James Dobbin, Head of Practice for Financial & Professional Services takes a look at what is happening in the market with regards procurement recruitment at the moment.
What’s currently happening in the financial services market?
Permanent and contract vacancies are up 13% and 7% respectively through August and September according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Vacancies hit record highs between July and September and all areas across financial services are experiencing unprecedented growth as we bounce back from the pandemic, Brexit, supply chain demands and talent shortages.
What we are seeing at Procurement Heads is the companies that are showing the most ambition, taking the most risks to take their growth strategies forward are the most appealing to candidates.
Where are you seeing the greatest demand at the moment?
From a procurement recruitment perspective, we’re probably seeing the most demand in the financial services and management consultancy sectors and there’s a real demand for polished Procurement Consultants and SRM professionals at the moment.
I’ve actually been retained on a number of appointments in the last few months.
We’ve also seen real resilience and growth in the banking and insurance sectors as they go from strength to strength and what those sectors tend to be looking for is well-rounded procurement professionals.
How has hybrid working impacted the talent pool?
I think it’s had a really positive effect on the talent pool we’ve been able to recruit.
Historically, the financial services sector would have been quite rigid, quite corporate and 9 to 5, most of the time candidates would have been required to be in the office meaning they would have had to have lived in or around the city.
What the pandemic has shown businesses is that working from home can be just as productive, if not more, as working in the office.
We’re seeing far more of a hybrid model now which has unlocked a talent pool that perhaps wouldn’t have been interested previously.
This has meant businesses are able to attract the best, not just the geographically closest, talent.
What are the biggest hindrances to hiring talent at the moment?
The war on talent is fiercer than it probably has ever been before.
Initially, at the beginning of the bounce back, there were a number of available candidates and businesses probably benefited from that.
What we’re seeing now is fewer candidates applying for roles and it is far harder to attract them to roles.
The most sought after candidates will be in three to five processes.
Where companies are trying to save money and budgets are being cut, good procurement professionals are in higher demand than they’ve ever been.
Even when you’ve got a candidate in a process who you think will accept the role, they might be bought back and counter-offered by the current employer.
So you’ve got to compete with multiple processes, the counteroffer and where we are seeing companies have the most success is where they are able to be agile and can get the verbal offer out in 24-48 hours and get the process wrapped up quickly.
Maintaining constant dialogue with the candidate is crucial and where we are seeing processes fall through is when the candidate has an initially great conversation and then seven days of radio silence – that’s when other companies can swoop in, or the candidates can get cold feet.
So the message I’m giving companies is to be as agile as possible, we appreciate that’s not always possible but anything you can do to move the process along is going to benefit you in the long run.
What are good companies doing to attract talent / what are companies doing wrong?
The good FS companies out there are being really open and transparent with their dialogue to both recruiters they’ve engaged with and candidates they’re trying to engage.
They’re maintaining constant communications on timeframes and managing expectations accordingly.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got the companies that aren’t communicating with their recruiters and candidates and they’re losing interest.
A good candidate will lose interest in an opportunity within 48 hours or less, so the more communication and transparent dialogue and the faster you can move as an organisation the more benefit you will see in the long run.