I think it is safe to say that we were all glad to see the back of 2020. Whilst entering 2021 with more optimism on many fronts one positive remained from our market was how buoyant recruitment was.
The start of the year continued as it had ended, lots of recruiting, lots of opportunity and of course lots of change! As we enter Q2, I am happy to report that not much has altered.
In a market that thrives on catastrophe, in a perverse way perhaps we are lucky at its robustness. We certainly were not faced with some challenges that my peers at Bruin faced on other Financial Service related desks. The biggest hurdle was some ‘old school’ Execs getting their heads around their staff working from home – understandably so given the tradition and heritage of the Lloyd’s and London Insurance Market. Whilst there have been stories of continued ‘working from the office‘ cases from some of the smaller houses throughout the pandemic and lock downs, typically most have found a rhythm and again, dare I say it, found excellent results working from home – so much so that many companies have downsized office space in London to create a more flexible working pattern going forward.
I am certainly a middle ground type of guy. I love the City, I want us all to continue to operate in the City but with the added option of a more flexible environment whereby that may not have been an option beforehand. I was one that worked two days per week in the office last year when restrictions lifted slightly and I loved being back. What was sad was seeing the streets, bars, restaurants, coffee shops and many more establishments either shut or struggling. This shouldn’t be the case for the best City in the world going forward, in my humble opinion!
I do predict a shift in pattern once this lockdown ends. Whilst I believe this will open up flexible working options in companies that before would never have dreamed of doing so prior, I also believe that certainly our market will slowly but surely be at least 75% back in the City Monday – Friday. Some firms are tied into long leases, have no doubt that they will want staff in said premises ASAP!
However, back to recruitment. As mentioned and seen no doubt by many individuals, there is lots of movement. We have been more busy in certain areas than others with Power / Energy roles and Financial Lines to name two stand out classes.
As a small team of specialist contingency recruiters to the Lloyd’s and London Market, Ryan and I have placed to date (2021) in excess of 20 professionals with an average salary of £44,976. Highest salary at £120,000 to the lowest at £15,000 (a three day week, pro rata placement).
Those placements have been a real mix including; Graduate hires, Technicians, Account Handlers and Senior Brokers. Everyone and their dog seems to be after an IBA Tech with a budget of £35,000 only and old school Technicians remain to be sought after at all levels across the Broking houses. Whilst often unseen and applauded, you guys are and remain integral to the Broking market.
Within the Insurer markets, continual hires within the Operational spaces seem to be leading the charge although I guess there are no surprises there given what we are going through. Recent closures of FI books have seen this market stir with roles a plenty being created elsewhere.
Going into Q2 I think it is obvious to predict the beginning of fall outs from a number of mergers and not just from the obvious big one! Again creating more movement across Broking and Underwriting worlds. Watch this space!
With all this continued recruitment I must also point out the candidate market. Make no bones about it, this is a candidate driven market. As a potential employer you have to be offering good rises and competitive packages. The good old ‘counter offers’ are certainly in full swing more than ever as are the candidates looking to use an offer to their advantage to leverage a hike at their current shop – a move I will never understand, but that’s a whole new chapter… I am advising clients from the off what to expect from the candidate and what I know of their current employer as to second guess their move. Hopefully you are partnering with an experienced recruiter who you trust to give you as much information as possible. Believe me, this isn’t us driving up price to better our fee!
Our clients are now adding ‘working from home’ options to job specs, and the good news is, they seem genuine! Further, please do not think that because employees are not coming into the City you can offer them less due to no travel costs. There are more employers out there who WILL pay what they are worth either working 5 days from home or within a flexible working arrangement.