Job & Career Market Update – June 2020

Article Seldon-Rosser-Job&Career-Market-Update-June 2020

During these unprecedented times with the APAC market being in various stages of lockdown, we are being asked the same career questions from many of our candidates and so have put together some FAQs here.

Should I be worried about my job security in professional services?

In a recent CMO survey conducted by Seldon Rosser, we asked whether CMOs plan to change the size of their teams:

  •  only 10% predict a decrease
  • 50% predict an increase
  • 40% predict team sizes will stay the same post COVID-19

It’s heartening to see firms retaining and supporting their BD&MC teams. This is not a contracting market. Unlike the GFC when there were a lot of redundancies, there have only been a limited number of redundancies in this job market. Teams have never been busier or so heavily relied upon by stakeholders – it really has been our industry’s time to shine.

Many firms have implemented reduced hours and/or salaries for all staff with a view to protecting overall job security.  This seems to be driven more by caution and a ‘wait and see’ approach as many firms have come off the back of a strong financial year and the economic impact has not been felt by many professional services firms as yet.

What’s likely to happen to salary bands over the next 12 months?

We are hearing from CMOs and other hiring managers that salary bands will not alter in the next 12 months and have affirmed our salary benchmarks  (first published February 2020) are still current.  Many firms are honouring bonuses earned in the last 12 months (with some delaying payment of these) though it’s unlikely to be the year you’ll get a pay-rise.  This is a time where you are more likely to be having a conversation with your manager about non-financial ways of being recognised and developing your careers – as referenced in our article about managing your annual review during COVID-19.

What are your predictions about the recruitment market?

The recruitment market is currently quiet across the APAC, reflected in the number of live roles we are advertising.  Whilst some firms have recruitment freezes, many firms are using language like recruitment “pause” or “hold”.  We are in very close contact with CMOs across the APAC region and there are many roles which are either “on hold”, or, which might become business critical to create and hire during the next 6-12 months.

It is too challenging to predict the exact timeframe of when these roles comes to market, but we do predict that, when the time comes, many of these roles will come to market at the same time.  Firms are assessing the need to recruit based on a sliding scale of what is ‘business critical’.  It is worth noting that the recruitment process itself is slower during this period.

Will employers be more open to me working from home in the future?

“The last vestiges of presenteeism have been swept away” APAC CMO.

In Australia, many CMOs tell us that they are confident their Partners / stakeholders will be a lot more open to allowing a balance of work from home / office in the future with many predicting 30%-50% from home becoming a commonplace working style.

Interestingly, in the month leading up to COVID-19, we negotiated roles for two people in Australia with one day from home at firms that had never offered this flexibility before and were somewhat reticent.  The irony of those roles being on-boarded remotely in the thick of COVID-19 was not lost on anyone involved and there is now no question over future flexibility.

We are hearing CMOs predict a more likely return to business-as-usual in the office in Asia locations, given for most people working from home is difficult due to availability of space.  Though we expect it will be easier to negotiate this than in the past for those that do desire such balance, particularly for more senior roles (manager & above).

Will there be more opportunities available to candidates in smaller centres?

We have long heard a frustration from candidates in smaller centres, eg Perth and Brisbane in Australia, that many senior roles are based in Sydney and Melbourne.  Pleasingly, we are hearing Australian-based CMOs talk about recruitment becoming more ‘location agnostic’ (with sensible constraints such as similar time zones, and, being in a location where they do actually have an office).  Based on this, we are hopeful that when the recruitment market picks up location will be more flexible for national / APAC roles.  This may be harder for Asia based roles though, given the cultural nuances and differences in one part of Asia compared to another (eg South East Asia versus Greater China).

How can I proactively position myself for a career move in a quiet recruitment market?

We understand from talking to many of you that career development and progression remains top of mind.  We have actually seen an increase in people being ‘open’ to receiving a call about a new career when business critical recruitment campaigns come to market and when the market picks up.

There are several things you can do during this period:

  • Ensure you are being as intentional as possible about developing your skills while in your current role
  • Update your resume – use our guide as a handy prompt and checklist
  • Talk to us about your next step so  we understand your aspirations and can call you about the right roles when they come to market

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