Historically, Leighton Taylor has compiled a market report every 6 months – one at the start of the year and one half-way through. This year we felt compelled to wait a little longer to take in the Brexit effect.
Here are our key points from both a candidate and client perspective that we feel would be very useful to take into account moving forward to the latter half of 2016.
- How has the recruitment market within the professional services sector been post-Brexit?
It’s important to note that in the first half of 2016, the market was incredibly strong. Vacancies of all levels were coming in on a daily basis. When the vote to leave was confirmed, from a recruitment point of view, it was a case of sitting with bated breath to see how firms would react and if recruitment would go on hold.
What has actually transpired is very interesting. Immediately after the vote, we had real a wave of activity and with above average numbers of new roles coming in. We then had a couple of weeks of reflection, where internal discussions were taking place. A few existing roles did go on hold (for the Summer) but more often than not we were being told that it was business as usual and that in fact extra resource may be required. It has stayed that way through August (which is generally a bit quieter) with a steady stream of new and replacement roles coming through. Our advice to candidates (where we could also detect some caution) is that it still remains a very good time to look with plenty of opportunities out there, so don’t hold back on starting a job search.
- So it remains a candidate-led market?
Yes it is. There are still more opportunities out there than available, relevant candidates. Clients who are recruiting need to remain flexible and responsive in their approaches to CV processing, interviews and creating quicker turnarounds. Those that are happy to let strong candidates go because there may be others around the corner, quite simply, will not be recruiting the best of the best.
- What specific candidate or skill shortages have we seen when recruiting in the past 6 months?
Specialist roles such as KAM, pitch, PR or Digital, continue to be difficult to source, particularly as expectations rise and rise internally.
- How is the market looking for the next 6 – 12 months and why?
Brexit actually came at a good time of year as far with regard to recruitment. During the summer months, it has given individuals who were worried more time to discuss and reflect on how to move forward without losing prime recruitment time. The feeling is that the market’s building up to a very busy few months ahead, with the vast majority of clients stating that their recruitment plans remain pretty much the same, and in some cases, busier.
- Other market trends
The last few months has seen much talk about flexibility in the work place within professional services firms. Many firms claim to offer agile working practices but far fewer actually carry this through. We are often coming across very strong candidates who can’t apply for certain roles because they require a certain amount of flexibility, whether it’s a day at home or having flexibility to do some of the school runs. It’s a real shame because in a market that needs candidates, there are some out there who are stuck because of their personal circumstances. We cannot stress enough, the firms who do embrace it, stand to get highly loyal and motivated people who actually end up putting in more time to make up for the flexibility. It’s good PR for those organisations too, as they’re regarded as forward-thinking businesses that people actually want to work for. You will get back what you put in.
We mentioned the increase in counter offers in our last report as another symptom of the battle for talent and this remains the case. Potential employers and their recruiters appear to be more aware of it now so can try and counteract any possibility of this before it is too late. Our view remains that if you are candidate being counter-offered or a firm attempting to keep someone with an increased salary; it will only be a short-term fix for both sides. It’s only delaying the inevitable.
- Leighton Taylor’s blueprint to a successful recruitment process
- If you are using agencies, don’t use too many and provide as much information as possible from the outset. An experienced agency will be able to distinguish a good culture between client and applicant.
- Client Extranet Systems – We completely understand the need for these but every recruitment agency will say, it is essential to keep a good dialogue as well. Good candidates can be easily be lost in a pile so ensure that the line managers are aware that the interview selection process is fast, efficient and uncomplicated. Quick feedback is critical.
- Both sides need to be as flexible as possible with interview timings. Applicants need to show as much willing as they can (without drawing attention) but clients also need to understand that it is getting harder and harder to get out of work to attend interviews during the working day. Interviews at 7:30am and 6:30pm are not unusual anymore.
- Research, Research, Research. Some of the most common feedback we receive is that a candidate didn’t do enough research for the interview. We don’t think you can ever over-prepare and we will provide extensive notes on how to do this and what to expect.
- More than ever the interview has to be a two way process. Well briefed interviewers and partners who don’t just question the candidates but also sell the merits of firm to candidates who will be comparing roles. Interviews can still be testing but shouldn’t be at all aggressive.
In summary, as we move into a very busy autumn period, it’s business as usual and a good time to both recruit (if processes are good) and to look for roles. The market outlook remains positive.