Describe the current market
The most consistent themes across HR are roles within transformation and resourcing. HR interims must be comfortable with change environments, while in resourcing, clients are looking for direct sourcing experience up to managing director level. We have not seen the high demand for compensation and benefits professionals that we usually see at this time of year. There is an underlying cautiousness in financial services because of the economy and the fact that a number of directors and MDs have been made redundant across HR and the business. The length of the hiring process has become a key issue for clients. It can sometimes take a month to sign off an interim role and in some organisations the CFO has to sign off every interim hire. It’s not unusual to have several interviews ahead of being hired, which can result in candidates pulling out of the process or being offered employment elsewhere. Strong relationships between third-party recruitment suppliers and hiring managers are more critical than ever.
What are candidate expectations?
Clients are filling vacancies with candidates who have the same seniority and experience as the outgoing employee. Most roles are operational rather than strategic, but this is changing slowly. While permanent candidates are still being made redundant, they are considering fixed-term contracts or day rates, whereas candidates who usually operate on a day rate would rather accept a lower one than go fixed term. Day rates have fallen, with roles commanding £800 two years ago dropping to £500-600. In the past 18 months the focus has turned to resourcing costs and efficiencies, which has impacted the career interim.
How is recruitment changing in FS?
Some heads of resourcing have been replaced with generalists and clients are looking at candidates with recruitment experience who have also had exposure to HR in the wider space. Banks and the wider FS industry are implementing more recruitment process outsourcing models, usually based on site. As hiring gains momentum, there will be a greater need to evaluate retention of candidates and those included in the talent groups. Increasingly, recruitment incorporates talent pipelining, internal mobility and succession planning, and as the market is no longer just focused on rewarding employees financially, talent development and retention is becoming more woven into HR. In the future, agencies and RPOs will need to reinvent themselves. There will always be a need for search firms to recruit at senior level and for strong relationships to exist between the client, the business and the RPO.