Market update – June 21

Simon RoderickMarket updates

Notes from the park - monthly updates

The pickup continues. I was personally disappointed that the government didn’t open on the 21st June. We’ve had a vaccine miracle in the UK, the roll out of which by volunteers and the NHS has been amazing (I’m very proud that some of our team have volunteered). Sadly, I feel we haven’t capitalised on this enough and I worry about the lasting effects on the disruption to education. However, government messaging seems much more positive, and I think it looks very likely that there will be an opening, perhaps with few or no restrictions left.

If COVID has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. These black swan events come along rarely, but when they do they can test even the most resilient of businesses and individuals. COVID has certainly presented challenges and I think, apart from a truly tragic death toll, it’s legacy will be the change it’s ushered in. Change in itself isn’t an issue, but whole industries and skills became redundant overnight. I don’t think we can live our lives worrying about black swan events, but there is a lesson to be learnt, which is that eventually the dynamics of every industry change. Perhaps that’s why fortune 500 companies only have an average lifespan of circa 17 years. Technology is certainly putting a squeeze on some “white collar” roles and whilst the building industry powers on, more and more homes are being partially built in factories. So we all need to take a step back from time to time and to think about how we can maintain our skills and add new ones. Often we tell ourselves we’re too old, or that this is all we know, but I’d urge everyone to see the new David Hockney exhibition which was “painted” on his i-pad to dispel that myth (Mr Hockney is 83). The “what else can I do question” isn’t something you should ponder on alone, but one I think best discussed with friends who can bring new perspectives. For anybody younger who may read this, one day you get older, money matters less than time spent with loved ones, and this can open up a range of possibilities. I’ve met many a lawyer or banker who’d happily take a pay cut if they could just find something else to do. However, future proofing yourself doesn’t have to be as dramatic as learning a new skill or trade. It can be keeping up with CPD. Most industries introduce new regulations or qualifications and early adopters who take qualifications often benefit the most. Eventually, your peer group catches up and what was once seen as the gold standard just becomes the basic certification to operate. If you love your industry, and you want a long term career in it, then you mustn’t fight this change.

Most firms are feeling very positive and I think we could be in for a bit of a golden spell over the next 12 months or so. At the beginning of the pandemic, firms worried most about their teams’ physical health. Mental health has been important too, but I do feel many of us are feeling the effects of a tough year where they’ve worked harder than ever. I think a change of scenery and a return to offices will help, but actually the nation needs a holiday. I hope we all get to enjoy a wonderful summer, either home or abroad, and we can then all roar back to life in September. The restaurants, taxis, tailors, dry cleaners, and any relying on office trade need us to return asap.

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