• Q2 Review – East Midlands

    By Trevor Dimmock

    Q2 2023 – East Midlands Resilience
    Despite all of the macroeconomic challenges we are experiencing, the East Midlands economy is proving remarkably resilient with some brilliant stories of growth and expansion and a high-quality labour force that is proving attractive for inward Investment to the region. As a consequence the demand for Finance & HR professionals is still very high with no sign of slowing. With inflation falling and business confidence returning we expect this trend to continue and can look forward to continued growth through the rest of the year. In addition the diversity in the sectors that we operate in makes our region much more future proof as we are not overly reliant on one particular market.

    Below are some of the topics that we have had the chance to explore over the last 3 months with our candidates and clients.

    Working in the office 5 Days a Week
    Interesting one this and very challenging. We are seeing a gradual trend for clients to explore the option of bringing new candidates in without hybrid opportunities. This has previously been more prevalent when recruiting a Finance Director for a growth SME when the leadership team is being formed. We have had some of these requests for candidates at Financial Controller level and have found that around 90% candidates will rule themselves out immediately from these types of options based on the lack of hybrid working. I can understand the importance of fostering workplace culture face to face, but the new reality is that if an employer wants to explore the candidate marketplace fully then hybrid arrangements are required in a candidate driven market.

    Cash is King
    Not really a surprising finding but salary considerations are now the number 1 reason for a candidate to look for a job, with the figure of 35-40% appearing on a number of recent surveys. Cost of living pressures and a tight candidate market will continue this trend for the foreseeable future but lower interest rates and continued economic growth should help mitigate this going forward. At the moment this is a major headache for companies looking at their retention strategies whilst also looking to attract new talent. We still find that proactive career management and ongoing 360-degree feedback appraisals with existing team members can mitigate many of these risks as they may uncover other factors that attract and retain staff on an individual basis.

    A Four Day week
    Many of the companies that have trialled the concept have reported; higher productivity, lower absenteeism, increased engagement, higher staff retention and an improvement in business performance. The condensed four day week could be an alternative to hybrid working for some companies that have a more traditional working pattern. Another significant advantage is that it would remove the disparity of experience between Blue and White Collar workers. The opportunity to be consulted about such a major change and the trust demonstrated by a management team could be very beneficial to retention and attraction.

    Green Washing, is it a thing?
    Most definitely and whilst there are some true believers out there, it is often a corporate tick box exercise. Superficially the right green credentials may attract and retain staff but most of our Finance and HR candidates are savvy enough to expose the imposters and see through the PR. As a business we are supporters of the green agenda with a number of initiatives that we sponsor such as planting a tree for every placement we make. We wholeheartedly support organisations that share our principles but only when it is genuine belief and anchored to some semblance of reality and not used to score Corporate or Political brownie points.