Bank Holiday Season: Yay or Nay for the world of Freelance?

So our beautiful British Summer has drawn to a close and what a fabulous one it has been with many of us getting to enjoy the not-so-typical sunny Bank Holidays. But is this the same for the world of Freelancer and Contractor? With the thoughts of losing a day’s pay and working while your family and friends aren’t, Bank Holidays have become a real bone of contention.  To answer my questions, I had a chat with some of our regular Freelancers to see their thoughts.

Ruth Cooper is a Designer that has worked with Blue Skies for a number of years. She explained that “even though it can be frustrating to lose a day’s pay, as a freelancer you get a higher fee than a full …

How Nike use influencer marketing

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We all know the name. We recognise the infamous swoosh whenever we see it. We know the motto and use it more than we think.

Just Do It.

Nike is the world’s leader in manufacturing and supplying athletic wear and sporting equipment. I for one love Nike. Most of my gym kit is Nike and I own four pairs of Nike trainers (there is always room for more!)

Nike are not only a leading brand but they are also among the top users of influencer marketing. Nike hits influencer marketing from all angles, working with celebrities and social media influencers to gain maximum exposure and running many campaigns based around this.

Last week I discussed what influencer marketing is and next week I will …

A day in the life of a PR

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I recently spent time with the fabulous Grayling Midlands team in their office experiencing life as a PR agency bod first hand.

As a recruiter who specialises in PR it is easy for me to talk about what PR is, what my clients and candidates do, ignorantly assuming my understanding is accurate. After today, I have gained an invaluable level of insight into my industry, spending time with individual team members getting under the skin of the accounts they lead on, understanding what they do for them, hearing internal discussions among the team and listening to conversations over the phone to media and clients. Not only have I learnt heaps about the scope of the work these guys do for their clients and the …

Influencer marketing

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I recently read an interesting article on Marketing Week about whether influencers need to be more transparent. This got me thinking about how influencer marketing has evolved and whether this is something that all good marketing strategies should now include.

It wasn’t too long ago that influencers seemed to be a rarity. You would see the occasional influencer promoting a brand across social media, in a magazine or a tv ad. This would usually be some kind of celebrity. With the growth of Instagram this seems to have accelerated at top speed turning it from a niche tool in to a necessity, with all kinds of people promoting all kinds of brands. We even see ‘regular’ people leaving their full time jobs to do this …

Understanding the importance of candidate worth

One of the biggest issues I have in my job is making clients understand that if they want the best talent, they need to pay for it.

In recruitment we have a duty of care to two sets of people; our clients who naturally want us to find them the best talent, and our fantastic candidates who are eager and excited for their next job.  However, more and more frequently there is a discrepancy with what companies want to pay vs what the actual market rate is.

I can think of several examples recently where I have had candidates being interviewed by clients who were aware of salary expectations up front (not inflated salary expectations either, but fair based on experience and market rate) who …

What’s to become of Agencyland?

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I came across a really interesting article recently which gave an interesting insight into the future of Agencyland and made me ponder.  It started by making reference to the fact that due to technology, data, consumer demands, talent and financial pressures, marketers’ needs are changing rapidly.

The big question posed was what will agencies have to do to stay ahead of this incessantly shifting industry and what does the agency of tomorrow look like?

“Nobody has a crystal ball and nobody can say the agency of the future will be this way or that way” “But what we can say is that there has to be a true willingness for the agency of the future to be more adaptive and reflective of clients’ needs. Only …

AI is the way forward

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AI (artificial intelligence) is intelligence demonstrated by machines as opposed to natural intelligence by humans. AI systems will demonstrate some of the following behaviours that would otherwise be carried out by a human; learning, reasoning, planning, motion, knowledge and perception. These are all behaviours we would associate with the human mind. As this has evolved it even includes social interaction and creativity.

AI is used for many things, but what we most associate it with is recommendations as to what you should buy next when you are online shopping, or what you might be interested in.

“Success in creating effective AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation. Or the worst. We just don’t know.” Professor Stephen Hawking

As consumers we …

Is the design industry behind the times when it comes to gender equality?

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I recently read The Design Economy 2018 report published by the Design Council and it got the cogs turning…

There were some obvious results and facts; that digital design now accounts for just over 1 in 3 design roles, and the unquestionable value add that design and design skills bring to the UK economy. What I found much more interesting though was the skew in gender within the industry.

According to the report, women make up 63% of all students studying creative arts and design courses at university, yet 78% of the UK’s design workforce is male (this is higher than the % of men in the wider UK workforce at 53%), and when employed in design, women earn less than their male …

IR35 – What do we know? What would we like to know? And do we really need to know?

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On the freelance desk there are murmurs everywhere about IR35 and what it really means for all of our freelancers and clients, both new and regular.

What we do know is that IR35 has been around for years. However, it has been elevated due to the government recently tightening up tax rules on off-payroll working. Essentially, it will move the liability of determining contractors’ IR35 status from the contractors to the organisations hiring them.

Most people will be aware there has been a clamp down on the public sector, with plans to move into the private sector, and it’s reportedly estimated that this could affect some 5.7 million businesses and 2 million contractors. The consultation process ended on Friday 10th August, and with …

Is advertising too focused on the capital?

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What about the UKs second city? A recent article published by The Drum suggests that advertising is way too focused on targeting the London market and has left half of the population, those living outside of the capital, feeling as though they aren’t accurately represented.

When surveyed, 32% gave the opinion that if you’re from the North you’re not shown in ads, and that the ad creators focused on their own ‘regional bias’ with the majority of the UKs firms being located in the city, where the streets are allegedly paved with gold!

However, with London being viewed by some as our most culturally diverse city is it a surprise that it’s more prevalent in terms of representing us in ads? Have a read of …

Graduate Creatives – how to get your CV and portfolio on point

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If finishing university and entering the big wide world of the creative industry isn’t enough, you have to make sure you are selling yourself to the very best of your ability, not only through your CV but through a portfolio too. It’s not all bad though. That’s what we are here for, to help you make sure you show just how great you are!

Here are my top 5 tips in securing you a great first role:

1. You’re a creative, so be creative. Whether that is through typography, layout or illustration, make sure you stand out. 2. Don’t make it too wordy. No one reads a CV for that long so grab them in short, snappy sentences. 3. Showcase between 5 and 8 projects in your portfolio, …

Advice on making the agency to clientside move

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Candidates wanting to make the move from an agency account handling role to a clientside marketing role is becoming way more common that I’ve ever known it to be.

It’s a familiar story for candidates to join agency land at the start of their career and work their way through the ranks before mulling over whether focusing on one brand in a clientside environment would be better for them. Whether that’s for a better work/life balance, the ability to get under the skin of one brand, to have more ownership or to avoid spending hours creating amazing ideas for a pitch they don’t win.

I often speak to candidates whose preference is to make that change, but it’s a big decision. Would you miss the …

Keeping Your Team Motivated in 2017

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Twitter saw the hashtag #backtowork trending this week with lots of us returning to work and grudgingly waving goodbye to the festivities of the past few weeks.

I’m sure we can all agree it’s been a difficult transition; leaving the house whilst it’s still dark (and let’s be honest, we’d normally still be in our pyjamas nursing a coffee!) and as one of my favourite tweets referenced – ‘Having to get used to a proper breakfast again rather than a handful of Celebrations’ was a challenge. Luckily, we had office Starbucks’ to hand for our first day back at Blue Skies which gave us a much needed caffeine kick, but what’s the best way to keep your team motivated through the January blues and beyond?

The War For Talent Continues

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With UK employment remaining steady, even after the Brexit vote, it has become apparent that the war for talent will continue right into 2017 and that candidate scarcity remains the number one challenge for recruiters.

With this in mind, now more than ever it is important for Blue Skies as a specialist consultancy to closely support our clients in helping them successfully attract and win the best talent. The best candidates are often able to secure multiple interviews and are therefore finding work far more quickly; they have the luxury of picking and choosing between employers and it is therefore essential for us to understand their primary motivations for moving – employers who forget or ignore this do so at their peril.

In a candidate …

Our Design Our Christmas Card…Winner!

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We are pleased to announce the winner of our Blue Skies ‘Design our Christmas Card’ Competition

BETH PERRINS

Beth’s card was chosen as the winner by our judge Steve Sellick, Creative Director at Bonfire Creative Intelligence and a previous winner of our Christmas card competition.

We were overwhelmed with the response to the competition and received some fantastic designs that made the judge’s decision really quite tough. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Well done once again to Beth, enjoy your Christmas hamper! Part of the prize was for the winner’s portfolio to be presented on our website, but Beth is currently a 2nd Year Creative & Advertising student at the University of Gloucestershire, so instead Steve has offered Beth some direct portfolio advice and …

Design Our Christmas Card

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Enter our competition to design our Christmas card and you could be in with a chance of winning a £100 Fortnum and Mason hamper to enjoy over the festive period*.

All printed cards will include the designer and will be showcased on our website. Entries will be judged by the Creative Director at Bonfire Creative Intelligence (who happens to be a previous Blue Skies Christmas Card winner!)

To enter send your Christmas card design to marketing@blueskiescareers.co.uk by end of play Wednesday 23rd November. Cards will be based on an A5 (A4 folded) portrait card, full colour, double sided designs with 3mm bleed.

* hamper contents may differ from image shown

The Highest Paid Jobs of 2016

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The Office for National Statistics has recently revealed  the top 10 highest paid jobs in the UK for 2016 and retaining the number three position from 2015 is Marketing Director.

With an average salary (before tax) of £87,890, a drop of 2.5% from last year, it would seem that the Marketing Directors function is key to a company’s success across all sectors and gets paid well as a result, although geographic location will reflect a difference in the salary. Remember this is an average!

See below for the full top 10 highest paid jobs list with average salaries:

1. Brokers – £133,868 2. Chief executives – £123,577 3. Marketing Directors – £87,890 4. Aircraft pilots – £86,915 5. Financial managers and directors – £84,675 6. In-house Lawyers –  £80,210 7. Air Traffic Controllers – £81,132 …

Our Charity Of The Year

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We are proud to announce that The Shakespeare Hospice is our Charity of the Year.  From 1st November 2016 Blue Skies will be supporting, raising money and awareness for this local charity and hope to raise a target of £6000 over the course of the year.

ABOUT THE HOSPICE

The Shakespeare Hospice believes that every young person and adult living in our community with a life limiting illness, and those who matter to them, should be supported with the care and compassion they need. They aim to do this by providing expert holistic and specialist care for those suffering illness and supporting groups such as carers, cancer survivors and young people affected by a life limiting illness. Further information about the hospice can be found on their …

We’re Turning 18!

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Turning 18 years old is a big deal (we can now get our commercial pilot’s licence!) and we want to celebrate this milestone birthday with you.

For every eighteenth job brief we receive during November we will discount the final candidate placement fee by 18%*

Blue Skies have specialised in marketing, creative and agency recruitment since 1998, covering Clientside, Account Handling, Creative, Digital, PR and Events. We are a marketing recruitment agency who offer unrivalled opportunities across all specialisms and industry sectors, presenting you with only the best permanent, freelance and contract jobs.

Go ahead and brief us and help us get in the birthday spirit!

* invoice will be raised upon the candidate start date and is to be settled within the agreed …

Growth Expected Despite Brexit Uncertainty

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Despite the UK not yet ‘Brexiting’ the European Union and the uncertainty that this will bring to the economy, a recent report has suggested that marketers are confident that recruiting is in no way easing up and are actually expecting employment to increase.

According to the IPA’s Bellweather Report almost a third of marketers are expecting for employment to increase over the next quarter, showing that although we are currently experiencing economic uncertainty businesses are still planning to invest in staff recruitment and retention.

Whilst some businesses fear that the exit from the EU might affect the quality of the available candidate pool, with potential issues recruiting high calibre candidates from EU countries, many businesses are reacting positively and are looking at the new opportunities and …