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Calling all recruitment consultants, especially NHS

(17 Posts)
Pollyanna9 Fri 27-Jan-17 17:30:18

Hi all.

So here's my thang. I've worked in the NHS in one form or another for several years doing mostly changing projects and service improvement. Usually either contract, umbrella or now more recently fixed term.

Any consultant will be more than aware of the Monitor and Agenda for Change caps which came in recently and basically killed my career and earnings potential. I don't want to be rolling in money and romping on a bed covered in £50 notes, but it would be nice to not work my ass off every month and all with the hope that if we don't do takeaways - ever, never go on holiday, never go for a meal out, don't buy virtually any of the things we want, etc etc etc, to find that even after all of that penny pinching, I'm lucky if I come out with £50 spare at the end of a month. With having just replaced my boiler 3 days before Xmas at a cost of just under £2k along with XH not paying any child maintenance, I'm feeling very very down, very low and incredibly under pressure financially and completely financially insecure. They're canning the project I'm working on at work (poor reasoning has led to this decision and now I have to work with a bloke who's a total pillock and I literally cannot cope with him).

So I'm job hunting like mad but this is a depressing, almost pointless exercise on the whole. I can't earn naff all in the NHS on their pay bands but I don't know how or where to market myself so I can cross into commercial/private sector because they don't seem to accept my experience as valid and lots of it is in construction, rail and finance sectors where I have no experience. So how do I go about marketing myself for private job roles? Do I remove all references to the NHS???

Someone on LinkedIn who is in the same boat (there's literally thousands of us) said he 'only markets himself through his limited company' - I presume he means he makes no reference to anything other than his skillset and doesn't mention NHS but I wasn't sure what he meant.

Also, where do I send my CV as I apply on every job site I can for my type of work but I NEVER get a call about ANY of the roles. So clearly that's not effective but I literally don't know what else to do. Where would you guide me to go to expose myself (ha ha, not like that, obviously!!) and get people to see me who can pay what I need but don't care where I got my experience, so long as I've got the skills?

Any help would be gratefully received as I feel really fearful of getting a job. I'm also in the dilemma of agencies saying well we can't get you any interim roles unless you're immediately available, but I simply CANNOT be out of work, I just can't. I'd lose my house.

Any thoughts ideas etc from people who know about these things would be very gratefully received.

frazzled3ds Fri 27-Jan-17 17:36:04

Would it be worth having some 'off the record' conversations with some of the organisations you've worked with (I'm guessing there's been external companies involved in the projects) that you may be able to explore opportunities with? My DP was in the NHS for 30 odd years, and is now working for a private company who are suppliers of the stuff he was involved in bringing in.

If you can get a face to face meeting with one or two agencies that may help - again see if there are any who specialise in the kinds of project management you've been doing. If you've also got opportunities to get out to 'networking' lunches etc that may help? Perhaps getting someone else to look over your CV too could help - I'm getting some outside views on mine at present to help freshen it up and make it a bit more 'zingy'!

Good luck with the job search, I hope you hit the jackpot soon!

Pollyanna9 Fri 27-Jan-17 18:35:26

Thank you that is a good idea frazzled I do agree this is a good thing I could do.

However, the organisation who delivers the IT I'm rolling out is an absolute nightmare, rubbish customer service and they wouldn't be an outfit I'd like to work with.

I have tried applying for quite a few jobs with actual IT vendors but I don't have technical IT experience plus a lot of them are only interested if you're a graduate.

I've tried a fair few and never got anywhere sadly. But thank you very much for the positivity and good wishes :-).

frazzled3ds Fri 27-Jan-17 18:43:02

Does the letter G and an E feature in their name at all? ;) there are others in the sector who may be worth approaching and there could well be other roles that are not hands on IT but dealing with the contract side and so on where your skills would be appreciated.

Taking a broader look, maybe consider other companies who are often involved in large projects - construction, consultants of some type and so on - and other 'large' companies - telecoms providers, finance etc - there could well be project management opportunities in those. Oh and search on line for Civil Service Jobs - my local patch currently had 30 or so open vacancies and that's in a reasonably rural part of the country, could be another thought for you smile

ClaudiaWankleman Fri 27-Jan-17 19:15:24

The two people I know who have moved out of the NHS have both gone into the charities sector - could be that this is an amenable move?
I couldn't tell you about pay etc - just an idea.

Pollyanna9 Fri 27-Jan-17 19:21:25

Thanks both, good stuff. No not G and E!!

Onceuponatime21 Fri 27-Jan-17 19:25:52

Kpmg, accenture, pwc , pa consulting etc?

Onceuponatime21 Fri 27-Jan-17 19:26:15

All have healthcare practices ....

Pollyanna9 Sat 28-Jan-17 09:36:36

Thanks Once, I'll scope these out today.

Otherpeoplesteens Wed 01-Feb-17 17:15:44

Pollyanna I think we're in about the same boat.

My experience is that the agency fee cap has basically killed off the interim market and the financial pressures are now so acute (we're talking insolvency for many Trusts which are actually running out of cash, not just running up huge deficits) that work which interims have historically done just isn't being done.

I have applied for thousands of jobs in all sectors since I left the NHS under MARS six years ago to do an MBA and returned to job hunting in 2013. I've worked about 12 months in total since then, almost all NHS interim work and the rest through contacts I made while doing it. I get the impression that private industry does not rate NHS experience (and, to be honest, I don't really blame them) while the NHS just isn't recruiting.

Sorry I have no useful advice, but I just wanted to let you know you're not alone. Sometimes it feels like I'll never work again.

Pollyanna9 Wed 01-Feb-17 18:25:50

Thanks Otherpeoples. It's certainly quite shit out there that's for sure.

Now there's the IR35 rubbish coming in so it's going to be even worse as HMRC have fitted it up so everyone is going to fall into the category of also having to pay NI and more tax.

Yup, it's rubbish out there that's for sure.

Just have to keep plugging away don't we.

SamanthaUnkim Wed 01-Feb-17 19:54:52

While I have sympathy for you personally, I get really hacked off how much the NHS is paying management consults.
P.S. Substantive Staff haven't had a pay rise for years

Pollyanna9 Wed 01-Feb-17 21:28:09

I'm in agreement but I personally have never been a 'management fat cat', nowhere near. Some, no, many contractors have specialised skills (I'm talking non clinical staff) that aren't there within the NHS - staff who haven't got time or capacity or those particular skills - to deliver projects, service improvement targets, cost savings, etc etc etc. These 'huge' earnings also take account of the fact that as a contractor you have no pension, no job guarantee, and MONTHS off work with no pay, trying to find your next role. So believe me, it's not all fun and games.

Otherpeoplesteens Thu 02-Feb-17 14:13:09

Substantive staff may not have had a cost of living pay rise for years but they enjoy in-band incremental rises which far outstrip what most of the private sector has enjoyed this decade, have pension arrangements that the rest of us can only dream about, and are virtually unsackable as well. And a good proportion of them - management and front line - really don't deserve their positions and aren't up to the job.

I would gladly trade my contractor earning potential in exchange for a the security of a permanent position, but cannot get a look in. A couple of years ago I got turned down for a permanent post in favour of a candidate who was then at the DoH and had to be parachuted in somewhere. He still had six months to go so I got the interim role filling in for him on the basis of a 15 minute telephone interview. I hadn't even had a reply to my application for the permanent position, which they clearly believed I was capable of doing.

So yeah, I'll take whatever contract work I can get and not feel the slightest amount of shame about it.

SorrelForbes Thu 02-Feb-17 14:19:17

I don't know what area you're in but I've noticed quite a few Band 8 Service Improvement/Programme Lead jobs on NHS Jobs and HSJ recently. I know the SC&W CSU are recruiting.

I've just gone back to a permanent position after 5 (successful) years contracting as we needed some stability of income for various reasons. My last contract was a for a large Health Care provider (big red logo!) and they are actively getting rid of all contractors. Times are 'ard!

Pollyanna9 Thu 02-Feb-17 14:26:26

Me either Otherpeople. However I'm not sure that staff have been getting their increments year on year for a while (someone would have to tell me if that's the case - I thought they were frozen???). Could be wrong.

Sorrel the chances of me getting an 8a let alone an 8b are between none and zero %, sadly (wish it was different I really do).

I am looking at all possibilities but I think these 8a's and b's actually are nigh on impossible to get for someone like myself as I don't have years of operational/service experience - I'm pure Project and non-manager in the NHS experienced so I've only got a certain niche I can get into.

And non-NHS/non-public sector don't really seem at all interested - I just think I don't have enough experience and that's where I'm at.

I'm not technical either (gets worse doesn't it!) so that limits me further, can't work away from home as single parent with two kids, just looking at and applying for as many jobs as I can. I too would love the security of permanent but the pay rates I can get for that hardly even cover my bills which is utterly miserable.

Otherpeoplesteens Thu 02-Feb-17 14:47:46

Sorrel there are indeed a few Service Improvement roles but the NHS places a huge importance on operational experience, even for non-operational roles, and in many health systems it's basically a closed shop anyway.

My background and skill set is commercial/strategy and although I've done some operational management in private sector health, as well as a bit of service development in the NHS, I don't get a look in because my face basically doesn't fit. Senior NHS managers got there by hitting targets and stepping on people to do so; anyone who hasn't done that clearly can't be much use.

Polly the increments have been granted. Anyone who hasn't had one has reached the top of the band which means they've been in the same band for as much as nine years and are substantially better off than they were when they started the job, far ahead of anyone in an equivalent position in the private sector.

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