A changing market.




It’s no secret that the job market has turned on its head in the last 12 months, with Company Secretaries being swept along with the current of new opportunities.  During the recession the number of new job opportunities dropped off and people weathered the storm, if they were lucky enough to keep their jobs, with those out of work struggling in the toughest job market since the Great Depression.


One year on and the delicate shoots of economic recovery are emerging and strengthening, with the increase in corporate activity and positivity in the press encouraging businesses to address understaffing issues and recruit at nearly every level, including for the first time in a long time graduate roles. Secretariats have been no exception in this rush of hiring, with teams being strengthened in the wake of an increased focus on corporate governance.



In fact, a 2014 LinkedIn report claims that 17% of corporate law and governance staff in Europe have moved roles in the last 12 months, as opposed to 8% of all workers in Europe. With an increased focus on hiring in this area, the number of unemployed company secretaries has shrunk rapidly in 2014 and rather than relying on an advert to target those fully ‘active’ and typically out of work, companies are now realising that the best candidates aren’t necessarily actively looking for a new job. It’s when targeting this demographic, that the specialist recruiter really comes into their own. With access to large numbers of these ‘passive’ candidates and the ability to provide companies with well-matched and engaged individuals quickly, specialist recruiters are well placed to provide companies with a much larger talent pool and more efficient recruitment process.




Although recruitment is on the up, companies are still being cautious, with purse strings remaining tight. The savviest individuals realise that they may not be looking for a huge hike in salary, that moving to a role with more opportunity to progress and develop their skill-set, will lead to uplifts in salary in future.



The temporary recruitment market is very active, with companies looking to test the positive impact of bringing in an extra pair of hands to the secretariat during a period of increased corporate activity, in order to decide whether a permanent hire would be of sufficient benefit. Another, unexpected reason for the increase in temporary positions has been an increase in the requirement for maternity cover. Typically a recession is marked by a decrease in birth rates, but it seems that the latest recession bucked this trend.  With 813,200 births in the UK between June 2011 and 2012, the birth rate was the highest it had been since 1972 (ONS Population Survey 2012).


With the numbers of people out of work falling and an increase in permanent hires, there is now a dearth of people open to temporary work when compared to the height of the recession. This has led to professional consultants, who are able to provide flexible cover, often at short notice to companies, finding their skills in demand. This has been reflected by the increased rates which consultants are able to charge, who will doubtless be enthused by the recent increase in demand for their services.



With the landscape of the Company Secretarial job market changing so quickly, it is those who are willing to adapt and be forward thinking who will reaping the greatest reward. Whether using their expertise to offer consultancy services, capitalising on the increase in temporary work, or moving to a better permanent role with good scope to develop, even if the medium term  salary progression will follow in the near future, savvy Company Secretaries are making the most of the more favourable employment market.



How long this increase in jobs will continue is near impossible to predict, but with an increased focus on corporate governance and a recovering UK economy, it shows no sign of slowing any time soon.


24 December 2014



written by Bryn Robinson
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