EMEA Market Update: H2 2024 - Be Resilient, Be Patient and Network

9 mins

“Resilience, patience, network” … three of my most used wo...

Resilience, patience, network” … three of my most used words over the last few months. 

During Q2 we have seen a steady pipeline of roles at middle management and there was a continued theme across driving HR operational excellence, upskilling HR business partnering capability, as well as OD, L&D and Employee Relations.  Our focus has not just been the UK and we have successfully partnered with global clients on mandates in Dubai, Germany, Ireland and SpainThe most challenging areas are across Talent Acquisition, Early Careers and Director/MD level hiring.  

Green shoots… inflation is easing, interest rates are being cut, and with increased consumer confidence we see a steady, yet more positive trajectory for H2.  

A lot of businesses that have been in a steady state are craving the need to add new headcount and we have seen this through higher burnout rates as organisations are having to do more with less, which is inevitably unsustainable. The focus on mental health and employee wellbeing is making a resurgence. Furthermore, there are change programmes waiting to be signed off and reviews underway on the HR operating model so we do expect transformation and project related roles to arise.  

Resilience & Patience: 

Interviews processes are lengthy. There has been lack of valuable interview feedback and changes to mandates, all of which need to be navigated with stamina. My advice remains steadfast focus on your strengths, understand your differentiators, research and prepare hard for interviewsuse your network and lean on the support of those around you.  

For our HR Community: Network 

We had the pleasure of partnering with the team at Talent Spaces on Navigating the Future; Regulation, Data and Neurodiversity in Inclusive Hiring and we ran a roundtable on Executive Presence with the impressive Susan Room and Cappfinity on the impact of AI on RecruitmentWe have also hosted global webinars with our friends Sasha Scott from Inclusive Group on the latest DEI trends and Ben Williams from Loopin on the Role and Value of Generative AI in L&D.  

We have more in the pipeline for H2 so please follow our HR community to ensure you are signed up to the events that spark your interest!  

For a broader view of the HR market and to hire into your HR function at a Senior level, reach out to Kirstin Hunt, Managing Director, EMEA at kh@elliottscotthr.com.

Make sure to check out our Global HR Survey this yearThe last two questions are out this week focusing on causes of disengagement and preferred modes of recognition in the workplace. The survey focuses on a multitude of topics within HR and is a great opportunity for our community to have their say and to see how they are tracking against their peers.  

As we enter the final week of the survey, keep your eyes peeled for the long-awaited results, which will be released in the coming weeks. From the results of this survey, waim to gain a comprehensive understanding of how engaged and satisfied employees are globally and across various sectors, helping to pinpoint areas for improvement. Using real data will encourage informed decisions about HR policies, practices, and initiatives, ensuring that strategies are effective and aligned with employee needs. We will also gain insight into how cultural differences impact employee perceptions and experiences, which can help in promoting a more inclusive and diverse workplace globally. 
A big thank you to all of those that have for taken part so far, please continue to share your insights and have your say! 


Industry & Commerce update:   

Key areas of hiring over the last quarter include:  

HR Business Partners: There is a continued demand as clients look to upskill and hire strategic, data focussed and robust partners who are willing to challenge the business yet be solutions orientated.   

HR Operations: Tech focused businesses are bouncing back with a focus on driving Operational Excellence and improvements to the employee experience to create more efficient processes, systems, policies and programmes.  

Organisational Development & Effectiveness: There is a focus on implementing talent strategies to align with global business objectives and a focus on people development and enhancing organisational culture.  

Payroll & Benefits: There is an emphasis on managing global benefits programmes, reviewing the benefits offerings to retain and attract the best talent in the market.  

Employee Relations: Experts are expected to to effectively manage the works councils and develop ER strategies across EMEA whilst ensuring global alignment.  

Sectors where we are seeing signs of growth include: Energy and Green Manufacturing, Tech and AI, Real Estate, Healthcare and Life Sciences and FMCG.  

If you would like a more detailed chat regarding market trends across Commerce please reach out to Simon Luxford, Associate Director on sl@elliottscotthr.com.


Financial Services Update:  

The HR market within the financial services sector in the UK remained subdued through Q2 2024. This was characterised by small pockets of activity and a cautious outlook. Despite the overall quietness, there are notable hotspots and trends coming through. 

Key Trends and Insights:

Specialised HR Areas Witness Activity: There is a noticeable uptick in demand for HR specialists, particularly in the areas of Reward and Talent Development. Some financial services companies are making new investments in these functions, indicating a strategic focus on enhancing employee satisfaction and development. They may come as senior HR leaders have expressed concern about getting a replacement headcount if they are to lose a junior team member. Contrary to this, we’ve seen urgency in backfilling replacement roles in smaller HR teams where they have been operating in quite a lean team through 2023/2024. This is more common in smaller/boutique financial firms. 

Increased Mobility Among Mid-Level Professionals: Mid-level HR professionals are showing higher mobility compared to the previous year. This trend is resulting in several backfill opportunities as these candidates transition into new roles, reflecting a dynamic mid-level market. 

Limited Demand in the Senior Market: The senior HR market continues to experience sluggish demand. Organisations are primarily focused on business-as-usual activities rather than engaging in extensive change and transformation projects. Consequently, seasoned HR professionals with extensive change management experience are finding fewer opportunities.  

Sub-Sector Movements: 

  • Banking: The banking sector has seen limited movement this year, maintaining a steady but subdued HR job market. 

  • Insurance: The insurance sector has remained relatively stable with most movements occurring within the sector. 

  • Private Equity and Asset ManagementBoth of these areas are still quite fragmented in terms of hiring; they appear to be in a holding pattern, which from our conversations, seems to be the result of the nearing UK and US elections. Interest and inflation rates are still a key metric causing caution around HR hiring in these firms. 

  • Hedgefunds: The hedgefund world, similar to Q1 this year, appears to still be more correlated to each individual company’s performance and strategy. This is as opposed to being correlated with the overall economic outlook. For example, we’ve seen the highest performing hedgefunds continue to hire new roles through 2024. Equally, we’ve seen firms that did not do so well in 2023 continue to hire in HR through 2024. This is likely down to the companies being privately owned and strategically deciding to spend and stick to their growth plans despite setbacks in 2023 

Broader Talent Acquisition Market Perspectives:

Challenging Job Search Conditions: The HR job market remains tight globally, making it challenging for those currently seeking roles. Many professionals have resorted to interim positions or roles outside of recruitment to remain employed.  

Demonstrating Value in In-House TA Roles: For those in in-house TA positions, it is crucial to showcase the added value beyond daily responsibilities. Engaging in projects and initiatives that enhance overall company experience can be beneficial. Being an active and valuable corporate citizen is increasingly important. 

Competitive Interview Landscape: Job interviews are highly competitive, necessitating a clear demonstration of unique value propositions. Candidates should highlight aspects beyond cost-saving measures, such as cultural fit, corporate citizenship, and innovative talent identification strategies. 

Future Outlook: The immediate future remains challenging, particularly over the summer months. However, strategic hiring is anticipated to pick up from September onwards. While a significant influx of roles is not expected, the market is likely to see more opportunities arise. Maintaining a strong professional network will be crucial to capitalise on these opportunities. 

Importance of Trusted Networks: In these uncertain times, building and maintaining trusted professional relationships is invaluable. Engaging with mentors, peers, and industry contacts can provide support and insight, helping navigate the evolving market landscape. 

The Q2 2024 HR job market in the UK's financial services sector shows a mixed picture with pockets of activity amidst a generally subdued environment. Specialists in Reward and Talent Development are in demand, mid-level professionals are on the move, but the senior market remains slow. Adapting to these conditions and staying strategically engaged will be key for HR professionals and talent acquisition specialists alike. 

If you would like to get in touch to find out more about the Financial or Legal sectors within HR, please reach out to Peter Fahy, Associate Director, EMEA at pf@elliottscotthr.com or Hannah Russell at hr@elliottscotthr.com.