Market update Aug 23 – The international edition!

Simon RoderickMarket updates

Market update - Simon Roderick - Fram Search

Market update Aug 23 – The international edition!

August 16, 2023
On learning from others, employment & unemployment, and rainy days. An update from a stormy Scandinavian island.

Welcome to “Notes from the Park”, the international edition. Well, I’ve been on holiday to Denmark. “Lovely” you may think, but we were on an island in the Baltic leading what felt like the welcoming committee for Storm Hans, which has wreaked terrible havoc across Scandinavia. I was reading a book about the Russian civil war (extreme, extremely sad, and brutal, with lessons we must never forget), there were dark skies, it was cold, and so I didn’t write my newsletter last week, opting to comfort eat to counter the misery.

I’ve been visiting Scandinavia for 25 years. Mostly Norway, but I know the region well and I think looking to other systems and cultures for inspiration is a good idea. Actually, I’ve never understood why MP’s don’t spend more time learning and copying from other countries. Look to France, Germany, and Switzerland for healthcare. Finland, Singapore, and Canada for education (suggestions for what is “best” from ChatGPT, who also provided a million caveats to the answer). Instead, our MPs traipse around looking inwards, tearing strips out of each other on Twitter, and often achieving little. There is a great deal we can learn from Scandinavia, but I need to point out that I sometimes feel the region is viewed too much through rose tinted spectacles. Scandinavia has its challenges too, it’s real life, and nothing in real life is perfect. The cost of living and energy prices is as much a topic of conversation in energy rich Norway as they are here. Equally, because of its vast oil resources, you can’t include Norway in many comparisons.

Some interesting statistics on the region, though, that my trip has inspired me to share:

  1. In Denmark, only 2% of employees work very long hours compared with he OECD average of 11% (Source: Denmark.DK). In Sweden the figure is 1.1% (Source: HSBC).
  2. A 4 p.m. finish is quite normal in the region based on my observations
  3. In Denmark, full-time workers devote 66% of their day on average to personal care and leisure, which is above the OECD average of 63% (Source: Denmark.DK)
  4. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark were in the top three countries for the lowest levels of domestic violence in 2018 (Source: Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo’s Global)
  5. All three countries are in the top 10 for quality of life (Source: Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index)
  6. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, are all in the top 4 for freedom of press (Source: World Press Freedom Index)
  7. Most companies allow workers to do flexible hours and parental leave is amongst the best in the world
  8. Productivity is high. According to reports, work is for work and less time is spent on “banter”

So whilst not perfect, pretty wonderful! Lots we should study further to see if we could benefit from new ideas.

Coming back to the UK, unemployment is ticking up, but is still at low levels. I was surprised to see wage inflation so high in financial services at 9%, but clearly the data is backward looking. Based on what we’re seeing, I feel this will settle down very fast now that the labour market is normalising. Salary uplifts for movers are still 10 – 15% on average, which is far more normal, but of course affects inflation figures. Whilst vacancy numbers are still respectable, they’ve dropped from the heady days of 2022. I think employers will do what they can to offset the cost-of-living crisis, but I don’t feel they will feel the same urgency to increase salaries to retain staff. Candidate availability has eased up in some areas and counteroffers are less prominent (always a futile exercise and better all round in my experience for everyone to move on).

With the pendulum shifting back a little in the favour of employers, we are seeing some significant shifts in behaviour. There must be something in the human psychology that makes us repeat mistakes. Firstly, some interviewers are taking a long time to provide feedback. Whilst the market has cooled, it hasn’t cooled to the extent you can take weeks to provide feedback, or months to go through an interview process. Secondly, selection and screening is very important, but in reality most candidates speak to 2-3 firms when job seeking, they often don’t have time to dedicate whole afternoons to one firm or to writing endless business plans. Processes must be thorough, but not unreasonable. Finally, if you decide to recruit directly (and of course I think this is a terrible idea), remember that a faceless portal, a process which doesn’t even acknowledge receipt of a CV, or the first point of contact not having the technical understanding of the requirements of the role, damages your brand. We’ve all learnt the value of a strong brand and employee value proposition (EVP) during the post pandemic boom, when it was at times impossible to hire anyone.

On that note, can we help your firm understand your EVP? Read here why I feel it’s so important.

About Fram Search

Established in 2010, Fram Search is a specialist financial services recruitment consultancy. We focus on mid-to-senior hires in the UK and internationally.

We provide high quality contingent and retained recruitment services to boutiques and global brands. We have long established relationships, outstanding market knowledge, and access to deep talent pools. Fram takes a highly consultative approach, combining outstanding tech with a human approach. We are proud that our contingent fill rate is nearly three the industry average and we augment our retained search methodology with rigorous psychometric testing. We take ESG seriously, we are champions of diversity and all staff have undertaken unconscious bias training, we also carbon offset.

Please contact us on 01525 864 372 / [email protected] to learn more.

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