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An update from our experts: ​Is the ‘talent shortage’ still prevalent?

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Last year, deverellsmith’s divisional leaders provided an update on market conditions within the hiring landscape. Breaking into a new year means new mindsets, missions, and behaviours. We still believe the talent is there for the taking, it’s the how that’s changing.

What’s changing in 2022?

Our business leaders have presented employers with market commentary to enhance their knowledge of what’s really going on in the hiring market right now – and how to get the best in the business.

The key trends common across all sectors:

-        The number of counteroffers being served is high

-        Candidates are more open to engaging and learning about opportunities

-        Selling your company is imperative for securing the best talent


Hear from our experts below…

Nick Hammond, Head of Build to Rent

In recent years, a large talent pool particularly at a senior level, have put off their next career move for a variety of reasons, primarily including job security during the COVID-19 pandemic (and even Brexit). As we move into 2022, an increasing number of this talent pool are now open to exploring opportunities; however this has coincided with a large influx of job vacancies, which has led to fierce competition and chronic wage inflation. deverellsmith advises businesses to streamline their recruitment processes and move at pace when they see fit with a prospective employee.


Georgia Zambakides, Senior Manager - New Homes

Since January, the market has experienced increased levels of activity with both opportunities on the rise as well as candidates seeking new pastures.

Selling your business remains incredibly important and is a key piece of advice I’m giving my clients right now. Candidates looking to move aren’t just going to one or two interviews, they have many options to explore.

I’m a firm believer that the traditional way of interviewing is a thing of the past. The candidate is also interviewing the business so we can’t assume they automatically want the job just because they’ve agreed to an interview.

Another suggestion would be to maintain consistent communication once someone accepts an offer, especially for people serving long notice periods. Arrange lunches, coffee catch-ups and events where they can meet the team so they can feel a real part of something and maintain their interest. You want them to be excited to join your business and not have any reasons for reservations.

When recruiting, keep the brief fairly open – think of your top three ‘must haves’ and if the candidates tick 3, or even 2 out of 3, then they are worth considering. Unicorns are extremely difficult to find, so save yourself time. Additionally, when an open vacancy is left for too long the process gets quite stale and demotivating.

Job seekers: really think about why you are looking to move; counteroffers are on the rise, so if financial return is your reason for finding somewhere new I’d suggest sitting down with your current employer to negotiate. If that’s what you really want it will save everyone involved in the process time and be a much quicker solution.


Hannah Taylor, Manager – Investment and Finance

Across the Investment and Finance sector, we are seeing higher expectations from candidates in terms of both salary and holistic benefits. High quality candidates are in high demand and employers would rather pay for the best than settle for anything less. On the flipside, candidates are taking a discerned approach as they know they can ask for more than they have in the past.

We are seeing a trend of candidates being keen to stay away/move away from big corporate companies and are finding they would prefer to be in a culture of high exposure and autonomy.

Employee benefits need to be competitive, and to attract candidates, the best package/bundle to get should be considered and available.

Along with many other sectors, counteroffers are taking place, so sell the business across all its verticals. Career progression, what the role can offer over 5 years, case studies of current employees who are successful and any element which makes your business unique or stand out. The demand for flexibility is still a priority, so don’t miss out on the best candidates by not considering some sort of flexible work scheme.


Anna McGeorge, Account Manager - Marketing

The level of opportunities has increased since the start of the year, businesses are more open to meeting candidates and eager to bulk out teams to meet ongoing demand.

We’re experiencing lots of movement on the junior end, as well as employers looking to bring skillsets in house like graphic designers or digital experts. This is so businesses have direct access to individuals with these skillsets, have them readily available and rely less on agencies for project-based work.

As well as junior roles, activity has increased upwards with a demand for more senior marketing and marketing managers. A lot of this activity is occurring within the development space, due to an exciting pipeline of projects upon the horizon in and around London.

Generally, we’re still experiencing a skill shortage. The market has shown signs of improvement, however, there is still a shortage of candidates across all levels compared to life pre-pandemic. Since the start for the new year, candidates are much more open to engaging and finding out about new opportunities.

The more jobs available on the market the more candidates start to look; my prediction is the market will stay busy and the level of candidates open to opportunities will increase and level out.


Anna Rickenberg, Principal consultant – Business Support

At the beginning of the pandemic, business support staff were usually the first to be made redundant, so there was a huge slowdown of firms hiring last year.

As restrictions are easing and office working is becoming more acceptable, the need for office managers, PAs, EAs has come back and now clients are hiring at high volumes across all levels of admin roles.

Although there is an increased need to hire, there is a massive skill shortage in terms of quality candidates with multiple years of property experience.

Employers are going to need to be more flexible with their skill level requirements, either being open to individuals with less property experience or with more transferrable skills, or even looking at grads who they can train and develop.

My suggestion is to put time and effort into your hiring strategy now and your business will benefit long-term, it will also erase the need for a ‘perfect’ profile.


Tommy Lambourne, Senior Manager – Estate Agency and Property Management

The estate agency market remains highly active. Seasonally, there is always a ‘January rush’ of candidates who want to start the new year with a new job. However, the market is still driven by candidates and is lacking talent across all levels. Ultimately, companies need to be more flexible, offer more benefits and emotionally connect with staff to attract a wider pool of talent and high performers.

Along with other sectors, the estate agency world is experiencing many counteroffers as agencies need to retain their high performing staff. If you are hiring, it’s important to communicate more than just the job in hand throughout the hiring process; whether you are selling yourselves in a better light, highlighting the opportunity’s long-term progression or boasting about financial rewards.

If you want to attract the best talent, then your business needs to either offer something different to standout or offer something that every estate agent wants. Being given a car is no longer a perk, it’s part of the job and not every benefit needs to have financial impacts; offering discounted gym memberships, internal learning opportunities or the option to work flexibly all appeal to prospective candidates. Be unique, tailor your employee offering and tap into emotions.