In a year of huge change –globally, economically, professionally and personally – it has been easy to focus on the negative aspects of 2020. And let’s face it – there have been plenty of them. However, 2020 also brought with it a range of positive side effects in the form of scientific advances, hope for the future and, in many cases, a showcasing of the very best of humanity. Here at VWA we wanted to reflect on the positives of the past year, and so we are pleased to present our VWA Top 20 of 2020 – as seen in our Instagram Stories recently!
1: The start of a fully virtual recruitment process.
In May, we saw our first fully virtual placement where every aspect of the recruitment cycle took place virtually. This included briefing, shortlisting, interviewing and on-boarding. Since this first placement, the majority of our clients have adopted fully or partially virtual recruitment and are likely to continue this practice into their normal ways of working.
2: Virtual Secret Santa.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without the office Secret Santa, and this year was no different! Rather than the usual present exchange at the office Christmas party, everyone sent their presents to their Secret Santa anonymously in the post. This year presents included books, dog toys and even a service bell!
3: Our first Webinar titled "How to Thrive and Succeed in 2021"
Victoria Wall held a fantastic webinar on Zoom, attended by numerous clients and associates, offering an insight into the psychology of working from home during a pandemic, and tips on how to improve well-being and thriving.
4: European recruitment
Although our client base is largely London-based, we have long assisted our regular clients with recruitment in their other national and international offices. 2020 saw an increase in Europe-based positions with a variety of positions including EA, Gallery Manager and Accountant roles, with locations including Geneva, Lisbon and several roles in Paris.
5: Graduate roles in Finance
We are no stranger to graduate recruitment, however we have seen an increase in demand for these graduate finance positions in the past year – including early on in the first lockdown, when we recruited for Middle and Back Office positions for a wealth management firm. We successfully placed a number of financial graduates in 2020, with these roles increasing in number as we head into 2021.
6: Moving to cloud-based working
The start of the first lockdown in March and the move to working from home meant we had to adapt our working style to fit in with home-based working by moving to the cloud. As a result, we are now paperless and successfully using a more agile and efficient working style!
7: Furloughing of temps
In March 2020, we became one of the first recruitment consultancies to furlough the vast majority of our regular temps when hiring freezes and office closures first began to take hold. At it’s peak, around 80 temps were furloughed altogether, providing stability and security during a very uncertain period.
8: Offsite team-building day
In February 2020 we took part in a team-building day organised by our sister company Victoria Wall Consulting. The day focused around our MBTI results and allowed us to get to know our colleagues’ personalities and working styles even better!
9: 2020 off to a flying start
We started 2020 with a very strong first quarter, with near record-breaking numbers of temporary bookings, permanent placements and live jobs. This was partially fuelled by greater certainty surrounding the Brexit deal, which had contributed to the unstable job market since the referendum in 2016.
10: The (brief) phased return to the office
In September, we began our optional phased return to the office, with full social distancing and safety measures in place. Although the phased return was short-lived due to new restrictions implemented in October, it allowed some of the team to see each other in person for the first time in over 6 months!
11: Bespoke Associate search
Just before the first lockdown came into place, we worked on a Research Associate position for one of our longstanding investment clients. As one of our ore bespoke searches, we used our extensive candidate sourcing resources and expertise to find high calibre candidates, and successfully placed this role in late Spring.
12: Staying connected as a team
As a tight-knit team, moving to working from home meant we had to find other ways to socialise together. In 2020, this has included virtual Friday night drinks, virtual poker and even a very fun game of Just A Minute!
13: Publication of Heartfelt Parenting by Shelley Chauhan
In Spring 2020, our wonderful colleague Shelley of sister company Victoria Wall Consulting published her first book – Heartfelt Parenting. The book explores modern day parenting and feeling connected in a world where many parents are working long hours.
14: Getting onto the Preferred Suppliers´ List of a global fin-tech firm
In late 2020, we secured the business of a top global fintech firm for both permanent and temporary recruitment. Fintech is one of the most in-demand sectors amongst out candidate base, meaning this PSL has allowed us to cater to an even wider cohort of our candidate base.
15: Collaboration with Transition Peak
In late 2020, we announced our collaboration with Transition Peak, a service providing support and advice for companies and individuals in redundancy and retirement situations. We are proud to offer this support to all of our clients and are excited for our partnership to grow in 2021!
16: Adaptation of PA Training for temps
We offer PA training to some of our regular temps to enrich their skillset – particularly for those who have not been an Assistant before, or who are looking to move into the finance sector. In 2020, we have been able to continue offering this service on a virtual basis and expanding this service to a wider range of temporary candidates.
17: Celebrating 31 years in business
2020 was a year of change and disruption for many businesses, and VWA was no exception! Thanks to the relationships we have fostered over many years with our clients and candidates, as well as our strong team spirit, we remain one of London’s most established recruitment consultancies with over 31 years of recruitment expertise.
18: Virtual temping launch
In Summer 2020, we launched a virtual temping service to all of our clients for any cover that could be completed without being in the office. The service has been highly successful with a vast range of our candidates available to work remotely, allowing for greater flexibility for both client and candidate.
19: Rathbone Brothers´ Graduate Scheme
In Spring 2020, VWA worked with investment firm Rathbones on their graduate recruitment programme. Hundreds of candidates were screened and took part in assessment centres across the UK, with several successful candidates hired onto the scheme.
20: The VWA Market Report
2020 saw the publication of our biggest market survey to date- an insight into recruitment practices during the pandemic. The report highlights the way recruitment has changed during the pandemic and the effect this is likely to have on recruitment processes moving forwards.