We all know that the UK’s decision to leave the EU has had an impact on business and as the political landscape evolves in line with the lengthy Brexit process, the severity will come into focus. This sentiment of uncertainty has deeply penetrated almost all industry sectors, requiring business leaders to navigate ever-changing and ambiguous market conditions, which is ultimately having an impact on decision-making.
Not a topic of general discussion (but an obvious one to point out) is that negative change to decision making and growth will have a directly proportional impact to the associated Executive Search industry. In my view, an interesting perspective as we experience this “ripple effect” in real time.
The Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) conducted a survey and the majority (86%) of participating consultants based in the UK expected Finance/Banking to be the most impacted, anticipating negative growth in the wake of Brexit. 57% expecting a slowdown within the industrial sector.
We have seen and will continue to see businesses go through Cost Reduction (CR) initiatives - streamlining for lack of a better word. Redundancy (voluntary or otherwise) has become common place and in their wake, an air of uncertainty which prompts a “jump ship” mindset amongst survivors.
It will be no surprise to hear that this is a candidate-heavy market. Now people reading from outside of the industry may think that this makes the role of an Executive Search consultant easier. In fact, it is the complete reverse. Working through and making sense of the “noise” in these market conditions is a time consumptive and complex task. Referencing becoming even more valuable as you try to see the wood from the trees.
From the perspective of the client, being bombarded with CV’s from direct applicants would normally be a huge benefit, but in current volumes piled high on top of the stresses and pressures of current conditions, it is making their roles much much harder and profiles are often overlooked.
So how can Executives help themselves in this market?
Re-evaluate your collateral
In this competitive market, it is important that your career documentation packs a punch to differentiate yourself from other executives. Re-work your CV & LinkedIn profile, put together a succinct Exec summary/ value proposition and ensure you organise your references.
Network Network Network
We advise that Executives build, develop and maintain their professional networks (both offline and online) throughout their careers. A well-oiled closely maintained network is your most powerful tool when entering the market at an Executive level.
For those who have a network in need of a bit of love, evaluate where improvements can be made and invest time in reconnecting.
The opportunity to attend events specific to your industry has never been better. Being relevant and on the pulse of what is happening in your industry is incredibly important. Connect with organisers and go along to as many as possible.
“Pay Back” your network
If you are being helped by people in your network, ensure that you go out of your way to pay back the favour. A healthy network is a 2-way street - as soon as traffic becomes one way, the referrals, introductions and information will stop coming. Make your network work for you.
The networks held within an Executive Search function are exceptionally well maintained and consultants are often privileged with news before it hits the market. Strong relationships in this area are an incredibly valuable source of information. In my view, no Executive network is complete without close relationships within the Search Industry.