Despite an unpredictable job market, primarily caused by Brexit, flow of finance jobs at commercial organisations has been fairly strong with hiring recommencing after the summer holidays ended.
It is becoming more challenging for Commerce & Industry employers to retain permanent staff for any longer than two years. At present, the market is candidate short but also candidate led. Brexit has been a leading factor in the uncertainty that has led to a somewhat tough job market for temporary professionals; spend is more heavily scrutinised, resulting in delays or some roles being shelved. Numerous companies are still waiting to see what happens with the exit from the EU before fully addressing staff shortage issues. With less hiring of permanent professionals, some existing employees in UK based businesses who rely on international trade have seen their workloads increase.
Job flow has been fairly strong and an improvement on the previous quarter. This can partially be attributed to the end of the slower summer months and hiring processes returning to normal with fewer people away on annual leave.
There hasn’t been a definitive common theme of roles but on the temporary side, there has been a spike in systems roles such as the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX and improvements in SAP. Beyond this, there has been a mixed bag of everything from pricing to financial analysts, and finance business partners - we have noticed less of an emphasis on more technical accounting themed roles. Interestingly, there have been a few senior permanent roles in the £100-£150k bracket, including some confidential replacements.
Commercially focused FP&A and Finance Business Partnering roles have been common; those positions providing analysis and financial information to non-finance. This comes as a lot of big businesses continue to digitise their finance functions and offshore or onshore more transactionally focused roles to shared service centres, leaving the value add roles based in London.
In the world of finance, focusing on wellness seems to depend heavily on the employer; on its culture and the leadership teams. For permanent professionals, the nature of their work allows for some flexibility around working arrangements and many employers are putting an emphasis on diversity, mental wellness and work-life balance by offering corporate gym memberships and channels in which employees can discuss mental issues. The interim side of the workforce historically has less support in this sense, but businesses are having to become more agile - especially those that can’t be as competitive with remuneration packages.
Despite commercial organisations not being nearly as affected as financial institutions, the general backdrop of uncertainty caused by Brexit will make the remainder of the year challenging - especially for those that import or export products. On a positive note, this may bring about a greater level of mid-level finance interim recruitment as retail businesses, affected by consumer spending, will need a more flexible cost base and there will also be more need for finance heads in order to implement cost reduction programmes.
For job seekers to be successful, it is crucial that they leverage their specific strengths, are able to articulate their experiences and outline how they can add value to the prospective employer. This should be concisely conveyed with all relevant skills on a CV in order to help you stand out from other applicants, but also displayed in any interviews.
Don’t be afraid to take an opportunity at a smaller organisation; being part of a growing organisation during these testing economic times could be an invaluable addition to your CV and potentially define your career. Interim professionals need to be pragmatic and make sure they are on top of the impending changes to IR35, leading them to decide upon how to be paid post April 2020.