Gaurav brings more than 18 years of overall experience in recruitment. He has developed a forte in the banking and financial services domain and over the last few years has also forayed into FinTech, E-Commerce and Cybersecurity.
The evolution of the CIO: an evolving role
Technology has become ingrained in almost every part of business life – no matter the industry or sector.As employers have learned to survive in unstable market conditions, they’ve come to realise the value of having an innovative and business-focused chief information officer (CIO).With technology advancing at an unprecedented pace, the traditional responsibilities of the CIO have expanded, with their role becoming increasingly important to the success of an organisation. In today’s business world, CIOs are required to not only manage IT infrastructure and systems, but also to drive forward and align technology initiatives with overarching business goals.The changing roleHistorically, the CIO's primary focus has been on overseeing the implementation and maintenance of technology systems within an organisation. However, as businesses have become more reliant on technology for their operations and growth, the role has evolved to encompass a broader set of responsibilities.Today, CIOs are expected to be strategic business partners who are there to help enhance operational efficiency and leverage technology to create competitive advantages – maximising the return on the company’s investment in technology. In other words, it’s now essential for a CIO to focus not only on cost savings, but on using technology to add value and increase revenue for the business.CIOs are now required to collaborate closely with other c-suite executives to align technology initiatives with overall business objectives, identify opportunities for digital transformation, and mitigate potential risks associated with technology adoption. It’s an exciting era, as CIOs now have the chance to be transformational leaders who can harness technological advancements and data to consolidate their tech stacks and gain efficiency.Challenges in staying up to dateStaying current with the latest technological developments can be a considerable challenge. The rapid pace of innovation, coupled with the proliferation of widespread AI technologies, presents a daunting task for CIOs looking to stay informed and ready to address the potential impact these technologies can have on their organisation.According to digital adoption platform, Userlane, and leading consultancy, PwC, almost two thirds of CIOs surveyed were concerned that the state of the economy will affect their digital transformation plans. But at the same time, 62% plan to deepen their investment in technology, illustrating just how important technology integration now is at leadership level.One of the biggest challenges is offering digital services that are safe and secure for the consumer, which makes cybersecurity a number one priority for the majority of CIOs; their responsibility is to protect the systems and data that shareholders and stakeholders entrust them with.As cyber threats become more sophisticated, CIOs must continually evaluate and implement robust security measures to safeguard their organisations' data and infrastructure.Understanding the capabilities of AIGiven the uptake in generative AI across the workplace, it’s no surprise that AI is expected to shape the future of business. Large language models (LLMs) will continue to play a part in generating documentation on business processes, designing training programmes, and writing and rewriting code.AI has been hotly anticipated by technology departments for a while, but has only recently reached a point where its potential benefits, capabilities, and enhancements, have become clear. CIOs are being asked to learn what AI is capable of and how it can be harnessed to competitive or strategic advantage across the business – similar to the adoption of any other technology.More recently, generative AI is offering an entry point for companies looking to spearhead investment decisions. Rather than manually researching information, CIOs have the ability to use generative AI to summarise markets, telling them where to look and where to harness department energy.Managing business needsThis transformation now sees CIOs juggling evolving responsibilities, to shape their departments. This requires a thorough understanding of their organisation's strategic objectives – helped by their c-suite role – as well as the ability to identify and prioritise technology initiatives that will best support those objectives.As the role grows, it’s important for CIOs to develop and maintain strong relationships with other business leaders and departments, gaining insights into their challenges and opportunities, and leveraging technology to address them. As a company grows, so does the amount of data, which makes having an innovative leader and strong IT department even more essential.We’re seeing CIOs steering the ship, promoting continuous improvement within their teams, while further encouraging the exploration of new technologies to drive meaningful change to stay competitive, relevant, and secure.The sooner companies realise the true value of the CIO position, the better their chances of success.To find a talented tech professional for your company, or to take the next step in your career, contact our specialist technology recruiters now.
The four top benefits of working with a specialist to find talent for your school
Over the past decade, the overall number of teachers in private schools has not kept pace with increasing pupil numbers.The number of pupils in private schools rose 12% in 2023, the biggest increase since 2007. With this increase, the number of teachers was meant to grow as well, but the pupil-to-teacher ratio is lower than expected. In addition, the teacher vacancy rate has risen over this period – showing just how critical it is to make sure your recruitment strategy hits the mark.Working with an experienced, specialist recruiter is a great way to make sure that you’re accessing the biggest talent pool possible. An education recruitment specialist should also be a great source of information and insight that can really help your school increase its offer to students.So why use a specialist education recruiter?Unrivalled knowledge of the teacher recruitment landscapeWhen it comes to outsourcing recruitment, some sectors and industries need that specialist touch – none more so than education. As we know, staff recruitment and retention are some of the biggest challenges facing the education sector, so knowing where to look and how to position your school or trust as an ‘employer of choice’ is crucial when talent is difficult to obtain.Specialist recruiters bring experience working with a large number ofschools and can utilise their rounded viewpoints to help source and pinpoint professionals they believe will work well with your institution, working to enhance your offer to students, parents and other key stakeholders.Reed offers best-in-class teaching staff across early years, foundation, primary, secondary and SEND settings, and access to more than one million teaching professionals through Reed.co.uk and our global network – including high-demand subject specialists in STEM and English. With ongoing challenges facing schools, working with a specialist recruiter like Reed will help you secure the staff your institution requires.Workforce planning handleOver the past year, we have seen some of the most significant changes to the education workplace. The impact of staff shortages continues and with so much uncertainty surrounding the sector, workforce planning can be challenging.But schools still need to prepare for the future, to position themselves for any eventuality or outcome. Placing your recruitment strategy on hold for too long could have a negative effect on student attainment and the future success of your talent acquisition strategy.Working alongside a specialist recruiter can help keep attraction and retention at the forefront of your ethos, they can offer regional and national market insights, give you an in-depth understanding of salary trends for benchmarking, alongside advice on combatting your school’s skills shortages and enhancing your employer branding.It's important to remember that, above all, school leaders have a duty to ensure their efforts contribute to achieving optimal pupil outcomes – specialists are on hand to help you achieve just that and make sure those professionals you hire match the ambition of your school.Assured compliance proceduresThere will always be an ongoing commitment on behalf of school leaders to make sure that those you recruit into your institution are suitable and appropriate. It’s essential that when looking for talented professionals, people are thoroughly vetted to a high standard to protect your school and its students.Working alongside an education recruiter can help to alleviate some of the pressure that comes with finding suitable candidates and ensures you can hire confidently knowing that every aspect of safe recruitment is covered. Having had a specialist recruitment division for nearly 30 years, quality and compliance are at the core of Reed’s culture. A specialist recruiter will be dedicated to providing you with the highest level of governance for the safe delivery of learning, reassuring you, your need.Ability to manage whole school recruitmentWorking with an education recruitment specialist goes way beyond the sourcing and hiring of teaching staff – they can also help you source staff for all non-classroom-based roles. From teachers to teaching assistants, intervention specialists, receptionists and caretakers – a specialist recruiter, like Reed, can cater its service to meet your bespoke requirements.Reed has a long history of working in partnership with clients, including as a preferred supplier, or as part of an approved list of suppliers for the school, multi-academy trust (MAT) or local authority. For those looking for a complete recruitment solution, Reed has expertise in the provision of managed service programmes (MSP).This isn’t a new process, as Reed already has MSP infrastructures in place and fully operational, alongside being on four main education contract frameworks:Crown Commercial Service (CCS)Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO)Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO)Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC)These frameworks allow your school to benefit from a tailored, industry-specific solution for years to come.Final thoughtsWhen it comes to talent attraction and retention in education, school leaders need to do everything possible to ensure they continue to provide high-quality education standards and achieve positive outcomes for their students – without the right staff this wouldn’t be possible. Working in partnership with a specialist makes talent acquisition more manageable.Using a dedicated education recruitment expert will give you direct access to a wider talent pool, up to date labour market trends and guidance, and help alleviate the overall stress of recruiting in what is an increasingly candidate-short market.Looking for the right staff to join your school? We can help you get September ready. Speak to one of our specialist consultants today.
The need for cultural intelligence in the workplace
Cultural intelligence has increasingly become a topic of interest in management.With teams comprising individuals from various cultural backgrounds, it’s only fair that managers strive to appreciate and understand differing cultural factors in their teams.The proportion of people working abroad has been increasing over the past decade, making cultural diversity a key feature of the modern workplace. It’s wise for employers to remember that each employee has different perceptions and perspectives that can help elevate business success.The ability to understand, communicate, and collaborate across cultural boundaries is essential for company growth and talent attraction.What is cultural intelligence?Cultural intelligence, or cultural quotient (CQ), is the ability to relate to and interact with other cultures effectively. It is a crucial skill for employees who work in diverse and global environments, as it helps them understand, communicate, and collaborate with people from different backgrounds, with different values and perspectives.CQ has four main components according to professors P. Christopher Earley and Soon Ang. They are:Drive (motivation): the ability to direct attention and energy toward learning about and functioning in cross-cultural situationsKnowledge (cognition): describes the wide scope of general knowledge individuals hold about culturesStrategy (metacognition): refers to a person’s mental capability to acquire and evaluate cultural knowledgeAction (behaviour): the capability to put knowledge into practice and to demonstrate an extensive range of culturally appropriate verbal and non-verbal behaviours.It’s important to remember that cultural intelligence can play a significant role in how employees evaluate your company culture. By bridging gaps related to traditions, customs, disciplines, and nationalities, you can influence greater awareness and understanding of cultural differences among your workforce. This will help with collaboration, increase productivity and enhance organisational reputation.Why is it important in the workplace?According to research published by School for CEOs, 76% of senior business leaders lack cultural intelligence – hindering their chances of creating a greater sense of belonging and inclusion within their teams.Owing to its impact on team building and diversity of opinion, CQ is becoming an increasingly important skill in business. Here are some of the key reasons cultural intelligence is important in the workplace:Enhances productivity and innovationCultural intelligence plays a pivotal role in enhancing productivity and driving innovation. When employees possess the ability to understand each other, they are more likely to work collaboratively and harmoniously, regardless of cultural differences.This, in turn, creates a positive work environment, where individuals bring unique perspectives and ideas to the table – making them better equipped to solve complex problems by drawing from a wide range of experiences and viewpoints.Creates effective communication and collaborationOne of the most significant benefits of cultural intelligence is its role in creating and maintaining effective workplace communication – especially in large organisations, where individual thoughts and opinions can easily be overlooked.Individuals with high cultural intelligence are skilled at bridging communication gaps, mitigating misunderstandings, and building trust across the workplace. This is essential in a globalised economy, where businesses often engage with international partners, clients and stakeholders.By leveraging CQ, employees can build stronger, more meaningful relationships with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds, leading to enhanced business outcomes, long-term partnerships and reduced risk of miscommunication.Promotes customer relationsAs business models grow and strategies expand beyond localised areas, businesses must cater to a diverse customer base. Cultural intelligence is instrumental in understanding and meeting the needs of different customers.When teams understand diverse cultures and their requirements, they can deliver more personalised and culturally sensitive services, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Cultural intelligence enables businesses to avoid misunderstandings and missteps that could jeopardise customer relations and lead to reputational damage.Builds inclusive workplacesWith inclusion and diversity now a prominent part of internal business strategy, cultural intelligence is key to creating inclusive workplaces where all employees feel valued and respected.By promoting a sense of belonging and understanding of others, organisations can create an environment that celebrates diversity and encourages individuals to bring their authentic selves to work. This supportive culture then leads to higher levels of employee satisfaction, engagement, productivity and retention.Developing cultural intelligenceImproving cultural diversity in the workplace requires everyone, especially leaders responsible for strategy and innovation, to practice cultural intelligence.Some of the ways to develop and encourage a multicultural mindset are:Helping employees learn the basics of different cultures, such as values, beliefs, customs, and etiquetteObserving and reciprocating the physical cues and gestures of other cultures, such as eye contact, body language, and personal spacePractising empathy and curiosity when interacting with people from different backgrounds and viewpointsSeeking feedback and learning from mistakes when engaging in cross-cultural situationsProviding opportunities for cultural exchange and collaboration, such as mentoring, training, and social events.Looking to attract the best talent to your business, or considering a career change? Contact one of our specialist consultants today.