UK Market Update - Q2 2022

9 Minutes

Interested in finding out more about the HR market in the UK? Our expert Consultants ha...

Interested in finding out more about the HR market in the UK? Our expert Consultants have written an update to tell our community, exactly what they are seeing across their remits in the HR space. 

 Kirstin Hunt, Managing Director, UK and Europe - Market Overview: 

Keeping up with the pace of change across HR this year has certainly been exciting! To quote the Chief Global Economist Seth Carpenter at Morgan Stanley ”we are in the most chaotic, hard-to-predict macroeconomic time in decades…” We’ve experienced the Great Resignation and the Great Regret …but what has the impact been on the industry? Businesses have experienced a far more competitive landscape prompting re-evaluation of a company’s EVP, culture and hiring strategies. 2022 for the Elliott Scott HR business has been our busiest since I moved back to the UK from Hong Kong in 2016. We now have a team of experienced HR consultants who are passionate about what they do. 

This has helped us to diversify our client base and increase our volumes, with partnership and delivery always at the forefront of our offering. Year to date we have seen a steady flow of work across our financial services business which includes Asset Management, Hedge Funds, Private Equity, Crypto, Banks, Insurance and Sovereign Wealth Funds. The roles have been diverse at the mid- senior HR level and include Heads of HR, Business Partners, Learning & Development, Talent Acquisition, Reward, Payroll, HRIS and HR strategy. Across the Legal sector the key hiring areas have been Talent Acquisition, Business Partners and Learning & Development.

 Within the Financial and Professional Services space, the hybrid working arrangement seems to be for most three days in the office and two working from home. Although some clients are still requesting a five day return, which is now very much the exception and means the pool of candidates is far more limited. Striking the right balance in the hybrid make-up has taken up a lot of time on the HR leadership agenda this year and it is about creating a fair and inclusive culture where employees recognise the benefit of being in the office but also feel they are connected and have the right set up when working remotely.

 Team lunches and learning sessions are some of the smaller steps businesses have taken to encourage employees back and to create more team collaboration. For our Commerce business it has been an interesting year with Technology and start-up firms expediting their HR hiring. The demand during the first half of the year for recruiters was unprecedented which in turn made it an increasingly competitive market and some hefty salary increases paid out to ensure the talent was secured. With the increased focus on technology across Retail we’ve seen a number of fashion retailers move at the HRD level as well as hires made in Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding and Business Partnering. Undoubtedly the key theme amongst all our clients this year is how can we attract and retain talent. So naturally the shift from those businesses who have made several hires has moved towards talent and organisational development. 

We have also seen a lot of clients renew their benefits offering as a further attraction and retention tool. And finally the other key area of focus has been across Learning and Development in order to upskill and invest in further training of the existing workforce. Outlook for H2 remains busy with continued HR Transformation, focus on Employee Experience and Agile HR. Tom Dover, Associate Director – Commerce and Tech If the UK momentum for Q1 was firmly in the Talent Acquisition space, then Q2 has been all about the steady flow of HR Generalists and HR Business Partners. With the hiring shackles taken off at the top of the new year, and businesses given the confidence to increase headcount, Q2 has been very much a period of hiring that has provided and built towards organisational change, delivery, and sustainability. The market for L&D and Engagement professionals has remained buoyant, with the desire for Talent Acquisition specialists (at all levels) remaining, which wasn’t all good news. 

The Tech market, most notably Big Tech, bore the brunt of rising inflation and reduction in share prices, resulting in headcount freezes and subsequent redundancies. This, in turn, has led to a competitive market, for scale up businesses retaining that confidence to hire. With the market remaining candidate driven, clients are still having to act swiftly during the hiring process and fend off robust competition. With the route for easing the workforce back into the office underway, and clients operating at both ends of the spectrum, the desire for hybrid working has become a key component in candidate decision making. The majority are opting for 2 to 3 days in the office. This shift has presented challenges for employers and employees alike. With managers not getting full transparency of remote onboarding and performance, and talent not getting 100% access to the people experience, the word ‘culture’ has never been more prevalent. 

The back end of Q2 has seen the emergence in volume of ‘Head of’ positions, across all sectors, and we expect this to follow through to Q3, with post-pandemic delivery phases drawing to a conclusion. Peter Fahy, Associate Director – Financial Services Q2 of 2022 closed with strong activity across all our buy-side clients. We saw a steady flow of Generalist, Junior HRBP and L&D roles come through across Professional Services. Candidate’s requirements are similar to Q1 with most still looking for a hybrid work set-up and we've seen a shift to assuming this is the norm rather than an additional perk. As a result we have seen some candidates, particularly those who joined companies during the height of the pandemic, be more diligent about checking what other benefits come with the role. H2 of 2022 has begun with mixed level of activity across the different functions in HR. 

We have seen a pull back of capital in the Technology sector which has resulted in hiring freezes in many Fintech businesses. That being said, we are seeing consistent growth in revenue and headcount across many high-tech trading firms, both in quant based investment firms and also innovative hedge funds. This may come down to the nature of these companies being well positioned to deal with the volatility we are currently seeing in financial, energy and currency markets. In terms of roles, we are still seeing many at the Junior end of the market; HR Associates, Junior HRBPs and Coordinators with the ambition to progress are still highly desired across our main clients.

 For further market information, salary gradings or to chat with one of the team please get in touch with either Pete (, Tom ( or Kirstin (