The demand for talented marketers remains strong as professional services firms look to fill ‘business critical’ roles.
The Professionals asks Totum Partners how the coronavirus pandemic is changing the professional services recruitment market?
Late March and April were tense times for the professional services recruitment market. As doors to offices closed so too did recruitment plans.
But, says Rebecca Ellis, a director at Totum Partners responsible for recruiting BD and marketing roles into professional services firms, fears that everything would grind to a halt proved ungrounded.
“The shift from an office-based model to virtual firm overnight quite rightly moved the focus away from recruitment. Roles were put on hold and there were recruitment freezes.
“However, none of the offers for roles we had been working on were rescinded. Some roles that were interviewing continued to placement and others that had been put on hold restarted as firms adapted remarkably well to virtual interviews and onboarding.”
And now, the volume of new roles coming into the market, whilst not at pre-coronavirus levels, is also increasing.
“The demand for roles is varied as firms recruit to meet their specific needs at this time, but we can see emerging trends that will shape future recruitment. One is digital. Whilst already important it has become critical to communications during COVID. And while strong digital skills are expected across all marketing roles, we can see investment growing here as firms seek to upskill teams and further improve their digital platforms.”
But there are, naturally, some concerns. Some firms have or are looking at redundancies and some roles have slowed down more than others. But, as Rebecca says, the legal market is holding up well.
“There are always fears in these times of uncertainty, and we do expect marketing and BD heads to review their functions to meet changing demands. But this pandemic isn’t the same as the 2008/9 financial crash – there hasn’t been the same response to reduce costs by reducing marketing and BD headcount. We expect more of a shifting emphasis on roles rather than redundancies.
“While the job market may have become harder for those starting out on their careers, we expect this area to soon pick up as firms return to more normal operations and resume in-person training activities.
“The coronavirus pandemic has put marketing and BD front of mind for many firms. The value that marketing and BD teams have brought to partners, supporting them to work and to pitch virtually, and BD and marketing’s increased visibility with clients through recent months has helped them shine. Partners and senior management teams see BD and marketing as vital, in a way that some perhaps didn’t appreciate to the same degree in previous times of crisis.”
So how will the market change as we move into the autumn? It is, says Rebecca, difficult to predict.
“Our conversations with firms are more positive and new roles are being created, but the volume will not be the same. We are likely to see more temporary and interim roles than normal to help firms scale their requirements up and down as required to meet changing market conditions.
“Longer-term, we will see firms focusing on roles where they can get maximum return on investment – for example, shifting skills to more virtual events that, together with more traditional platforms, can provide clients with a greater variety of engagement points and cost savings for firms.
“We will also see a greater focus on client-facing roles. This may not be in the immediate future, but we can already see firms engaging with clients differently, taking on, for example, a more human approach to their messaging and communications. We think this will have a lasting impact on how firms develop their relationships and brand longer term.”
And contrary to opinion, there are decent candidates on the market.
“There isn’t perhaps the burning platform driving candidates to look for new roles, but there are those with an eye to the next step. Firms looking for good people will not struggle to find them.”
Visit www.totumpartners.com for further information.