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14/06/2018 - 14:57

After spending many years in the recruitment business, Cathcart Associates’ managing director Sam Wason has learnt a lot about salary negotiations. Skilled tech workers are harder to come by these days, and with the UK in the midst of the ongoing skills gap, talented IT professional are more in demand than ever. This is why it’s important to know what salary to offer your workers.


Don’t risk low-balling a skilled worker

The advantages of low-balling are pretty minimal in the overall scheme of things. In fact, my advice would be to high-ball them if you possibly can! While it might be tempting to save a few pennies here and there wherever you can, it’s never worth trying to offer less than people want when there’s a real risk your competitor is willing to pay more.

It’s important for employers to pay their workers what they deserve in terms of their skill-set, especially given how hard they are to find. It’s worth trying to offer the correct salary right from the beginning. You want them to join with a nice warm fuzzy feeling, not a feeling that they’re being taken for a ride.


What are the dangers of not paying skilled workers correctly?

It’s simple – they will leave. It costs significantly more money to replace someone than it does to make sure your current staff are happy. Your current staff know you and your business already, you don’t have to train them to get up to speed. You’ll likely have to pay a recruitment fee on top of the added stress and the time it takes to hire, and that’s assuming you’ll be able to find someone to replace them!

It can be difficult to find the right person, especially in IT and tech recruitment. Tech skills are in demand, people with the correct skills have the opportunity to shop around and there are companies that can outbid you. Basically, the odds are stacked against you.

We should never shy away from the salary question. Offering a pay rise to a skilled worker can build loyalty by acknowledging the work they have been doing and showing appreciation for this. For this reason, you should always give someone a pay rise before they think of asking for one.


How do you know if an employee is unhappy with their salary?

Don’t be afraid to ask them regularly. If you suspect an employee is unhappy with their current salary, this shouldn’t be ignored.  You can conduct anonymous surveys easily online if you feel you’ll get a more honest answer. Although, at the end of the day you should probably just assume everyone is unhappy with his or her salary!


Know how much you should be paying

Unsure how to assess how much a skilled worker should be paid? This is where clients might look to recruiters like us to ask for advice.  As an IT recruitment specialist, we know exactly what we’re talking about – we’re dealing with hundreds of candidates on a daily basis, discussing their salaries and benefits. We regularly benchmark against industry averages, do our research and get in touch with candidates to hear what they think.

Salaries are rising fast. It’s a sellers market, so just paying people what you have always paid them or paying the same as “the rest of the team” might not work, especially when considering that some people are now paying up to £45k for developers.

A recruiter can help give you a clearer idea on how to navigate these difficult waters.


Be willing to compromise

You don't want to be in a situation where an employee hands in their notice expecting a counter-offer just to get the salary they think they deserve. It’s never a good situation and most people who accept a counter-offer will have left within six months anyway.

If you can’t quite afford to pay higher salaries, make sure that you try to offer other benefits instead. People like to have nice working environments and even small changes (such as new machines, free food and drink, and other such employee incentives) can make a big difference. Paying staff generously can help attract new talent.  Businesses that regularly lowball employees in salary negotiations and refuse to pay staff fairly tend to get marked as  “poor payers”, which can be a very hard label to bounce back from. On the other hand, if your company develops a reputation for paying generous salaries this can pay off in dividends when looking to attract new talent to your business (especially in the midst of a skills crisis).

Remember, your staff are your highest priority – spend money on them first.

04/06/2018 - 16:14

Machine learning (ML) has been around many years. Despite this, recently it has become more and more popular in the tech scene.


Even though it is found nearly everywhere, a lot of people don’t know what it really means. Well, have you ever wondered how Google knows exactly what you’re looking for? You’ll find that majority of it is thanks to predictive learning and ML.


Since there is close to no industry that wouldn’t benefit from ML and data science, many companies have become more aware of the advantages of implementing it within their business.


An example of this is Tesco, in the nineties they had access to various amounts of data from its customers having just introduced the Tesco Clubcard. Although, since countless competitors had similar schemes they, at first, dismissed the real potential of what they could have achieved. After a while Tesco soon saw the potential and used this data to understand exactly what their customers want and need resulting in them targeting their customers very effectively.


It’s very clear that there is a big interest for ML and data science within the business sector with most organisations now focusing on the including it in their future.


To read more, please see:


01/06/2018 - 12:09

Independent IT recruitment firm Cathcart Associates has announced the winning applicant of their £5,000 CodeClan scholarship as Tahnee Downie.

The scholarship was open to applicants from low-income households or disadvantaged backgrounds who wanted to retrain for a career in digital technologies at the digital skills academy but were unable to pay for the course fees.

Successful applicant Tahnee applied for the scholarship after being encouraged by other females working in tech.  Tahnee had been considering a course at CodeClan for but was unable to pay for the course.

Instead, Tahnee started to attend Codebar and Women Who Code. This active participation and passion to find out more about coding impressed Cathcart Associates’ Director, Gordon Kaye.

On being told the news of her successful application, Tahnee said: “I was so astonished when I had the phone call to tell me I had been awarded the scholarship!  I was encouraged and empowered by Codebar and Women Who Code to pursue a career in technology. I couldn’t have done it without their support and I’m so lucky to have this amazing opportunity from Cathcart Associates.”

By offering the scholarship, Cathcart Associates wanted to encourage those who are passionate about coding and eager to retrain for a career in digital technology the chance to study at CodeClan.

Gordon Kaye, Director of Cathcart Associates, said: “We all know there is a skills gap in Scotland so we wanted to help an intelligent, motivated individual retrain into a career in tech through this scholarship. The tech industry is booming in Scotland and we believe there should be more opportunities made available for those who have the skills but lack the financial means or come from a disadvantaged background to change careers.”

Tahnee’s application was successful because of the dedication she had shown to changing her career and her passion for coding. We wish her every success with her course at CodeClan.”

Melinda Mathews Clarkson, CEO of CodeClan, said: “Congratulations to Tahnee on her scholarship. It isn’t always easy to take the leap and change careers, but at CodeClan we are here to support our students to make that change and begin a successful career in the tech industry.”

This story has successfully been picked up by various news outlets. To read more on this, please see the following:




Recruitment International



The Herald

The Scotsman

28/05/2018 - 09:07

According to a report carried out by Grant Thornton, Scottish businesses could neglect more than £4bn of growth in 2018.


Their growth survey was conducted between August and September of 2017. It included in-depth interviews with around 1,000 business owners - around 114 being Scottish Businesses.


The report found various hinders to the growth of these companies, including but not limited to: technology (38 per cent); talent and skills (37 percent) and marketing and sales capability (35 per cent).


Interestingly, despite technology investment being the biggest concern, most of the Scottish business leaders plan to purchase new technology in the next few years. Additionally, more than a quarter of respondents feel as though the current access to skills and talent could restrict future expansion plans.


With the debate over uncertainty regarding potential high profit margins in Scotland, only 22% of respondents told Grant Thornton that they plan to invest in a dedicated Brexit strategy. Although, it’s encouraging to see that 70% of Scottish respondents claimed they plan to maintain current levels of growth in the next two years.


Read more:

Read more on Grant Thornton’s Survey:

23/05/2018 - 15:26

Lloyds Banking Group published a study which announced that more than two-fifths of firms are at a disadvantage when recruiting staff due to Scotland’s talent shortage.


The shortage is plaguing many businesses with half saying it has affected their business expansion and revenue growth along with around 45% saying it has made it difficult to respond to customer issues.


Jessica Mullen, co-founder and MD of CreateFuture, spoke at DIGIT’s digital transformation conference where she highlighted some reasons why there might be a shortage of talent in the digital sector.


This included the problem that talented graduates are moving away from Scotland to explore exciting new cities, like London, to take their first career steps in. Another important issue is the schools struggle to support the ever-changing digital sector, this results in kids leaving education without the right skills to advance further.


To help guarantee a bright future of talented staff, 47% of Scottish firms said they will be trying to improve skill-sets in the next 18 months. The study published by Lloyds Banking Group also found that apprenticeships are proving to be a popular solution with almost a third of the firms who decided to partake in the survey having employed apprentices in the past and 43% of them plan to hire more.


Read more:

Read more on Jessica Mullen’s view on talent shortage:


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