Vogelpath-De Iongh

Tag Archive: PQE

And Yes, Client Is Indeed Still King!


The client is now at the pivot of our economic universe. Your client, my client, our clients, are living in the knowledge age, where terabytes of data have been analysed and modeled into usable intelligence that more than half of the world’s population has access to, through their cellphone. As it happens, the client as we know it, has become a scarcity. Social media pushes tailored and relevant content to them every second of the day, and guess what? They are not looking for you! They are merely waiting, rather impatiently I might add, to receive. In fact they are EXPECTING to receive the perfect basket of goods, services or news feed. Anything less than what they assume they are entitled to is simply not good enough, and all it takes is one un-follow here, or one de-link there, and your client along with their network is no more in your world.

What does this mean for you? You want to do your job well and get paid right? You want a good bonus and a cosy holiday every year right? Well your client is demanding personalised, consistent, dead-obvious quality and service delivery. How are you meant to deliver this in a world strapped with red tape and legislation? Where companies are in it for profit, and our clients are having none of it? This shift in demand and lack of market adaptability is what has given rise to the market disrupters en-masse. I’m referring to Uber, Alibaba, Netflix, Google and other businesses who structure their ENTIRE company around their client’s needs (and yes, we refer to needs instead of wants because the desire to fit in, be successful and be a part of a brand has become a need, not just a want as it were pre-Y2K. Sorry Maslow!) They are fully aware that their client is ever changing and ensure that they are setup in order to cater for shifts in demand or changes in the market. I could go on and on, but just have a look at the FTSE 100 or global top grossing companies. What type of organisations feature on a daily basis? Have a look at the Fortune 500 companies and in particular how long conglomerate organisations stay in their positions. Almost as long as Aqua’s Barbie Girl stayed on the charts back in it’s day.

Never mind your financial reward or career growth, you will need to fully understand your clients world and do everything in your power to integrate your organisation’s offering into their lives. You cannot be disconnected, you just cannot afford to remain distant. You need to be client centric. Once you accept this, you can embark on a painful but absolutely critical journey of learning how to manage upwards, as it is highly likely that your organisation has not made the shift in mind-set and you will need to “coach” your seniors to get on this gravy train that is not stopping for any kind of mash potato. Of course this is a generalisation, but the emergence of many disrupting companies are the proof to my assumption.

In the end, if your organisation does not shift, neither will you. I guess that the holiday at the end of year is slightly more challenging to attain than expected, but do not despair! One thing for certain is that client loyalty is still “on the cards” for the next few years. Until we find a way to provide free water and electricity to the entire global population. We will then write a slightly different article.

PQE – Post Qualification Experience, Matters…

I’d like to take a shot at untangling the confusion of what “work experience” means when looking for professional opportunities, specifically within the legal market in South Africa.

Post Qualification Experience, referred to as PQE in most job vacancies starts to count, in years, once admitted as an attorney of the High Court, not once you have obtained your L.L.B. Law degree and graduated. Your PQE will be specific to the legal sector in which you can prove you have had the most practical experience. For example, if you worked on two commercial contracts but 18 labour matters within two years of being admitted as an attorney, your PQE would lend itself towards labour law experience.

This does not completely dictate your future as a lawyer as far as the legal sector is concerned, nor does it discount that you actually may be brilliant at commercial contract work, BUT it does play a major part in how top-tier law firms as well as medium sized players shortlist their candidates. In the legal market, experience does count and so the more relevant, hands on and practical your experience is, the better for the next opportunity within the same field of expertise.

I’d like to explicitly point out that your experience does play a vital role in carving out your future career within the legal field, and so where you work, what you work on and what you are measured on should be top of mind as it forms the staple tool of your toolkit when proceeding with other opportunities. Can you see that your decisions made as early as starting articles or selecting a masters course matter greatly in your ability to secure your next big opportunity. Always align the course content or work experience with your specific career interest.

If you are looking to add a new specialisation to your arsenal or change your legal direction completely, it will depend a lot on what your expectation of your next move is and what opportunities are in the market at that time. Engage with a recruitment consultant earlier rather than later to guide you in navigating your career with all the aforementioned in mind.

Claire Vogelpath-De Iongh, Managing Director, Vogelpath-De Iongh Recruitment Consultancy.