A Buyer’s Market No longer



Not a day goes past when either an existing or new client asks for a hybrid candidate profile - “I want X, Y and Z, oh and they have to be able to do two other roles for two days of the week.”

This is my first ever blog and that goes some way to telling you how I feel about this topic.

When I started working in recruitment, nearly 10 years ago, I placed IT professionals into the leading investment banks - Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Citi, BAML and Lehman (when it was still around). In the period between 2006 and mid 2008 it was a race as to who could hire the most people in technology; namely developers with stacks of people being promoted to VP level and into the realms of middle management. The focus was on building the most complex Monte-Carlo Risk Engine, the fastest and most complex algo trading system, the best FX trading platform… you get the picture. There was huge demand, not much supply, and this meant most banks were happy to hire technical expertise from outside of the Financial Services sector. Even in the turbulent time, at the end of 2008, Credit Suisse were hiring developers by the bucket load to work on the Risk Systems that had failed the pre-crisis.

Then things changed - the markets slowed down and the demand for talent dwindled away along with the plethora of average recruiters who had made a mountain of cash during the good times.

The period between 2009 and 2013 in my mind was the buyer’s market, where clients wanted developers who could do the business analysis as well as manage part of the project. This mentality expanded into all job profiles.  The economics of demand and supply meant that as recruiters we had to find people who could bring several skills to the table and even then it was extremely competitive for each role.  All the middle managers in banks were in ‘no man’s land’ where they were not technical enough to get a technical role and could not move into another management role because there weren’t any…

Now the tide has turned, and as we ride the wave the same forces of demand and supply are playing their part but in the opposite direction. There is plenty of demand and not much supply.  However I would argue that the majority of employers are still employing the same mentality that they got accustomed to almost seven years ago.

I spend my working life talking to people in the market and as a firm we have a wide cross section of industries to be able to see that there is a shortage of good candidates.  At Venquis we distinguish ourselves as being consultative and this means that we constantly have to educate our clients to these market forces; sometimes we have to deliver messages that hiring managers do not want to hear. The fact of the matter is, unless we are working with a candidate exclusively, they may be interviewing at 4 or 5 other firms for similar projects and similar pay.

My advice to all potential employers who want to land good people resonates through these 5 keys points:

1. Know what role’s selling points are and use them to your strength. Sell on them…. hard.

2. Make sure that your current employee base is in line with the market so that when you come to offering someone a job, it can be at a competitive salary/rate.

3. Try and identify the talent that is capable of picking things up rather than always looking for a track record of what you want them to do.

4. Make sure the interview process is an enjoyable one with timely feedback.

5. When you do finally make an offer, make sure they get the paperwork quickly so that other recruiters can’t sow any seeds of doubt before the signature goes on the dotted line.

By Michael Mihaylov