The Outlook For Treasury Recruitment – Post COVID

Before you dive in…

Just a quick note before you get started…

We know this post is a long one, but that is because we have got some exciting news and updates for you, and there is a ton of valuable content headed your way. So, if you are here, please stick with us until the end and learn more about what we will be publishing over the next few weeks, because it’s all aimed at helping YOU with your treasury career!

Pressed for time? Skip straight to the bottom to the chapter titled ‘Introducing Our Bounce Back Program’.

This article has been updated.

Introduction

Hello, treasury professionals, we are back!

Well, we have not really been away after all, where would we go in this locked-down world?

But we have not been as active online as we usually are.

Since lockdown began, millions of additional people have become more active on social media channels, particularly LinkedIn. One of the unfortunate side-effects of this has been a deluge of crap content. People have been publishing content because they can, because they have the time, instead of because it is something, they feel would add value to their audience. This might seem harsh, particularly to the new content creators out there, but it is the truth.

So, we decided to sit back for a bit. To listen. To reflect. To reassess. The last thing we would ever want to do here at The Treasury Recruitment Company is add to the noise. I hope that those of you reading this who already know us will know that we are hellbent on adding value to our audience of treasury professionals around the globe. If we do not think a piece of content will add value to our audience in some way, we do not publish it. Simple as that.

Now that we are back, here is what we are going to be doing: helping you however we can.

And to achieve that, I am going to start by answering the questions I am being asked daily, the first of which is:

“Mike are there any treasury roles out there at the moment?”

Nope, not really. The pandemic arrived just as we went into what is the quietest time of the year, whilst there is always treasury recruitment activity from April to July, Quarter 2 usually just sees a steady flow of staff movement rather than any huge uptick in activity, it’s recruit to replace when people rotate through roles rather than any increase in movement levels.

The two peaks in treasury recruitment activity throughout the year are the post-Christmas rush where candidates collect their yearly bonus and they decide it time for a change of role and they actively seek out a new move and some actually go as far as to follow it up with their letter of resignation.

Added to this you sometimes see companies making ‘planned’ changes through succession planning / promotions following new year reviews and you have companies reviewing their treasury teams resulting in movement within the treasury teams often voluntary but sometimes some involuntary / enforced changes of staff as well.

The second yearly peak is post-summer which tends to be more candidate led rather than coming from company’s themselves. This is typically when human nature has kicked in over the summer, candidates reflect when they are on the beach or by the pool and they decide that they finally need to make a move maybe after they have spent a certain number of years in a role or with a company or simply for their own self-development.

In recent years activity levels have plateaued somewhat meaning it is slightly less crazy than it used to be especially during Quarter 4, it used to be the case that we would often do 50% of our yearly revenues between January to mid-July and 50% between September and mid-December. It was fun but it often meant you were completely exhausted come New Year!

However, this year is different.

Imagine it is a typical year BUT without any COVID, it’s April 1st, your boss walks in and says;

Go home, you are now working from home for the foreseeable future. Whatever that looks like and means?

Do not come to the office, do not take public transport, you now work-from-home.

Make sure that you have a nice place in your house to do Treasury Team and Board Meetings over ZOOM so everyone does not see your washing up / mountain bike.

If you want to communicate/talk to your boss call them, FaceTime them, ZOOM them, all future progress reviews will be on ZOOM.

We will hopefully see you in September or maybe January 2021”

Nice one boss! Good April Fools gag 😉

Weird huh?

So, what is happening now?

Well, I have been told by lots of people come September there is likely to be a massive shift.

Many Treasurers will be found wanting, they will have struggled and they will be sacked changed out of their roles/jobs before the end of 2020.

WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH!

Those who say that simply do not understand treasury recruitment.

If a Treasurer/treasury professional is found to be wanting / sub-standard, is it their fault?

Yes, it is.

Do they need to improve/develop to keep their jobs?

Of course, they do, they need to be coached and mentored.

If they are still found to be ‘not-fit-for-purpose’, will they be marched out of the door?

No, of course not!

The work still needs to be done, what happens is a replacement will be sourced quietly in the background and they are moved out / aside, gently, and respectively at least, most of the time.

If a Treasurer were found not to be not strong enough and they were frog-marched out of the door UNLESS they hired by the previous FD / CFO whose fault were they?

Who hired them? Where does the finger point then?

Exactly at the current management, companies work in a planned, discreet manner most of the time at least!

In this post-COVID world with a huge reduction in face-to-face contact in the workplace, treasury professionals are being asked to manage staff remotely. What does that mean?

Pre-lockdown, I dedicated every Thursday and I will do the same after the summer break to meeting both my clients and candidates to discuss their work lives, their career plans and generally being their treasury career coach.

A lot of the sessions would end up focusing upon their managerial abilities and regularly their lack of it.

Often, we would then find ourselves talking about the availability of coaching for the technical areas of treasury and support for finance qualifications, the hard skills as it were. But for the softer management skills and coaching of how to manage and mentor I would hear it was only being offered about one in ten times.

If you are a management trainer who offers mentoring and coaching about how to manage and motivate remote treasury teams I would start planning for a very busy end to 2020, I can only see you getting busier.

The other questions I get asked are;

  • What impact do you think current events will have on the treasury recruitment market and your business, The Treasury Recruitment Company?
  • What will you be doing to help your clients and candidates to “bounce back” once this is all over?

As a specialist treasury recruitment consultancy, fortunately, we have several factors we have built into our operating model which mean that our business does have some resilience in this new world order.

Firstly, we are a global recruiter. This was a planned business strategy from the outset here at the Treasury Recruitment Company.

We recruit roles on a global scale covering markets from the UK & Europe, the Middle and Far East and the Americas working from the East Coast across to the West Coast and right the way around.

As treasury professionals, you will know that this offers us a natural hedging mechanism, if you like, in terms of both currency and a natural business hedge in terms of activity. If UK recruitment goes up, the USA may fall, but the Middle East rises. Each market counters the effect of the others.

When the lockdown hit us at the end of March 2020, my speaking gigs for Europe and the US were cancelled/converted to virtual events.

In the early days, UK, European and Middle East roles were still being recruited, but we knew that we needed to accelerate processes or run the risk of clients, candidates and us as a firm missing out on placements. Vacancies that were at an earlier stage got cancelled/postponed those at later stages often did complete.

UK: We completed the hiring of a Treasury Manager for a client who has decided to onboard them remotely, with the aim of them joining physically post COVID.

They have now actually joined but are still working remotely and have yet to physically meet the full treasury team and make the move to London to join the team don’t worry it will happen but when who knows!

An interim Treasury Manager was converted to a permanent role as the company decided they could not afford to live without them. We successfully recruited a Treasury Manager maternity role for our London based client because apparently because the twins the Treasury Manager was expecting were going to come COVID or no COVID…

Europe: Whether it’s because the virus spread at different rates across the continent with different countries locking down at different times, or maybe we’re lucky because given the critical nature of treasury, roles kept being hired and it seems that maybe many European treasury teams are often smaller than those in the UK.

If a UK treasury team has four to six members of staff, their French equivalent may only have three to four. So sometimes if someone leaves a UK group and say one person left a UK group of six and another person goes on maternity leave, you’ve gone six to four, and you can spread the work around from your group of six to four. Whereas in a team of three, one person leaves, one person goes on maternity, you are suddenly left as the only treasury professional and you must recruit.

As an example, Katie has carried on recruiting in France and Germany and we’ve recently been instructed on some new roles in France to help beef up the treasury operations team for one of our international clients.

USA: It was perhaps more by luck than judgment, but our latest three US recruitment campaigns seemed to finish all at the same time and had just been recruited as the virus leapfrogged across the Atlantic and took hold of the country. We believe that restrictions are in place now, but as they are slowly lifted on a state by state basis, we expect activity to return rapidly.

Rest of the world: The major campaign we are recruiting in Saudi Arabia marches onward at the most senior level, and we have got some senior manager roles which are exciting too, keeping us very busy.

And there you have it. That has been a review of the current state of the treasury recruitment market and where we are up to.

LOOKING AHEAD

SO, WHAT ARE OUR FUTURE PREDICTIONS?

My original thoughts were possibly a full lockdown until September.

In fact, what we saw was a semi-lockdown for Quarter 2 with continued activity but as we move into the official holiday season in July and August however disrupted they have been by the pandemic, people still need to use up their holiday allowance.

Recruitment plans have been paused and if someone is thinking of recruiting either they or their CFO is about to drive head out the door for 2 to 3 weeks meaning any recruitment process will be stifled/delayed until they can all be in the same place at the same time i.e. often the first week in September!

As September kicks off and for the rest of 2020, I do see treasury professionals being in high demand, especially relative to other finance professionals.

Because when there are crises or challenging circumstances as we have faced in recent times the CFO needs someone to help them chart the course for the company through uncertain and unpredictable waters, they seek out you – their treasurer.

Trust me when I say that in times like these, treasurers are the people CFOs want by their side.

WHAT SHOULD YOU BE DOING AS TREASURERS TO PREPARE FOR THIS GRADUAL REOPENING OF THE MARKETS?

This is where we come in.

At the beginning of April 2020, we were due to launch our latest set of video advice tutorials, specifically targeting our clients to explain to them how they should be recruiting in 2020 and focusing on the candidate attraction experience and the techniques they should be using, and helping coach them in regards how to source you guys and candidates and the best way to treat you.

Then the world changed. So, we had to change with it.

We created a six-week Summer “Bounce Back” candidate coaching program aimed at helping treasury professionals to:

  • Assess their current skillsets
  • Define their career aims, goals and target compensation packages
  • Improve their CVs / resumés
  • Develop their social media profiles – specifically LinkedIn
  • Brush up on their interview skills and create their own job search strategies

The program has been designed to help treasury professionals increase their attractiveness to potential employers and help them prepare for the reopening of the treasury recruitment markets!

Each week, we set participants goals and individual challenges and supported with video content, both from existing sources and brand-new videos recorded especially for the program.

We host regular weekly Zoom calls during which we will talk through the challenges we set, and we celebrate some of the wins for course members as well as setting the following weeks challenge.

If you are interested then please join me and the team on the next part of your treasury career journey and just sign up for the program.

JOIN THE COACHING PROGRAM TODAY

We know you will love it. Oh, and did we mention… it’s free!

I look forward to you joining us on the next stage of your treasury career journey.

2020-07-07T13:17:16+00:00April 22nd, 2020|