The planning sector continued to bear the brunt of changes in legislation, which put further pressure on the employment market. In reaction to fee increases on planning applications, developers have began to build in-house planning teams to help mitigate against exposed risks and ultimately reduce costs. The creation of these new client side teams to improve planning acceptances has led to a shift towards quality, which has significantly increased demand for proven and experienced Planning Consultants and Town Planners. The consequential candidate movement from agency to client side over the past twelve months has led to consultancies adopting reactive hiring and retention strategies to compete, including increases in salaries of up to 9% and counter offers pushing salaries in some consultancies up by 17%.
The contract and interim employment market has seen marked growth from planning consultancy employers to help overcome skills gaps in the past year. We anticipate there will be further progressive growth in interim workforces within consultancies, resulting from impending legislation changes, which will cause a high volume of small space planning applications and in turn escalated workloads.
Candidate shortages in town planning have been accelerated by the Build to Rent sector where demand was high for niche skills in high density, small space planning, which has put further upward pressure on salaries.
There has been a key trend in consultancies moving towards flexible working and working from home, led by teams outgrowing office space. There has also been a notable drive of London consultancies opening in regional cities including Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds and increased candidate movement from company buyouts, which is consequently causing the growth of individuals starting up as independent consultancies.
Hiring activity for Housing Associations was buoyant and we saw a record volume of growth-led hires into the public sector as new planning-led roles were created. This marked the continued trend for candidate movement from the private to public sector as Housing Associations bolstered their commercialised hires.
Avoid counter offering it is expensive and not an effective recruitment strategy as most candidates accept the highest counter offer to use for as leverage in a fresh job search.
You will want them in a year if you don’t hire them now.
It is the employers responsibility to encourage more into planning for
Support employees with their CPD and completing their RICS to become planning and development surveyors.
Introduce annual appraisals, incentives and paying bonuses and ensure there are paths for progression by avoid the one or two tier structure.