June 30, 2021

The Bermuda Job Happiness Survey | Steph Brown - Recruitment Partner

The Bermuda Job Happiness Survey | Steph Brown - Recruitment Partner

Steph Brown, recruitment partner, surveyed the Bermuda Market place to explore:
How happy are you in your job?

The data collected focused on the Bermuda employment market, specifically focusing on how candidates/applicants/employees feel about navigating Bermuda โ€˜s unique job search space.

Key Take-aways The Bermuda Job Happiness โœ๏ธ Survey:
Organizations are looking at:
๐Ÿ‘‰ Ways are there to be better employers
๐Ÿ‘‰ Creating positive ๐Ÿฆ‹ brand ambassadors
๐Ÿ‘‰ How to attract and retain ๐Ÿง  people ๐Ÿง  on a longer-term basis

Steph Brown, the recruitment partner, surveyed the Bermuda MarketPlace to explore:

How happy are you in your job?

The data collected focused on the Bermuda employment market, specifically focusing on how candidates/applicants/employees feel about navigating Bermuda‘s unique job search space.

Key Take-aways of the Bermuda Job Happiness Survey: 

Organizations are looking at: 

  • Ways to be better employers 
  • Creating positive brand ambassadors 
  • How to attract and retain people on a longer-term basis

Knowledge Bomb

  • Over 60% of the survey respondents indicated they were actually job seeking.
  • 26% of the survey respondents said that they have taken stock of their careers and that the pandemic has prompted them to look for a new job and to move on.

About the Guest

Steph Brown is a Recruitment Partner at a Bermuda-based Consulting firm. 

About the Show 

Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey with Michelle St Jane

A podcast for Global and Re-Emerging Leadership creating community/tribe, a circle of influence, transcendency of compassionate leadership in the world and wider universe. A unique destination for learning about Leadership + Conscious Stewardship + Legacy.

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Michelle St Jane: [00:00:00] Steph Brown is a recruitment partner based in Bermuda. We're going to talk about The Bermuda Job Happiness Survey. What it is that global leaders need to know about employee happiness. 

Steph Brown, welcome. Tell me, how did you come to call this, The Bermuda Job Survey

Steph Brown: [00:00:58] The Bermuda Job Survey summarized what I was trying to find out: How happy are you in your job? The name kind of resonated. So that's what I went with and it definitely hooked people's attention and got them to complete the survey.

Michelle St Jane: [00:01:13 I liked the way your questions were also bringing in the pandemic: 

What has happened

  •  during the pandemic
  •  since the pandemic

What kind of responses have you had that took you by surprise

Steph Brown: [00:01:24] I'm definitely happy to talk through some of the results. I just wanted to say that this came about where I was reading a lot in the newspapers and it's quite negative and, speaking to candidates, they're worried about jobs and things.

I wanted to hear from people.  See what’s really going on. I was very surprised with the results of the survey. Positively surprised. Some things I wasn't surprised about, but I just thought rather than rely on what's in the media and what our friends might sort of tell us, let's get some real data from people on the frontline that are out there in Bermuda working, navigating this space and hearing from them.

I just went ahead and used my extensive network on the Island, some Bermudians were off-Island, to get the data. Definitely happy to talk you through some of my findings. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:02:11] Wonderful. It was the big pandemic pause that moved me out of practicing law and thought leadership into podcasting. I'm extremely happy doing that because I love having conversations. 

I've been an international speaker for 15, 20 years. Now, I've got my virtual podium. I also get to choose the topics and the people. So for me, that pandemic pause allowed me to pivot into a very positive place and reduce the places that are not so inspiring for me. 

Coming to your survey, let's hear some results and some data. 

 Steph Brown: [00:02:44] I just want to frame the survey

I reached out to as many people as I could. With what I do I have access to all sorts of different types of:

  •  people, like technical people 
  •  different professional levels
  •  different industries

I was in a great position to cast the net wide. I reached out to people that I know, not just job seekers. Over 60% of the people that I surveyed are actually job seeking. We have answers from 40% of people that aren't, so I thought that was quite good to point that out as well.

I think one of the questions I wanted to ask, there were actually eight in total, but one of the questions we're sort of asking people is, “are you job seeking because of the pandemic and what's happened”. Looking at the data and going through it 26% of people said that they have taken stock of their careers and that the pandemic has prompted them to look for a new job and to move on.

I thought that was quite interesting to see. Another thing to me is, again, there's a lot of doom and gloom on the Island and in the newspapers, and a lot of talk about all these jobs going. What are we going to do? It's quite interesting to see that over 73% of the people that did my survey said that their company didn't make redundancies or layoffs since the pandemic, which is really, quite surprising.

I thought it was going to be 50% with all the things we're hearing, so you think it's doom and gloom but that's really positive, I would say. It was definitely a key bit of information that was really good to see. I also wanted to present the questions to people from the HR sector, so for me, being on the island for the nine years I’ve been recruiting here, I've definitely seen where some firms have gaps in HR.

HR seems to be a function or an area within the business that is limited with resources. It is not always seen as something to invest in. Maybe it's seen as an administrative function, but I think last year, it really highlighted any companies that had gaps in HR, in terms of human resource management, their policies, procedures and such.

I wanted to ask people how they felt about the HR management team or policies or representation within their employer and how they felt or found it. There were a couple of questions that I asked. One was, “how has your HR management team communicated during the pandemic to you?”

15% of people said it was really badly. The rest of the people said they did okay, it was sufficient. About 15% said they handled it badly, which I actually think is really good, from a lot of what I hear, people that aren't unhappy and the ones that are job seeking, so they'll tell me a lot of negative things, which is only a true snapshot.

I was expecting that to be higher with a lot more people complaining about how HR communicates. That was quite encouraging. On the back of that though I also asked, “how do you value your HR team within your employer or any kind of HR that you have?” And only 27% of people said that they think their HR representation within their employer is awesome.

Only 27% of the people that took the survey feel happy about the HR, human resource management that their employer offers. So that was quite sad to hear. For me, that makes me think that we've got a lot more to do in terms of making employees feel protected, feeling safe, being valued, and that is a big an issue as you've got over 70% of the people that I've surveyed don't have any faith or trust or don't value their HR within their employer that speaks volumes for me, I'm obviously getting goosebumps thinking about that and get very protective. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:06:21] Yes, that’s a really  great point because this is a great service. If 70% plus employees, I'm very concerned, leadership needs to hear about this and HR needs to pivot and improve because they're really the interface between the external bringing in potential employees and internally. This is a valuable moment to do some work, and of course this could have been even more highlighted where people would put up with it in the old normal, it's difficult to suffer through this in the new normal.

You've done a great service capturing this information and also bringing it to the attention of your clients. They have a chance to make a difference, make a change and we have this new normal with unique risks and things like that. We're valuing people and our place and we're taking better care of people, so getting it right in HR, is like a critical situation, isn't it?

Steph Brown: [00:07:10] Yes, it definitely is, and I think, it's a trend over the years that I've been constantly seeing, where companies will lose good staff because they might have an issue with the boss. 

If you don't have any buffer or anything in between, then the HR is so important in valuing your people. I could talk a whole day about this, and no we don't have all day, but one of the things that I do see on the Island is there's some amazing HR people out there, but there's also some where they’re very driven by the decision, the sort of the C-suite, so, even if they might not agree with something, they just go along with it because,” Hey, it's my job,  I just come in”. 

My view of HR is that it should be there to support the staff, protect the staff, and if you don't see something you are happy with yourself, you need to be their advocate. I see that people will leave employers because they'll try, they'll speak to HR and then there's issues with confidentiality and what have you.

So yes for me, if I had a company and I have 20 staff, if one of them wasn't happy at work, I would want to know about it. I would be alarmed because that one person is going to touch all my clients. I mean, if they're not happy, they're not going to represent our visions, our goals and all those kinds of things.

I think it's something I've felt very passionate about for a number of years is waking up leadership teams and the people at the top that don't really know too much about what’s  going on, in the front line, it's really waking them up to, “Hey, let's start making employees feel valued, trusted.” There's so much that you can do.

One of the things that another survey I did a few years ago, before I did an event, was how to build brand ambassadors in your organization. One of the questions that came up there was really, really, I think, so key, because a lot of what I find with managers is they don't talk to the staff. 

Let's not ask them what they want, because they're going to say more money and we don't have any more money, you know, times are tough. Wow. The results I got from when I asked people, “what can your employer do to make you happier?” it was things like, “Make me involved in key decisions within the organizations”. “Let me start work early in the day, I'm a morning person”, so it was so much more than the money, and I've had to come to this conclusion that people leave jobs for less money because of the way their employers treated them and because of what's attractive by the other employer or the other things that you can get. Should I plow ahead with just a couple of other results?

Michelle St Jane: [00:09:27] Absolutely. Just one second. I love the way you used the term brand ambassador because even after someone leaves your company, they're either celebrating you or they've got stories to tell that may not be so attractive. More importantly, I love the fact that you just brought up people being early birds or night owls, and there’s even hybrids they've now identified.

 There are hybrids in the middle of this, so getting your best workout. I used to get more work done between 5:00 AM and 9:00 AM than I could the whole week and see secondly I also want to speak if when I lead a team, if I heard one person be it in the coffee room, aware of it, if they had a suggestion or complaint, I was curious to know more because I have the philosophy, as a leader, if one person sees it, there are 10 to 20 or a hundred thinking it, and they're not going to have the courage to say it.

The fact that they're saying it in the coffee room is they're so stressed about it. They've got to talk about it. Let's get it on the books. It's like, what can we do to resolve it? And I must say my youngest daughter works for a fabulous international company and she has loved working from home because she is a night owl.

She really appreciates starting later in the day, she appreciates being able to get her coffee and slide behind her desk for an early meeting that she's prepared for the night before without having to be on the ground at her worst times. Do you know what I mean? In fact, they've even added yoga in. So forward-thinking.

As you said, it's not always money. It can be working in your best bio rhythm, so it can be being able to share your ability to do fabulous yoga and increase the wellbeing of the company you work for. Handing back over to you.

Steph Brown: [00:11:04] Yes, and just on the back of that, it's always remembering we're people, we're not mobile phones. One size is not going to fit all. If you are afraid and you don't want to talk to your staff to find out what you can do better and how to make them happier, then good luck to you really.

I feel the pandemic, everything that happened last year, has really just forced us all to really re-evaluate. I know a lot of even friends, and candidates, have been spending a lot of time at work, 60 hours a week. Some of the crazy things that you hear, and now they look back and the, how they've been treated during the pandemic, by their employer has resonated with them and they’ve felt it.

 Some people have been getting care packages on the doorstep with cheese and wine, others like “Steph, have not heard from the HR for three weeks they’re ignoring me, I don't even know if I've got a job” and it's like, wow, the moment he realized that how you treat someone is like, it's just going to stay with them.

 I think as well, the work that I've done over the years to try and help companies get better, to kind of understand the recruitment process and new best practices and things, I think I've tried to help as much as I can, but it's very eye opening that the things that I hear, I definitely do. Again this is what prompts me to do these surveys and find these platforms and speak to as many people as possible because people will spend, let's say six months unhappy in a job, and I think, you've met me for five minutes and you’re telling me all this. Sometimes with tears. I've had all sorts and I'm like, wow, “what do you say to your friends when you've had a few drinks on Friday night?” There's so many times I want to call up a company and say, you need to speak to this employee because she's told me this. God knows what she's telling everyone else on the Island. 

A lot of companies now really struggle to actually attract talent because you know, they'll run their adverts and then people aren't applying and they wonder why. It's like we have to be very mindful if someone's not happy.

Find out why and we can't make it perfect, but even the fact of asking someone, “Hey, are you, okay, are we doing the best that we can?” You know, “we want you to be happy in your work. What can we do within reason?” Even just listening to someone, it's fundamental.  We've all read the books about belonging and what have you.

I will walk over coals for so many people because of what I think of them and how they've treated me and on the other side, there's people that haven't, and, you know, you don't go out the way. So anyway, back to the survey, and we look to talk about things like that. One of the things I wanted to know as well, because in the work that I do, I'm trying to help companies, when they need to recruit, what's going to be a successful recruitment campaign.

You know, there's lots of different things you can kind of do. One size doesn't fit all. One of the things I wanted to know is where do candidates look. If you're looking for a job, what do you do? So for me, there's probably four key places. The Royal Gazette, the Bermuda Job Board, which is an awesome tool, you might look at employment agencies, or you might use social media.

I asked everybody to let me know what place that they go. As always, it seems it’s the Royal Gazette. So over 38% of people still look at the Royal Gazette board jobs. So this really helps me when companies are wanting to get the most from an advertising campaign so yep, it’s still the Royal Gazette. You can advertise there you, three days, two days, one day, as much as you want so companies will still advertise there, so that was good to see.  

Then the second one was The Bermuda Job Board. That gets a lot of traffic. Again, this is definitely where companies will need to utilize these platforms. For any job seekers out there still look at the job board. It's a great resource. 

The next one was social media, we are  both big LinkedIn advocates and definitely there's jobs that get posted on there. I would definitely be using social media platforms as well. Then the last one was employment agencies.

We're still a little bit old school in Bermuda, we still buy the newspaper etc.

Michelle St Jane: [00:14:45] The interesting thing in New Zealand is, 70% of the hiring is off LinkedIn. Just to go to the other side of the world, if you want to get a job, you need to have a great profile on LinkedIn because it's your brand.

If you don't have a profile on LinkedIn that's your brand. You're not showing up. If you have one on LinkedIn and you're not posting, or it's not current, or your photos are way out of date, that's your brand. You're not taking care of the way you present yourself, building on your brand ambassador. You're also your own ambassador as a professional, as a leader, as an organization, as a team.

What you do in New Zealand, the number one is actually social media, which is number one is LinkedIn. Having a good profile, showing up posting, commenting, sharing what your activities are demonstrates the quality of you as a candidate. Also employers will reach out in New Zealand.

 I'd be contacted by people who would ask me if I was available for projects, for contracts, for certain job opportunities. That was very different to what you've just said about Bermuda. That's really good to know if you are a job seeker because we don't always realize that LinkedIn is a fabulous platform for the job search.

Steph Brown: [00:16:00] It is. What I am hesitant about is sometimes people that don't do Instagram. They don't like social media because they are worried and concerned. I say to people though, you don't actually need to have a full on profile, create an account and use it as a database so if you see an advert in the paper for a company you're interested in. Type that company into LinkedIn to search and you'll see everybody that works there. You can still access it without putting yourself out there, just to try and start using it and before, you know, it you'll see the value. If you can just create an account and just have it basic and just use it for a search function, for sure. 

One example of this is I've just hired a Bermudian in the UK who saw one of my posts on LinkedIn and we're going to bring her back to the UK in the year once she's started in the role.  If I hadn't had LinkedIn and someone hadn't seen that and shared, how did I know about these Bermudian in the UK? I know social media can be a bit scary. I always say to people, keep it professional.  LinkedIn is so professional. 

Take it out of your mind. It's not like Facebook. It's not like Instagram. It’s professional. There are amazing people. It is really interesting. I actually like how Bermuda is still old school and we still do the newspaper and stuff. So that was good for me to see. 

Another question that I asked is what do you think is like the leading industry on the Island now? Again, just to preface this, my reach is wide-ranging. Yes, I do recruit in the insurance and a lot of the corporate roles. I recruit in other industry sectors as well. 

The top industry that everybody said is leading on the Island is reinsurance insurance. The second leading industry was regulatory and compliance-related.

Now that's no surprise and seeing so many Bermudians that are getting awesome qualifications and looking at privacy and things like that means it’s being pushed out from a global regulatory standard. That's definitely a sure-fire career. Unfortunately, the way the world is we have to protect ourselves from nasty people so Anti Money Laundering, compliance, cyber, all that stuff is definitely a big industry.

Then the other one was legal related. Any law and legal, they were literally all the top. Any other industry didn't really sort of get a sniff. Again, that's just people's personal views and it could come from what they're reading, what their friends are saying. I didn't just research everybody in the insurance industry, so disclaimer there. 

I think the overarch for me and what I've been doing and practicing for over a year is if you don't know something, don't rely on assumptions or biases. Don't read something or hear from someone and just think, “Oh, that's a rubbish company. Oh, that's not happening” and then take that as your truth, like playing it out for yourself, go out there, find out what's going on.

I look to speak to as many people as possible. I'll just give you some figures. People always kind of asked me this. Since October last year, I placed over 17 people in permanent jobs. I’ve placed 5 people in temporary jobs, and that's just me.

Now, none of these will be in the public domain. Nobody really knows about it, so there's good things happening now, and I think for me last year, when I resigned from my last employer and took a couple of months off, it was awful not being able to speak to all my HR people and find out what was going on. Are you okay? 

Then slowly as I started to speak to everyone and heard what was happening, I was quite relieved. So much recruitment was going on, people getting hired during lockdown, so again, I have to say, don't just take people's word for it. Go and find out for yourself. There was a lot of good stuff going on in this Island and a lot of great hires being made, a lot of movement going on behind the scenes.

That isn't new Michelle, there's always been kind of two views. If you look in the paper and think that's all the jobs and that's what's happening, but there's always lots of things going on behind the scenes. So I do encourage people to think positively and realize that there's a lot of people making a lot of money. A lot of people are pivoting 

Also in terms of why people are looking for jobs, what's happened last year again with people not feeling valued and questioning like, “hang on a minute, life’s too short.  I might not be miserable, but I'm not a hundred percent happy. Hey, I'm actually going to go somewhere else”. So there's loads of movement with people leaving jobs to be entrepreneurs, take time off from study. So whenever people are leaving jobs, there's still the jobs there. So I would say we're not getting tons of new jobs, but there's still a lot of opportunities when people are moving around, so any movement is always good, I would say. So that was just me going on my little tangent. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:20:16] You posted recently about diversity in the recruiter's role, and it was very timely because we've had some great events throughout March around this diversity inclusion. What's your philosophy on this? What are you passionate about? 

Steph Brown: [00:20:31] Yeah. So I think for me, I always feel like the right person for the job shouldn't matter who they know what they look like, sometimes even the results on a degree.

Some companies on the Island are very particular. If you don't have a certain GPA, or you don't have this they won't even look at your resume. It's so short-sighted. So for me, I've always kind of been probably a bit blinkered that it's the right person for the role.

I have been in situations which I've been quite public about in the past, as a recruiter where  a company starts dictating, we want a girl, we want  boy, we want this, I don't get involved with companies that have those kinds of off the record candidate specifications.

I just think that if you look around at the rainforest, if you look around or just go on a walk and look in the bushes, you have to have a mixture of different things and weirdly enough, they just create amazing things, so the more diverse that you have, the more different influences and opinions for me just creates more ideas and opportunities. 

Why would you want all of the same kind of people educated at the same school that look all the same? Y'all just going to have the same opinions. Man, that's a bit boring, and it might do the job, and it might be successful in one kind of area, but if you look at your friends you will see that they are different. 

I have diverse friends that are 16, another one of my friends Vanessa Robinson's daughter, she's four. She's my best friend, one of my best friends. So I have friends from 16, 17, right up to 90 years old, and I think you've got to kind of actually ask yourself are you taking charge of that and surrounding yourself just at home, in your personal life, and you might actually surprise yourself and think “actually yeah all my friends kind of look like me, we go to the same place” and then maybe they'll look to make a new friend. You will learn something. Definitely. 

I do think it's a topic that keeps popping up, I think over the last three or four years. The reason why I’ve done this post is that I'm studying for a course that's to do with recruitment and it's coming out of the UK and it's all about legislation, best practice and it's been amazing to read that diversity side. I just thought it sums it up perfectly. 

But again, I have to say it, I haven't really worked at a firm where there have been any issues, and I think my view has been quite sheltered and limited, to be honest, because I have had people commenting on the post, which have obviously been in situations.

My view on it is, mix it up multiculturally as much as possible. I don't want to hear anyone ever say, they’re too old, they say, “but Steph  what am I going to I’m going to turn 60 next year” I say “ stop right there oh my gosh, you should own that. That's amazing”. So I have to say there's some businesses on the Island that embrace that, so while they might have a mandatory retirement age such as 55, they'll make them retire, then they’ll hire him back on as a consultant because they’re awesome at the job., 

Michelle St Jane: [00:23:13] Great points. A lot of wisdom in those statements. Having been in and around international business for over four decades, I can remember in the late eighties being the only woman in a boardroom of men in black suits and they were all white and I was working for the Fortune 500 and the first thing they would say to me when I'd get in the room is, how they took their coffee.

Now I'm placing a multi-million dollar deal before the underwriters for excess liability property, casualty, DNO, but I was rated on whether I could make coffee.

Secret confession. I don't make coffee, and when I got asked to, there were grains in it, because I didn't understand coffee makers, so, you know, super F on that. 

In the nineties, I was very involved in mediations and arbitrations, and it was really interesting to look at the dynamics around the table. Even though they were again all white males, they came from different backgrounds, different faiths, different experiences, different places of origin, and you'd have to navigate these already set in place biases and prejudice. 

I then set up the human rights mediation for them, in the early noughties. That was a real eye-opener because I saw again issues that women would have, having to be on the golf course to do business, having to meet in bars to do business, well a woman in those environments, who's perhaps not growing up with that, it is an uncomfortable place to be. I do not hang out in bars. It's not my thing. It's not my culture.

I do recall having to do a human rights mediation, or I put my corporate peacemakers hat on, where there was a woman, an alternative, well, not an alternative, she was Muslim, I think. She was on a team that was predominantly from the UK and they went out for dinner and drinks, and that was not a place that she could be, or if she had to be, it would cost her. So she became an outsider on her team and hands down the HR for this international business handled that brilliantly. The woman actually wanted human rights training around diversity issues bought in so that they would understand that as a woman of a certain faith, this made her extremely uncomfortable, but also if they looked at it, it compromised her promotion, her performances and how she was viewed, not necessarily how she was performing or was promoted.

I really appreciate the fact that you were bringing in the diversity and inclusion, although you thought it's only been in recent times, I can take you back to the eighties and I'm sure a woman of more institutional history could tell you some more stories around that. So, Steph, I really value what you're doing. 

Steph Brown: [00:25:47] Okay, so I think this is probably a good time to clarify what it is I do. My role is to work with companies predominantly on the Island to attract the local talent. You have obviously heard about the nomads coming and working here. I love the fact we’re this small little ecosystem, where you can bump into the CEO of a company in Lindo and stuff. We're so small and confined, which again is really attractive and it's exciting, but also you have to be very careful how you present yourself. We're not in New York. where you’re never going to see the same person down the street again. 

What I do is work with companies to help them do the best that they can to manage a recruitment campaign, but then also ensuring that the candidate enjoys the process as well.

I do get a lot of people that reach out to me, where maybe they’ve had a job offer from a company. They ask about the job offer, and does it sound right? and to see if I have information about what people are getting paid and all the benefits and again, across the industry sectors.  I'm always happy to give someone my thoughts and advice and help them with a negotiation, even if there's nothing to do with my client as such.

I do really enjoy that and again, I like to use the network that I've had then to raise awareness for a lot of the third sector and not for profits on the Island as well. That's a big passion of mine. I always get back to people, I don't ignore people, but I have to say that most of the people that reach out to me tend to really be here already on the Island.

Michelle St Jane: [00:27:10] Steph. I really appreciate you being here today and all your wisdom and data. Thank you so much for sharing that. It's a very telling story and also a big shout out for the HR’S that are getting it right. Thank you for your service. 

Steph Brown: [00:27:23] Thank you so much for inviting me on Michelle.

Outro:  Dr. Michelle St Jane is a conscious steward as meaningful leadership in the world and the wider cosmos. Tune in every Thursday for real talk around life, leadership, and your conscious journey. Be ready to create and cultivate your dreams and wholehearted desires. Your support is valued. Please follow, subscribe, leave a review and a rating. More importantly, share with your connections.

Reach out.  I am interested to hear from you. Do you have a topic you'd like to explore? It would be great to have your feedback.

Dr. Michelle St Jane

Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey 

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Steph Brown

Recruitment Consultant

Steph Brown, Recruitment Partner who has an established network to enable her Clients to successfully complete their recruitment campaigns - connecting them to candidates from Graduates to C-Suite Executives.