It’s a Tuesday in March (I think), the sun is shining and South West London has never been this quiet; in an odd kind of way, I miss the noise from the planes flying overhead on their way into Heathrow.
We’re now into week two (or possibly longer) of this new surreal world and I was conscious of providing a broad update on the market and some initial observations around how candidates, employers, and companies in the financial services sector seem to be adjusting and tweaking their processes to fit a work from home environment.
Undeniably the last few weeks have been fast-moving, frantic at times and a huge cultural shift for most organisations, with the dust now starting to settle and the gradual realisation that this is the ‘new norm’ for at least the next three months.
I’ve been keeping busy speaking to a lot of my connections and network, re-kindling some old relationships and trading stories about how to keep the children educated and entertained. As well as how to hunt and gather in the increasingly sparse supermarket shelves and which new series I should be binge-watching on Netflix.
Here’s my answers to a couple of very common questions I’m being asked.
What’s candidate flow like? Are people actually open to moving jobs?
It’s hard to give an accurate answer (role dependent) and for obvious reasons finding a new role isn’t a top priority for a lot of people..yet!
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean people aren’t looking for jobs and I’ve noticed that a large percentage of people have taken a step back, analysed their current set up and shown a willingness to continue interviewing only if the role is a meaningful step up or increase in responsibilities (or pay) from their current position.
Now more than ever knowing how to sell your role, company, career progression, culture, etc is of vital importance.
How are interviews taking place?
Skype and Microsoft Teams seem to be the most common software people are using to continue the interview process or arrange new interviews.
The big plus for all of us has been that it’s never been easier to first get hold of candidates and secondly get interviews booked in. Whilst diaries seem to be getting full again, there’s still plenty of people able to VC during working hours and at short notice.
The challenge has been seeing processes through to their conclusion in terms of a job offer and acceptance; this will take a huge shift in mindset for employers to accept that they will probably need to make offers, onboard and have someone start having not physically met the candidate face to face.
Unless you’re lucky enough to live close to your future new employee and can meet at least two meters apart whilst out for a run or the weekly shop…
Are people still hiring?
Yes absolutely. The response – again – has been hit and miss and some firms have opted to pause processes whilst they figure out timings and logistics whereas other firms have continued as per normal via VCs. There’s no common theme to hiring patterns and we’ve seen funds of all shapes and sizes stop or continue with their hiring.
Since last Monday 16th March my team has had seven candidates start roles in finance, compliance, and audit in a total work from home environment; the dust will settle in the next week or two and I’m sure processes that were paused will re-liven.
Shouldn’t I just wait?
I’ve spoken to a fair few hiring managers’ as well as HR and talent acquisition professionals who’ve said they’re likely to wait until May or June time to hire.
Obviously it’s your call around what you do and the only bit of advice I can offer is obvious and there’s likely to be a lot of companies who will start processes in the run-up to an anticipated lifting of the lockdown and advice to work from home, be that three months’ time, six months’ time or longer.
Thank goodness it’s on pause for a year! So far we’ve seen most firms revert back to limited company arrangements or for those firms who’ve transitioned their workers to PAYE or umbrella, it’s been on a case by case basis. I’d imagine most businesses will be happy that this is one less administrative issue to worry about.
If myself or my team can help in any way then please give me a call. As a reminder, Eames can help with vacancies across Finance/Fund Accounting, Compliance and Financial Crime and Internal Audit and we’d be delighted to assist with any hiring needs you might have at present - permanent or contract.
Stay safe & best regards,
Ps: I’m also a father to a 1-year-old and 4-year-old if you’re stuck for ideas or want to trade ideas and stories…