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Does the type match the hype?

The newspapers and television news, love a disaster.  Even more if it involves Brits.  Consequently every paper and every news or current affairs programme is focusing intently on the Lehmans debacle and the potential for disaster with AIG.  Both of the organisations are large, have been around a long time and employ many people here in the UK.  If they weren’t well known by the man in the street last week they are now.

People are calling me and, in a concerned tone, wondering if we are OK in recruitment.  Well, yes we are.  Our diverse client sector base has always meant that where one element flounders another thrives.  Exposure of information workers generally is much less than it was last time there was a bit (in the early nineties).  Since then the majority of information jobs have been hived off shore and departments that once numbered in the 40s and 50s or even more are now likely to be less than 10.

Several people we know have lost their jobs and it may take a while for them regain their footing at a similar level on their career path but if they keep open minds and re-examine their skills and talent then it could be sooner than they think.  Equally now could be the time to review the options.  Move on out, change careers or at least sector.   Several key information people from banking and the financial sector have gone on to effect change management in places like the British Library and Central Government in recent years, others are using their skills, knowledge and experience of outsourcing to work effecting solutions for other organisations (outside of the banking sector).

I have no doubt that it will hurt some people more than others as everyone has different commitments at different stages of their lives but if they take stock and realise what a spectacular and marketable set of assets they have, ensure that they keep those that need to know informed of their situation then hopefully the pain will not be as bad as feared.

I still see articles and advertisements in the newspapers telling us to invest in the next new property wonder.  Why now it is Albania!    My old gran used to say if you haven’t got it you shouldn’t spend it.  She never was the speculate to accumulate type, but then she had lived through 3 wars and had brought up a dozen children.  Perhaps she had a point.

If we want a full blown recession we can be the engineers of our own fate and talk ourselves into it. I intend to be prudent but also to continue to believe, as the Chief Economist of HSBC said at a recent seminar I attended, that it will take more than bad news and the current cataclismic events to completely destroy the economy of UK plc. The underlying strength is still there and we must have faith in that.

2 comments to this post

  •  :  I have tremendous sympathy with all those currently affected by the turmoil in the financial markets. As somebody who spent nearly a decade managing information within investment banking, I have found that the skills I developed within this environment have been very transferable to other environments both within the private and public sectors. A lot of the issues faced by organisations today, including information and knowledge management and the applications of Web 2.0 tools within an organisational environment are common to organisations irrespective of the sector in which the organisations are based. Those working within the information world have a unique skill set and knowledge which organisations will leverage to help them achieve increased productivity and competitiveness. To quote a well used phrase, it's all about thinking outside the box and working out which skills are transferable and how this can be achieved.
  •  :  What an interesting few days it has been. So much has been written about the current financial crises, across the globe and yet to some it has come as a surprise how severe the situation is. Being on the sidelines of the financial sector, it is easy to sit back and say-they must have seen it coming. What it means practically is that many good information professionals are now pondering on what next. Changes have been in the air for many years as work has moved East, however, will there be even fewer jobs to keep people in the profession? As mentioned many do have transferrable skills that can be well deployed. One thing is for sure the events of the past few days will effect all of us as consumers of financial services - and as someone has posted on the BBC blog-'banks have destroyed my pension, arrest them and prosecute them,strip them of all assets'- I suspect many in Canary Wharf feel stripped already!

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