The team share their latest insights into hiring trends and candidate expectations from Q1 2022.
Growing Demand for Talent in Q1 2022
Guy Steel, Founder and CEO of Carnegie Consulting, has seen a two-fold impact driving the increased demand for talent.
“Businesses are making up for lost time,” he says. “Coupled with the government support and investment, there is money to spend on hiring.”
Darren Reuben, Partner, specialising in finance functions within private equity, venture capital and private debt, has seen the amount of roles they would usually expect in Q1 almost double.
“Private equity tends to be a robust, lean industry that typically performs well in a crisis,” he says. The result is a “perfect storm” of job opportunities and candidates.
Andrew Hallam, Director, who manages Carnegie’s finance hires into the hospitality sector, has also seen pent up demand this quarter, particularly in private equity-backed hospitality businesses. After being one of the worst hit industries during lockdown, he has seen confidence returning from candidates as Covid restrictions ease.
“There’s more activity and more candidates coming onto the market,” he says.
Recruitment processes have accelerated as businesses fear losing out on good candidates. Where processes may have historical taken months, they are now being completed within weeks.
“No one can afford to sit on CVs for even a week and expect candidates to remain available,” says Reuben.
The New Normal: Flexible Working
Flexible working has become the norm, with businesses who expect employees back in the office five days a week finding it harder to attract and retain talent. Increasingly, companies are offering part-time work opportunities and flexible working hours.
“Candidates are choosing to work for companies who trust their employees with flexibility,” says Natalie Verrey, Senior Consultant specialising in accounting and finance within commerce industries. Those who don’t are suffering casualties. Hallam agrees.
“We’re picking up more and more roles because people are moving on from businesses that expect their employees to return full-time in the office,” he says.
Salaries and Benefits On The Rise
As the cost of living has increased, so too have salary expectations, with an average salary boost of 10% for new hires across all industries. Many candidates who moved further out of London during Covid are now looking to offset the cost of commuting. Meanwhile, pay reviews for existing employees are slow to get in line with new hires.
“Many reasons why people are leaving their roles is simply financially motivated,” Verrey says. Yet inflated salaries are still not enough to get a candidate over the line.
“Businesses need to look at their overall proposition, it’s not just about the role and the salary, they have to show that they really want people in their businesses,” says Reuben.
Businesses are looking to bolster their chances of securing candidates by improving the benefits offered. One large private equity firm has a private chef on-site. Some are offering condensed hours so employees can finish early on Fridays. Others are increasing their holiday allowance, with junior to mid-level candidates now expecting 25 days leave per year as a minimum and management expecting up to 30 days leave per year. Start-ups in early stage funding are substituting lower salaries with equity or larger end of year bonuses.
Businesses may need to look further afield in order to attract candidates in a highly competitive market.
“There are always talented, qualified people abroad who want to move to the UK,” Steel says, yet many businesses remaining reluctant to sponsor offshore candidates to fulfil their hiring requirements.
Verrey agrees, noting that sponsorship opportunities remains “rare”, as the process is lengthy and expensive for businesses. However if the competition for talent continues, businesses may look to review their sponsorship policies.
Some European businesses are addressing skill-shortages with enhanced benefits. One business offers compensation for weekly flights to their head office in Amsterdam from other locations within Europe.
Diversity and Inclusion
Expectations on diversity hires has only increased the talent gap, with many clients requesting to see more women and minorities on candidate shortlists.
In start-ups, Verrey says that the finance function often doesn’t represent the business’s overall diversity ethos, with many hiring managers actively looking to hire women and minorities.
John Hindley, who specialises in finance teams within private-equity, says that while many businesses are trying to improve their diversity and inclusion quotas, the talent pool simply isn’t established enough yet to fulfil the demand.
Meanwhile hospitality has seen less of a demand for diversity hires, says Hallam, as the sector is “already such a flag bearer for diversity.”
Enhanced Candidate Expectations
The market is a candidate-driven one, and businesses need to adjust their proposition in order to stay competitive. Candidates can be picky due to receiving multiple offers.
“All of their expectations are enhanced and they want career development, flexibility, higher compensation and all the benefits,” says Reuben.
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