Archive for the ‘News’ Category

NI Chamber Annual Golf Event 2021

Posted on: September 23rd, 2021 by Forde May No Comments


Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) in association with Forde May Consulting held a fantastic 2021 annual Golf Day which took place at the prestigious Malone Golf Club on Friday 17th September 2021.

The Golf Day, which is held in partnership with Forde May Consulting, provides NI Chamber members and their clients with an opportunity to make new business connections, whilst enjoying a great day’s golf despite the wet conditions.

Congratulations to Paul Armstrong from Foods Connected picking up the Forde May Perpetual Trophy for best individual score.

1st Place Team – Regal Processors

2nd Place Team – Foods Connected

3rd Place Team – Smiley Monroe

NI Chamber Annual Golf Day 2021

Posted on: August 20th, 2021 by Forde May No Comments

Pictured L-R is Valerie Reid (Founding Director at Forde May Consulting),  Ann McGregor (Chief Executive of NI Chamber); Gerry May (Managing Director at Forde May Consulting) 

Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) is set to host its popular Annual Golf Day on Friday 17 September, in partnership with Forde May Consulting.

Over 100 members of the business community will tee off at NI Chamber’s first in person event of 2021, which is taking place at the prestigious Malone Golf Club. The golf day is designed for NI Chamber members to build networks and make connections in a relaxed setting, whilst competing to win the coveted Forde May Perpetual Golf Challenge Trophy.

The perpetual cup honours the late Dr Forde May who founded the executive recruitment company in Belfast over 20 years ago.  It has grown to become Northern Ireland’s longest standing executive recruitment company.

Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry Annual Golf Day

Posted on: July 5th, 2021 by Forde May No Comments

Forde May Consulting is delighted to continue our longstanding relationship with the NI Chamber of Commerce by sponsoring the annual golf day at Malone Golf Club on the 17th Sept. After a torrid 18mths of restrictions we know everyone will be excited to get out on the course.  Book quickly to avoid disappointment.  Details can be found at

COVID-19. What comes next for business?

Posted on: April 14th, 2021 by Forde May No Comments

To some it may seem like a lifetime ago, but it was just over one year ago, March 2020, that the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic.  It has been a dark and dismal year for many sectors, not least hospitality and leisure, but with the productive rollout of the vaccine across the UK and EU there is reason for considerable optimism as we enter the second year of the pandemic.  There is no doubt personal and working lives have changed demonstrably, but some change may be for the better.  This article outlines some issues businesses need to consider whilst we move towards the new dawn.

Owing to forced retail closures, consumer behaviour has swung increasingly toward virtual online retail options.  That model is not only here to stay, but forecast to grow aggressively.  A similar trend towards the virtual workspace for employees has also been embraced by most business sectors.  This model seems to be here to stay.  A recent report by the global management consulting firm, McKinsey (April 2021), found that as global economies reopen and we enter a new dawn in the working environment many companies plan to combine remote work with time in the office to get the best mix of productivity, teamwork and co-operation.   This new form of blended working will ensure that those employees that feel anxious of returning to the office environment, or those that need the comfort of team interaction and socialising, will have the right balance to be productive and happy.

To ensure businesses successfully roll out their blended working pattern there is one core tenet that must be adhered to; communication.   Organisations will need to have clear plans, policies, rationale and expectations for staff should they decide to change the work pattern.  Employers have a duty of care to their employees’ mental and physical wellbeing and after thirteen tumultuous months of insecurity, anxiety and burnout it is incumbent upon the employer to ensure that these issues are considered in their decision making.

A Recent survey by Ipsos MORI in collaboration with Nationwide Building Society (March 2021) reveals that nine in ten (90%) of those currently working from home want to keep doing so in some capacity i.e. at least one day per week. Despite 61% of those surveyed thinking working from home leads to a better work-life balance, respondents do not expect their employers to allow them to work at home as much as they would like to in future due to a perceived reduction in productivity.

On the flip side, businesses calling employees back to the office environment (at least some of the time) is surely not a bad thing, especially for those employees in the early stages of forging a career.  These executives may benefit most from in-person exchanges, mentorship and training as they start their journey up the career ladder.

However, after a year of COVID-related anxiety, stresses and strains, has come a lot of career contemplation.  People have started re-evaluating every part of their lives, including where their jobs are based.  The question is: can executives forge the same career whilst living away from cramped inner cities? Recent events would give a resounding ‘yes’.  Companies that ignore this do so at their peril because, in another recent survey conducted by Ipsos MORI (March 2021), employees stated that if their job does not give them purpose and work life balance, they will leave for one that will.

Forde May Consulting Privacy Policy

Posted on: February 17th, 2021 by Forde May No Comments

Forde May Consulting Privacy Policy


Forde May Consulting is an executive search business which undertakes head hunting and executive and senior management recruitment activity to clients as well as providing work-finding services to individuals. In providing these services the Company must process personal data (including sensitive personal data) so that it can provide these services – in doing so, the Company acts as a data controller.

Forde May Consulting cares about your privacy and we respect your privacy rights. The business has created this Privacy Policy to demonstrate our firm commitment to your privacy. The following outlines this commitment to users of our services (as defined below) as we want to be able to provide everyone with a user experience that is safe and secure. Forde May Consulting takes precautions which accord with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and will take reasonable precautions to ensure personal data in our possession is secure and not open to abuse.

Why do we collect your personal information?

We are retained by leading organisations to identify and place senior executive talent. We have identified you as an executive that would be of interest to our clients. We take your privacy very seriously and, in order for us to keep you informed about relevant opportunities, we request your consent to hold your personal data. If you do not formally provide consent by completing this process, we will be legally obliged to remove you from our database and can no longer put you forward for such opportunities.


What information do we collect?

Typically we collect your current and previous employers, and details of your work, skills and experiences, education and qualifications.


What will we do with your personal information?

We will hold your personal data to be able to place you to the most suitable position according to your background and experience. We may use your personal information to contact you to discuss the opportunity.


Who will be share your information with?

We will only make your personal information visible to the organisations we are working with when you are put forward for an opportunity.


How long do we hold it for?

If you create an account on the GatedTalent Portal ( we will hold your data until you revoke consent for us to do so. We will otherwise hold your data for no longer than 2 years before seeking confirmation that you are happy for us to continue to hold your data


Your rights:

You have the right to request from us access to your own personal information. This is sometimes known as a ‘subject access request’. Additionally, you have the right to request from us:


Many of the rights listed above are limited to certain defined circumstances and we may not always be able to comply with your request. We will tell you if this is the case. You also have the right to ask us not to process your personal data for direct marketing. We will inform you if we intend to use your information for this purpose or if we intend to disclose your information to any third party for this purpose. You can exercise your right to prevent us using your information in this way by contacting us at


If you choose to make a request to us to exercise any of these rights, we will aim to respond to you as soon as we reasonably can but no later than one month. We will not charge a fee for dealing with any reasonable request. If you are unhappy with how we are using your personal information or if you wish to complain about how we have handled a request, then please contact and we will try to resolve your concerns. You also have the right to complain to your local Data Protection Authority and a full list can be found here

Diversity in Manufacturing

Posted on: January 30th, 2020 by Forde May No Comments

Now we are into 2020, growing numbers of organisations are adopting and implementing new technological transformations into their businesses. Leaps being made in automation, robotics and IoT technologies have triggered an evolutionary journey towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution – however, a major barrier still stands in the way for companies seeking to capitalise on the opportunity technology presents.

It is widely recognised that the manufacturing industry is in dire need of people to take it forward, coupled with the challenge of not only skills shortages but to upskill through technological advancements. Yet, as we have seen with the tech sector in recent years, the industry has an opportunity to tap into a pool of talent that it has historically left behind. Whether it’s at entry or leadership level, manufacturing must increase the appeal of the sector to the 50 percent of the population who could prove to be the solution to the persistent skills problem – women.

While a growing majority of successful firms have taken steps to rebalance the scales in the sector, manufacturing, on the whole, is still a male-dominated industry. Of course, we know addressing the skills gap isn’t as easy as simply recruiting more women – in order for this to become an attractive option, firms must identify the root cause of the industry’s diversity problem, and it all starts with culture. Rather than starting with messaging and social media campaigns, leaders must work to create a culture where unique strengths are celebrated; they must go beyond policy-setting to find new and creative ways of encouraging women towards a career in modern manufacturing.

Understanding and addressing the needs of all rather than one demographic is a logical place to begin. In a recent survey of well-experienced women in manufacturing and their opinions on the diversity of the profession, seven out of 10 respondents said they’d stay in manufacturing if they were to start their careers today.

Only three out of 10 said they’d take a different career path. Yet, for those who said they would leave, the main reasons cited were poor working relationships, lack of opportunities and low compensation. When asked about the key cultural offerings that manufacturing employers should use to recruit and retain female talent, most respondents listed flexible working practices as well as formal and informal mentorship programs.

Indeed, providing these opportunities for employees can certainly send a message to the talent pool that all candidates are welcome and able to advance their careers in this sector. Devising and implementing diverse leadership development strategies that nurture potential from entry-level, such as mentor and sponsorship, can help firms to slowly build up a talent pipeline to address the leadership challenges of tomorrow; aligning recent female graduates with more senior women will aid in levelling the playing field in the long-term.

The perception of manufacturing continues to be outdated among women, but efforts to create working environments in which all employees feel supported by introducing more flexibility and placing more focus on work-life balance will undoubtedly aid in boosting diversity in the sector.

Of course, it’s a catch-22 situation: culture cannot change in manufacturing if there are no women in the room to influence a shift from the top. Without mentors, the promise of role models is empty; without female leaders, companies will struggle to attract young women into the industry at a time where their contribution is critical. In order to build a culture that attracts the best and brightest, manufacturing firms must look at their senior leadership teams to ensure the right mix of talent exists at the top.

This demands an overhaul of recruitment and promotion practices; it requires existing leaders to look at the processes they currently have in place and determine what is preventing talented women from climbing up the career ladder in their organisations.

Manufacturing is in dire need of a rebrand, but it must start from within. Already, some manufacturers and educators have begun collaborating to create programs that provide more exposure to the reality of modern manufacturing. However, if they are to tap into the potential of new technology, close the skills gap and seize the competitive edge in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, manufacturing employers must do more to engineer cultural change within their organisations.


Advancements in Technology

Posted on: November 18th, 2019 by Forde May No Comments

The advancement of technology in the work environment is being carefully considered in boardrooms across Northern Ireland, GB and the Republic of Ireland in 2019. With 2020 on the horizon, technology can now be a major asset in gaining, significant competitive advantage for firms across all sectors. Alexa for Business, for example, effectively removes barriers to using applications through the use of voice-enabled controls that help to ensure organisations and employees achieve a more productive day. Culturally, is the workplace ready for such AI placement? Is this a step too far that blurs the boundaries between our relationships with work, technology and our ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance?

The reality is that technology is here and the workforce is embracing it, albeit in their homes. In Q3 of 2019 Amazon now has sold over 130 million Alexa devices with an increasing global market share. Amazon is outselling its nearest rivals 3 to 1 in the smart speaker market. With the advent of more home devices gaining connectivity it again poses the questions outlined above.

More help from virtual assistants frees up a workforce for family time, fitness or overlapping work commitments. Many of us already carry work with us in our pockets anyway – the lines between tech, work and leisure time are already blurred – but thanks to voice recognition it’s becoming an altogether more human interaction. Surely bringing Alexa to work is a natural progression?
Natural perhaps, but employers embracing new technology need to set boundaries to ensure an individual’s personal security, enabling their employees to be more efficient in work time and encouraging a healthier work-life balance.

With a strong consideration of GDPR, employee information and how it’s processed is a key factor for all businesses, combined with the clients and customers they work with.
With many businesses increasing their use of cloud technology, individual security is a concern for consumers and employees. Technology is helping to remedy this; with significant advances in fingerprint and facial recognition has already made an impact on banking apps and across the security industries.

To achieve greater efficiency in your organisation, let technology take the strain, automate the tasks that few want to do such as editing, reporting, research or admin. AI can take away the drudgery, freeing up teams to exercise their judgement or take on more creative tasks. Office management programmes such as Slack enable remote working and helping to connect part-time employees, contractors and employees offsite. All this helps to encourage and nurture a more diverse workforce.

Technology for work-life balance

With the continuing and accelerating evolution in our workplace, organisations need to learn to set boundaries on how they use technology to help employees achieve a greater work-life balance. Knowing your employees can be contacted at a moment’s notice doesn’t mean they should be. With the continued competition for talent, organisation can utilise these technologies to attract talent to their organisations. The attraction of remote working through technology is seen as a key differentiator in a person’s career move, particularly from a work-life balance perspective.

Moving towards 2020, smart technology will continue at pace and looks set to continue to minimise the gap between work and personal life. Furthermore, the business benefits to be gained from AI are numerous.

Indeed, an IBM survey published last week found that 65% of the C-suite executives surveyed believe that automation of decision-making processes will increase in their business landscape over the next 2-3 years. Investment to support technology improvements need to be carefully considered, but the impact on the bottom line is ultimately what the C-suite will be looking at.

According to the survey, 9% of the total respondents – dubbed “Torchbearers” – stood out as understanding that transparency, reciprocity, and accountability are critical ingredients for earning trust among key stakeholders. These leaders build customer trust, create cultures of data-based decision-makers and are adept at sharing data with ecosystem partners without giving away competitive edge. This group was found to outperform peers in revenue growth and profitability – delivering 165 percent higher results – as well as in innovation and managing change.

The technology opportunities are numerous – and some likely to come into effect without much fanfare– employers and employees should ensure a fair distribution between the time at work and time at home. As in most other areas, the technology we create can be used to help or hinder and it will be down to the employees collaborating to find the right blended balance with their organisation.


5 Key Traits of a Leading Executive

Posted on: October 23rd, 2019 by Forde May No Comments

Top talent that can help pivot an organisation towards greater success.  With the ongoing political uncertainties in the UK, together with local and international pressures, it’s worth bearing mind some of the key traits that can help develop your executive career and for executive search and selection firms begin to approach you for new opportunities.

  1. Seeks continuous improvement

One trait all highly successful people share is that they continually seek to improve themselves and everything around them. Growth generally comes because of finding better and more effective ways to do things, and the right executive will never stop working to make a company bigger and better than it was before.

  1. Takes calculated risks

It can be very tempting for an executive to play it safe and not take many risks. After all, risk means you could potentially lose money, lose your good reputation, or lose opportunities that you otherwise could have had. But playing it safe means you will lose other things. Often that means losing opportunities to grow and develop. It’s important that executives aren’t reckless but instead that they take calculated risks in order to propel their company forward.

  1. Learns from mistakes

If you take enough risks, it will probably lead to some mistakes along the way. Mistakes are not necessarily detrimental. The important thing is that an executive learns from their mistakes so they don’t repeat them. It’s often possible to come back stronger from mistakes if you’re able to learn the lessons they have to teach. An executive who learns quickly from mistakes will be an irreplaceable asset to your company.

  1. Handles adversity well

In interview situations, no one really wants to talk about their failures or the hard times they have gone through. It is, however, crucial for your executive search consultant to know what you, as an executive, have found challenging and how you overcame these difficulties.

  1. Approachability

An executive without communication skills is not likely to get very far, but communication skills is a broad term that covers a lot of ground. One aspect of communication is interpersonal in nature. An executive that is approachable will avoid the ivory tower mentality that can make them lose touch with the people who really make the company work.


NI Chamber Annual Golf Day at Malone Golf Club

Posted on: September 25th, 2019 by Forde May No Comments


Pictured L-R is Suzie Mooney (Forde May Consulting),  Ann McGregor (Chief Executive of NI Chamber); Gerry May (Managing Director at Forde May Consulting) and Valerie Reid (Founding Director at Forde May Consulting)

Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) in association with Forde May Consulting held a fantastic 2019 annual Golf Day which took place at the prestigious Malone Golf Club on Friday 20 September 2019.

The Golf Day, which is held in partnership with Forde May Consulting, provides NI Chamber members and their clients with an opportunity to make new business connections, whilst enjoying a great day’s golf. This year, in particular, had the added bonus of perfect golfing weather with plenty of sunshine and warm weather.

Prizes won included the Forde May Perpetual Golf Challenge Trophy, in memory of the late Dr Forde May who founded the executive recruitment company in Belfast more than 20 years ago.  Forde May Consulting continues with its strong reputation as Northern Ireland’s first and leading executive recruitment firm.

Manufacturing Sector update from Forde May Consulting

Posted on: June 14th, 2019 by Forde May No Comments

Manufacturing update from Forde May Consulting

With the latest economic data coming through, the manufacturing sector is going through a sustained period of growth in Northern Ireland and indeed over the past 12 months there has been a continued rise in output. Brexit is seen as the most likely reason for this boost with firms increasing output ahead of the original Brexit date. With the year-on-year growth of 2.7% (similar to the growth across the wider UK manufacturing sector) some firms have increased production to reduce the possibility of any disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit.

The Pharmaceutical & Chemical sectors output for example jumped by almost 11% compared to the same time in 2018. Organisations are invested in stockpiling inside the EU to ensure smooth running post the deadline of October 31st.

Whilst the manufacturing sector’s output is now at an all-time high, doubling over the past ten years, it is the lack of skilled talent matching the growth of the industry that is proving to be the biggest challenge.

Unfortunately, the industry does have a reputation for not being as digitally advanced as other sectors. In reality, however, the opposite is true, with smart manufacturing on the rise. With such advances, the need for skilled talent has become even more critical, especially digital natives – Generation Z and Millennials.

Therefore, the industry must focus on attracting younger talent, competing against the Technology and Digital sectors that are perceived to be better environments. As Brendan Catney, Principal Consultant at Forde May Consulting, said: “It will be these individuals who can adapt and respond to shifting technology and processes. Progress will be built on existing success from Millennials and Gen Z.”

This is particularly the case as automation and artificial intelligence becomes commonplace in factories. The question then becomes one of what industry can to position itself as an employer of choice and attract the talent it sorely needs?

The skills gap

The digital skills gap threatens many industries but could hit manufacturing extremely hard. In the U.S. there will be an expected skills shortage in the next decade, with an economic impact estimate of circa $2.5 trillion. Existing workers aren’t fully equipped to deal with emerging technology. So, the skills gap will hinder progress of smart factories and stop leaders from fully realising their strategic goals. Productivity is expected to fall, revenue could then be lost and there will be a significant opportunity cost.

Hiring the right talent to work in smart factories is imperative. Yet, the manufacturing sector is falling short. Only 2% of companies believe that they are doing enough to equip young people for a long-term career in the industry.

Multiple generations in one factory

An additional complication then arises too in the managing of a multi-generational workforce. As younger people join the sector, leaders will have to manage the differing needs of several generations. Currently, 15 per cent of employees are over 55 years old and 17% are under 24. In particular, manufacturers have expressed difficulties in retaining younger workers.

Challenging the manufacturing sectors image

We come back again to manufacturing’s image problem. Young professionals who have the skills to work in smart factories are likely to be attracted by the generous pay, perks and lifestyle afforded by technology companies. In the recruitment market, manufacturers in Northern Ireland are competing against the likes of Scientific and Technology firms for the same talent. But as Brendan Catney reminds us, employers can overcome the perception talent may have of the sector by showcasing the reality of what a career in manufacturing is really like.

“It’s often a case of ‘selling’ the bigger picture,” he said. “This is a sector that more often than not provides career opportunities on a global scale. It is one that is leading the charge for safer, cleaner environments that are sustainable. And it is contrary to perception, one of the most technically-advanced sectors of any economy.”

According to the latest Manufacturing report , the public still do not see engineering & manufacturing as the rewarding and essential profession countries like Germany do. Nor do they understand how jobs in manufacturing impact on jobs in other sectors. A typical aerospace facility will generate 4 jobs in the supply chain. These 5 highly paid jobs then in turn contribute to supporting another 2 typically in service, retail and hospitality sectors.  Staff retention rates have also been found to be one of the highest. As Brendan said, “there is a real need to educate and inform all in Northern Ireland about the sector, the sector just needs to get better at vocalising it. Manufacturing NI is really making strides at making sure the industry is at the top table when it comes to promoting and encouraging new talent into the sector.

Publicise innovations 

Communicating the many innovations that are happening in the sector is also a way to improve the solution. Younger people are ambitious and keen to advance their careers. Offering development opportunities is a leading factor in attracting and retaining Millennials, who value learning and development more than any other preceding generation.

Manufacturing must inform potential workers about the many opportunities to grow their skills and career in the sector. AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain technology are causing a sea-change across the industry – all cutting-edge developments that an ambitious young professional would love to experience. Investment in learning is also important, but manufacturing firms are 8% less likely to have a dedicated training budget than other sectors.

Adapting to young talent

Adapting to younger employees’ lifestyles will also help to attract and retain talent. They value flexibility for side projects, extracurricular learning or to spend time with family. As businesses benefit from the blurring of work and home lives, thanks to advances in technologies, younger workers expect organisations to redress the balance by supporting them in personal development.

Attracting young talent is critical to the long-term success of smart factories. Therefore, it must be at the top of every executive’s to-do list. To start, manufacturing firms need to consider their communication and how to bridge the gap between young people’s perception of the sector and the reality. Then, processes need to adapt to younger workers who have different priorities to other generations. It involves some legwork but will pay off in the end. The factories that invest in their young talent now will be industry-leaders well into the future.