Are vacancies becoming harder to fill?
We’re incredibly busy with such a variety of opportunities at the moment, which should appeal to most levels and disciplines across the sector. In particular we have a huge number of electronics roles available, especially focused on AI technologies, plus multiple biotechnology positions across the UK. However, we’ve noticed the time frame between first advertising and filling a role has increased over recent months. We can’t predict how quickly (or slowly) a suitable candidate will come around, but we do normally have some kind of idea based on current market conditions, level of candidate and location. A Partner role based in Glasgow could take a little longer than a Finalist in London, for example. Or it used to.
Understandably the market is a little different nowadays and employee/employer habits may have changed. Firms have had to focus more on adopting online strategies to maintain client relationships, attract new business and to build brand awareness. Not to mention ensuring their employees keep a sense of connectedness with their colleagues whilst out of the office and help them navigate the struggles of home working. Graduate recruitment fairs went virtual with firms attending via video link and interviews started to take place over conference call. From a candidate point of view, up until recently there has been less opportunity for them to have chance meetings at networking events with their peers. Conversations where they may have gained an idea of whether or not the grass is greener, or even physically checking out the grass by attending an event at another firm, doesn’t happen as often now.
Relocation, once perhaps a passing thought or consideration for a British rainy day, may now be well and truly off the table for those who have become accustomed to their home working bubble. Personal circumstances during the pandemic may have made people less likely to consider leaving loved ones or it could have had the opposite effect with the need to for a new start or reset. Interestingly we have placed candidates overseas recently and continue to have roles on our website, including New Zealand, Mexico and (a little closer to home) Dublin. Understandably it will be a little trickier to make the move in the current climate, however it is possible and firms are fully aware of what is expected.
Firms have introduced more fluid working structures and it could be that those who would have previously considered a move because of lack of flexible working now have it. Those who perhaps struggled with office dynamics and/or politics also have the opportunity to avoid these through home working. And let’s not forget we’re not quite out of the woods yet, there could be hesitations to move given the still very uncertain climate. A stand out positive for many has been the introduction (however reluctantly) of more hybrid working models but whether these remain an option at all firms only time will tell. We may see an increase in movement once there is an encouragement/requirement to move back to the office on a more regular or even full-time basis.
There was a hesitancy to recruit during the pandemic, with some firms placing a freeze on all new hires. The anticipated drop in work as a result of lockdown etc. never came for a lot of these firms, in fact some continued to thrive and take on additional clients and work. And even though most are now recruiting again, they are behind the curve struggling to have enough hands on deck to cope with their growing workload and are competing for the same candidates over a much shorter timeframe than previously.
It’s clear that no one has a real idea of how the pandemic will affect the IP recruitment market long term and whether the new employee/employer behaviors will remain or they are simply a trend of the time. Either way we’re on hand not just to facilitate