If you’ve been busily engaged in a contract role lately you might not have noticed, if you’ve been looking for your next role you most certainly have. Things have changed out there...
Post MiFID II and with no major regulatory agenda for the first time in a decade, the main drivers for change budgets have evaporated and it seems management are taking the chance to restock the balance sheet. Whilst regulations aren’t driving the change agenda, strategic / growth projects aren’t really picking up the slack.
How did you normally pitch yourself to the market before? Strong change skills with specific experience in reg / finance / risk? Or a generalist able to slot into any programme? The truth of the matter is: without demonstrating specific experience in solving identical / similar problems in the past hiring managers are unlikely to transact with you at the moment. The list of requirements we receive from hiring managers on each role are increasing dramatically. Those hiring have to justify the expenditure and with internal resources becoming available who are likely to have some relevant change skills, the only way to justify bringing external resources in is to demonstrate that you would be filling a skills gap.
When looking at opportunities you have to seriously consider your proposition, what previous assignments can you discuss that will clearly demonstrate your ability to solve the organisation's current problem, what specific skills, systems, industry knowledge can you bring on board they don’t currently have? Make sure this is all clearly documented in your CV, highlighting the most relevant pieces so they're front and centre.
The market is likely to remain tight through Q4, showing some easing as organisations start to kick Brexit programmes from design to implementation phases as we gain greater clarity. In the mean time, things will remain tough.
There’s a few things you can do in the short term. Work your network, if you are finding a role through an old contact, the list of requirements will shrink as you will be a known entity and trusted delivery partner - they can afford to overlook some of the technical elements. For roles that you are applying for without an inside track, work with your recruitment consultant to present your skills in the best possible light, spend time preparing your CV before it goes over and tailor it for the specific role.
It’s also worth considering that while the contract market has tightened this year, we’ve been seeing the permanent market improving for the past 2-3 years and it’s been particularly strong this year. If you’re an AVP level BA, you will be in demand across the market, whilst VPs are also in demand. Could you consider looking at perm as well as contract roles?
My top tips for making the most of a tight market
Whatever your situation, it's always worth meeting with your recruiter to cement the relationship and gain further insight into how you can present yourself to the market and the latest market insights. With opportunities harder to come by in some respects, having yourself engaged and working collaboratively with a recruitment professional will help elevate your chances of success, either now or in the future. If you need to find out more, be sure to get in contact.