August 2019: “How’s the market?”

It’s one of the questions I’m asked all the time. Sometimes it’s the business equivalent of “How do you do” of course but in these uncertain times it is a source of genuine interest for many, whether hiring or looking for a move.

It’s also a tricky one to answer, as a boutique player in a niche market! However, as management consultancy is often regarded as a discretionary spend by firms’ clients, which in turn influences their enthusiasm for hiring, the economic and recruitment backdrop gives valuable pointers.

The July 2019 UK Report on Jobs from KPMG and the recruitment body REC therefore makes sobering reading. The key highlights include declining staff appointments and vacancies compared with the equivalent period in 2018, albeit with June/July 2019 static. Conversely candidate supply remains poor, attributed in part to a reluctance to seek new roles amid ongoing political and economic uncertainty.

Hotel & Catering and IT & Computing remain relatively buoyant with Construction and Retail bringing up the rear,

A more positive aspect, depending on one’s viewpoint is these candidate shortages and greater competition for staff have pushed up pay.

The quickest increase in starting salaries was seen in the North of England, while the weakest was recorded in London. This regional disparity is such that London posts the worst trend for permanent hiring of all four English regions.

Commenting on the results KPMG Vice Chair James Stewart said “Businesses continue to take a cautious approach to hiring as Brexit and economic uncertainty linger. Permanent staff appointments have fallen for the fifth month in a row, while overall demand remains lacklustre as firms delay recruitment decisions. Uncertainty is also impacting the supply of labour, as people are choosing to sit tight until the outlook is clearer.”

It’s a reasonable expectation therefore that the mid-senior level hiring market in the management consultancy sector will remain somewhat subdued in the short term. The most optimistic mid-term scenario is perhaps that it will remain so! It’s certainly not easy to see any significant upturn on the horizon.

The full July 2019 UK Report on Jobs from KPMG and the recruitment body REC is available here.

For more information on the job market, or to discuss your hiring or career plans please contact Chris Sale, Managing Director, Prism Executive Recruitment via [email protected]

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