Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Proposal to support Renewable Energy

With our heritage in the Engineering and Power sector, Renewable's is an key part of what we do and an important part of Britain's commitment to a low carbon economy and the need to keep the "lights on"!.

Energy secretary Chris Huhne has admitted the current rate of growth of Renewable Energy in the UK is too slow to meet EU targets for 15 per cent of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. Compared to the rest of Europe, the UK is already lagging behind in the renewable energy stakes, with the third lowest contribution of sustainable energy (at around 3 per cent) to overall energy consumption - the worst of any major EU country.
The Renewables Obligation (RO) is the main support mechanism for renewable electricity projects in the UK. Smaller scale generation is mainly supported through the Feed-In Tariff scheme (FIT)
The Government announced on the 20 October 2011 Proposals to support renewable electricity and bring forward a surge of investment in the Energy infrastructure, The consultation proposes new support levels for large scale renewable electricity from 2013-17 (2014-17 for offshore wind) under the Renewables Obligation (RO).
The Feed in Tariff was introduced in April 2010 to encourage deployment of additional small scale (less than 5MW) low carbon electricity generation, particularly by organizations, businesses, communities and individuals who have not traditionally engaged in the electricity market. Encouraging many people to invest in small scale low carbon electricity, in return for a guaranteed payment for the electricity they generate and export. The Government announced this year a consultation process to review the FIT levels, in August 2011 tariff reductions for large-scale solar PV (over 50 kilowatts) and all stand-alone PV projects were implement, the remainder of the Renewable sector will have to wait until the end of 2011 with tariffs remaining unchanged until April 2012.
There are signs of increased investment in the UK Renewable Energy sector specifically; the value of buyout deals – where investors have bought a majority stake in existing Renewable projects – has rocketed in the first half of 2011. £585m worth of deals closed so far this year, a figure which is nearly ten times greater than in 2010 (£64.3m)
Wind Energy is now attracting the promise of major investment in the UK by the likes of Siemens, Vestas and GE Energy, with 3 major technology research Centre’s already established in the UK. This potential investment will give a much needed boost in the creation of Engineering and Manufacturing jobs within the UK.
Although on a smaller scale than Wind Energy, Wave and Tidal Power are also securing invest from the likes of ABB, Scottish and Southern Power and others coupled with grants and Private Equity Investment.
An alternative approach is in the development of fuel Cell Modules which when subject to heat can generate low cost and low carbon electricity; one exciting application for this technology is the Combined Heat & Power (CHP) boiler being currently developed for the domestic and small commercial market.

Compass, IHG, Fuller's...

Whatever its intrinsic merits, the attempted purchase of ISS of Denmark by G4S for £5.2 billion has focused attention on the more cautious acquisition strategy being pursued by another big name in the outsourcing sector, Compass Group, says the Tempus column in the Times. Compass is buying Integrated Cleaning Management for an undislosed but probably small sum, in the context of the group as a whole, with the company having revenues of £61 million in the latest financial year. This takes Compass further into cleaning and support services and away from its core food operation. The shares have always commanded a high multiple because of that record of growth, but 13 times' earnings for the year just started does not look unreasonable. A strong hold, says the Times.

The US economy saw tepid growth in the second quarter, with analysts increasingly worried about the strength of the recovery. But this uncertain backdrop has not stopped InterContinental Hotels, the world's biggest hotelier, from powering ahead in the past nine months, with the US arm seeing strong demand, writes the Investments column in the Independent. It has registered growth in revenue per available room (revpar) - a key measure for the hotel industry - at all of its seven brands across the pond, including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Hotel Indigo. We believe that IHG - which trades on a forward earnings multiple of just over 8 - is still a buy and will rebound. Future investors should also note its shares are forecast to yield more than 6 per cent next year. Buy, recommends the paper.

Fuller, Smith & Turner, the west London brewer and pub owner, bought no pubs at all last year and in December lost to Young's in bidding for Geronimo Inns, notes the Tempus column in the Times. This summer, it lost another bidding auction, to buy the Capital Pub Company, to Greene King this time. The battle became distinctly bad-tempered, with the target management making it clear that they would prefer to be bought by anyone but Fuller's. Instead, Fuller's is taking a longer route, buying individual pubs or small numbers in the same deal. It has acquired ten so far over the past six months, including the famous Coach & Horses in Soho and The Lamb & Flag in Covent Garden, the last for an undisclosed but apparently generous sum. Yesterday the company added another five new pubs from Marston's in a deal worth £16 million, including another couple of London landmarks, The Hand & Flower in Olympia and The Wellington in Waterloo. Also on the list, The Pavilion End in the City. It brings the total estate to 365. The shares are trading on 17 times' this year's earnings; high enough, given the difficult times in the market, says the paper.

It is a good time to snap up a few shares in City of London Group (COLG), suggests the Investments column in the Independent. Originally a PR outfit, the group brought in Eric Anstee as chief executive a couple of years ago to set up investment businesses to fill gaps in the market. The company's shares haven't done too well this year, dropping 22 per cent and valuing COLG at less than £13m. But if Mr Anstee's fledgling businesses show their worth, there could be the chance to hitch a ride before others notice. Not for the faint-hearted but perhaps worth a small flutter, according to the paper, which recommends to buy.

Hargreaves Lansdown 
Sharecast 25.10.11

Monday, 24 October 2011

Do people listen? Do we recognise talent when we see it?

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin;
It was a cold January morning.
He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.
During that time, since it was rush hour, it was recorded that over a thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money down and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, a man leaned against the wall to listen to him, but then looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy.
His mother tagged him along, hurried but the child stopped to look at the violinist.
Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time.
This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while.
About 20 gave him money but continued to walk at their normal pace. He collected $32.
When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition of any kind.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world.
He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.
Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception and priorities of people.
The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
Food for thought...

This experiment was organised by the Washington Post to observe the reactions of the public to world acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell, who posed as a busker for an hour. Here is the footage of this performance:

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Business Development in Facilities Management

Generally speaking, business development is high on the agenda at the moment.  Many companies are now investing to take advantage of greater outsourcing opportunities driven by financially pressed clients, or wanting to build greater share in particular markets, hence driving the need and aspiration to find and attract better BD people.

There is a scarcity of talent in this regard, and it’s well fought over, thus we’re finding that specifically conducted search, targeted at exactly the right people is more beneficial than ever!

What I am doing is concentrating on the Sales and Bid/Business Development function in the Facilities market and using our network to identify and reference the best people, which is where we have been strong for the last 10 years.

If you feel that now is an ideal opportunity to strengthen your own resource in this area please get in touch. Similarly if you’re potentially looking or interested in hearing about senior level positions that we are currently working on, give me a call - in confidence of course!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Graduate Recruitment


Most of the large FM companies have established and well structured graduate degree programmes, however not all facilities management businesses have adopted this approach and despite passion in this area there is still a limit in commitment to sign up to these schemes.

Colin Hall ex Managing Director at Richard Ellis stated that the talent void in the industry is something that he is personally passionate about and he has discussed with a number of clients the potential to set up a talent development programme for post graduates. The concept of this programme would be that they could move the graduates around various roles in both client and provider organisations. The level of interest is always high but the commitment to actually sign up to such a scheme has been limited to date.

Facilities Management service providers seem to be doing a lot to develop talent, a representative of Serco explained the programme which they have in place to develop graduate talent. This involves graduates being provided with a structured training programme which is tailored to their needs and will support them in gaining membership of their professional institute. By doing this it will allow graduates to gain experience in a range of different areas of the business and take responsibility at an early stage, this helping develop talent. Balfour Beatty, another leading FM service provider allows graduates to work alongside experienced engineers to learn and develop their technical skills and progress over time, tackle strategic projects and develop operational management skills. This process will also allow graduates to work towards a facilities management qualification.  David Toone, MD at G4S states that on a regional basis, they have a talent management programme through all levels of management and employees are invited or encouraged to be part of this programme.  G4S FM has a policy to promote and recruit internally as well as incorporating a clear succession planning programme. Through their Employment Development Reviews, employees and managers jointly identify short, medium and long term career paths and ensure that competency and training programmes compliment these career aspirations.  Each FM service provider has a different approach to programmes they have in place, however they all are providing something to develop talent. However, not all FM service providers have the resources to develop talent, ‘Property and Change solutions’ are in a market which expects a high level of intellectual leadership and experience therefore the opportunity for graduates is fairly limited.

Richard Greaves of Voomeroon Ltd states that the profile of FM as a career option needs to be raised.  Companies delivering FM as their core business have some fantastic graduate development programmes, but these are not designed to produce FMs, per se.  Rather, they are designed to develop individuals who show the potential to become senior managers within the business. However, Facilities Management has many of the disciplines that the well rounded manager needs. From purchasing to project management, from people to premises, from planning to performance, all of these skills are required within today's competent FM.  So a good grounding in FM will give graduates the generic skills they need to manage effectively throughout their career.  

Many FM service providers are giving graduates the opportunity to progress their careers rapidly. Serco, a leading FM service provider, places its graduates straight into one of the company’s teams under the direct supervision of a team leader who will take responsibility for overseeing their progress. In addition, a mentor will be appointed to help guide graduates during the early years of their career helping them progress. A representative from G4S states that as their company is continuing to grow, there is a lot more opportunities available for advancement.  People are at the heart of everything they do and wherever possible they commit to promoting from within. This means that many graduates have experienced rapid progression through the business.

FM service providers are beginning to recruit more graduates straight from university.  However there are still high levels of competition to gain places on the graduate schemes and therefore expectations for graduates are quite high.  Serco’s representative stated that they look to take candidates directly from university - looking for bright enthusiastic graduates with a science or engineering related degree. Similarly Balfour Beatty looks for graduates with a degree in construction or engineering of at least a 2:2 standard. In recent years, G4S FM has tended to recruit via TUPE or recruitment of existing skill sets in the external market. However, they are now actively developing both a school leaver and graduate programme to accommodate growth. This will also include gap year students.  This seems to be positive news for graduates looking for employment straight from university.

Facilities Management job roles are always changing, however with the recent state of the economy more Business Development Manager Roles are being created. A good sign for students, as it clearly displays that the large FM organisations are looking to win new work and grow. However opportunities for Business Development roles have been going on for a few months now so may be we could be expecting a boom of operational vacancies?  Colin Hall from Property and Change Solutions says that the churn in the industry is extremely high driven by the outsourcing model. Account management roles tending to be the most lucrative and highest churn.

Business operations, development and leadership roles also seem to experience high levels of churn. Within the client organisations the FM leadership roles tend to be more robust, however for the career to develop beyond FM experience in real estate and business support then operations is required.  Roles tend to fit into two categories: technical skills and management. On the technical side, they are seeing development of stand-alone roles in subject matter expertise such as Health and Safety, CSR, Information Security, Energy & Environmental, Workplace Advice, Risk Management and Project Management. On the management side, the growth has been around specialist bid management (aligned to large scale government outsourcing), increasingly complex commercial modelers, change management and customer-facing skills. The most precious resource is around those that can combine one of more of these management skills with ease.  Students considering a career in FM need to consider their skill set before jumping straight into the industry, a lot of the larger FM service providers have high expectations due to the increase in demand of applications.  Balfour Beatty have high expectations of graduates demanding that they have achieved a 2:2 and can pass pre-employment checks, therefore the main thing to consider is whether you are suitably qualified. Colin Hall also stated that Business Relationship management is far more important for an FM business than technical skills. FM is about service so customer facing and management skills are essential.  Services are rarely delivered on a silo-ed basis so being a good team player certainly helps. Commercial and financial skills are also very important. There are many opportunities in Facilities Management it being such a wide and diverse area, so the ability to strategically develop service delivery for the mutual benefit of your employer and/or a client is a very important skill. Finally, the ability to communicate verbally and formally through business cases, presentations, reports and informally over a coffee all add to an FM’s effectiveness.  FM is not a 9 - 5 job and commitment to the role is a must as you can be called upon at any time to resolve a critical issue.  If you are not passionate about what you do and what you are trying to achieve for your client’s/employer’s organisation, it will show.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Macallam is growing their specialist Engineering business

The fact is we all run a business that needs to be profitable so when the people are right the business is right.
At Macallam we ensure our vetting and placement is second to none and the proof is that our client’s return time and time again.  How?  We understand their technical and business needs.
The most import question for Macallam’s is: -
“How do we retain our customers and secure new ones”?
The answer we believe is: - “Reinvestment”.
At Macallam we have one of the newest most up to date data base systems along with consultants that know the industries inside and out.
Leading by example the newest person to join Macallam is Mike Brooks, an engineer and senior operations manager from within the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and Contracting industry.  With over 25 years of using agencies, hiring engineers, middle and senior managers he understands the frustration an employer has in the process of making the correct choice from the hundreds of applicants.
He is here to assist in the development of your business by ensuring you see the right people.  Give him a call or make contact via email with your vacancy and he will be able to assist you with some informed, practical advice on the market.

Mike Brooks
M - 07546113548

Monday, 8 August 2011

How media advances are changing resourcing - For the Better or Worse?

At a recent meeting with a long standing FM client, the comment was made to me “it must be really hard for you guys as social networking and on-line media is changing your industry”.  I banked that one for further thought, but he went on in the discussion to say he was “getting over a 100 emails a day related to applicants”, and the way these were dealt with was to “highlight them all, and press the delete key”!

The insinuation was that social networking sites and on-line job boards have made it much easier for people to apply for roles; hence that makes it more difficult for Search consultants.  In truth, it probably makes it more difficult for clients and consultants – companies are getting bombarded by applicants, many of which are of low quality or little relevance; time is wasted both by people applying, and clients and us having to process them at our end.

In effect, social media has had a negative impact on the quality.  By making it easier to apply, candidates appear to be thinking less about what they are doing and approaching it from a “volume” perspective – get enough out there and something will stick!

This draws the conclusions that specific search, targeted at exactly the right people is more beneficial than ever.  Certainly we are seeing that clients have higher expectations of the specification and knowledge of suitable applicants – even to the extent of knowing specific people in contracts.  The days of taking a gamble with people from outside the sector seem to be increasingly rare – companies are looking for assurity – get the “biggest bang for their buck”.

The mis-conception for many clients that because they get a lot of applicants, there is talent ready and waiting to join out in the market is sadly mistaken. Many good people are more nervous about moving in a “down market” fearing if they don’t integrate well initially, will that leave them quickly out of a job.

Hence companies need to be assessing their approach to resourcing – better targeting of the right people and a campaign of how to attract them through a compelling and differentiated process that adds real weight and quality to the approach and results.

You can now follow Macallam on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

By Duncan Carter, Director, Macallam

Monday, 1 August 2011

M&E and The Market State!

Things still seem tight in the M&E sector, but we are getting reports of greater activity and starting to see some movement.

There seem to be some nice contracts coming up in London, but clients and Main Contractors taking advantage of the competitive situation by extending tendering lists, sometimes to as much as 15!

A number of Developer contacts are telling us they are very busy with Pre-Planning and Planning applications, so if they are busy now then we should see things picking up in 2012.

At Macallam, we have been busy in the maintenance, FM, energy, logistics sectors, and Natural resources and Oil & Gas have performed well, however we want to maintain our contracting relationships for future. We have also seen more work coming from the Middle East and Saudi.

Many UK Companies have been restructuring their sales teams, looking for better resource with the skills to get upstream in client discussions, influence earlier and engage around the value and benefits propositions to clients – going back to original selling concepts, not just process/ tendering!

Where is the top line growth going to come from and how to deliver the targets has been a challenge for most, and getting the right people in place to deliver it.

Alongside that, we have been doing more Finance work – some Group FD/CFO roles and some senior divisional Finance positions; possibly seeing a trend for finance and commercial coming to the fore as work is won at smaller margins? Acquisition activity in some sectors is gaining momentum, and a real need for people with wider and multi-functional business skills sets in the present climate.

We hope to see more opportunities and work from the M&E sector across all functions moving forwards, and re-establish our relationships. If your situation has changed, please update us and we can keep you informed of our work and news.

If we can help you with any roles or advice, please get in touch.

Prepare your self for the top job

As the Facilities Management sector emerges from recession Duncan Carter, Managing Director at Macallam, reflects on how companies can recruit and retain the best executive talent and how managers can prepare themselves for a top job.

Rather than cutting back on talent development in a downturn, the best companies  are focusing on developing leaders who will not only survive and thrive in the current downturn, but will be well positioned to grow as the economy improves.

And this is no different for the Facilities Management sector which, up until recently, has had a poor record at developing executive talent.
However, many FM companies are missing a trick internally by failing to nurture middle managers as leaders of the future.
This includes valuing leaders who can achieve results through others; holding senior managers accountable for commitments; having a formal process for identifying individuals for leadership roles and aligning talent management to a clear business strategy.
Chief executives recently responding to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ most recent annual global survey said it is important to achieve a viable balance between short-term survival and building for long-term success. And they saw access to, and retention of, key talent as the single most important issue in sustaining such success.
Meanwhile, companies with stronger leadership development have up to 7% higher profits than competitors and 85% of the 20 top performing companies hold their leaders accountable for developing talent.
However, in FM middle managers seeking to progress often lack the basic tools to demonstrate their credentials and, more crucially, a personal development programme that will help them achieve their career goals. Moreover, they don’t understand what their superiors are looking for as part of their wider talent management programme.
It is a widely held view within FM that the next swathe of middle and senior management talent will have to be recruited from outside the industry, as it just doesn’t attract enough graduates for development. Historically there has been a trend to promote good engineers and 'hands-on' operational individuals into management roles, with widely mixed results.
Part of the problem stems from the FM sectors obsession with basic operational and technical abilities rather than wider strategic and leadership competencies.
To attract the best people, FM needs to raise its 'brand awareness' and provide structured career paths into strategic roles.  In some cases FM has been seen as a smaller side show to larger civil or construction companies and as a result talented graduates seek out positions in the parent business.
However, a number of successful FM companies have recognised the need to identify and nurture talent through the ranks. For instance, Interserve FM has developed its 'Leadership Edge' programme to further the careers of its top 40 managers within the company, and some of its competitors have similar systems.
This is a step in the right direction, but talent acquisition needs to start at the lower ranks - apprentices and graduates being given the experience and opportunity to progress quickly. Within ten years a new breed of manager in the FM industry will emerge driving forward one of the fastest growing global industries.
If the sector is to continue to thrive there must be a cultural shift in how FM manages and nurtures its talent. And one area ripe for development is graduate recruitment but this will require FM companies to be more proactive in their recruitment policies and ensure that the right brand messages are being communicated to the audience.
Senior managers must be more open to change and innovation, and embrace the fact that sometimes an engineer with many years experience may not be the answer. A fresh approach is required. At Macallam we have developed our Talentrack scheme to identify, track and appoint high potential/high performance candidates from inside and outside the Facilities Management industry and this is now seen as very valuable by most of our clients.
Recently Macallam carried out a 'dipstick survey' of several senior executives working in the FM sector to gauge their thoughts on how to get to the top in the FM profession.
In general most agreed the reality is that not everyone can be the chief executive. However, people of all levels can rise through the ranks when they can demonstrate that they are comfortable as leaders and can show good people skills.
Steve Thomas, former Interserve HR Director noted: "As someone who has come from outside the FM sector I have been surprised how far behind the sector is in offering opportunities for managerial development - for instance by offering established qualifications which demonstrate a level or professional ability and competence.
Mike Fellowes, recently of Babcock Infrastructure said ambitious managers need to display their leadership qualities: "You have to show that you’re committed to making a difference - you need to walk the talk. Be realistic about the challenges and the obstacles you will need to overcome and resources you will need to get you there."
So if you’re looking to progress your career in FM what qualities should you be nurturing and displaying? It is quite simple. First, you need to show leadership and develop your people skills. Second, do not get too bogged down in operational matters and understand the bigger commercial and strategic aims of your company. Third, be consistent in your delivery - your staff will thank your for it, your superiors will applaud you for it, and the client will be happy.
All these principles apply to other industry sectors it’s just that FM has not yet caught up with them yet which means the opportunities are huge for those who are willing to embrace them.

Welcome to Macallam's Blog

The blog also provides our team at Macallam with a platform to tell you about our company developments, recruitment, human resources and our thoughts on specific sectors we are operating in… in fact, anything that takes our fancy.  As always we would welcome your comments so don’t be shy!

There are some house rules, however, when commenting on the Macallam's blog:

It is our policy to review all comments before publishing them, partly to reduce the possibility of spam comments and partly to ensure comments are in line with our list of blogger ethics below.

These are based on General Motors’ corporate blogging guidelines and code of ethics:

·         We will tell the truth. We will acknowledge and correct any mistakes promptly.
·         We will not delete comments unless they are spam, off-topic, or defamatory.
·         We will reply to comments when appropriate as promptly as possible.
·         We will link to online references and original source materials directly.
·         We will disagree with other opinions respectfully.

Happy blogging!

By Duncan Carter