Here’s what Happened in the Job Market over the Summer and What to Expect Now

 

It’s hard to believe that the summer is ending and the long Labor Day weekend is now sadly behind us.

I’d like to offer you an insider’s glimpse from an Executive Recruiter’s perspective on what transpired with respect to the job market over the summer and what to expect moving forward into the fall.

Historically, over the last fifteen plus years that I have been recruiting, summertime, especially in late August, everything seems to slow down.

While we have seen a steady flow of new jobs come into The Compliance Search Group (CSG) during July and August, the hiring process has been slooooooow, even by summertime standards.  I believe that this is attributed to a confluence of political, economic and geopolitical events.

Worries, anxiety and uncertainty concerning the new administration and its policies and how they will impact the job market, global turmoil, terrorist attacks, refugee displacements, uncertainty over the long-term effects of Brexit, challenges faced by certain industries such as banking, and a general unease about the current environment weighs heavy on hiring managers.

In my experience, when there is uncertainty in the air, it is far easier for people to wait rather than make a decision now. The prevailing underlying mood is “let’s put off a hiring until we feel better about the future”. The feeling is mutual with candidates.  Many people feel that they would rather hold tight to their current job than move right now – especially if there is not a substantial increase in compensation to offset the perceived risk of starting with a new company.

We have witnessed certain new trends develop. For example, in the Compliance space, which is CSG’s  specialty, there have been some significant changes. President Trump included deregulation as a major plank in his platform. Trump considers regulations a costly and complex burden on companies that reduce profits, inhibit risk taking and slows down economic growth. He has called for cutting funding of the regulatory agencies budgets, placing new less aggressive heads at the regulators, and reducing new regulations.

Corporate and banking executives are pretty smart. They view his take on reduced regulations as a convenient means to save money by cutting Compliance costs.  As a result, we have seen banks relocate employees to lower cost locations. Well compensated Compliance professionals with extensive experience have been replaced by more junior employees for significantly less salaries.  Highly paid professionals were suddenly deemed nonessential and separated from the payroll. Employees leave companies and are not replaced.

The requirements for candidates have risen to an almost impossible level. Hiring managers are demanding an extensive list of skills and narrowly-specific experience to be considered. While they demand more from the candidates, the compensation offered is not commensurate with the experience required.  Companies do not feel any pressure to hire and will simply wait for that perfect and cheap candidate to fall into their lap.  In the recent past, when the fear of multi-billion dollar fines was in the air, banks could not hire fast enough to avoid the wrath of the regulators. Without this proverbial “gun to the head” on fines and sanctions, banks can now take all the time in the world to find the perfect person (which he/she probably does not even exist).

On a positive note, usually, when we enter September, the wheels start moving again. The “back to school” mentality kicks in. When you are sitting on the beach enjoying the beautiful weather with family and friends, your job isn’t so bad. Once you return to the daily grind, the commute takes longer, the weather is colder, and you remember how much you actually hate work, your stupid boss and backstabbing coworkers.

Hiring managers wake-up to the stark realization that now that everyone is back from vacation, business increases, the workload grows exponentially, and they desperately need to get more serious about filling their job openings.  The job market lurches back into full swing within the second or third week into September.

Despite the uncertainty, for job seekers, both active and passive, this is a great time to reignite your search. Yes, it is sad that summer is over and we are into back to school mode, however procuring a great new job is far better than waiting hours on crowded lines at Disney World.

The hiring managers, human resource personnel and others involved with the interview process are back in the office. The interview cycle starts again. Also, we have a window open between September and late November when firms can hire before the December holiday slowdown.

 Here are 10 simple things to do right now to jump start your job search.

  • Review and refresh your LinkedIn profile.
  • Update and enhance your resume.
  • Contact and set-up meetings with top recruiters in your specialty.
  • Let your network know that you are open to opportunities so that they can keep an eye out for you.
  • Connect with recruiters, human resources and other people on LinkedIn that can help with your search.
  • Splurge on a new interview wardrobe.
  • Take inventory of where you want to go in your career and design a career game plan.
  • Discretely feel around at work to determine if your managers will offer you a promotion, raise, and bonus.
  • Practice your elevator pitch. For hiring managers, now is the time to act.
  • Remember, not taking an action is really a decision to maintain the status quo.

For hiring managers, if you don’t hire soon, the best candidates will pull themselves out of the market to wait for their bonus. If human resources and hiring mangers move quickly, there is still time to offer a competitive bonus for 2017.

If you would like to talk about the article or offer your personal insights and opinions, please feel free to call me directly at 212.997.3166 or email Jack@ComplianceSearch.com

By Jack J. Kelly

 

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