So many Interims……
It’s on my Friday morning swim (I must go on a Friday if I want a glass of wine on a Friday evening, that’s the deal!) that I usually get my thoughts together about what I’m going to write about and this morning once again, delivered a few ideas. But then a chat with a candidate this morning cemented the exact topic of something that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to. The Interim market.
When I first worked for Michael Page, I remember saying, much to their dismay, that there wasn’t a huge interim market for recruiters as when the shit really hits the fan in food manufacturing, you don’t all sit there and say, “oh which agency shall we call to help?”. You get your phones out and you start ringing around people that you know to see if a) they’re available to help with the “flying shit” or b) do they know of anyone who they could recommend. And when all of that fails, you phone a recruiter.
But over the last couple of months, I have NEVER spoken to so many immediately available candidates. And there are some brilliant ones out there who, for the first time in their careers are not getting snapped up for their next project, who are not getting the interviews that they used to, and the phone isn’t ringing half as much as it used to. So why is that?
There is a shortage of candidates applying for jobs, and that’s at most levels. Put an admin job on a generic job board and usually you’re overwhelmed with responses but not in recent weeks / months. And this is industry wide. So why?
Are candidates more nervous to change jobs or are companies getting smarter in keeping their employees? I was at a recruitment networking meeting last week and we talked about companies conducting “Stay Interviews” where companies sit down with employees BEFORE they resign in a bid to keep them in the business. People leaving quite simply costs money as well as it being a disruption to the business. When someone leaves a business, they’ve usually checked out before they leave, their productivity drops, it causes people in the team to realise that there are other options out there, then you’ve got a new person coming into the business, taking time to get up to speed. And there can be weeks or months between one person leaving and another starting. Or are candidates simply saying that they’re going to stay put to see what happens with Brexit / till after the summer / until they get their bonus they’ve been promised / better the devil you know?
Law of averages? On a personal level, my business is growing and is 4 years old now. I’m speaking to more candidates, doing more networking and I’m so much more active on LinkedIn than I used to be. So, am I speaking to more Interim candidates because of these reasons? Of course I’m going to speaking to more but if the candidates are telling me that the market is tough, then it’s most definitely the market.
Or is the market saturated with Interims now? I’ve spoken to so many people who have been pushed to the brink in their permanent job and just wanted to step away from the office politics, so they became an Interim. More and more people are taking the brave move to work for themselves, I’m a classic example of it. Fortune favours the brave is what I was told and there a lot more brave people out there, fact.
What sort of Interim are you? If you are an interim, why did you choose this path? Or were you a victim of circumstance and can’t find the perfect permanent job? In which case, the market is saturated even further by people who don’t want to be an Interim but they have no choice, making it more difficult for the Interims who made this their choice.
Money talks… Paying an interim is expensive and not all companies have a large pot of money, the retailers have probably seen to the fact that any previous large pot has been decimated over time. But if something is business critical then the money must be found for an Interim. £300 - £800 a day seems to be the average day rate at the moment and if anything, Interims are talking about reducing their day rate. Wow, more experience doesn’t necessarily mean more money.
The Beast from the East.....? Surely not I hear you say, and I didn't think about this until a candidate this week mentioned it. The winter of 2017 has been the longest winter for a very long time. It feels like people have been hibernating, business has been slow for a lot of people I've spoken to and just as got over one heavy snow fall, along came another. And then suddenly we're basking in 22 degrees heat! Has the economy been affected by the cold weather? I heard someone say recently that retail had experienced the slowest April in 27 years. Wow, that's huge!
But I don’t think there is one sole factor as to why there appear to be more immediately available interims in the market at this moment. It could be all of the above, some of the above, or something I’ve just not thought of. So, if you are an Interim who is getting nervous about what is ahead, my advice is don’t devalue your skillset, if you do, you devalue the market for everybody. People are paid what they’re worth for a reason. Hold your nerve but keep options open. That “perfect job” might appear in disguise as something that doesn’t seem as perfect on the outside. And finally, network! According to the very fab Jeremey Snell who quoted LinkedIn figures last week, 62% of passive candidates get a job through their network, 42% of active candidates get their job through their network and 47% of candidates who are doing a job that is at a lower level than their experience, get their next job through networking.
Oh crap, have I just talked myself out of a job?? Better get networking!!
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