What are you Worth? Benchmarking you and your Salary

What are you worth?

When someone walks in the door here to chat to us, or we encounter them at a conference, CPD meeting, often the topic of conversation turns to ‘worth’. In other words, what should their salary expectations be?

How do we, as recruiters, evaluate what we are worth?  It is apparent that the same skills are valued differently in different sectors. It is also true that they can have a different value in identical organisations.  That is often a reflection of just how that organisation views people,  information assets and needs and even how much they are willing to spend on harnessing or developing information in any way.

The Winner of our Christmas Quiz is….

Happy New Year to you all.

We are delighted to announce that Alexandra Milne at the Wellcome Trust is the lucky winner of our Christmas Quiz. So huge congratulations to Alexandra who will be receiving a bottle of bubbly from us very shortly!

She was the first name pulled out of the hat from everyone who answered all the questions correctly. There were quite a few of you who were stumped by Question 18, which was a teency bit of a trick one, just to keep you on your toes!

many thanks to everyone who entered – we had great fun going through your answers.

Below are the answers if you want to check them against your entry!

Enter our 2017 Christmas Quiz to Win a Bottle of Bubbly!

happy Christmas!

To get you in the mood as we (hopefully) start the wind down to Christmas, have a go at answering our 20 questions correctly to enter our prize  Christmas Quiz.

Good luck!

1.   Balsam, Douglas, Fraser and Noble are all types of what?

2.   Which song repeats the catchy lyrics, ‘pa rum pum pum’?

The ultimate guide to job interview preparation

As you might imagine, we’re often asked for advice on how best to prepare for interviews. The truth is that there is no ‘secret’ to being good at interviews, but there are a few things you can do to give yourself the best possible chance of success. This, then is our ultimate guide to job interview preparation.

Review your CV
I know, of course, you know your CV inside and out, you wrote it! But try to look it at from a different angle, with the eyes of the business you are interviewing with. What was it that caught their eye? Your experience? Qualifications?

Talent attraction in the digital age

You’ve got to innovate just to stand still

Be under no illusions, your competitors are out there looking at ways to engage the talent that will give them a competitive advantage over you. For as long as I can remember reading annual global CEO surveys recruitment and retention rank consistently as a top ten priority. In fact, in the most recent PwC annual global CEO survey, 72% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of skills. The war for talent is still being waged and isn’t going away anytime soon.

Salary Survey 2017

I am delighted to introduce the third annual TFPL and Sue Hill Knowledge & Information Management Salary Survey.

I’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the preceding publications. Both Hiring Managers and Human Resource teams have used the guides to benchmark their compensation competitiveness within the industry, whilst for candidates coming on to the job market it gives them a better insight into what remuneration they can expect. However, there is always room for improvement and I believe with this year’s survey we’ve delivered it. Aside from a redesign in the survey question format, we’ve partnered with the IRMS to gain a wider response and insight into the information world. This is particularly timely given that GDPR is looming ever larger on every company’s horizon. The role of Data Protection & Privacy Expert has never been discussed at such length by so many people before.

Lunchtime lecture: Bringing ghost data back from the dead

How do we protect the corporate memory within an organisation? How do we turn hindsight into foresight? What corporate knowledge gap has been created as a result of digitisation? How can we prevent this happening again? And do we really understand the scale and impact of this issue?

These questions formed a lecture and discussion on Friday afternoon last week at the Open Data Institute for their Friday lunchtime lecture series #ODIFridays. Today’s session – Bringing Ghost Data back from the Dead. The lecture was given to us by Michael Weatherburn of Imperial College, who also works as a consultant with clients to unlock and optimise high-value corporate knowledge.

It’s hard to argue that we don’t live in an increasingly digital world but it is worth remembering that most organisations started digitising back in 2005, so many of them don’t know what they were doing beyond 10 years ago. If you think that 2005 wasn’t that long ago to put it into context, this time 12 years ago George W Bush and Tony Blair were in power, London was awarded the Olympic Games, YouTube was founded, the annoying, yet incredibly catchy Crazy Frog spent four weeks at number 1 in the charts, President Donald Trump married his current wife Melania and I was in Year 9 at secondary school…

Considering the changes we have experienced since then it might not come as a shock to think that the technology used to digitise back then isn’t as useful as it once was. Michael made an excellent point that technology has changed so much since that there has been a degradation of data which has led to real problems. Such as, CDs are no longer widely used and only have a lifespan of 10 years roughly, PDFs and other programmes are updating so frequently that older files can’t be accessed. More needs to be done to preserve this data for the corporate memory. And what about that information from 15, 20, 30 years plus- where is that? This leads to data incompleteness. And how do we access it when so many people are only taught how to research using digital and online methods?

One particular quote from Friday which stuck with me was “If it’s not on the internet it doesn’t exist”. Whilst not strictly true, how many of us can honestly say we would know where else to look and if we did, would we really bother? Thinking about the difficulty this can cause organisations looking for data pre-2005 is very interesting. This is where the importance of paper records comes in and access to pre-digital records from the British Library and Bodleian Library and the importance of archivists, records managers, librarians and knowledge professionals in preserving data, making it accessible and helping to avoid a knowledge gap.

During an equally fascinating questions section, the conversation covered legislation, data protection, open data formats, XML and the importance of keeping some paper records- or as someone pointed out carving it in stone like the Egyptians- still the most effective way to preserve information.

The #ODIFridays lecture gave me so much to think about that I’m in danger of writing an essay rather than a blog post… but don’t take my word for it, the seminar was live-streamed on twitter and can be found here:

As we were talking about #makingdatagreatagain (hat-tip to Michael for an outstanding opening line!) on the walk back to the office, something that came to mind was the preservation of social media and the digital history of the Obama administration. How timely that this piece was tweeted  by The White House, providing a really nice insight into how we might start preserving data like this: .

Out with the old, in with the new, or How to find a job in 2017

For some 2016 has been a stellar year, a year to be proud of. For others 2016 has been a year to forget. Wherever you fall on this continuum is irrelevant for what happens next, because a new year means new challenges and new possibilities. For all of us the focus should be 2017, a new year. What will that mean for you?

If 2017 means a new job then start things off on the right track. Begin early, don’t prevaricate, don’t find yourself with an hour to go before the deadline for your dream job and a CV which you haven’t looked at in years.

Here’s my advice:


What have you done? What skills do you have? Why are you looking for a change?


Once you know where you’ve been and why you’re looking, you can work out what you are aiming for.


Once your direction is set and course laid out, you can engage (sorry I couldn’t resist a Star Trek homage when I saw one). What must you do to get where you want to go? What skills, experience and qualifications are you lacking? What connections do you need to make or, perhaps, refresh through some active networking? Also consider the nuts and bolts: how regularly does the type of job you want come up? Where are the jobs advertised? How and when will you carve out the time to look for them?


This part is specific to you: do you need a new qualification, to join a group, to engage with your network, to update your CV? Whatever your planning told you to do next, work out when and how this can be done. Allot time for it. Book courses or events, and manage the process effectively.

All that is left is to start. Embrace the process, be positive, be rigorous, but most importantly be true to yourself and your aspirations.

Good luck and have a great 2017!

Who’s on the cover? Or, the sinfulness of cover letters

Recently a colleague asked me for my thoughts on cover letters and what I thought the pitfalls or Big Sins are when drafting one. This phrase struck me as odd because in my mind there is just one sin when it comes to cover letters and that is the mistake of assuming that one size fits all. It doesn’t! Then I thought, why are we approaching this subject so negatively, so instead of talking about bad practice relating to cover letters, and believe me I have seen many examples, let’s instead focus on how to write a good cover letter.

First of all, follow instructions. If you have been asked to write a cover letter to accompany your application are there any more instructions such as ‘explain why you have applied for this job’, or ‘in no more than 30 words …’, or ‘state where you saw the job advertised’? If there aren’t then no problem, but give yourself the best chance of success by following instructions.

Secondly, unless instructed otherwise, keep it to one page. The intention is to demonstrate that you can identify and deliver key information succinctly and effectively, so don’t cheat by reducing the font size and increasing your margins. Make it as easy as possible for the reader to pull out the details they are looking for, so work out what those are likely to be and then trust your judgement, rather than taking a kitchen sink approach.

This leads us to the question, what should I say? Unless instructed to the contrary, it is good practice to pick something like three key dimensions of the job you are applying for then write a separate paragraph summarising (again resist the kitchen sink) your relevant experience. You could do this by giving an example of a situation or a specific achievement highlighting your skills and expertise.

The cover letter is also a good opportunity to demonstrate a little of what you know about the organisation you are applying to, as well as to give a sense of what drives you by explaining briefly why you have applied for the job. For instance ‘I am drawn to working in a training-oriented role within an organisation that values effective user engagement, as your Student Satisfaction Survey suggests you do so well.’ This shows not only that you have done your research (brownie points), but also what a good match you are with the organisation’s broader values.

And that’s it. Don’t get caught up in the detail, write no more extensively than I have done here.

First Salary Survey for the UK Market Research industry

The first complete salary survey specifically targeting the UK Market Research industry has been released by Sue Hill Recruitment (SHR), a market leading recruitment consultancy.

We’re delighted  to be able to release the first complete salary survey for the industry. As a leading recruitment specialist in this space SHR is ideally placed to conduct a salary survey on this scale. We are often asked for our advice on salaries, by both employers and candidates, and we hope this will prove to be a useful resource for market research professionals across the board.

The survey covers the full range of agency and client-side roles across all sectors and enables the benchmarking of salaries by location. This is the first time this information has been collated and presented together in the UK for the market research, insight and analysis industry.

Download the salary survey here!

Or request a hard copy by contacting me on or 020 7378 5469.

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