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Does it feel like something’s changed about the job hunting process in the South of England over the last few years? You’re not the only one!

From flexible working policies to more expansive benefits packages, the playing field isn’t quite what it used to be when it comes to finding a new role. But in the wake of Covid and the cost of living crisis, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

Whether you’re stepping into your first role or planning a major career shift to a completely new industry, it’s always good to arm yourself with an understanding of what the landscape looks like now and how you can navigate it effectively to find your dream position.

To break it down nice and simply, we spoke to Andrew Midgley, Henry Nicholas’ Principal Consultant, who’s placed hundreds of candidates across the Southern UK region throughout his decade-long tenure.

A shifting dynamic

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, there’s probably two main job hunting topics on your mind right now: the remote working phenomenon and the industry-wide salary increases that have accompanied the rising cost of living.

These changes have manifested as part of a more general shift in the employee-employer relationship.

“As recently as a decade ago, employers would set expectations which employees would have to adhere to, or be out of a job,” Andrew says. “Today it’s a different dynamic. People are more self-centric and they want to know how their job is going to work around their life – how it fits with school pickup times, their social life, that sort of thing.”

Of course, companies’ policies still need to be relatively standardised to avoid creating a culture of preferential treatment. “The moment one person benefits but not the rest, a third of your workforce will quit,” Andrew says. In a nutshell, employers are looking for ways to adapt to candidates’ developing needs while keeping their general offers equal across the board.

Yet, it’s all looking bright in practice: the days of lunch hours being unofficially only 30 minutes are on the way out, and there’s notably more flexibility out there for candidates of all levels.

It’s a difficult balance to strike but the employers that get it right are rewarded in spades – as are the candidates they choose to hire.

Considering compensation and commuting

Salaries for most senior roles are also on the rise, with a particular spike occurring last year – in Andrew’s words, “everyone woke up one day last November and wanted £5k more.” Remote working is also certainly here to stay, with companies region-wide either adopting fully remote policies, or at least offering some kind of hybrid model.

Of course, geography comes into play with this too.

“If you have a candidate in the centre of Bristol, they have a lot of opportunities on their doorstep and won’t want to be commuting out of their way 5 days a week,” Andrew says. “But if you’re talking to someone in Wiltshire, they’ll be happy to drive an hour each way because they live in a more rural area with fewer opportunities.”

Andrew recently had a candidate turn down a job in North Bristol simply because they didn’t want to commute across the city each day. It’s a clear indicator that employers need to be more open to flexibility these days than they used to be.

“While you may not be able to change a fully in-office role to a fully remote one, a 2-day/3-day split is certainly worth suggesting.”


Making the next step with confidence

The easiest way to make that next step with confidence is with an expert who doesn’t just understand the job role, but also knows the decision makers behind the hiring process and exactly what they’re looking for in a candidate.

“I’ve been working with one non-profit client in Bristol for 10 years now,” Andrew says. “I’ve secured roles for 90 candidates with them as they’ve almost doubled in size, and watched one candidate climb the ranks from Marketing executive to Head of Marketing & Comms.”

The more a recruiter knows a hiring company, the more they can help candidates bring out the right skills and experience to impress against the competition – but that’s a natural consequence of working with a company like Henry Nicholas. With decades under their belt spent embedded in the region, Henry Nicholas’ expert consultants have a holistic understanding of every business they work with.

Ready to take the leap? Get in touch with their team today to start the conversation!