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Top Tips for a Post Pandemic Job Market 

A lot of things have changed over the last 18 months or so, some temporary and some here to stay (for the foreseeable at least). With this in mind we thought we’d give our thoughts on what to expect when looking for a job in the IP world post pandemic. 

On line visibility. 

Face to face networking has been out the window for some time now, and with it the opportunity to discuss industry developments, meet with potential employers or gain a view of other firms from recruiters or your peers. This means having an on line presence is much more important so you can keep the conversation going and be visible should a firm want to approach or gain a better picture of you, especially if you are actively looking for a new role.  LinkedIn is essential but also be careful what you post on other social media that is not intended to be directed at potential employers.

Don’t be shy to ask about remote/flexible working. 

A lot of firms have realised the benefits of their staff working from home with no effect to their bottom line.  There will be instances where remote working is not possible, such as for training and settling in new starters, and so there may be an expectation that some time will be spent in the office. But it is now a lot more common and acceptable to ask the question.  bigstock COVID contact tracing app o 370772524ver2

Video interviews. 

The lockdown restrictions on face-to-face contact resulted in interviews having to take place most commonly via Zoom or MS Teams. This is something that looks to continue for the time being for some firms so don’t be surprised if the initial few stages are still virtual. This can be beneficial if key interview members are out of the country or have schedule conflicts meaning there is no need for a delay if dialling in from anywhere. And it also means you can stay in your pyjamas, from the waist down at least.  If you are unfamiliar with the software (i.e. because you have exclusively used Zoom during the pandemic and not Teams or vice versa) it would probably be of benefit to familiarise yourself with it to avoid technical issues on a call.   

If a physical meeting is offered then you still have the option to say no.  

If you feel uncomfortable travelling or being in busy places then it’s still OK to keep your distance initially. At some point a visit to the office will be beneficial (and probably expected) but firms are introducing ways to limit contact and adhere to safety guidelines. We’ve had firms organise office tours with one team member present and then organise a chat with other members via a virtual connection in their meeting room.  It is also entirely reasonable to ask what safety measures are in place.

Interview etiquette. 

Shaking hands? That’s so pre pandemic. Don’t worry, bumping elbows is not the new normal but for now a pleasant greeting at a distance is perfectly acceptable.

Firms are beginning to recruit ahead of the curve again. 

For a lot of our clients recruitment was no longer a priority during lockdown and for some they even made it official with a recruitment freeze. This is no longer the case for most and they are becoming more open to speculative hires, so even if you don’t see what you're looking for on our jobs page (or there’s only one or two that are relevant) it’s worth getting in touch with us anyway as we may have other options for you. 

It’s a highly dynamic market. 

What is true today won’t be tomorrow – as more firms return to some form of office working in the autumn, we expect that it will have an impact on recruitment.  If, for example, there are a critical mass of employers within the IP sector that operate fully remotely then other firms may follow suit.  However, if the overwhelming majority adopt a hybrid model then negotiating fully remote working may be more difficult.  But it is only when the change has happened that we can judge its impact. We expect there to be severe candidate shortages in many technical areas going into 2022 so it could be an excellent time to look for a new role. 

Have anything to add? Let us know! Email us at contact@fellowsandassociates.com.  

A Montage of IP Memes

Memes have been around for a lot longer than most people think. In fact the first one was supposedly created in 1921, although the term ‘meme’ wasn’t coined until 1976. The introduction of social media and smart phones have seen a rise in the meme being used as a stand-alone form of communication. Here's a look at some of our favourites involving all things IP.

1.

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  The Twitter account @PatentMemes is definitely a good place to start if you’re looking for a patent related meme (as the handle so helpfully suggests). Anyone working in IP can probably relate to this one and remember a time they have tried to explain their profession or discussed a particularly trying day at the office with someone unfamiliar with IP.
2.

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Anakin Skywalker: Jedi Knight, Sith Lord and Patent Troll.

 

 

 

 

3.
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4.

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We’re sure most will try and avoid such a situation but, on the occasions where it might occur, let’s hope the WiFi signal is strong and the time difference isn’t too extreme.

We all know how damaging a missed deadline can be.

 

 

5.

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Shout out to all of your clients who were convinced they had a technological breakthrough and you had to let them down gently...

 

 

 

6.

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We’d like to think we don’t have a reputation for pestering people on LinkedIn as it’s something we definitely avoid, or at least try to go about in a nice non-pestery way. But this one did make us smile


7.

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The memes included in this article were originally created and/or shared by @PatentMemes, @ip_memes and @emptydoors on Twitter and @ToxicWarFish on Imgur.

If you have any memes you would like to share, IP related or not, then get in touch with us at contact@fellowsandassociates.com - we'd love to hear from you!

To work or to not work from home, that is the question 

With restrictions continuing to lift across England and other parts of the UK many are keen to return to a sense of normality and head back into the office. The departure from home working is welcomed by those who have missed the comradery of an office environment and who’ve struggled to bounce ideas off their peers or gain different perspectives on a particular project whilst in the communal kitchen or during a quick chat at someone’s desk. Not to mention the lesser experienced team members who have not been able to work closely with their mentors and gain valuable on the job experience. Many will also be happy to see the back of the kitchen table or laptop in thebigstock 207773632 lounge, replacing the virtual Zoom and Teams meetings for the actual meeting room, and no longer trying to juggle a working day whilst home schooling or caring for their children. 

Workers returning to the city centres will help boost the profits of businesses struggling after the migration from office to home working. For the majority there is no longer a need to pop to the local cafe for a sandwich, browse the shops in your lunch hour or enlist the help of a dry cleaners for your suit. Economically speaking for these SMEs, the return to the office is very much a welcome one. 

UK and US based security firm Tessian has reported that working from home has resulted in a complacency which has left some businesses vulnerable to cyber attacks. Individuals may be less thorough with security practices when in their home environment, confidential documents are now being sent via email and remote log ins to external systems are happening much more frequently. All good reasons to return back to the safety of the office. 

With all this being said, one could assume that the collective reaction to the easing of restrictions would be one of relief and jubilation. However, when it comes to returning to office life, for some the actual response is closer to frustration, disappointment and anxiety. A number of studies and surveys carried out between 2020 -2021 found that the transition back to office life post first lockdown was a lot slower in the UK compared to other countries and that there was a reluctance to return completely, if at all -  one carried out by Cardiff and Southampton universities found that nine in ten people would actually prefer to continue working from home exclusively. 

The pandemic has dramatically reduced the amount of time people spend face to face, both socially and professionally. For those who struggle in busy environments or speaking out in public this has really helped them excel in their work without any added stress and anxiety. The thought of returning to a professional life similar to pre lockdown for them, and for those who have become desensitised over the past 18 months, may be incredibly daunting. People have become mentally fatigued after taking on added pressures such as home schooling, having a lack of physical support from friends and family and feelings with isolation and loneliness. 

The instruction to begin working from home came about very quickly and a lot were not equipped for such a transition. Employers now have the time to consider that some may need a slower introduction back to office life with an option for flexible working if possible. We found in our latest salary survey that although the vast majority of respondents were happy with how their employers handled the pandemic, 10% felt they were ineffective and could have done more. Some responded with a highly flexible and ‘family first’ attitude whereas others expected business as usual with near unachievable targets and increased working hours. The return of the commute is also very off-putting for those who have escaped the crowds on the tube or rush hour traffic since working from home. For most this extra time has been available to spend with family or on self-care but for others, according to our salary survey, there has been an expectation to use this time working. The full report of our Salary Survey 2021 can be found here

In order for employers to keep their employees happy there needs to be a compromise and some form of hybrid working needs to become available. We know this is definitely the case for a lot of the firms we work with in the Intellectual Property sector but, based on conversations with our candidates and the opinions of our salary survey respondents, it is not the case for all. In order for firms to stay competitive they will need to be open to the idea of flexible working, especially now that people have become accustomed to the idea and there is demonstrable evidence that it works with no sacrifice being made to either the level of client service and bottom line. 

- Phillipa Holland, Principal Consultant

Fellows and Associates

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