Defence and aerospace is a great sector to be working in right now. Innovation is reaching every corner of the industry, creating a wealth of new opportunities. But of course, if you want to work in defence and aerospace, there’s one crucial thing you’ll need: security clearance.
90 per cent of jobs in defence and aerospace require some form of security clearance (SC) and given the number of new roles in the sector and the changing nature of the work from permanent to contract basis, the truth is that there are just too few SC contractors to go around. But for the contractor who is security cleared, that creates a bounty of opportunities.
What’s it worth?
The obvious advantage for a contractor in a talent-scarce market is the ability to ask for a higher wage. In defence and aerospace it doesn’t matter if you’re the most skilled candidate that has ever existed unless you also have security clearance. So if you’ve got SC and you’re looking for your next opportunity, know your worth – and make sure whoever is recruiting you knows that too. Security cleared contractors are diamonds in the rough and the industry knows it. Make sure your recruiter does too.
Use it or lose it
While most businesses that require a permanent member of staff to have security clearance will sponsor that employee through the SC process, this is much less likely to happen with an interim hire. The process simply takes too long for it to be worthwhile for contract workers. And, even though clearance is usually granted for 10 years, if this isn’t transferred between businesses or if you are out of work for more than a year, chances are you will lose that clearance.
So if you’ve got security clearance and you’re coming to the end of your current contract make sure you’re exploring relevant opportunities that require SC. Not only will you likely have a role with a higher rate per hour but you’ll keep hold of something that is in high demand.
Build your network
While security cleared jobs in defence and aerospace are plentiful, the nature of the roles can mean that they aren’t widely advertised. This is why it’s so vital to engage with the right people, so that you’re always aware of upcoming opportunities. It’s always important for contractors to have their next role in mind, but for those with security clearance this is even more essential.
Of course we’d recommend building a relationship with the global market leader in commercial and contract management (that’s us by the way!) but there are other things you should be doing too. Join LinkedIn groups, network with others in the industry and keep up to date with upcoming projects.
Being a security cleared contractor in defence and aerospace gives you a clear advantage over those without SC clearance. Keeping hold of your clearance and engaging with the right networks will allow you to pursue more opportunities with a higher earning potential.
Arguile Search are the global market leaders in commercial and contract management. For the best and latest contract opportunities in defence and aerospace, get in touch.
You’ve heard about Commercial and
Contract Management and you want to get into this brilliantly rewarding but
misunderstood profession. But how? The most direct route is to join a business
with a Commercial and Contracts Graduate scheme. So where do you start?
As a recruitment firm specialising
purely in CCM there are some schemes we rate highly and would always look out
for, so here are 5 that stand out to us.
The engineering giant encourages graduates
to take their place on one of their many sector focused schemes, from
operations management through to commercial and engineering.
Of course, our interest is in the commercial
programme, and the training is superb at Rolls Royce. If, we see that an
individual has started their career at this company then we can be pretty
confident their technical skills will be well rounded.
Through in-house training, modular
learning and team-based project work, Rolls Royce seeks to provide opportunities
for graduates to begin their career on the front foot and enhance the
possibilities for longevity in their field of operation. In their commercial programme,
key focus is placed on developing strategy, building relationships with senior
executives and stakeholders and working with teams to understand the value and
skill involved in the art of negotiation.
Some programmes here also offer the
opportunity to become a member of the IACCM.
Rolls Royce also take pride in sponsoring
the Female Undergraduate of the Year category in the TARGETjobs annual awards,
and this year awarded the top spot to a mechanical engineering student who
demonstrated her passion for promoting women in positions of leadership.
BAE have multiple intakes of graduates
for their programmes; in January, June and September. Their key messaging for
graduates to ‘support you all the way, because your success will drive ours’ – demonstrates
the value they put into developing their own talent.
Their graduate programme is far and
away the largest in the industry and many of the current leaders in the CCM
profession spent their formative years at BAE. The BAE scheme is arguably the
most comprehensive in the industry.
Their commercial scheme offers the
opportunity for candidates to take responsibility for work across a range of
departments, engage with stakeholders, identify and offer solutions to risks
and changes to project timelines and understand financial controls.
As a global engineering services organisation,
the team at Arguile recognises Babcock’s position in the marketplace as an
established and profitable company. They have programmes in engineering and
science, business management and project management, giving candidates the
tools to kickstart their career.
They have made intensive investments in
their graduate programmes, with locations country-wide, spanning as far and
wide as Plymouth, Leicester and Bristol. This is positive for individuals
looking to move into CCM as the opportunities are extensive and far-reaching.
Their schemes offer hundreds of places
for potential candidates and we know that the competition to up-skill through
programmes such as this is tough.
Graduates that take up a place on a
scheme with Raytheon are joining one of the biggest commercial functions in the
country. Their projects are purposeful and offer opportunities in a range of
areas of technology.
A stand-out point for us is that in the
UK, Raytheon also offer their graduates the opportunity to participate in a
Leadership Development Programme. This is an essential skill in CCM, as strong
and confident leaders are needed in the profession to demonstrate innovation
and drive change.
As the third largest defence contractor
in the United States, joining this programme will put you in good stead to
accelerate your career and provide the skills that will be needed for the
future of CCM.
You caught us out! We said we were
taking a look at the best graduate schemes; and Civica’s offering isn’t
strictly a graduate scheme. However, as an outsourcing and specialist system
services company, Civica has one of the fastest growing commercial functions in
the UK today.
They have an annual intake of
apprentices and recognise that more traditional routes through to these
functions, such as university and graduate scheme programmes aren’t for
everyone. Our team have identified that if you are a candidate driven by a
quick-pace of learning and the acceleration of your career, Civica has to be a
leading option for you.
As an apprentice at Civica, you will
shadow senior team members, be put through the IACCM training process and receive
professional internal training.
Best of all, you’ll be paid for it too!
They only take on a handful of apprentices
each year, it’s competitive and you’ll need good A-levels or equivalent but if
you are in two minds about university and want to get into your first
Commercial Management role then this has to be an option.
For new graduates, the option of completing
a graduate scheme can offer on-going training and support, better career
prospects and for some, global opportunities. Having said this, graduate
schemes in the sectors CCM operates within see fierce competition, as demand
for highly skilled workers increases.
If you are thinking of getting into the
industry and want to know more about these graduate schemes, please get in touch with one of our consultants.
Commercial contract management
is a career pathway that can be misunderstood and is often undervalued. This
confusion and ambiguity brings uncertainty to an industry that holds such great
potential and opportunity and those operating in the sector are hopeful of a
surge in talent. Regardless of what stage you are at in your career – from
graduate to experienced professional – the field of commercial contract
management should not be overlooked.
Potential to develop key
As an ever-changing and
fast-paced industry, roles within CCM offer the development of key business
skills, many of which are transferable across a range of sectors. Data from the
International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) reveals that 88 per cent of surveyed
contract managers would recommend contract management as a good starting point
in a professional business career, and this is because of what it can offer its
The way in which skills can be
adapted and built upon here begins through the foundations that CCM provides
and is a real pull for considering a career in the field. Whether this is through
opening pathways to explore negotiations of major contracts; exposure to
multiple business fuctions; or driving change and identifying leadership
qualities, CCM is a real-eye opener.
Opportunity to accelerate
The Center for Advanced
Procurement Strategy (CAPS) stated in a recent
report that 70 per cent of companies are experiencing a supply
management shortage and this is mirrored in supplier organisations. This highlights
a challenge across the industry, and the gap in talent marks a real need for
CCM professionals and those who seek to accelerate their career in the field.
One of the best routes into
CCM is via a graduate scheme with a multinational company; to name a few BAE,
Rolls Royce and CGI offer excellent graduate programs. It is also important to
take on continuous in-house and external training to enhance professional
development, explore mentoring and partnership opportunities and concentrate on
finding the right pathway.
By up-skilling in this way, it is not uncommon for career progression to move at a swift pace. Many CCM professionals earn more than similarly qualified lawyers and accountants and are typically given responsibility at an earlier stage in their career.
There is access to a wide
range of sectors
To consider a career in CCM,
you must recognise that the industry covers sectors far and wide, from
aerospace and defence, IT and Outsourcing to oil and gas and through to
engineering and rail as well.
The great thing about CCM is
that these sectors offer the opportunity for professionals to become
specialists in their field, strategising and dominating as a leader and innovative
Working in this industry also
means that the sectors will often be demanding of different projects, from
negotiations to analytical tasks – a career in CCM will never be dull, and no
two days ever the same.
Unknowingly, it is a thriving
In a report from
The National Audit Office, it is estimated that just over £250 billion of
central and local government money went to private suppliers in the 2015-16
financial year – that’s a lot of contracts to bid for and manage.
For large entities such as the
government, and the contract possibilities that they have on offer, a third of
their spending here is indicative of a thriving industry. From contracting
drugs and medicine for the NHS to supplying military fleets for the Ministry of
Defence, the opportunities are endless.
With the possibility to secure
multi-million-pound deals and negotiate contracts and terms with some of the
most well-known companies around the globe, it certainly is an attractive
industry to move into.
Clear opportunity to increase
Identifying leadership styles,
negotiating methods and having a firm hand in understanding CCM as a professional in the sector will ensure
visibility of both the profession and the professional. The same report from
CAPS Research indicates that 40 per cent says that
recruiting in this field is more challenging than for any other function.
Does this suggest a
misunderstanding of CCM? Or that the public do not understand what the industry
does? Probably; but that is changing and you can be at the vanguard of that
Continued exposure to senior
The career of a CCM
professional will provide exposure to senior level executives, board members
and stakeholders. Opting for a career in this industry means that this exposure
is likely to come early on, working alongside senior roles to deliver services
to a wide range of potentially high-profile clients.
Looking at this from an
advantageous outlook means that the progression for someone in CCM will only be
stalled by their drive, not the opportunities that surround them. The insight,
too, that can be passed down from senior level executives is another reason why
the industry continues to grow and thrive in the knowledge it holds.
The industry is strengthened
by the IACCM
The IACCM is a body that, with over 55,000
members, has a global voice in the development of the CCM industry. With great
insight provided, and membership and training opportunities rife too, the IACCM
is the go-to resource for CCM professionals and strengthens the work that is
carried out in the industry.
It is not enough to think
narrowly about your role in CCM; you too have to recognise the influence of
senior officials, authoritative bodies and clients who can drive change and
improve your professional journey. For those considering a career in CCM, the sky
really is the limit.
shortage in commercial contract management is well-known and in need of
tackling – urgently. This is a
candidate-led market, of the like we have never seen before, employers are on
the back foot and highly skilled workers are receiving multiple job offers.
Indeed, we were recently working with one candidate who found herself in the fortunate position of receiving four offers on the same day. For many role types, this would be exceptional but when it comes to CCM positions it is increasingly becoming the norm – candidates are able to effectively cherry-pick the roles that suit them best. But what does this tell us about why there is such a chronic talent shortage in CCM?
Fast-developing sectors need candidates with specialised skills and
As a fast-paced and dynamic industry, CCM needs candidates that are advanced
and highly skilled, and can adapt to the different sectors in which they
operate, from defence through to facilities management and IT.
It can be difficult to find candidates with these qualifications and
skills, and younger people finishing further education may not yet have the experience
or knowledge of the opportunities that a career as a CCM can offer them. This
gap can be bridged through graduate programmes, internal training as part of the
hiring process and by adopting new technologies to welcome in a new generation
Indeed, we are also experiencing an older, developing workforce, meaning
that certain sector-focused skills may not always be in line with the new wave
of technology, and up-skilling needs to be delivered to ensure senior positions
in CCM can be filled too.
The sector is often viewed as confusing
It can be a misunderstood discipline, but CCM offers the opportunity to
develop an array of key business skills to candidates looking to move into a
career in the industry. The complexity of the way in which the industry
operates can seem ambiguous and unclear, having a wider impact on the way
talent is sourced.
Why do we need CCM? Who does it benefit? Are suppliers and clients meeting
their terms and contractual obligations? Do you have to be a negotiator in
practice to do this role? The list goes on. In reality, the CCM world is busting
at the seams with a range of sectors that are desperately seeking the right fit
– who get CCM and want to drive change.
Digital transformation is changing the way that talent is sourced and adapts
Those working in CCM need to be drivers of change in order to ensure
they aren’t left behind when digital transformation takes shape. In years past,
the adoption of technology within CCM has been slow. According to the Future of Jobs Report 2018, from the World Economic Forum, the skills gap has been
widened by the adoption of new technologies.
However, it is important to remember that whilst digital transformation
is moving at a quickening pace, it is those working in CCM that enable and
direct new processes and the development of new skills. From the experience of
the team at Arguile Search, the talent pipeline for roles in CCM is
experiencing a short supply, and the current candidate-led market signifies a
real shift in the way CCM is perceived.
For more information on some of the roles that are currently in demand, and
to find your perfect fit in CCM, get in touch with the Arguile Search team
Negotiation is perhaps the most important skill in the Commercial and Contract Managers armoury, and possibly the hardest to teach. There are so many ways to begin a negotiation and there is no perfect approach. We thought it would be fun to look at some high-profile negotiators and discuss the traits that have – or haven’t – made them successful. So, which of these five high-profile professionals do you identify with…if any?!
Seb Coe “The Showman”
Complete self-confidence in his own abilities
Knows how to build a complete team
Can favour style over substance
As an integral figure in the London 2012 Olympic Games bid, Coe demonstrated
his self-belief by charming delegates, flying the metaphorical British flag all-around
the globe and appearing to never waver from his carefully prepared notes in his
He used his influencing skills to find out what his “customer” needed
and shaped his response in a way that was more compelling than his competitors
responses and then carefully built a strong multi-skilled team to cover every
angle of the negotiation.
You might argue Seb Coe is was more of a sales person than a negotiator. Although he has managed to negotiate a great number of successes, he’s a big picture thinker who uses his skills to sell a deal and move on, not always considering the nitty gritty.
Jeremy Hunt “The One Who Will Get His Way”
Refuses to compromise on key points
Fails to build long-term relationships
Self-proclaimed “excellent negotiator”, Hunt also had involvement in the
success of the 2012 Olympic Games. It’s his time as Health Secretary, however
that makes for an interesting case study. Hunt was the UK’s longest serving Health
Secretary, holding the position from 2012 to 2018. In this time, he
demonstrated his strengths as a key negotiator by; persuading the prime
minister to significantly boost NHS spending; overseeing the introduction of
the first national waiting-time target; and, of course, simply refusing to be sacked
when then-new PM Theresa May wanted him in a new role.
His persuasive manner, coupled with a total refusal to move on key sticking points, makes him a force to be reckoned with in negotiations. Of course, lacking in the ability to compromise isn’t necessarily a positive, but nevertheless it works for Hunt – at least when it comes to the first deal. His hard line approach means that colleagues make deals with him out of necessity, rather than choice, which can have a lasting effect on future deals and renegotiations. Hunt doesn’t always consider the long-term relationship when it comes to negotiating – a trait which certainly hasn’t helped him in the current Tory leadership race.
David Davis “The Positional Negotiator”
Follows through on his commitments
Aggressive attitude to negotiations
Failure to compromise on elements of key
Davis, of course, also has a firm hand in politics. In his most regarded
role, as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union from 2016 to 2018,
he was tasked with being one of the key negotiators as Britain navigated its
exit strategy from the EU. Despite his previous determination to see Brexit
through, he resigned from his position as he did not have confidence in the
Prime Ministers Brexit plan. As a life-long Eurosceptic, Davis stuck to his
guns all the way through his role – even if it meant leaving his post. Unlike
Hunt, however, sticking to his guns didn’t work out as well for Davis, who ultimately
resigned his post.
Davis’s communication skills or lack thereof may have made all the difference in this negotiation. Rumoured to have spent very little time actually engaging with his negotiating counterpart, Michel Barnier, Davis’ poor communication combined with his refusal to compromise don’t always work in his favour.
Angela Merkel “The Pragmatist”
Not afraid to be a lone voice of reason
Uses communication skills to address
Can be slow and indecisive at times of
integral political need
For the last 14 years, Merkel has held the position of German Chancellor
– arguably the biggest job in European politics. She is perhaps one of the most
feared negotiators in the current political climate, demonstrating her key
traits by always presenting herself foremostly as an internationalist.
has a way of talking to [Putin] that nobody has,” one of her senior
officials told The New Yorker.
Merkel is known to have an incredibly close
negotiating partnership with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin – which sets her
apart from other world leaders. Managing this relationship is key for Germany,
and her pragmatic, sensible and well considered approach to reaching deals –
and compromises – is one of her greatest assets as a negotiating master. She is
not afraid to stand alone with her views, and during her time as Minister for
the Environment, her ability to listen and reach compromises allowed her to
negotiate the Berlin climate deal.
Yet, this master of negotiation does have one sticking point – her indecisive manner. In fact, the Germans have coined the term ‘MerkeIn’ to describe Merkel’s negotiating style. This means to be indecisive and lacking an opinion. Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say, but can this style succeed in today’s agile workplace?
Sandberg “The Consensus Builder”
the industry she works in and uses that knowledge as power
“with” counterparts rather than “against” them
assertive or aggressive enough in dealing with demanding situations
Sandberg is a tech executive, businesswoman
and current Chief Operating Officer for Facebook, a position she has held since
2008. When appointed the position, Sandberg negotiated for a higher salary,
succeeding in getting Mark Zuckerberg on side by stating,
“This is the only time you
and I will ever be on opposite sides of the table”
While some negotiators like to draw clear
battle lines with their opponents, Sandberg prefers to charm her counterparts,
convincing them that they will settle on the deal which best benefits all
She also clearly understands the sector in
which she operates, meaning that her negotiating partners are seldom able to
overwhelm her with sector-specific knowledge and using market insights to forge
Of course, building a consensus around
decisions can quickly fall apart if that decision was proven to be the wrong
choice. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Sandberg became embroiled in
rows over culpability – does she lack the assertiveness to take responsibility
for her negotiations?