Recruitment Market Review 2008/2009
Recruitment within Industry & Commerce remained steady in 2008, especially in the early part of the year. Hiring levelled out in late 2008 and while there was a slight peak in January which traditionally, we would expect to see, as new hiring mandates are approved and business plans and 2009 budgets are implemented. This was optimistic given the market conditions, however overall hiring is considerably down compared to 2007/8.
Demand in certain sectors remains strong such as Telecommunications, Energy, Consumer Business and Pharma, while construction and related service sectors have decreased significantly.
The flow of candidates into the market remains inconsistent, with a lot of top talent choosing to stay out of the market and wait to see how conditions evolve. This has seen shortages in certain areas such as tax, commercial analysts and technical reporting. However, as the job market tightens more candidates are coming onto the market including candidates looking to move out of Banking into industry as candidates seek greater stability.
The hiring and selection process has changed dramatically over the past four months, where now selection criteria is more rigorous and candidates found to be lacking in key skills are no longer being successful. Hiring processes are lengthy and quite often fall at the final hurdle.
The Financial Services industry has faced serious challenges throughout the second half of 2008 and into 2009, which has caused many organisations to take a more cautious approach to hiring. We have seen several jobs cuts in firms as well as efforts to redeploy staff into areas of growth within businesses. In the coming months we see only critical hires getting approval, as organisations continue to see how the global financial crisis unravels. This cautious approach to hiring can be seen in a reduction in the number of new roles available as well as the length of time people are taking to secure new roles as compared to this time last year. However, the number of professionals who have started to look for new roles has also decreased, as candidates are deciding to sit tight rather than voluntarily entering the job market. However, this number is being lifted by candidates who have been made redundant recently.
However, mission critical hiring is happening as organisations look for mainly experienced professionals to help steer them through this period of volatility and change.
In addition, in a newly emerging regulatory framework, compliance and risk specialists are still in demand for a variety of projects. Professionals with strong credit and risk profiles find themselves in demand to add clarity and skills to operational risk divisions.
The demand for accounts staff and part-qualified accountants remains steady across the board, while the hiring of recently qualified Big 4 ACA’s has dipped, with organisations preferring accountants with post qualified experience rather than accountants straight out of practice. We feel this will continue into 2009, with newly qualified accountants facing challenges securing new positions as many newly qualified accountants come on to the market as they come out of contract.
The market conditions have played their part with salary levels with basic salary figures dipping below the highs of 2008 and are moving back to mid 2007 figures. We do not expect to see any increases in basic salaries this year.
In addition, we feel that the market demand for contract staff will continue to increase during 2009 as organisations use this flexible approach to fill short term hiring needs.