Normally during difficult economic periods we see less junior level roles in the market with more businesses looking for mid-senior level professionals to help steer them through. However 2020 flipped recruitment on its head.
Though trends have remained consistent in that there has been a decrease in the volume of junior level roles in replacement for more mid-senior level positions, one of the biggest differences lies in the executive and director level market, where we have seen a reduction in demand.
The issue for executives and directors
When Covid-19 hit, many businesses felt they had two options when looking to quickly reduce costs. Either by making redundancies or undertaking a company restructure which sought to streamline the business through reducing the number of managerial and director level professionals.
This has resulted in there being more competition amongst high earning executives and directors, following an increase in available talent and a decrease in roles across the market. Combine this with an increase in the volume of professionals looking to change businesses due to dissatisfaction in the workplace and you have a talent surplus on your hands.
What can I be doing as a senior and director level professional to secure a new job?
Though the availability of roles may be limited right now, we have identified a few opportunities in the market which you may wish to consider:
Go for a contract role
We have seen an uptick in businesses looking at contract roles instead of committing to a permanent hire for senior appointments, likely because they do not want to devote long-term financial resources or are looking to complete a specific project or expansion which they need a niche skill set for.
Though this may be a temporary solution, some of the contracts available have a 6-12 or even 18 month time span and may be a viable option for senior level professionals looking to earn a stable income whilst they weather the storm, or expand their horizons by entering a new sector.
Additionally, these contracts provide an opportunity for you to get your foot through the door to demonstrate how you can positively make a difference in an organisation. Who knows, at the end of your contract you may even be offered a permanent position.
Aim for SMEs
SMEs took a battering in 2020, but of those who survived there are many who are looking to upscale and push forward with those projects they put off.
We have spoken to many SMEs who have ambitious plans for 2020, but don’t necessarily have the knowledge or skillsets internally to allow them to execute them. This is where they need the skills of those who have worked with larger organisations or who have helped to drive other SMEs to success previously.
Just because SMEs don’t always have the large financial return which bigger organisations can offer it doesn’t mean they are less stable. SMEs are in fact far more agile towards adaptation, potentially offering more security in the longer-term.
In addition they can be fantastic spring boards for those looking to advance their career from senior to director level or find a role with meaning and purpose, as they offer more room for you to make an impact and contribution within the organisation without layers or hierarchy above you.
Split your time across multiple businesses
Of those senior and director level candidates we speak to, over the last 6 months many have been successful in securing a role by using their connections and personal network.
Many of these people have gone to work in SMEs on a consultancy basis, working with multiple businesses, helping to save these organisations money by negating the need for a full time hire whilst also benefitting from the experience of someone who they know has previously made an impact.
Doing this allows has allowed many of these people to be strategic with their income sources by taking on multiple roles to minimise the risk if one of the organisations opts to make cut-backs in the future.
We are currently working with a range of senior and director level talent to help them secure employment through a personalised and proactive recruitment strategy. If you are looking to take on a new role, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our consultants.