Well, what a time it has been recently.
In the last few months since COVID-19 sent the world into lockdown, I’ve been speaking with many Agresso Contractors within the Unit4 ERP (Agresso) market.
A common talking point is around the market conditions… Roles, Opportunities, Projects, Pipeline.
This is understandably surrounded by an air of uncertainty, due to Covid-19 and recently with the economy of the UK going into recession. When will it end?
So I thought I’d put my take on it, and invite your thoughts too!
If history can tell us anything, it’s that recessions end.
This one too, and no doubt it will be a road to full recovery, but it will recover, and there will be opportunities for you along the way.
While I don’t pretend to have any crystal ball about how this COVID-19-created-one may play out, I can tell you what you do in the coming week and months will impact your chances of securing that next role.
To give you some insight into the recruitment market a little, this is a typical ‘recruitment demand cycles’ diagram before/during/after a recession.
From a pre-recession time, where both Contract and Perm GP are at record levels, you usually see Perm start to soften first as a downturn takes hold (Phase 1 in the chart). Meanwhile, Contract continues to push along.
Then in Phase 2, Perm collapses. Contract weakens profoundly too. Yes there are still opportunities out there, just not many as before.
The difference this time was the start at the start of the Covid-19 recession, the market collapsed without warning. Also, because nobody can really predict a global pandemic, this also happened much quicker than ever seen before.
And then, we get the comeback; the sun begins to shine through.
In my opinion, I believe we currently sit around the bottom of Phase 2 and this is what we are experiencing right now. Conversations around roles are in process and projects that were in the pipeline or being discussed pre-Covid are considering when to start.
The Contract market is likely to take off first (Phase 3). Any sign of increased workload is quickly handled by a flexible workforce.
Then, full confidence returns, skills shortages emerge, and employers rush to secure experienced candidates by offering Perm jobs, and we are back at the peak (Phase 4).
That’s how it ‘typically’ works, but I must caveat – who really knows this time around? I think it will follow a similar pattern.
So if we are on the upward trend back up, what can you do to increase your chances of getting that next role?
Well, from my side there are a few key things you can do although no doubt there are some unique to yourself/your area of expertise, but there are some that remain universal.
Firstly, I’d review your CV.
Nothing profound here and its one of those tasks that might not fill you with joy, however, if you look back on it I guarantee you will notice things you haven’t put in and be able to just generally refresh it.
Perhaps you are a contractor and there was a time when you quickly changed over to the next role, did you miss out some key areas that you can now add back in? Or perhaps you are in a permanent position and with the knowledge you have gained from current roles you can look back on previous positions and add in more specific details.
The point is you might think your CV is great but this is what new clients will see and you want to ensure you are showing everything you can do to at least start that conversation going with them.
Once you’ve reviewed it I’d be more than happy to take a look also and give you any thoughts from my side.
The second point would be to keep active.
Keeping fit is great, and helps with your mindset but I appreciate its not everyone’s cup of tea.
What I mean more specifically is to keep active in the market.
The thing to remember is there are people out there who can help, create a close network of specialist recruitment consultants that you like and trust. Keep in regular contact with them, at least bi-weekly if not weekly.
Also, if you have colleagues or friends in the market too, keep in touch with them in case opportunities feed through from a referral.
There may be other avenues you can explore too unique to yourself – use them.
Thirdly, be clear about what you will accept.
Opportunities WILL arise, so you need to know what you can/can’t accept.
Our hope is that the market retains the same if not similar rates as previously, but you have to assess this area just in case.
Perhaps you are on a current salary or day rate, what if something came up that was offering slightly below that, would it be a no? Could you take a small cut for the next 6-12 months?
If it was slightly further afield, could you consider that too?
It's worth writing down a few points as to what it is you can accept, and what makes it a no for you.
It's strange that when you get really clear about what you want and the parameters, those types of opportunities seem to start showing up for you.
So there’s three quick points, what else can you do to improve your chances?
Recently there have been some tough days, and for some, it’s hard to see the light.
Trust me, the recovery will come and the sun will shine on the Unit4 ERP (Agresso) market again.
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