When accepting a Change Management requirement from a client, you can end up scrutinising their meaning of the word ‘Change’ in some detail. Titles like ‘Change Manager’, ‘Project Manager’ or even ‘Business Analyst’ can vary in meaning from client to client. The required skill set, experience or salary can significantly change depending on the organisation you’re hiring for. These roles have undergone a significant transformation over the few years, with even more to come.
During the recession, companies across Financial Services came under real pressure to reduce their ‘permanent’ headcount. Throughout the industry, the role of the Contractor quickly became very popular. This was a short term solution which could be flexible in remit or project specific. A great option for management tasked with delivering important projects under tight timescales.
Last year we saw a real change in the market. 2013 was a year in which clients adopted a more cautious approach when hiring contractors where only the most elusive ‘round peg to a round hole’ would suffice. The usual one stage interview process died in many organisations, seeing them opt for an initial telephone call to fully qualify a contractor’s suitability before inviting them for a face to face. 2013 also saw continued confidence in the hiring of permanent staff, a possible reason for the aforementioned cautious approach. An indicator of a deliberate shift from limitless contractor spend to a strong push for more quality permanent hires.
So far, in 2014 the Change Management market has continued to strengthen, with vacancy flows strong across permanent and contract roles. Another significant consistency is the need for regulatory change and the resulting new ‘best practices’ and systems implementations. This is often a catalyst for recruitment.
Within Financial Services, we have a real demand for SME’s - true specialists who can make an immediate impact for a very lucrative day-rate. Particularly in Asset Management, we have seen a strong demand for Business Analysts who specialise in ‘Enterprise Data Management’, ‘Front Office Technology’ and ‘Fund Migration’. So much so, that we’ve seen London based contractors being lured to clients in Scotland’s central belt.
This year, a real focus on staff retention can be seen with the percentage of successful counter offers being at their highest in a long time. Clients are now managing to balance core internal change functions with niche contractors and strategic partners to create more efficient teams when taking on large scale transformation programmes. Allowing organisations to retain invaluable knowledge whilst remaining financially viable as well as flexible for projects, big or small.
To remain successful in an ever changing market, as recruiters we must want to add real value to the client. We must scrutinise the programme of work, find out exactly what they need to hit deliverable’s, and most importantly, whether the person specification is what they actually need.