Here at Arras People we often get asked by project management practitioners “how is the market?”; or “is it a candidate’s market?” etc. Questions we really do not like to answer as “the market”, in our eyes at least, is a mythical thing and practitioners should be focussed on “their market” ie where their skills and experience are likely to get them a job!
However, our friend over at KPMG and Rec are much happier talking about the market and every month they issue their Report on Jobs which offers up the latest trends based on recruiter feedback that they have collated. The report is broken down in to some sub-sectors but the headlines talk about the broad job market.
Their most recent data shows that hiring activity has continued to accelerate from the record lows created by the COVID-19 pandemic and at the same time candidate availability has dropped away due to the combined effects of COVID-19 and also Brexit leading to the message that “record high permanent placements and higher starting salaries mean it remains a job-seekers market” .
We are in a national shortage of labour
Across the UK economy, businesses are currently looking for more staff than ever as the post pandemic hiring boom continues.
At the same time the report indicates that candidate availability has now decreased in each of the past six months. The latest drop in availability is the sharpest seen since this data was first collected in 1997. A combination of furlough, early retirement, withdrawal from the job market and of course Brexit are some of the reasons put forward as to why the UK economy is feeling this pinch.
So how does this relate to project management practitioners?
The report shows that project management falls under the skills currently in short supply for both permanent staff and temporary staff for some recruiters BUT AT THE SAME TIME it also shows that project management falls under the skills currently in excess supply for both permanent staff and temporary staff for other recruiters.
Once again this proves our theory that the market level analysis is not great for the individual worker who may be a Project Manager with skills in Engineering.
If we look into the report again, we see that IT & Computing is top of the permanent vacancies index, followed by Hotel & Catering; Executive/Professional comes in at sixth (out of 10) on the list one after Blue Collar.
In terms of Temporary roles Hotel & Catering comes top followed by Nursing/Medical Care and Blue Collar; Executive/Professional comes in at ninth on the list of ten.
So, it would appear that for project management practitioners some sectors of the market may be booming whilst others are not and both of these are, in turn, impacted by the need for permanent or temporary labour. What we can’t see here but anecdotal evidence would suggest, is that much of the current hiring spree is focussed around getting business as usual (BAU) back up and running, re-hiring workers who were let go rather than workers to kick off new projects and initiatives.
Further Inflation of starting salary
The other common indicator of a “candidate market” is remuneration inflation as organisations see Increased competition for staff. In certain areas of the market we are seeing this has resulted in higher starting pay and also for some workers, substantial pay increases as organisation look to protect themselves from losing existing workers to their competitors. As can be seen below, the most recent data has shown the quickest increase in starting salary in nearly 24 years and has beaten the previous high set only in July this year; a trend that has been seen across all 4 monitored English regions.
Fear is also still a factor in the availability of candidates as we await a return of confidence that things are getting better and as such the risk of changing employers is not too risky!
Looking at the data reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) they are seeing +8.8% year on year increase in employee earnings (including bonuses) with significant differences between the public and private sectors. In the private sector, earnings growth strengthened to +10.1%, with a softer increase in public sector of +2.8%. Again, the impacts of the pandemic will be influencing these numbers as in real terms earnings in many areas of the private sector were hit much harder than those jobs in the public sector.
What does this mean for you?
If you’re considering a change in job, roles or career, now might be the time to take the next step towards doing so. Take a good long hard look at your skills and experience and research where they could be applied and then look at that sector / industry to see if they are in a position of growth, stagnation or decline.
If you are looking for a rise in pay, again look at your sector and understand its trajectory; it may be time to look at your transferable skills or for others, it may be time to change employer to take advantage of some particular skills shortage.
Whatever you do don’t follow the headlines, always take a deeper look at your segment of the market.
You can see the full report on jobs >>>here