Tag: Employment

Net employment outlook at third strongest in Europe

According to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, employers across Ireland anticipate the highest level of hiring in 17 years, for the fourth quarter according to The Net Employment Outlook for Ireland stands at +34%, the third strongest in Europe. The powerhouse area behind this positivity is the manufacturing sector – up 53 percentage points from the previous year to +39% for Q4 2021.

Transport and logistics is also poised for headcount growth, with employment outlook rising to 39% for the coming quarter. The retail sector also intends to hire significantly, bouncing back with the promise of continued government employment supports for the industry remaining in place until March 2022.

Elsewhere, the finance and business service sector remains strong, up ten percentage points on last quarter to +20%. However, the construction industry is being hit by limitations to supplies and hiring plans and has contracted 19 percentage points from last quarters record high, yet the employers in the sector remain optimistic with a hiring Outlook of +20%.

  • Nationwide, employers in all industry sectors report positive hiring plans for Q4.
  • From a regional perspective, employers in Dublin are reporting positive hiring intent with an outlook of +39%, with Munster being the most positive province for the next quarter at +44%.
  • Larger-sized organisations (250+ employees) are reporting the strongest hiring confidence for Q4 with an employment outlook of +39%.
  • Currently 69% of employers are struggling to fill roles. This leaves us with a significant talent gap where employers need to be investing in recruitment drives, upskilling and retraining programmes as long-term solutions to filling roles.

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Unemployment has decreased since the ending of COVID-19 restrictions but may rise again as furlough scheme ends

The latest labour market overview from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for August reports that the number of payroll employees rose by 182,000 in July 2021, although this remains 201,000 below pre-pandemic levels.

Commenting on the survey, Bev White, CEO of tech recruiter Harvey Nash Group, said: “The ONS data shows the jobs market has well and truly bounced back. However, we’re also seeing persistent skills shortages holding businesses back. Two thirds of IT leaders say skills shortages are hampering them. The most acute shortages are in cyber security, Big Data/Analytics and – worryingly for the first time in the top three – DevOps, which is crucial to the fast development of systems and software.”

The REC’s latest Jobs Recovery Tracker reported that there were a total of 1.65 million active job adverts in the UK in the first week of August – the second highest weekly figure since December 2020. There were around 204,000 new job adverts posted in the same week, the fourth highest weekly figure since the start of the pandemic.

The massive uptick in job adverts since the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions means that employment has increased while unemployment has decreased since the end of 2020. With an approximate 953,000 job vacancies listed from May to July 2021, a record high, vacancy estimates are set to continue to rise. However, as the end of the furlough scheme looms, it remains to be seen whether the decline in unemployment, as reported by ONS, will continue.

Commenting on the ONS figures, Simon Wingate, Managing Director of Reed.co.uk said: “Our data has shown a jobs boom since the initial lockdown restrictions were lifted in April and this continued into July with over 326,000 new jobs posts added – a 179% year-on-year increase. The key challenge for employers now is finding the staff to fill the roles. Increased wages – as witnessed by the ONS data – will go a long way, but people across the country may still be hesitant about changing careers.”

Inflated salaries

The ONS survey highlighted a marked increase in the average total pay (including bonuses) of 8.8% and regular pay (excluding bonuses) increased by 7.4% during April to June 2021. However, it must be noted that the annual growth of the average employee pay is being affected by temporary factors that have inflated headline growth – for example, where there has been a drop in the number of lower-earning employee jobs therefore increasing average earnings during the pandemic.

Matt Weston, UK Managing Director of global recruitment firm Robert Half, said: “The rise in pay rolled employment sits hand in hand with a sharp drop in those using the furlough scheme, indicating continued recovery in the UK jobs market. The increase in median monthly pay also falls in line with the shift towards a talent-driven recruitment market, where candidates have greater influence when agreeing terms with a new employer.”

Harvey Nash CEO Bev White added: “We’ve been seeing a significant uptick in salaries for key IT roles and this looks set to continue. Candidates and targets with the right experience have strong bargaining power, which they’re leveraging. We’ve seen especially pronounced rises for front-end developers and anyone working with data. This isn’t just confined to London and the South East – it’s happening across the country with London-style salaries being offered much more widely, along with flexible and remote working options. Tech talent is essential to an ever-wider number of businesses, but it’s costing them ever more too.”

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With vacancy numbers hitting all-time highs in the UK since before the pandemic hit, online talent sourcing specialist, Talent.com, has warned employers that a lack of diversity in recruitment adverts themselves could hinder hiring strategies.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that there are more job vacancies now than before the pandemic as employers look to bolster resources as restrictions ease and business demand finally increases after more than a year of uncertainty. However, Talent.com has warned that an audit of hiring process – including job adverts and descriptions – is needed to ensure they appeal to modern-day diverse audiences.

Values and “must-haves” for job seekers have changed dramatically in the last few years with the workforce placing large emphasis on things that matter as opposed to higher pay. There is far more focus on sustainability and diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the Black Lives Matters movement has served to accelerate the much-needed evolution of hiring practices and other business policies.

Without a more diverse approach to hiring practices, businesses could see limited hiring success in the second half of 2021.

Noura Dadzie, Vice President of Sales UK and International Markets at Talent.com said: “With unemployment levels dropping as vacancy numbers rise, the war for talent is accelerating exponentially. The challenge for hiring managers now is not just to get in front of the right people before the competition, but perhaps more importantly, have the right content to push to these audiences. Job seekers are placing greater emphasis on diversity initiatives and employment culture in a post-pandemic world, but as businesses attempt to replace lost resources, too many are falling into the trap of pushing out pre-Covid ads and job descriptions that are arguably out-dated and irrelevant.

“Job seekers are more likely to apply for a position if they can easily identify with the job description and advert. If these do not reflect the diversity of the new talent landscape, employers will be on the back foot – a less-than-ideal scenario in a growing economy.”

Should you have interesting news stories to share, please send them to the Editor Debbie.walton@talintpartners.com

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The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) has launched revised Codes of Compliance, which it says are tougher and even more transparent than previous versions.

Following a review that took five months, the new codes provide added assurance to agencies, hirers and contractors, according to the FCSA.

In particular, member firms must now provide more transparency to contractors, particularly in relation to holiday pay in umbrella employment contracts and on payslips.

Umbrella companies have come under repeated fire this year, with claims some unscrupulous providers withhold holiday pay and other benefits owed to workers. In April MP Ruth Cadbury went as far as to call for umbrella firms to be banned due to “significant malpractice” in the industry.

Legitimate umbrella providers have argued, however, that especially given the introduction of new IR35 rules earlier this year, there’s a clear need for such structures.

“As market conditions change so too must our codes,” said Phil Pluck, the FCSA’s Chief Executive. “This is to ensure the highest standards of compliance are continued to be met by our member firms. Which is why now, we’re announcing the launch of our latest Code revisions.

“The most comprehensive and compliant set of evidence-based standards now exist in our sector. No one else in the sector can give contractors or the supply chain this level of assurance.”

The FCSA has also introduced new pre-requisite and due diligence checks on all new applicants, which must be passed before proceeding to the accreditation assessment stage.

It said each step in the assessment process is conducted by independent and regulated accountants and solicitors, all with considerable experience in the sector. No member of FCSA staff, the board or membership are involved in this process.

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The quest for ‘meaningful work’ is the most important factor in choosing a job, according to a new survey by leading financial recruitment company Core-Asset Consulting.

In a survey of professionals working across the financial, accounting and legal sectors in Scotland, people were asked to rank the importance of eight factors in choosing a job.

Key findings:

  • ‘Meaningful work’ was most frequently ranked as the top reason in people choosing a job
  • ‘Pay & benefits’ was the most commonly cited 2nd, 3rd and 4th factors
  • ‘Flexible working’ was most frequently cited as the least important factor

Factors:

  • Career progression
  • Company reputation
  • Location/length of commute
  • Flexible working
  • Meaningful work
  • Pay & benefits
  • Work-life balance
  • Working culture

Commenting on the survey, Betsy Williamson*, Managing Director of Core-Asset Consulting, said:

“It may come as a surprise to many that ‘meaningful work’ is the most common number one factor in people choosing a job, particularly as this is a survey of financial, accounting and legal professionals.

 

“But however you interpret the term ‘meaningful work’, it seems clear that white collar professionals are now seeking much more from their career than material rewards. The implications for employers is far reaching.

 

“To retain valuable employees, companies need to clearly articulate the driving purpose of its firm beyond the simple pursuit of profit, and how a particular department, team and individual fits into this bigger picture. This can include things such as the creation of a financially secure future for customers, tackling environmental issues and transforming local communities.

 

“Failure to do so not only means employers will have staff retention issues, they will also struggle to attract the very best talent.

 

“It’s very much a candidate-driven market now – particularly in hard-to-fill areas such as risk and compliance. Companies that recognise the importance of ‘meaningful work’ will do better in attracting and retaining the best people.

 

“But all this comes with a caveat: ‘over-selling’ roles comes with a similar risk of creating disillusioned employees. A delicate balance must be struck between aspiration and authenticity.”

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61% of people looking for a new job in 2017 say they’d have a negative perception of any company that enforced a dress code.

Meanwhile, the majority of UK workers say they would feel more productive and put more effort into their appearance if there wasn’t a dress code, according to a study by Stormline.

78% of respondents said that even without a dress code, they’d still make an effort to dress well and would make a clear distinction between ‘work clothes’ and ‘non-work clothes’.

Of those, 91% said they felt the quality and condition of what they wore was more important than whether it complied with a dress code and they would be more likely to spend more on clothes if they had more choice in what they wore.

68% said they were more likely to trust a well-dressed colleague to do a good job than someone in the same position who ‘didn’t make an effort’, but clothing style and formality didn’t have a significant influence on perceptions of competence. This suggests that we want to dress to impress, but resent being told what to wear.

Of those who are required to observe a dress code which is sometimes relaxed (for example on ‘dress down Friday’), 61% say they feel more productive when the dress code is relaxed.

Attitudes to company dress codes between the sexes

Women Men
A strict dress code would give me a negative perception of a business 60% 62%
A strict dress code would give me a positive perception of a business 22% 24%
A strict dress code would not change my perception of a business 18% 14%
I believe workplace dress codes are discriminatory to the opposite sex 63% 77%
I believe workplace dress codes are discriminatory to my sex 81% 61%
I am more productive and happier when I can dress how I like (only respondents who work somewhere with a dress code that is sometimes relaxed, for example on ‘dress down Friday’ answered this) 58% 64%
I don’t believe workplace dress codes are useful (only respondents who work somewhere with a dress code answered this) 78% 82%

When asked to select the dress code requirement – from a list of common requirements –  that gave the most negative impression of a business, people were most likely to select something that affected themselves due to their sex.

The most commonly selected dress code requirement among women (59%) was being asked to wear high heeled shoes. Among men, the most commonly selected item was being required to wear a tie (41%).

Other requirements that created a negative impression of a business were restrictions on piercings (men – 12%, women 19%) and requiring tattoos to be covered up (men 17%, women 10%).

Occupational health expert, Sir Cary Cooper CBE, professor of organisational psychology & health at the ALLIANCE Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, believes that formal dress codes have had their day. He said, “Uniforms and workwear that protect the wearer or help them be identified have obvious utility, but I don’t see the point in asking someone to wear a tie around their neck or to specify the colour of their shoes.

“Employers should trust their people enough to let them dress how they please. They may wish to advise on items they don’t want to see in the office, but to specify what they must wear is highly patronising.

“We must also consider the challenges of a formal dress code for people with disabilities, both hidden and visible, and chronic illnesses. Psoriasis sufferers, for example, may struggle wearing a buttoned up collar but may not feel confident in asking for exemption from the dress code.”

Regan McMillan, director of Stormline, thinks dress codes are useful to some industries and a hindrance in others and commented, “I think there’s a big difference between workwear, uniforms and dress codes. If you’re working in a dangerous environment, for example fishing, then the rules are about safety. If you’re public-facing, a uniform can help people identify you when they need you, but I can’t really think of a good reason why a web developer or a project manager would want – or need – to be told what to wear.

“Yet businesses in the UK still seem oddly keen on making their talent dress in specific, often very restrictive ways. Our research suggests that this sort of attitude could actually be harming businesses and their ability to attract the top talent, while creating some low level disgruntlement among their teams.”

Case Study

One respondent to the study, who didn’t want his name to be published, said that the dress code in place at his current place of work is the primary reason he is looking to move on.

He said, “I work in the I.T department of a financial services business, so on the one hand we’re a regulated company in a serious industry, but on the other hand, myself and my team spend a lot of our days in server rooms or under desks unplugging equipment, so wearing a suit just means we waste a lot of time taking our jackets off and putting them on again.

“The company policy here is strict, to the point that shoes must be black, men must be clean-shaven and shirts must be plain, not patterned. Ties are compulsory. I resent being told how to dress, especially when a lot of my friends who have similar jobs can dress how they like, doing the same work, but for more progressive companies.

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Claire Leigh, managing director of Brampton Recruitment, shares her thoughts on holiday pay and how temporary workers can ensure they receive what they are entitled to.

Temporary workers have a contract with an agency, but work on a temporary basis for an employer. This differentiates them from full-time employees and the self-employed.

The Agency Worker’s Regulations (2010) which details a worker’s rights, state that all temporary workers are entitled to a minimum of 28 days holiday a year, pro rata.

As temporary workers may not have consistent hours, many do not understand how to calculate their holiday pay and entitlement.

Holiday pay is accrued at a rate of 12.07 per cent of gross pay, therefore it is important that workers keep a detailed record of their earnings.

To put this into context, if a temporary worker is paid £7.50 per hour they will accrue holiday pay at the rate of just over 90p per hour.

Keeping a record of how many hours they have worked may also be useful for temporary workers, but is not essential for calculating holiday pay.

Twelve weeks

Although holiday pay begins accruing immediately, after twelve weeks a temporary worker is entitled to the same working conditions and basic pay, or to be paid within the same salary bracket as a permanent member of staff doing comparable work.

In terms of holiday pay, this means if permanent workers are entitled to more than the minimum of 28 days paid holiday, a temporary worker should receive the same if they have been working for more than twelve weeks.

However, employer benefits which are calculated through a payroll system, such as healthcare might not be offered to a temporary member of staff. After twelve weeks if a temporary worker is with the same agency they will be enrolled onto an autoenrollment pension.

Help and advice

Recruitment agencies should be the first point of contact for any temporary workers concerned or confused about holiday pay or benefits. At Brampton Recruitment, we explain these rights upon registration and again upon placing a candidate in a role.

Temporary workers who have found their role through Brampton Recruitment will have this information in writing in a new starter pack, however we encourage anybody registered with us to get in contact for further advice if it is required.

Alternatively, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) provides advice on all areas of employment law, on its website and helpline.

As more people are turning to temporary work, it is essential that this growing pool of workers are aware of their rights. Although legislation can be confusing, help is available to ensure temporary workers fully understand their entitlement to paid holiday and other benefits.

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The recovery of family businesses from the pandemic will be crucial in the rebuilding of the UK economy, according to not-for-profit membership organisation IFB Research Foundation (IFBRF).

 

The IFBRF’s latest report revealed that family firms were in rude health before the onset of the pandemic. Its research found that in 2019, family businesses made up almost 30% of the UK’s national income.

 

In the same year, more than 100,000 new family businesses were created across the UK, with 5.2 million family firms in total, employing more than 14 million people.

 

Sir Michael Bibby, Chairman of the IFB Research Foundation, said: “This latest report from the IFB Research Foundation shows how, before the Covid-19 pandemic, family businesses were playing a critical role in the UK economy. The evidence highlights how the sector had been performing well and was largely optimistic about the future.

 

“The pandemic is likely to have had a dramatic impact on the outlook, and expectations of many UK small and medium-sized enterprises and this report will give us a great base from which to analyse the changes especially given some of the sectors in which family firms are most concentrated have been those hardest hit by Covid-19.”

 

IFB Director General Elizabeth Bagger added: “This report from the IFB Research Foundation clearly shows how significant family businesses are to the strength, stability, and success of UK private enterprise. Before the pandemic, family businesses were growing exponentially. Family firms are the driving force across all regions, communities, and sectors of the UK and as such, are pivotal to the future prosperity of the country as we emerge from the pandemic. We must therefore ensure that family businesses are supported to recover and grow.”

 

She said that government-funded initiatives such as Evolve Digital, run by the Lancaster University Management School and part of a national research study aimed at feeding into government policy on small family businesses, should prove useful in helping businesses navigate the changing landscape.

 

“Supporting the adoption of new technologies can help family firms improve their processes and foster innovation, with the move towards these new technologies a trend which has been accelerated by the pandemic.”

 

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The UK construction sector is experiencing the highest levels of demand in years as it strives to recover from the delays and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, this is good news for economic recovery, but David McCormack, CEO of HIVE360, says he is concerned for the mental health and welfare of workers as the sector looks to meet the resourcing challenge.

Workers in high demand

The construction sector needs an extra 217,000 workers by 2025 to meet the post-pandemic bounce-back. *According to the CITB’s Construction Skills Network, most English regions will experience an increase in construction workers, with the East Midlands (1.7%) and West Midlands (1.4%) set to lead demand*.

Over half (53%) of the 2.8 million people working in UK construction are self-employed, on an agency or zero-hours contract, so companies throughout the construction sector supply chain will inevitably turn to recruiters for help with finding and supplying workers.

The creation of new job opportunities is positive, but employers in the sector must follow best practice guidelines and be legally compliant – including with the new IR35 rules – to ensure existing and new workers are treated fairly.

Worker welfare and wellbeing

Globally, the construction industry has one of the poorest records for employee mental health and suicide. The UK’s Office for National Statistics reports the suicide rate in construction is over three times more than the national average – about 400 workers in the UK’s construction and engineering sectors take their own live each year.

UK construction workers are also vulnerable to modern slavery, which covers forced labour and human trafficking.

Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. It is estimated that there is a large number of people experiencing modern slavery within the UK construction industry**.  Labour employed via sub-contractors or agents are considered most at-risk.

Last year, the government published its long-awaited response to its consultation on transparency in supply chains. Among the measures is a commitment to ‘mandating the key topics that modern slavery statements must cover’, with civil penalties for non-compliance anticipated in ‘due course’. In March 2021, the government launched a new online registry for modern slavery statements, to enable more informed scrutiny of an organisation’s approach to supply chains, with the comparative quality of statements available for all to see.

The risks from modern slavery can occur anywhere in a construction company’s operations – whether this is through direct employment, contractors or subcontractors – and can include failure to pay workers the UK minimum wage, and child labour in extended supply chains.

All construction workers have the right to control their wages, have a written employment contract, be paid on time, keep their passport, choose where they want to stay, change their job, or join a union. As well as this, they should be treated with respect, paid fairly and protected by the law.

The Construction Protocol

The Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), is a Non-Departmental Public Body of the UK Government, and a national enforcement agency whose role is to protect workers from labour exploitation.

To tackle modern slavery in the construction sector, the GLAA has collaborated with leading construction companies to create the Construction Protocol, which brings in the same measures and guidelines seen in the fresh food sector that protect the health and wellbeing of workers.

All signatories have agreed to raise awareness within supply chains to help to prevent and protect construction workers from exploitation or abuse, and take necessary steps to ensure exploitation and abuse of workers is recognised and addressed with appropriate safeguards put in place to ensure that exploitative practice is not repeated.

As a GLAA license holder and signatory of the Construction Protocol, HIVE360 is committed to helping participating companies with payroll and worker wellbeing.

Added benefits

HIVE360 is an expert in recruitment agency PAYE outsourced payroll,  and our HMRC-compliant payroll solution guarantees a speedy and transparent service, with no nasty fees for workers. It also delivers efficiency gains from our payroll, digital payslips, pensions auto-enrolment and pay documentation support.

HIVE360 goes further with our unique customisable engagement app Engage.

Provided as a standard element of our outsourced payroll solution, Engage gives workers access to a range of health and wellbeing benefits and services: 24/7, confidential access to mental health support, counsellors and GPs, 1000s of high street and online discounts, huge mobile phone savings, online training resources, along with a secure digital payslips portal and a real-time workplace pension dashboard to support employees’ financial wellbeing. To ensure the safety of employees in the workplace, we have also introduced an incident reporting system which allows workers to raise serious issues or concerns with their employer directly through the app, anonymously if they choose to.

HIVE360 is an outsourced payroll and employee benefits expert that is championing a new model of employment administration and redefining employment and pension administration processing. Visit: www.hive360.com

References

*CITB: Construction Skills Network forecasts 2021-2025: UK

**GLAA: Construction Industry Protocol

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A new survey of more than 2,700 contractors reveals just 14% will accept an inside IR35 decision, raising fears that UK companies could be on the verge of a massive talent exodus.

Overall, 69% of contractors said that if they were deemed inside IR35 they would either leave or charge a higher fee, according to research by specialist insurance broker Kingsbridge in the lead-up to the introduction of new off-payroll rules on Tuesday, April 6.

This potential exodus of contractors from talent pools is further exacerbated by the struggles this group have faced over the past year. According to Kingsbridge’s research, a staggering 70% of contractors have gone without government support so far during the pandemic, suggesting that a significant proportion of the flexible workforce could soon be lost to employers.

Tough job ahead for recruiters
Andy Vessey, Head of Tax at Kingsbridge, said the findings are alarming reading for recruiters trying to attract highly skilled and flexible contractors. “It’s clearly been a difficult year for contractors, with the combined effects of Covid-19 and Brexit already weighing heavily on their shoulders, and IR35 is yet another challenge to contend with. Engagement and communication…will be key to ensuring that this significantly valuable resource doesn’t dwindle after April 6.

“IR35 reforms can seem complicated and troublesome for recruiters who have new responsibilities and liabilities under the rules. However, if the legislation is understood, enacted fairly and communicated effectively, then contractors will be able to keep working in the way that they want to, and end clients can prove that they are employing them legitimately and legally outside IR35.”

The research highlighted that, while 73% of contractors felt prepared or somewhat prepared for IR35, 55% did not believe their recruitment agency was ready.

Third-party sellers ‘a compliance risk’
Crawford Temple, CEO of Professional Passport, a large independent assessor of intermediary compliance, warned recruiters to be wary of third-party sellers and sales lead generation companies, which typically offered introduction incentives of up to £400 each.

“With umbrella charges typically equating to around £20 per week, it is difficult to understand how these large financial incentives can be offered through standard compliant offerings,” he said. “Many of these organisations seek to front their offering with an accredited provider to create a perception of compliance. Once leads are received, and where the individuals are looking for higher returns, they are often introduced to a different offering.

“Many of the ‘high return’ models operate significantly higher charges whilst at the same time returning larger take home pay for workers. Where compliant tax arrangements are used, the take home pay from providers will be broadly the same, with the only difference being where the charge varies, which should only result in a few pence difference to a worker.”

Beware the ‘ghost’ system
Temple also urged recruiters to be alert to ‘ghost’ systems, where providers seemingly operate compliant offerings with many workers engaged by a standard umbrella style arrangement.

“Behind this seemingly compliant offering lies a separate offering that is only offered to workers who express a desire for higher returns,” he said. “These non-compliant offerings typically fail to provide workers with pay slips or other communications relating to the breakdown of pay so that these would have to be requested by the recruitment company directly from the provider. The examples provided do not reflect the reality of the arrangements and are designed to mislead.”

Tell-tale sign of non-compliance
A tell-tale sign for recruiters that something is wrong is a sudden increase in workers operating through a specific provider for no apparent reason.

“Ignorance is no defence, and the supply chain needs to work together to drive up standards and promote the importance of compliance,” Temple said. “The message is clear: work with compliant partners that you trust and be wary of firms that seem to be aggressively cashing in on new upcoming legislative changes.”

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