Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Did you ever wonder how you compare with the 'average' IP pro?

Readers may not be aware that there is a UK patent and trade mark attorney salary survey floating around right now. Organised by some fellows called Fellows and Associates, the survey is hosted by SurveyMonkey and you can access it here.  It appears to take the same amount of time to complete whether you are earning a fortune or struggling by on a pittance -- and the closing date for completing it is 7 February.

This survey will provide some handy first-hand information concerning the UK profession which, if nothing else, will give the professions some idea as to how much (or little) is being earned, how far people are prepared to move in search of a position, what their age-range and qualifications look like. Do give it a whirl!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sacco Mann (that great firm I credited in the post below) also have what they claim to be the results of a recent survey on their website. It is pretty basic and doesn't discriminate between in-house and private practice and fails to consider bonus and other benefits. Such published surveys are rarely helpful except for those considering a career as an attorney. The results are also highly questionable because they rely on the honsesty of those who contribute.

And finally, their timing is wholly suspicious, coming at a time when employers are looking to drive down starting salaries when those looking at new positions are not looking for a large pay cut. How are these recruitment agents supposed to convince people to take a lesser salary unless they can convince them that the pay on offer is "highly competitive"?

The surveys are also conducted for the benefit of the agents to give them information otherwise unobtainable. More accurate salary data is collected directly from, and shared with, employers. Much more useful to have!

Emma van Opstal said...

Dear Anonymous,

As I work for Fellows and Associates and have had a hand in the salary survey initiative, I read your comment with interest.

I appreciate that a salary survey might look suspicious coming from a recruitment firm. The reason we decided to run one is that several of our clients expressed an interest in finding objective information about salary trends in the IP profession. They believe this information will be helpful to them because it will give a measure of transparency to the market, and thereby dispel any incorrect impressions of the competitiveness of employee salaries, allowing for any discrepancies to be corrected. In other words, they wish to pay their employees fair market rate, which is in everyone's interest.

While we will undoubtedly benefit from the survey in terms of having access to more salary information, this information is by no means unobtainable for us since by the very nature of our work, every candidate we talk to reveals their salary details to us. However, in order to obtain a more representative cross-section sample of the IP sector, rather than just compiling data based on the existing skewed pool, we decided to use the generally accepted scientific method of an anonymous survey to allow anyone in the profession to contribute without having to contact us directly.

Kind regards,

Emma van Opstal
Consultant
Fellows and Associates

Anonymous said...

Good to see an agent comment in here. This Fellows approach is the most open one as most agents simply collect salary data from candidates for their own ends, yet never give information to the candidate in return. I've seen many tables of specific salary information provided to employers, which is for some reason supposed to be condfidential and non-disclosable to employees. A touch one-sided!

I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of Emma on the comments in the previous posts and on the trend for generic advertising of positions which are pretty uninformative for candidates. E.G. "London, forward-thinking firm, competitive package, blah blah blah".

Looking at recent CIPA pinks, the same positions appear to be advertised by all of the agents out there. How is a candidate supposed to judge which positions to apply for and via which agent?

Emma van Opstal said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your comment. I know what you mean about generic job adverts, but unfortunately that is part of the recruitment business model. We cannot reveal the identity of the client to protect confidentiality, which is really the back bone of our business. Some clients simply don't want the world to know they are hiring (or sometimes don't want to be seen as unable to fill a role themselves).
Personally I have been an advocate of putting more task-related details in adverts, but when I did a trial run of that approach, most adverts started looking very much the same. The point of difference between roles is usually down to the firm, as their strategy and work environment have a large influence on the job.
Some firms prefer to use a variety of agents simultaneously, because they believe they will get a broader selection of candidates. This approach has its disadvantages, one of which is that the job will appear in several agents' adverts.

Kind regards,

Emma van Opstal
Consultant
Fellows and Associates

Anonymous said...

It all looks like a waste of adverts etc Emma. From a potential candidate's view there just isn't enough information to be attracted to a role. Why would any candidate contact an agent in response to a generic job ad for London or the South East or the North? I know several people who have provided their details including salary and package to agents only to be told the job was gone long ago or they were never to hear from the agent again. This isn't a single lone agent but a representative sample of those in the IP area. The feedback I have received means I will not use an agent as an employer and would be loathe to do so as a candidate.

The behaviour of agents is giving them and their clients a bad reputation. I can't help wondering whether the economic client has given agents the impression that respect for candidates is a thing of the past.

I am also of the opinion that many of the jobs advertised by agents are not the result of a client's instructions bit have been identified by the agents form firm's website's. My firm has experienced this previously and candidates would do themselves more favours to approach such firms directly.

CIPA should look into the behaviour of agents and control the advertising of those responsible for such tactics.