Insight from UK recruiters
Having spoken to a number of UK recruiters, the message right now is to start the process early and be a bit more flexible in terms of job preference. You should also be prepared to interview via video and start work while in quarantine if required.
The start of the year we saw a drop in hiring due to the pandemic, however, over the past few months we have seen a steady increase in opportunities as businesses have adjusted to the “new normal”. As companies return to the office, activity levels have picked up but levels are still significantly lower than what we would typically see.
In terms of advice, it’s good to get the process started early. Many of the candidates that we have been seeing who have relocated from NZ / Aus secured roles before even landing in the UK. There is very much a demand for Aussies and Kiwis as before.
Clients have approached their hiring strategies in different ways, but are still looking for excellent candidates. There is very little flexibility on this. Good candidates who were made redundant earlier in the year have since been placed and the pool of candidates looking for only temporary roles is actually small. While there have been lots of redundancies and contracts cut short, clients are keen to retain talent as much as possible and have used the furlough scheme.
What’s in demand? It’s a real mixture at the moment with roles covering FP&A, Financial Accounting, PQ Financial Accounting and more senior roles at FD level.
There is so much competition at the moment and so many applicants joining the job market each month, that companies are generally trying to manage their own recruitment as much as possible. That said, they are struggling to find really good people so we have been getting a lot more work in the last month (called in) than previous.
We are getting a lot of mat covers too, most are FTC instead of day rate but they are definitely making the temp market busier and candidates seem keener on long term 12 months contracts now anyway for a bit for security.
Advice for Aussies & Kiwis thinking about heading to London.
You can only secure work once you have arrived. You don’t need to live in London so rent a cheaper place further out and utilise the WFH situation. They will need to be able to WFH so choose a place with spare rooms or space to work comfortably (big house shares just won’t work)
Candidates just need to be flexible around types of roles and salary / day rate if they are keen to start working.
It is really important to remember that markets do change though and just because they take a 6-month contract now that isn’t their dream role, a lot can change by June next year when they are on the market again!
Firms are looking a lot closer at budgets and are really trying to get as much bang for their buck when hiring a contractor. I haven’t seen rate decreases across any of my clients but what we now have is a slightly larger pool of candidates who will consider roles.
An example would be if I had a 12m FTC paying 60k and the client was looking for a 0-2 years post qualified candidate.
Given there are less roles around I may have 3-5 year post qualified candidates who are willing to look at that – and that in turn makes the less experienced candidates look “expensive” in comparison.
Financial Services has been less directly affected by lockdown and restrictions than other sectors, but there has of course been an impact.
I am definitely hoping for more candidates to move over next year – with all the positive news re vaccine hopefully things will be as back to normal as possible soon!
Yes all good but the market is still quiet.
To be honest I’ve not really seen much demand at all for NQ’s from practice although here’s hoping by the end of Q1 things will improve. I think that until people start to get back into offices then much will remain the same.
Yes things def feeling more positive especially with UK getting the vaccine within days !!
We are getting busier. Our US clients seem to have been busy the whole way through. HR roles have also been busy. As for lawyer roles we have had a few on but projects with doc review have been a bit quieter.
I think for the Aussies and kiwis plan to head over at Easter time.
Litigation, employment, insolvency and arbitration will all pick up due to the nature of the pandemic (sadly). Conveyancing is busy as a lot of people moving house as a lot of people trying to move out of London. So property market has gone crazy!
In terms of skillsets in demand v not its exactly as you would perceive.
Anyone in events or classic bricks and mortar retail marketing roles aren’t so in demand, people with digital skills of any kind – especially those who can come up with new products and propositions are in favour and in markets like FMCG its business as usual.
March – August 2020 job flow was 75% down on Interim, 50% down on Perm.
Oct – Dec 2020 has been 40% lower than normal….. it’s improving.
Also I think a lot of them are a bit naïve to thinking that the new visa changes in Jan may mean that it will be easier for them to stay post their tier 5 visa if that’s what they are on. I don’t see it making it any more likely if I’m honest so that could also be something worth noting.
As ever, they need to be prepared for the fact that our salaries are a lot lower than in Aus/NZ and with more competition for roles, that is certainly not going to improve.
The market is definitely picking up for sure, it’s just that clients are recruiting direct a lot more so it’s agencies who are suffering more than the overall job market.
We are still busy with roles, I think most are technical accounting roles and we have a lack of ACA auditors coming over so that skillset seems to be in demand.
I would tell the candidates to come as the market is still good over here and they would get roles. Speaking to candidates the last few weeks they seem to in multiple processes so there are definitely things out there.
More and more interviews are taking place over video conferencing and I anticipate even after a relaxation of restrictions a lot of businesses will keep this as their first round of ‘screening’ to then only bring 2 or 3 in for a face to face interview. This saves time in the hiring process for all those involved.
Right now (and expect this to continue through to March / April time) Financial accounting is far more prevalent than any commercial FP&A / Business Partnering roles.
Not saying those roles are not out there however with the end of the calendar year and UK tax year in March, the need for year end accountants is greater at the moment.
Be open to the idea of starting processes such as interviews before arriving and if needing to quarantine then working from there! We have done that for a few arriving from overseas through lockdown and it seems to work fine!
IR35 is circling round again and there is every evident that it is ‘here to stay’ this time! Be open to alternative forms of employment; either PAYE through an umbrella format or through Fixed Term Contract.
We have placed a few people in remote roles but there is the expectation that candidates will be here and be able to travel to the office if required.
As a business we will only work with FCSA regulated umbrella companies meaning businesses we work with have the reassurance everything is done correctly