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Leadership in the public sector

08 December 2014

What does it take to become a strong leader in the public sector?

We have identified 10 leadership prerequisites to affect change. The government has expressed its commitment to reforms in addressing the numerous crises in the system. But even said plans have their own problems – lengthy implementation time, focus on surface ahead of core concerns, and workers largely left to fend for themselves where the details of the reforms are concerned.

Indeed, strong leadership in the midst of reform programs is a must for success - even more important considering the issues besetting the public sector in areas like welfare and health.

Let's first discuss what reform is. It is about change. It is about getting the job done by the right people at the right time with the right results. It is about doing things differently, squeezing more results from less resources, and transforming processes so much so that entire paradigm shifts are achieved.

Reform takes an exceptional leader with the knowledge, skills and capacity to successfully achieve the goals. Said leader must have the ability to tackle complex challenges and multifaceted issues, manage the demands on and by the staff, and plan the impact on the recipients of the reform. The challenge with reform is that often it remains a concept, an ideal, that is up to a plethora of leaders to detail how it will work.

Strong leadership in the midst of reform also requires the achievement of efficiency targets on one hand and improvement outcomes on the other hand with many balls left juggling as desks are changing and systems replaced. For example, in further education, these are evidenced by higher test scores among students while in healthcare facilities, these are manifested in reduced waiting times for patients.

With that being said, here are the traits that make for a strong leader in the public sector especially when reforms are at hand:

  1. Excellent communication skills 
    You must be able not only to communicate to your staff but also to listen, to ask questions, and to consider all options. Good leadership starts with good communication.
  2. Proactive approach 
    You must be able to plan three steps ahead, so to speak, instead of simply reacting to events as these unfold.
  3. Flexible attitude
    You should be able to adjust to almost any situation while keeping a level head.
  4. Respectful
    Keep in mind that respect for others begets respect for you.
  5. Enthusiasm
    Your enthusiasm for the project is contagious so much so that your staff will be motivated to follow your example.
  6. Open-minded attitude 
    You should be open to suggestions from your staff and clients (i.e. public) because you do not have the monopoly on knowledge. You should also be open to change since reform is all about change for the better.
  7. Resourceful 
    You must achieve more with less - one of the pillars of leadership in the midst of reform. Or see through not doing what is not necessary. 
  8. Rewards-based leadership
    You should also reward your staff for a job well done, said reward of which can take many forms like a good word, a pat on the back, and a recommendation.
  9. Knowledgeable
    Your staff will depend on you for direction and, therefore, you must be knowledgeable in policies, procedures and processes necessary for reform.
  10. Effective delegator
    You cannot accomplish everything on your own so you must delegate responsibilities.

Are you a strong leader? Connect with us and start your journey toward better career opportunities in senior public sector management. Call us on  0207 419 8900 or email us.


Five social care careers you may not have considered

05 December 2014

Whether you've always wanted to work in social care, or already work in social housing and want to explore new opportunities, Morgan Hunt shows you the careers you might not have considered within the sector from the people who know. We asked our top candidates how they came to be in the profession, what a typical day is like, why they do it & the pro’s & cons of the job to get some insight into what working in social care is really like, this is what they had to say...


Drug & alchohol worker

Chris Nicklin is an Alcohol practitioner for Aquarius in North England

"I had previously worked in the construction industry for many years but after a drop-in available employment options, together with health factors, I decided to retrain. I started going to night classes on a level 2 certificate in counselling and over the years progressed through numerous qualifications resulting in a Master of Science in Psychotherapeutic Counselling.

A typical day for me at work is never typical, you never quite know what you're going to get. This is what makes my job so varied, enjoyable and challenging. It can be difficult but very rewarding too.
I can honestly say I have never for one moment regretted the decision to retrain, and although it has taken hard work, commitment and sacrifice, I wouldn’t change a thing".


Support worker

Vicki Shattock is a support worker at St Basils in the Midlands

“I started off by training to be a theatre nurse. Although I qualified, I knew all along it wasn't the right thing for me. I wanted to have more direct support with people and make a difference to their lives. I am now working as a Support Worker for a homeless charity for 16-25 year olds.

A typical day for me is dealing directly with their housing support needs, sorting out benefits, finding them appropriate housing. Liaising with multi-agency organisations, I also deal with varied mental health issues, teenage pregnancy, and other such health related issues. No two days are the same and some days can be so chaotic and emotionally challenging, but I know we make a difference to most of the young people we work with which is why I do it”.


Substance misuse officer

Sue is a substance misuse officer in Birmingham

“After qualifying as a counsellor in the Summer of ‘99, I had gained a whole host of new skills and didn't know what to do with them. I bought the Birmingham Evening Mail and applied for a post at a prison, I was unsuccessful but was instead offered a post at HMYOI Stoke Heath as a CARAT worker and since then I haven't looked back.

The reason I wanted to work in this field was that I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives by allowing them to explore their lifestyles. I wanted to be able to give them an opportunity to make informed choices in addressing their substance/alcohol misuse.  I now work in the community, predominantly with dependent drinkers, my current day to day duties involve; making comprehensive assessments, devising tailor made care plans, making risk assessments and conducting one to one sessions, and this is just the basics. I deal with the “here and now" issues my clients are faced with but my main aim is to support people who want to make lifestyle changes and want to do something about it! I actively promote recovery and the support networks that are available in the wider community whether they are abstinent or have controlled drinking.”


Operations Manager

Stephen Lewis is an Operations Manager for Great Places Housing Group in Merseyside

“Like many people I ‘fell’ into a career with housing – I did a bit of volunteering at a local night shelter, and this ignited a bit of a spark in me to work in homelessness services.  I moved round a bit within my company, and ended up managing a couple of supported housing schemes and a floating support service.  It’s great seeing chaotic clients come into the service, and get the quality support that they need to stabilise their lives and move on into more independent accommodation.

There’s no such thing as a ‘typical day’ in this role – as much of a cliché as it sounds, every day is different!  If you like being busy, and enjoy a lot of variety in your job, then supported housing is definitely a good choice. There’s a massive variety and range of opportunities to get involved in – great if you’ve got a short attention span like me!”


Substance misuse practitioner

Steve Guinan is a Substance Misuse Practitioner for Aquarius in Shrewsbury

After working at care homes, homeless hostels, supporting housing projects and providing outreach support for many years I used this experience and ongoing training to become a substance misuse practitioner – it is a varied role where I can adapt to different surroundings, work with others, (staff members, medics, clients and partner agencies) working on my own managing caseloads, seeing people who need support (one to one and also in a groups/workshops) I also take part in multi-disciplinary meetings such as child protection meetings and community partnership forums. 

I have worked for and still continue to work for some fine organisations with fantastic people.  I have seen time and time again recovery is more than possible.   The positive changes that are made can result in the increase of self-confidence, motivation, feelings of achievement moving into a better place where everyone concerned can feel that forward pull, reassurance and safety. To be able to have the opportunity to be involved to help someone to bounce back is a key factor in my job satisfaction.

If you’re feeling inspired to get involved in social work don’t hesitate to get in touch with a Morgan Hunt consultant today, our consultants work on a personal and consultative basis with our candidates. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can assist you with your job search.


Want a career in marketing? Here's how..

05 December 2014

Are you a pro at coming up with slogans? Have you got a passion for statistics, research and creative writing?  Or perhaps you just want to put your mad men box set to good use.

Whatever the reason, if you’re the person who always gets asked to contribute to communications, effortlessly handles presentations and is always jotting down ideas for the next great TV ad, you might find a career in marketing a rewarding and exciting prospect. Not sure where to start? Here’s some top roles to whet your appetite and our top tips on how to improve your chances to securing them.

Marketing Assistant

What they do: Supporting the marketing manager, you’ll be at the heart of driving marketing campaigns for the department. An important cog in the marketing wheel, you'll be expected to be involved at all levels, including drafting press releases, updating clients and organising promotional events.

What you need: Competition to start a career in marketing is fierce and applicants with a degree in marketing, business or commerce will have an advantage over other applicants but this isn’t necessarily the case all the time.

Earning potential:  At an entry level position you can look to earn anything up from £17k but once you get some experience this can rise to anything between £18K - £25K.

Perfect for: People who like to be behind the scenes.

View all marketing assistant roles >

PR & communications

What they do: Working with the media to portray a positive reputation through communication,  building good relationships and creating understanding between an organisation and its public.

What you need: To be successful in PR and communications, the ability to build relationships with people is essential. It’s not all air kisses and muahs daahhling.  It’s a real understanding of influencing opinion and behaviour to protect reputation.

Earning potential: A £16,000 - £24,000 starting salary but as with anything, it depends on the type of company you work for.

Perfect for: People with good communication skills, powers of persuasion and can spin a good yarn.

View all PR and communication roles >

Digital Marketer

What they do: Digital marketing roles have a special focus on all things “online”, typically complimenting the offline marketing of the business and digitally transferring it via website, social media and search facilities.

What you need: Have a strong interest in digital trends, creativity, excellent copy writing skills and the ability to throw around technical terminology is essential. There are no specific qualifications that are a requirement for this role but any qualifications that demonstrate a strong familiarity with the internet and web design is a bonus.

Earning potential: Can vary greatly depending on the size and profitability of the company. While it is often in line with the salary of offline marketers (typical salaries ranging between £25,000 and £40,000) but with specialised skills in related fields like e-commerce, digital marketers can end up earning more than their offline counterparts.

Perfect for: People who are the first to download that new app everyone’s talking about and then review it to the enth degree.

View all digital marketing roles >

Market Research

What they do: Plan, implement, control, analyse and report on information that you gather. The data you collect will normally revolve around what organisations or people buy, need, do or think and the reasons why.

What you need: An analytical mind and strong knowledge of statistics.  An interest in psychology and behavioural science helps too.

Earning potential:  Starting on £15,000 to £20,000 a year which, with experience, would rise to around £28,000.

Perfect for: People who like collecting and interpreting data.

View all marketing research roles >

Top tips

1.       Set your Goals
The first step is the most difficult. Visualise the job you want. If the end goal is a stretch too far at this point, break it down into realistic and achievable steps.

2.       Know your capabilities
It’s time to look in the mirror and get to grips with your own strengths and weaknesses. Be brutally honest, know where you are in relation to your goal, but don’t let this put you off. You’re on a journey and that journey may take you onto some ‘B’ roads before you hit the motorway.

3.       Get a Personal Development Plan
Craft a Personal Development Plan and decide what actions you need to take to reach your goals. Be specific, make your actions measurable and write a date in which you are going to hit the milestones and stick to them!

4.       Take advantage of the many opportunities for in-house training that working in the charity sector offers. Talk to your line-manager about doing external courses or gain additional experience by shadowing others. If you’re working with suppliers they often offer free events to join that will add to your knowledge base. Take advantage of any free learning that is going on offer.

5.       Talk to someone who is where you want to be
Find someone doing what you want to do. Now that you have a role model ask yourself what is it about them that has made them successful. Maybe sit and have a coffee with them and talk about their career journey. Find out their secrets-of-success. You will find that people are often more than happy to talk about themselves and offer this key information quite freely.

6.       Connect with others
Build connections with people who can help you. Join communities and professional networks – these may be specific functional groups or skill-specific associations. Build a LinkedIn profile. Be relevant to their conversations and be prepared to hold your own opinions. It’s important to share your passion but stay on piste and develop an antenna to tamper down when necessary.

7.       Be prepared for change
Change is constant – get on board or get left behind. Keep your eyes-open to new deployments in your sector and do not be afraid to offer your services and get stuck in to any new project.

8.       Brush-up on your knowledge
Keep abreast of your profession, read sector related magazines and journals attend events and talk to people in commerce to get a fresh and up-to-date perspective.

9.       Adopt a commercial mind-set
Providing value-for-money in the charity sector is not good enough. The whole sector wants to see a measurable cost benefit and accountability for service delivery. Demonstrate that you can not only achieve targets but know how you can make these relevant to your publics.

10.   Finally...
Passion and ambition is infectious. Your drive and energy will elevate you to stand out in the crowd. Be generous with your ideas and treat others how you wish to be treated yourself.

The Morgan Hunt marketing and comms team has extensive experience in connecting great candidates with exciting vacancies in the charities, not-for-profit, education and arts and heritage organisations. Contact us or call the team on 0207 419 8900 to find out more.


CIMA qualified? Choose your career route.

04 December 2014

Congrats. You’re CIMA qualified! Now what?

Sit back and watch the offers roll in? No. Step it up a gear to differentiate yourself from other newly qualified's (NQs) because you’re not alone. This is the time to think about your future and getting ahead of the competition.

Choose your career path now


CIMA prepares you for a career in business. As a newly qualified CIMA, typically your career path will follow either:

  • Commercial and strategic-biased roles

Utilising your analytical, planning (FP&A) and strategic skills, cross-function communication and providing key support to drive business performance.

  • Financial planning and managing risk

Utilising the technical elements of your studies and practical experience to develop into a finance manager, financial controller and ultimately finance director.

Decide your route first. How? What is your experience to date and do you need to expand your skill set?

Experience checklist


  • Who are your day to day interactions with?
  • Who are your key stakeholders?
  • What day to day engagement do you have in the business?
  • Is your experience practical or theoretical? Hint: Bulk up your practical – theory is not enough.

Do I stay or do I go?

Do you stay with your existing employer or take this opportunity to move? Ask yourself:


  • Have you had an internal review with regards to your career path?
  • Are your career ambitions in line with your company’s expectations of your potential progression?
  • Are you recognised for your success?
  • Do you want more?


So, what’s out there?

If you decide to move, it’s important to know what’s out there. Do you see yourself developing in the finance sector within a corporate company or an SME?  In the current climate, as a newly qualified CIMA these are your routes to market:


The corporate tends to offer marginally higher salaries and more comprehensive benefit packages.

Commercial finance & strategy

Typical roles: Commercial Analyst | Business Analyst | Financial Analyst

Operate cross-functionally with other key stakeholders teams and departments.
Provide the link between finance and operations. 

Financial management

Typical roles: Finance Manager | Financial Controller

These positions are the more traditional management accounting roles.

This path is about career development through position and provides excellent direction up to Finance Director.


Remuneration and benefits tend to be a marginally lower compared to the corporate companies.

Commercial finance and strategy

The larger SMEs offer commercial business partner roles but to a lesser extent than a corporate. The advantage of the SME is the potential for more varied and broader based roles that provide more in-depth experience that will add strong value to your new qualification and CV.

Financial management

The opportunity to secure a finance manager or financial controller role is greater in an SME.

Contrary to public opinion, the public sector and charity sector still offers excellent opportunities for the newly qualified CIMA. It is in fact the revamp and commercialisation of these sectors that has generated the demand to attract newly qualified CIMA talent. The analytical and financial business partner positions are there for the taking whether you have qualified from a commercial business or with existing skills in these areas.  

Salary expectations

Read our salary guide to see what you're worth.

This guide provides market insight into how salary levels vary across different sectors and which sectors offer the most opportunities for newly qualified CIMA candidates.

How do I stand out from the NQ masses?

First impressions count. Get your ducks in a row. Consistency across all the mediums through which you portray your skills is key. And yes, this includes your online brand. Pay as much attention to building your online brand as you do to writing your CV.

Here are some highlights:

  • Promote your achievements and how your role has developed.
  • Include details of your company, the turnover, costs, any direct reports and your systems skills.
  • Include details of any key stakeholders and the level of that engagement (don't forget to include your boss).

Think you’re done? What about the interview preparation. Your skills get you through the door but it’s down to you to sell yourself.

You’re in demand. You have the tools. It’s down to you to utilise them in the right way to develop your career. At Morgan Hunt, we can help you navigate your journey to success. Get in touch – call Rob Anderson on 0207 419 8909 or email [email protected].


How to know you're making the right decision moving jobs

03 December 2014

How do you make the decision to jump? 10 things to know that you are making the right decision.

Moving Jobs is one of life’s biggest decisions. They say that moving house, moving jobs and divorce are the most challenging life changes. Morgan Hunt provides 10 things  to know you’re making the right decision. 

Is fear stopping you from moving jobs?

Yes, moving jobs is way up there on the ‘stress scale’. Yes, it’s tough walking away from what you know and yes, the thought of being the ‘new kid’ makes your palms sweat. 

Why then, do so many people put themselves through it? It’s simple. They’re ready to make that career move to something great.  

But how do you know when you’re making the right decision? 

You may have spent years as part of a business, becoming an integrated part of its office culture. Your routines, habits and personal connections don't carry with you to a new job, and leaving that type of familiar environment behind can be frightening for even the most experienced employee. 

But some situations make it almost compulsory for a career-minded person to change jobs. You may find your career at a dead end, or you might only be able to realise your full potential in another position. As difficult as it is to leave a job, staying can sometimes mean standing still.

If a career move is front of mind, take a look at our top 10 check points to give you piece of mind that you’re making the right choice. 

  1. Are you capable of more? Research suggests that the typical employee masters his or her job over the course of three years. After that point, the pace of learning slows. So it stands to reason that there comes a time when you need to ask yourself “Could I be doing more somewhere else?”  
  2. Has your current job changed to something you don’t recognise? You might have started with the impression your job would capitalise on your strengths, but in reality the position requires skills that aren't in line with your capabilities. If you're in a position that plays more to your weaknesses than your strengths, is there a way to shift that balance?
  3. You’re ready for a change? Maybe you want to work in an industry that makes the most of your experience, or you might be at a point in life where you simply want to live in a different city. Changes in your career objectives may make it necessary for you to get a new job.
  4. Will you regret it if you don't? The saying goes that you only regret what you didn't do. In two years time, five years time or 10 years time, will you regret not having made a change? 

If you feel ready for a new challenge, or you want to take the plunge and try your hand at a new career, Morgan Hunt can help. Talk to our people who love their job and let them help you to find the very best opportunities for career progression, and provide the professional support that you need as you search for a new job.

We’ve got loads of tips to help get your job search started, why not start with writing your CV


Making the switch between the public and private sector

03 December 2014

The number of people working in the public sector is the lowest it’s been for the last 15 years, or at least the lowest within a comparable series.

Labour market latest estimates show overall employment continuing to rise with unemployment falling. The switch between sectors has never been greater in recent times.

If you have spent most of your career within either the private or public sector, the prospect of moving between sectors and adapting to a different culture and environment may be a daunting one.

Generally speaking since private sector organisations are driven by profit, they tend to be more fast moving, while the public sector is more cost and results driven with a higher emphasis on budget control, targets and productivity, albeit the current government’s pledge to simplify some of the targets.

There are however a lot of similarities between the two sectors, with some areas of the public sector wanting and needing to be more commercial. Providing you do your research there are many transferable skills you can draw on if you are looking to make the switch.

It is important to spend time outlining exactly what you are looking for in your next position. Identify not only the type of role and responsibilities that you want to focus on going forward but also the type of organisation with which you want to engage. If you know what you want from your next job and the type of organization you want to work for, that hurdle seems manageable and even appealing.

So, what’s next?

Tailor your CV

It’s always advisable to tailor your CV to each individual job application you make, and this is particularly the case when looking to make the transition between the public and private sectors.

Avoid using any language or terminology which is indicative of the opposite sector you want to move into as this will suggest to the employer that you are less able to adapt to your new environment. Analyse the job descriptions and person specifications to gain an idea of the sort of language used, comparing like-for-like jobs in both sectors to understand the differences.

Do the research

If you have a particular position or company in mind you should do as much research into these as possible. However if you are moving from public to private sector or vice-versa it is important that you also look into the change of environment and culture more generally. There are strong cultures that influence both sectors in different ways, bridging this is more tricky than you might imagine. Get a job plan together here.

 As well as helping to tailor your CV effectively this will also give you a better understanding of the direction in which you want your career to progress.

Manage your social profile

Neglect social media at your peril. Make sure you are managing your social profile and actively use it as a tool to build your online brand. There’s no denying social media is here to stay and it is important that you familiarise yourself with these types of channels. Check out our tips on creating the perfect online ‘brand’.

Don't forget the basics

As well as taking steps to ensure you are prepared specifically for making the switch between sectors it is important that you don't neglect to do the same things you would for any other job search. This includes making sure your CV and covering letters effectively demonstrate your passion and suitability for the role you're applying for, as well as approaching companies speculatively to get on their radar for current and future opportunities.

So if you're looking to move between the public and private sectors, contact us to find out more about how Morgan Hunt can help you make a smooth transition. We work across both sectors and can advise you on the nuances of each.