After having lots of discussions with Change Management practioners on what is happening or not happening in the market, I thought prudent to write one of my amazing, well written and interesting articles (and yes go grab that cup of coffee before you do start!).
With all that has happened in the past year (interest rates, ongoing war in Ukraine, share market etc) things have been a lot quieter than usual for Change Management. When things looked uncertain, unfortunately Change was often the first thing cut from a clients project (when are clients going to learn!)
Since March/April and May I have been talking to clients, management consulting firms and other recruitment agencies. Finding out what they were doing and what impacts the current economy was having to their strategic roadmap. There was a lot of talk around, reprioritizing of budgets and they were wanting people from a Business Process Re-engineering background. ie: doing work arounds. Clients were wanting business to continue but not wanting to risk putting $$$ into transformational programs when the market was so volatile. They were not looking at introducing new products, they were not introducing new technology and a lot were focusing on doing more with less (eg: restructuring). It wasn’t a surprise after hearing this earlier in the year that July/Aug/Sept (Q1 for a lot of organisations) would not be the busiest time as it typically would be.
I saw clients advertising for change managers in July/Aug, but the rates being offer were much lower than the 3-6 months prior. Infact, rates were so low that Senior Change Managers were being offer Senior Change Analyst rates (😡). The clients were low balling rates as they knew there were a larger number of change practioners available on the market. I gave feedback to all of my clients, to not do this. The moment the market shifts again, those Change Managers who were NOT being paid market rates, would jump ship (and I feel I need to stress it is not because these people are unprofessional. They would leave because they were not getting paid for the value and years of experience that they bring).
The result? Clients would see all that intangible knowledge and those stakeholder relationships that had been built disappear and the client would be back to square one. It is a short-term view and damages not only the program but the reputation of the client.
The roles I worked on in July / Aug were all short-term gigs eg: 3 months. Clients were wanting a Change Audit done. This meant clients were finally starting to shift gears. I predicted that Q2 was going to see clients having the confidence to start their enterprise transformation programs and that would mean hiring relevant and experienced staff.
And guess what?
This is what is happening.
Since late Sept/early Oct I have had clients phoning up wanting Change Management practioners for their enterprise programs. Predominately FTC or Permanent, but I know that the day rate market will start to ramp up again also.
Not being the Oracle in the Matrix, I can’t predict everything, but I feel the upswing has started.
Those who were finding the market quiet, and thinking IS IT ME? It is not just you. There is definitely a change in business confidence. So, dust off your CV, start your networking, I think Q2 is only going to get stronger!