Written by: Chané Vinnecombe
There is no steering away from the fact that 2020 was a challenging year, and that 2021 will present more of the same. We continue to navigate choppy, unchartered waters. However, I am pleased to be able to share some positive market information with you.
There is not a business out there has not felt the pressures in a market under strain, but, in my 11 years of heading up the Finance Portfolio at Paton, I have never had a busier start to a year!
Why is this happening in an economy that was depressed even before COVID became a reality?
Previously, hiring in the Financial Management (FM) sector has been a bit of a grudge purchase as FM was more of a support function than a revenue generating function - this is changing.
By talking to numerous key players in the market I’ve revealed some valuable insights. Here are a few of them:
Concern About Low Employee Headcount
Since the onset of COVID, recruitment has been put on hold as other factors proved more pressing. Businesses spent time optimising their team structures to ensure that resources were used wisely. Some staff were retrenched and others resigned (not always being replaced).
However, with the arrival of Financial-Year-Ends for many of our clients, the realisation of having unfilled roles going into the new financial year is causing managers to fret about losing headcount.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Losing headcount is my second point. In April last year, most of us thought that all we had to do was make it to the end of 2020 and all would be fine!
Sadly, this has not been the case, and many clients have begun making key business hires because business is starting to suffer the effects of key staff shortages. The saying “you have to spend money to make money” even applies to key headcount . Having the right staff on board is essential for business success and business must continue despite the depressed economy and a current global pandemic!
The Rise in Demand of Blended Skillsets
I work almost exclusively at a middle-to-senior managerial level and have noticed a trend in recent hires: clients are looking for strong financial analytical skills in most roles.
Intelligent engagement with the numbers that influence commercial decisions is a non-negotiable requirement in potential employees. There has been an increase in demand for commercial CAs with blended skillsets including: business (MBA qualification), IT and Actuarial. In particular, potential Financial Managers / CFOs need to be able to analyse and interpret numbers in order actively influence commercial decisions.
Lastly, limited funds and caution around monetary resources has meant that plans for expensive automation have been put on hold.
Obviously, the jobs still need to be done and businesses are finding it more financially favourable to hire an expert than to automate the process.
In summary, we have begun to see a return to usual demand for FM candidates this year; despite the current economic and social challenges.
In amongst all the doom and gloom, let’s take time to acknowledge and celebrate the very real opportunities out there. As a client, I hope to discuss your staffing requirements with you. As a candidate, I hope to share lucrative opportunities with you. Here’s to a prosperous and more promising 2021 for all!
Contact Chané at Paton Personnel today – email [email protected] or call 011 325 5400.