The political events of last year and those anticipated for 2017 all significantly affect the way we need to approach recruitment, particularly for senior hires in transport and infrastructure.
Already this year we have seen that recruitment for infrastructure projects is picking up after a brief lull at the time Brexit was first announced. So far, the Brexit negotiations have had very little impact on UK infrastructure, despite a perceived increase in political risk.
As companies continue to recruit extensively, the market is becoming increasingly competitive. It is therefore crucial to stay on top of the latest trends to ensure you are attracting and retaining the best talent for your senior hires.
Here are the top trends we’ve identified that will be big this year:
1. Compensation –
While annual pay rises are typically 2.5%-3% for most transport and infrastructure businesses, the major increases in compensation are visible in annual bonuses and counter offers.
Post downturn, many employers have got back in to the habit of consistently paying out good bonuses to staff; typically between 50% and 90% of the maximum bonus potential.
The more surprising trend has been the lengths companies are prepared to go to hold on to key staff who are resigning with counter offers; typically leading to offers of a 15%-25% pay increase. In one instance we have seen a counter offer of over 100% of the candidate’s basic salary.
2. Can the UK still compete for international talent? –
Although we haven’t yet seen many implications for planned infrastructure projects since the Brexit announcement, we have noticed a considerable knock on effect when looking overseas for senior hires for these projects.
The c20% decrease in the value of the pound means that the UK is no longer as financially attractive to key talent working overseas. Companies that require specialist skills that are scarce in the UK will need to take this in to consideration when budgeting for new hires. We can no longer assume staff can be easily attracted from overseas.
Not only this, but the uncertainty around the terms being negotiated for our departure from the EU, presents a significant risk for EU candidates considering a move to the UK at this time. Companies will need to provide a very attractive offer to mitigate this risk until further clarification is provided.
3. Interim & freelance market –
In recent years, we have seen a boom in the number of senior freelance consultants used throughout the transport and infrastructure sectors. There are close to 400 people at TfL alone, earning over £100,000 a year on a freelance basis.
The government are taking a hard stance on self-employment and cracking down on these numbers – especially in the public sector. IR35 legislation means that, from April, public sector companies will have to bear the cost of assessing all freelancers and determining if they are legitimately self-employed. If they are deemed to be employees, then they will be taxed at source. Freelancers are leaving public sector agencies in their droves this week as a result.
Furthermore some public sector agencies in the rail sector are also asking first tier supply chain to crack down on freelancers as well.
As a result of these changes, we predict that 2017 will see a drop in the number of professionals working on a freelance basis, as the sectors shift further towards permanent employment contracts.
4. Workplace diversity –
Sadly, this is still a topic that has to be widely discussed, particularly in transport and infrastructure. Gender diversity gained some significant attention in 2016 and shows no signs of slowing this year. Having a diverse workforce is a significant advantage as a business and the majority of companies are now realising that sourcing strategies need to be tailored to attract diverse candidates.
5. Employer Branding –
It’s very much a candidate led market at the moment and the power will only continue to shift from employer to candidate as infrastructure investment increases. Because of this, it has never been more important to set yourself apart from your competitors with a strong employer brand that engages potential candidates.
Ensuring your marketing and PR teams are making the most of any good news stories such as; big contract wins, completed milestones, industry awards etc. can help raise your standing in the market without costing much.
Get in touch with us to see how we can help you with your executive search plans for the coming year by clicking HERE