you to see, at least make it genuine to the thing that you believe in.

To have alignment with what you sell and what you believe in, you need to have some key foundations in place:

  • From the social posts to the ongoing content that is promoted and distributed, if it’s not clear, people are going to walk away. Can your main message live in one central place?
  • In the various places where you are present, people need to make an association with your angle of attack and what you believe in.
  • With a viewpoint or approach that is shared with others, it has to come from a place of conviction, rather than a short terms sales tactic.
  • It becomes easier, over time when you can demonstrate an approach. A good place to start is recognising the one word you stand for (click here to how this works).
  • In a world that encourages businesses to be more transparent and open with others, being reliable is a valuable trait to have.
  • When others make an association, what you create has a role to guide and for people to come back to, knowing that what you produce is consistent, rather than an infrequent tick box mentality.
  • To be seen as real, a company must realise that it must collaborate and encourage the participation of others.
  • When people make the association between principles and product, the strength of connection can be greater than just an association with a product ie. a garage that offers an MOT, to a garage that offers an MOT service after hours during the week as they understand that vehicles are in use during the day (this creates a service partner perception).
  • When a businesses takes an approach that goes against others within a marketplace and can do it consistently can define an approach.
  • Building connectivity with others takes time. You need to be able to look at it for the long-term building that creates the equity.

In Marketing 4.0, Philip Kotler highlights that, ‘in the digital economy, digital interaction alone is not sufficient.” The way that we differentiate should not just be reserved to the confines of behind a screen it is every touchpoint that we present to others.

The connection with what you do can help set the tone and encourage interaction. Whilst Cadbury’s would never conjure up a perception of a brand that was looking to help and encourage change, that is where the opportunity lies for other businesses.

Whilst Cadbury’s can now travel on the coat tails of the Premier League brand throughout the globe like a mouse catcher with cheese, there is an alternative. Instead of hunting for the next customer, a company has to be recognised as having clear intentions and to interact with a clear role to help.

Throwing everything at brand identity that is inherently false ie. the logo, the foiled logo on the brochure, the logo GIF that is on the website, the logo on rice paper on cupcakes, doesn’t mean anything to anyone anymore. Whilst a key requisite for traditional marketing and a way to interrupt and repeat, is that relevant today? Customers that are willing to make a deeper connection have places to look, interpret and make their own decision.

Customers are in a place where they can have closer relationships with companies, if they choose to. If a company has a number of touchpoints to interact and have that conversation it can drive action and advocacy.

Your beliefs and products should match if it is made out of love…..should have left this article for Valentines Week!

Feb 2, 2017

SOURCE: Mark Masters

Mark Masters
 Mark Masters is MD of The ID Group, a content marketing consultancy. He is a believer in theMark MastersTHE CONTENT REVOLUTION importance of businesses creating better content, establishing organic growth and standing for something compelling. He speaks to marketers and businesses at industry conferences on the topics of content marketing and applying a ‘story first’ approach to engage better with an audience. He curates the Once Upon A Time storytelling event and is co presenter of the Marketing Homebrew podcast. His online series Talking Content Marketing brings together infl uencers, authors and speakers from the world of marketing to share their knowledge. Visit for the latest articles, stories, interviews and events. Author of The Content Revolution



HOW MUCH SLEEP? It’s tempting to sacrifice sleep to give us more time. But when we’re tired we start to make bad decisions. We lose the ability to distinguish important work from unimportant work. Our workload increases, so we work even longer, and sleep even less.
Insufficient sleep is correlated with impaired logical reasoning, decision-making, memory, attention, and reaction times. Sleep debt is also found to be cumulative; if you sleep for less than six hours a night for five nights in a row, you can expect your cognitive performance to drop to that of a person who hasn’t slept for 48 hours.


“I need my sleep. I need about eight hours a day, and about ten at night.”
Bill Hicks, American stand-up comedian

The vast majority of us perform best after seven to nine hours of sleep. Some of us maintain we need less sleep, simply because we tend to be unaware of the degree to which our performance suffers.

To improve your sleep, understand that sleeping isn’t a skill you need to learn, and it’s certainly not the case that the harder you try the easier it gets. Sleeping well is the result of creating the right environmental, physiological, and mental, conditions. This offers three ways to improve your sleep:
  1. Create the right environment
    Significantly reduce your exposure to light at night. Send a message to your brain that it’s time to sleep. If you find it hard to fall asleep, stop using artificially lit screens (especially lap- tops, tablets, and mobile phones) an hour before sleep. Use software (such as F.lux), that removes blue light (the frequencies that disrupt your sleep most) from your computer monitor as it gets dark.
  2. Create the right physiological state
    Lower your cortisol levels and by relaxing your body. If you wake in the middle of the night, try practising meditation or mindfulness, or progressive relaxation before you go to bed.
  3. Create the right mental conditions
    Empty your mind regularly. It’s not an overactive mind that keeps you up, it’s just one that needs managing. Do regular brain dumps and stop working at least two hours before bed. Don’t check your emails or other news feeds before bed. Let your brain wind down.

SOURCE: Phil Dobson
Phil Dobson BSc (Hons), MBPsS, DHyp, BSCH (Assoc). Phil is trainer, facilitator and coach, and the Founder of THE BRAIN BOOKBrainWorkshops. He now works with organisation including the BBC, NBCUniversal, Jamie Oliver, Discovery Communications Europe, and Viacom International, providing brain-based training programmes that transform thinking and performance. Phil turns insights from neuroscience, cognitive and behavioural psychology, NLP, hypnotherapy and mindfulness into applicable skills and techniques for the workplace.


Done, done, done – don’t you just love the feeling of getting something done, when it is over, when we can cross it off our list, and when we have gotten one step further? I sure do. But somehow, some things never seem to get done. It is not necessarily that we keep postponing them, but rather that the tasks in themselves are ongoing and at least partly consist of similar tasks done repeatedly over long periods of time. For months on end, perhaps years, or what at least feels like an eternity.

They just go on, and on, and on

These tasks could for instance be reading something, researching, doing long-term planning, working with market- or competitive intelligence, or perhaps you are responsible for continuously posting things in the company’s social media channels. These tasks have a few things in common; they are often done over long periods of time, they tend to be a bit ambiguous, and they can be hard to just ”check off” from our to-do-list. So, when can we call it a day? When can we consider ourselves done? How much do we have to work on these tasks before we can feel satisfied? At the end of time itself, or at the end of every day?

I keep referring to the value of feeling that you accomplished something every day, since both I myself and the clients I work with notice what a positive influence being able to check items off our list has on our general well-being (or, if it sounds better to you, you could say that it is a ”kick-ass motivational breakthrough boost!” instead).

A more pleasant assignment

You should therefore give yourself clear assignments in the form of small portions of those ambiguous tasks so that they become at least ”partially done” after every session of working on them. Make an estimation of what you consider to be a reasonable portion to do on these tasks every day, once every week, or at some other interval that suits you and the task in question better. If it makes sense to think in terms of portions of time, such as one hour of work, three half-hours, the bus ride home, or by all means, perhaps along the lines of Arne Tammer (who was a famous Swedish sports-enthusiast and with his motto ”Give me fifteen minutes a day… and I will give you a healthy body!” encouraged a healthy lifestyle in the 1940s) and his fifteen minutes a day.

Now, as I am currently writing my next book, I make sure to write an hour every day. I consider an hour to be good enough, so when that hour is up, I stop. Rather than thinking that I should be writing more, and then always have the writing process hanging over me, I feel content having done what I intended to. And once I have written for an hour, I am free to do what I please, without feeling the least guilty about it.

Do this

If you have work to do that is somehow ambiguous and hence difficult to feel as you are progressing with, then try this:

1- Select one of these ongoing tasks.

2- Choose for how long you will work on it and how often. Is it an hour a day, half a day every week, half an hour on Tuesdays, two whole days every month, or some other interval? Perhaps two ”pomodoros” of 25 minutes every morning, as suggested in the Pomodoro method? You do not have to determine the perfect working session in terms of length and frequency right now, just estimate something to start with and try it for a while. If it should turn out that you keep getting behind and need more time at more frequent intervals to finish what you need to do, then simply adjust your method and try again.

3- If you want to determine at what time you will work on the task the next time, schedule it in your calendar as a recurring meeting with yourself. But beware so that you do not fill your calendar with tasks such as these though, since this will make your daily schedule far more rigid than what is necessary, and you will eventually step away from what you scheduled in your calendar entirely as more important and urgent tasks are added throughout your day. If the task does not require a specific time during the day to get done, then simply add it to the to-do-list as a recurring task so that you get to check it off every time you do it, but will not risk losing sight of having to do it again.

One clear step at a time

If you give yourself a dose or portion of that ambiguous task regularly, you will get to check it off your list regularly as well, and thus feel that sense of accomplishment that is so good for your motivation. You split the seemingly infinite task into smaller pieces which you complete one by one, and hence make tangible progress. And by doing so, you also get the large, and probably important, task or project done with greater foresight and finish it well before deadline, which you might not have if you would have just left it in its original, indeterminable state and done it in a haste last minute. You get to feel content with accomplishing something often, even if you are not reaching the final goal-post every single day.

What is your trick?

How do you make it clear to yourself that you are actually progressing on tasks that are extensive and spread out over long periods of time? Feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Source: David Stiernholm

Author of: Super Structured

Cover of Super Structured

Cover of Super Structured

Many of us spend our working lives in a state of perpetual overwhelm. The feeling that there are more things to do than we have the time or resources for, combined with financial uncertainty, health concerns, relationship issues, and an overflowing inbox, means life can be pretty stressful.

Stress will always be there – but by using a few techniques listed below you can transform pressure into performance. And remember: “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Appreciate the costs of stress: physical, emotional and mental, and acknowledge stress sometimes needs managing.

Look out for symptoms of stress: feeling overwhelmed, making bad decisions, impulsivity, tiredness, disrupted sleep, elevated heart rate, stiffness, indigestion, or craving sugary foods.

To manage stress, begin by regulating your physiology:

Notice and regulate your breathing. Notice your rate of breathing and where you are breathing from. Stressed breathing tends to be quicker and from your chest. Relaxed breathing is from your stomach.

Practice progressive relaxation, before bed or when you get home after work or at the beginning of a stressful day.

Then develop your emotional resilience:

Notice what gives your energy and do more of it.

Develop your locus of control, and challenge how much energy you give to things that currently frustrate you.

Appreciate the importance of emotional welling and make time for things you love

Finally, manage your cognitive state:

Do regular brain dumps and create a working system that prevents overwhelm (and that you trust!).

Be more conscious of your relationship with your phone and other digital technology.

SOURCE:  Phil Dobson

Author of The Brain Book

The Brain Book

When it comes to cyber risk, businesses are missing the human touch. A leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, recently urged businesses to focus more on employees and company culture in efforts to manage cyber risk.

Willis Towers Watson warned that many organisations continue to focus on the technology aspect of cyber defence, which is crucial, but often at the expense of people risks, which represent the largest source of data breach claims.

In fact, the company’s claim data show that employee negligence or malicious acts account for two-thirds (66%) of cyber breaches, only 18% were directly driven by an external threat, and cyber extortion accounted for just 2%.

The data shows that approximately 90% of all cyber claims are the result of some type of human error or behaviour.

“Evidence suggests that many businesses are taking an overly technocratic approach to cyber risk and are in danger of missing the bigger picture,” said Anthony Dagostino, head of global Cyber Risk at Willis Towers Watson.  “The simple truth is that a data compromise is more likely to come from an employee leaving a laptop on the train than from a malicious criminal hack. We believe employees and companies with a strong culture and cyber aware workforce are the first line of defence against cyber risk.”

Source: Willis Towers Watson