A "who you know" industry?

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Up_Tilt_390

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Having been told by my friend who was told by a friend of his, apparently the railway industry is not really based on certain qualities, but that it is mostly a "who you know" industry with people normally having families already working on the railways and getting in through them and so on.

From what I've heard most railway workers actually come from a generation of railway workers and I honestly don't think I've even heard of an individual getting into the industry without connections of family or friends. Is it true, is the railway mostly a "who you know" industry and is it really worth one person with no connections even trying to get in? (Let's honestly be realistic there with what you know rather then trying to be optimistic about it).
 
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TDK

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Having been told by my friend who was told by a friend of his, apparently the railway industry is not really based on certain qualities, but that it is mostly a "who you know" industry with people normally having families already working on the railways and getting in through them and so on.

From what I've heard most railway workers actually come from a generation of railway workers and I honestly don't think I've even heard of an individual getting into the industry without connections of family or friends. Is it true, is the railway mostly a "who you know" industry and is it really worth one person with no connections even trying to get in? (Let's honestly be realistic there with what you know rather then trying to be optimistic about it).

You have heard wrong, 30 years ago maybe, the railway industry employs whoever is most suitable for the role. All this friend of a friend needs to have the quote "with a pinch of salt" added to it my friend.
 

fowler9

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Sounds like a load of bobbins to me. The people I know working on the railways have certainly done me no favours getting a job with them. There is always a chance they don't really like me :)
 

TheManBehind

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Not really the case any more. Getting into the graded ranks can be done without knowing anyone - as was my case! No railway friends or family to recommend me, joining a TOC 50miles from where I lived for 20 years.

As you make your way toward management though, it does become more important to network and get to know the people you'll be working with - making your name and face known works wonders. But then, that's the same as any other industry these days!
 

Mintona

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I don't have any family on the railway, and I'm on my 4th railway job in 7 years for my 3rd TOC.

It doesn't work like that anymore.
 

the sniper

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Having been told by my friend who was told by a friend of his, apparently the railway industry is not really based on certain qualities, but that it is mostly a "who you know" industry with people normally having families already working on the railways and getting in through them and so on.

It occasionally seems to happen where I am, but the vast majority of my colleagues on the railway have never had any relatives in the industry. This includes myself, though saying that, one of my great grandfathers was apparently Station Master at Hay-on-Wye station, but I can't say he held much sway by the time I joined the industry, 60+ years after his death!
 

SussexMan

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...I've heard most railway workers actually come from a generation of railway workers ...

Statistically, more railway workers might come from a generation of railway workers than not, simply because people who have family already working on the railways might be more likely to apply for jobs.

That doesn't mean that HR departments within TOCs aren't recruiting based on "best person for the job". I strongly suspect that the HR departments adhere to equality legislation when recruiting.
 

alxndr

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I suspect it used to happen, there are several brothers and father/sons that I know of still, however most had no connection to the railway, including me. I didn't know a single person on the railway, or a single person in this town and I got on alright.
 

theironroad

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I don't think the strict culture of ' you're Fred's son, so here's a job' exists so much these days, though there is still a fair few multiple generation families on the rails.

Certainly I think for drivers wanting to move from lower paying TOCs to the higher payers, there is definitely a mates and who you play golf with culture and it is insidious, more so when the TOC hr proclaim that the process is whiter than white.

Can you get into the railway as a whole without connection? Sure you can, but I bet there is advantage if you're mate's with relevant managers.
 

EssexGonzo

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It's not a lot different from many other industries, to be honest. And most definitely the public sector organisations too.
 

Phil.

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".....my friend who was told by a friend of his,......".

My postman's neighbour who knew the crossing keeper at Shepreth's owner of the poodle parlour at Ashwell reckons that that's a load of tosh and he should know 'cos he once took a train from Royston to Baldock and he knows everything about trains.

Just like what I've typed it's a load of squit.
 

red2005

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Yeah proper load of rubbish!.......as people have said that may have been the case back in nineteen bow and arrow but certainly not anymore. In fact we are In a time when It's never been further than a "who you know" Industry.

As the majority of the thousands of people who try and fail to get railway jobs will probably tell you. HR for example have just as much If not more of a say than any manager who's your dad's best friends uncle may have.
 

Llanigraham

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Looking at the people who worked in the 2 signal boxes either side of mine, and including mine, so roughly 22 people, I can think of only 1 that came from a railway family.
 

DarloRich

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Having been told by my friend who was told by a friend of his, apparently the railway industry is not really based on certain qualities, but that it is mostly a "who you know" industry with people normally having families already working on the railways and getting in through them and so on.

From what I've heard most railway workers actually come from a generation of railway workers and I honestly don't think I've even heard of an individual getting into the industry without connections of family or friends. Is it true, is the railway mostly a "who you know" industry and is it really worth one person with no connections even trying to get in? (Let's honestly be realistic there with what you know rather then trying to be optimistic about it).

Bull. 30 years ago perhaps.

I had no family connections with the railway and got a job. I have several people reporting to me ( I recruited them all) none whom have such connections. My entire wider team is in that position. It sounds like sour grapes by someone who failed to pass muster.
 

Ladder23

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this is exactly what I was told when visiting my local Network Rail depot when requesting info regarding operative jobs, they said its all very close, hard to get in and most people get in through family recommendations including himself (being the hiring manager at that depot!!!) which did knock my confidence more yet again as I dont know anyone.

I have now failed 10+ operative applications, and still trying, I regularly keep contact with that manager, and he says no funding's are there right now to hire but maybe in the summer, will see.. :(
 

33056

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Don't think it was always the case even 30 years ago, I managed to get a job back then at the first time of asking with no close family ties to the railway (though I did have a Great Uncle who was a guard on the GWR!)
 

Jydo

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Ive heard of it still existing to a certain degree in some places but nothing can be done unless you manage to get past the initial sift & ofcourse the assessments on your own merit, then "friends in high places" can certainly recommend you or "pull a few strings" with the recruitment department. Its certainly not as straightforward or "easy" as it was back then but it certainly does still happen.

Its not a case of "oh you're Fred's mate would you like a job." Its more a case of "well done on passing the assessments, you really impressed us at the interview and oh er'....Fred really speaks highly of you aswell."

It happens in alot of different industries railway included
 

mresh91

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this is exactly what I was told when visiting my local Network Rail depot when requesting info regarding operative jobs, they said its all very close, hard to get in and most people get in through family recommendations including himself (being the hiring manager at that depot!!!) which did knock my confidence more yet again as I dont know anyone.

I have now failed 10+ operative applications, and still trying, I regularly keep contact with that manager, and he says no funding's are there right now to hire but maybe in the summer, will see.. :(

I know many have posted otherwise, and they're undoubtedly correct to a large extent, but I used to work at a NWR station and it was similar for many interviews we used to have for CSAs. Unfortunately, more often than not it was already "decided" who got the job. One interviewer even remarked that he had interviewed some brilliant candidates but sadly the job had to go to that person who was known to management beforehand.

Not commenting on the railways as a whole, but it does happen in certain environments. That being said, don't be disheartened. You have to be persistent and you will eventually find yourself in, as did I and I came from a non-railway background. Keep at it and it'll pay off, just requires a great deal of patience.
 

Reh1988

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I've recently got a job with network rail, I have no friends or relatives there. My friend however can't seem to get in and her dad's a train driver for gwr. So it's not always a case of who you know.
 

Jydo

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I've recently got a job with network rail, I have no friends or relatives there. My friend however can't seem to get in and her dad's a train driver for gwr. So it's not always a case of who you know.


Cant seem to get in? What does that mean? Nobody can help you get passed the sift & assessments, no matter who you know, thats down to you and you alone, once you pass that then its a different ball game........as for your friends dad, does he have any influence with his bosses? Would they put in a good word for her on his behalf? Its all very well knowing or being related to someone in the rail industry but we are talking about people in the industry who have influence.

There are hundreds if not thousands of people who have got into various railway jobs without any help whatsoever, nobody is denying that.
 

fowler9

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Cant seem to get in? What does that mean? Nobody can help you get passed the sift & assessments, no matter who you know, thats down to you and you alone, once you pass that then its a different ball game........as for your friends dad, does he have any influence with his bosses? Would they put in a good word for her on his behalf? Its all very well knowing or being related to someone in the rail industry but we are talking about people in the industry who have influence.

There are hundreds if not thousands of people who have got into various railway jobs without any help whatsoever, nobody is denying that.

To be fair mate, I think you are both saying the same thing.
 

Stigy

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Initial recruitment is done on an individual's merit 'usually'. However promotion etc can be very different once you're in the industry.
 

Bellbell

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I got in, knowing nobody and most of the people on my course had no connections to the railway. Others knew other guards so I suppose might have a heads up on some key words or something but no more of an advantage, I'd have thought, that those who are familiar with these forums.

Initial recruitment is done on an individual's merit 'usually'. However promotion etc can be very different once you're in the industry.

This, I agree with. People being asked to apply for certain jobs, allowed to apply after deadlines etc. It's not all bent, but I'd certainly say that if you've rubbed the wrong people up the wrong way you're unlikely to ever progress.
 

St Mikey

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It can still be a case of that.

The TOC I work for is under scrutiny due to the perceived "easier" interviews for those who are related to or know people within management.

Fundamentally it's wrong but in all the years I've been on the railway I've seen it all to often.
 

Bluejuice

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Would easily say it is more a case of personal determination. Spent best part of 2 years trying to get a foot in the door with the industry. Kept getting through sifts and assessments to the hiring manager interview but, kept falling at the final hurdle. This made me more determined and kept going back. Finally got a job offer 12 months ago and a year later, I will admit, the effort was more than worth it. I love my job and when I think what I went through to get there....makes it all the more worthwhile. "Never give up, If you do, you never really wanted it". I had no family or friends in the industry so was purely off my own back.
 
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