Autumn update

As we move into September, the weather here in Sheffield had a last gasp of summer over the past couple of days, but is now feeling distinctly autumnal. This period is typically a busy time for a lot of businesses – I remember my days working for multinational organisations when it would be last push to achieve the year’s targets, complete projects, hit sales numbers and finalise budgets for next year. Often this would involve travel, with October and November frequently spent in a scramble to run around the world and meet with team members and customers to wrap things up before Christmas and the New Year.

This year is once again a little different. International travel has not yet normalised, and I am still to get on a flight. I had anticipated some international travel in Q4 of this year, but I am now wondering if this will happen before February 2022, which will mark 2 years without flying!

What is not different this year is that business is getting busy after the summer slowdown. I have noticed a clear increase in the activity from my clients, and enquiries from new potential clients. I am pleased to report that the oilfield chemicals business is alive and well, and I am working on several projects related to Africa and the Middle East which are the regions where the strongest activity and investment seem to be taking place. I also had the luxury of being able to turn down opportunities this week. This is not something I do lightly – I want to work to help clients, and I earn a living by accepting and executing their projects. However, I have found that the successful way to work with clients is based on a long-term relationship with open communication. When I am approached with unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved in a few days for an anonymous client of a large consulting firm, I feel it is better to be honest and step away if I don’t feel I can deliver value.

One part of my activity which did not slow down over the summer was recruiting. I’m now working on a freelance basis with the team at Chemical Search International, and had a hand in placing a couple of candidates over the summer. It’s a pleasure to help clients find exceptional talent, and fit candidates into exciting new roles. I’m working on several new projects now – the battle for talent in the chemical industry is not cooling down, we are seeing a lot of activity and strong demand for the services of a highly regarded, professional recruiter with focussed chemical industry expertise.

While I might not be jumping on aircraft any time soon, I will be on the road next week a little closer to home. On Tuesday I will be networking with business people and education professionals at “See It, Be It Sheffield”. This is part of my voluntary activity as an Enterprise Adviser, helping local schools to connect with industry to provide high-quality and meaningful careers education and work experience. On Wednesday I will be at ChemUK 2021 mixing with chemical industry people from the UK and further afield. Looking forward to talking to anyone interested in oilfield chemicals, catching up with colleagues from CICA as well as discussing chemical industry recruitment along with my colleague Stephen Mothersole from Chemical Search International. It’s great to finally be meeting people face-to-face and escaping the Zoom / Teams environment for a change! See you there!

UPDATE 13.09.2021 – The “See It, Be It Sheffield” event on 14th September has been postponed. New date will be announced shortly.

Published by johnjex

Director and Principal Consultant, Jex Business Services.

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