Confidence began to trickle back into pockets of the market, and this has been reflected by the return of hiring activity. The residual effects from a reduction in graduate uptake since 2015 is being felt in the mid career level for Senior Surveyor and Senior Analyst levels, which impacted on existing team workloads, output and ultimately retention. Consequently, 2017 saw a shift in demographics as retirement leaves were replaced with newly qualified surveyors to help bolster future talent pipelines and prevent further skills gaps.
Professional service teams continued to struggle with the challenge of an aging workforce, coupled with additional pressure owing to rising demand for newly qualified to mid career level surveyors. In an attempt to protect retention levels and not lose valuable employees, professional service employers have been prepared to increase salaries by up to 25%, particularly for Senior Valuation Surveyors, who in some organisations are now commanding higher salaries than Associates.
In the transaction markets, candidates seeked job security, and as a result, natural attrition continued to stagnate hiring activity. Joining bonuses re-emerged for the first time in five years as employers attempted to provoke movement. In a candidate short market, employers who struggled to make quick decisions were impacted the most, and this resulted in having to respond with salary increases and counter offers.
Whilst market fluidity returned to large scale deals, transaction volumes remained compressed, resulting in newly qualified to mid tier investment professionals hungry for deal activity and market exposure. Consequently, a notable trend of small to midsize firms, offering market action for high volume deals on a smaller scale took the opportunity to headhunt from larger firms holding out for longer term transactions. Graduate intake remains low for investment teams, and we anticipate this will impact skill shortages in the long term as market sentiment returns.
Hiring activity in the industrial and retail sectors bucked the trend in the first half of 2017, with high volumes of movement across the UK, particularly for client side growth. Caution in the industrial sector began to trickle into the latter half of the year as employers anticipate growth will not sustain. Meanwhile, in retail, M&A activity dominated hiring activity in the sector and fueled candidate movement, especially senior level professionals in investment and leasing.
Demand for junior Asset and Property Managers was led by increased workloads as investors held on to property assets longer. The most active employers for Asset Managers were foreign investors and flexible work space solutions. The asset management organisations underwent significant restructures as roles became more specific to leasing management roles and a trend towards splitting teams into portfolios emerged, resulting in some redundancies, which alleviated salary rises.
In reaction to the lengthening time to hire, more General Practice employers are becoming open to a contract and interim workforce. For the first time in the private sector, there was an increase in interim hiring to replace senior professionals who had retired. As a result, employers were able to overcome skills gaps in teams and some were strategically opting for temp to perm hires as part of the interview process.
Ensure your recruitment process is as efficient and timely as possible to avoid losing talent to competitors.
Don’t stick to rigid seniority levels - you are not going to get everything you want in a candidate short market. The market is crying out for a certain candidate and when that candidate is found, don’t hesitate
Integrate interim hires into your recruitment strategy to alleviate workload pressure, provide flexibility and reduce risk in uncertain climates.
High calibre candidates are seeking more than just earnings. Increasingly, they are motivated by structured career progression, work-life balance and company culture.