Market update – May 21

Simon RoderickMarket updates

Notes from the park - monthly updates

We’re getting closer to “Freedom Day”. Words I think many of us never thought we’d hear, or a concept we’d never imagine having to utter, but there have been many things we’ve seen in the last 12 months that are firsts. Some positive and some negative, but I think the world of work will emerge leaner, more empathetic, and better. We’re continuing to see an increase in hiring activity and I think this will continue well into the autumn and early 2022.

We are speaking to more and more firms who’ve struggled to hire and without a doubt it’s been hard to attract people whilst candidate confidence was low, but quite often it’s been due to a poor process and to not being proactive. Here at Fram we’ve developed a methodology for approaching assignments (both contingent and retained), and essentially it’s a series of key steps we take to present a qualified shortlist. The extent to which we go into depth on each step depends on the type of service the client needs. However, we’re often asked from internal recruitment teams how we generate candidates and it’s no secret -it’s part inspiration, but mostly perspiration. Importantly, if a search has already started badly, it can be difficult – very difficult – to retrieve. Even a great job can go unfilled for months.

If a firm has appointed multiple recruiters on even a semi-senior search, it can raise doubts in a candidate’s mind. If a firm has been through a period of high staff turnover, as all firms do at some point, appointing a headhunter who can’t articulate well why this happened, or who can’t explain the positives of a firm, will hamper the search. The problem is that once this talent pool has been spoken to, the next person who speaks to them will automatically find it a challenge. I hate drawing this analogy in some ways, but jobs can become like a beautiful house that’s mispriced and is perpetually on Rightmove – it just sits there and eventually nobody even views it.

So my advice is the get your search strategy right early on, even if you are hiring for a relatively junior role. The firms that will win in the inevitable war for talent over the next 12 months will be the ones who can paint a vision of the future, who identify why it’s great to work there, who have a good search process, and who can offer hybrid working. On that note, most small to medium sized firms now have people regularly going into offices. It’s fabulous news, it’s good for the local communities who support offices, but it’s nice to see colleagues again. It’s often easy, when tired or fed up, to forget how much we get from work in terms of friendship. I know lots of couples who met at work, lifelong friendships have been formed, and some of the funniest dinner party stories I’ve heard have come from peoples’ early careers.

There seems to have been an upturn in articles in the press about the City and Brexit. I must admit, the firms we speak to seem quite calm about the whole subject. They feel they prepared well for Brexit and few jobs have been relocated. I hope it’s just speculation from journalists and that we manage to find a constructive way forwards, but I think the City will continue to thrive. The visa system in place seems to enable firms to attract top international talent, which is so key to the City. We are strengthened by the ideas and energy of those from overseas who have decided to work in the City, and politicians understand this too.

We’re still feeling positive at Fram. Thank you to those who have worked with us to date and we look forward to working with new clients over the next year!

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