The topic of the “time of year being good or bad for finding a new project management job” is something that often comes up in conversation with candidates. Whilst an appreciation of the market is always good to have, especially for contractors, for those seeking a new permanent role the question often feels irrelevant. Whilst we may have some options or preferences in terms of seeking out a new role, for some practitioners this is not the case especially if forced on to the market by redundancy or the end of a contract.
Over the year we do see some quiet periods, with the summer holidays tending to be one of the main ones. This is understandable, as both clients and candidates (especially those with school-age children) focus on taking time off for a well-deserved break. We often see activity spikes just before holidays (people clearing their desks?), but the underlying reality is that for most practitioners supply is only an option when demand is created by a hiring organisation.
A common perception is that the run up to Christmas is a poor time to look for a new job. Only this week, I spoke to a candidate who was accepting that if a new assignment did not come soon, she would have to wait until the New Year before looking again. The combination of festivities and annual closing of offices leaves candidates feeling recruitment also takes a break.
The reality of our experience, however ,paints a different picture, and potentially one that offers the practitioners who remain active a chance to start the New Year with a new role rather than a place in the crowd of New Year job seekers!
We always tell candidates to make sure they can differentiate themselves in the market and one obvious way is to always be open and ready to consider the next opportunity whenever it comes along. Hiring doesn’t stop for Christmas, so the message for candidates would, therefore, seem to suggest that rather than closing up for the Christmas break you should put in extra effort and perhaps sneak into that dream job whilst everyone else is snoozing on the sofa.