This year has been as frenetic as last year. 55% of the roles we have filled have been with in-house corporate communications teams, and 48% with high-flying London agencies. As ever, we place PR and corporate communications professionals from board level down, with some searches being conducted on a retained basis. The roles which have been most in demand in the last six months are as follows-
Corporate and Financial agencies-
Account Managers, followed by Account Directors, were in the highest demand.
Account Managers and Account Directors were in equal demand.
In-house consumer teams-
We couldn’t find PR Managers fast enough, closely followed by Press Officers.
In-house corporate communications teams-
Again, PR Managers have been in popular demand.
We do get a number of senior level briefs, both agency and in-house, but many are confidential and not advertised, however the volume of demand is elsewhere. The majority of the senior level hirers have been growth roles, and greenfield roles alongside some replacement. This shows that there is definitely more confidence in the market.
We have seen a fair amount of newly formed roles in-house, especially at manager level. It is encouraging to see a good number have been greenfield roles.
Across the industry it feels that we are looking forward again, planning for the future and looking at long-term business growth.
Generally we have also seen punchier demands with salary increases moving jobs. Our last mini survey on salary uplifts during a move indicated the average increase was between 10 and 12%, but we have been hearing much higher demands as candidates realise their worth and want to rectify their basic where they perceive to be underpaid.
We are in a candidate-led market which means exceptional talent is short and they can receive multiple offers. We have also seen the recruitment process speed up from introducing a candidate to a client to an offer being accepted. Clients that have waited to see more people, or not started interviewing for a few weeks, have missed out. The great candidates are securing roles faster than ever, and the more agile clients are thriving.
There is a good deal of momentum now in the recruitment market and roles are now being replaced straight away. The trickiest roles to fill are where the client insists on very specific industry skills and experience and perhaps isn’t paying the market rate; or not taking into account the scarcity of certain levels, for instance Senior Account Executives and Account Managers.
We have seen, however, many more of our agency clients in particular broadening their briefs and giving particular emphasis to attitude and fit within their teams. This is over and above having specific expertise - a refreshing and sophisticated way of hiring in our eyes.
Another trend we have seen is notice periods being extended at Senior Account Executive level. Clearly agencies are keen to keep them, having invested in their training and development, although we’re not convinced it’s the best strategy, as we appear to be their first call when contracts are changed.
Finally, in corporate and financial agencies, we have also placed some journalists. It’s been about five years since our clients have been bold enough to invest in our journalist friends. This is at senior and mid-level, showing that there is money to invest again. Exciting times are ahead.