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  • Changing of the guard

  • Media: Leasing Life, Issue 139

    Date: Apr 2005

    Article: Changing of the guard

    Author: Editorial, Leasing Life

     

    After a difficult period the recruitment market appears to be picking up, albeit quietly
     
    “Best quarter ever” is not something you hear regularly in many businesses. And much less in the recruitment market which is usually among the first industries to suffer in any economic downturn.

    But it is this kind of upbeat news from Katherine Amin and Jane Theobald’s New Leaf Search that is echoed across the sector at the moment.

    This must be treated with some caution however as the impression of a market similar to the eighties or late nineties where hiring new staff was almost fashionable it was so common would be misleading.

    As Amin pointed out “decision making is slower at the moment and this stems partly from the fact that the current round of hiring comes after a period of recruitment freeze for many in the industry. It can take as many as six or seven signatures to get sign off for a new hire.”

    Michael Porter at Curtis Lowe has been having a similar experience. In his The state of the market review he points to an unusual time over the past few months with “quiet periods interspersed with flurries of activity”. Equally their assertion that “this stop-start environment is reflective of the leasing market in general, which seems divided in its opinion as to the prospects for the balance of 2005” is in line with the impressions of some financiers over the last few months.

     “Decision making is slower at the moment and this stems partly from the fact that the current round of hiring comes after a period of recruitment freeze.” Katherine Amin

    Steve Webster at Hanover continued this generally positive theme, “the sales side has been buoyant across all areas of the asset finance market recently. Confidence is higher and whereas much of last year the recruitment trend was for replacement of staff that had moved on there now appears to be some expansion.”

    When it comes to wider industry trends the story at the present time appears equally intriguing at the moment. Leasing Life reported recently on the birth of a number of small firms, both funders and outsourcing companies driven in part by demand for better customer service and the recruitment market is now seeing this with a number of positions open among these smaller players. More interesting still is that at this end of the market the better financial packages can be found.

    Referral and introduction of course have been a stock-in-trade of the leasing industry in the UK for some time and this may also be in the process of some change. Webster remarked that lessors are leveraging more consistently off other areas of the bank to win new business as opposed to relying on introductions. A cross-sell approach that is becoming more and more common across other areas of commercial and retail banking.

    As for opportunities in general? Asset finance is certainly appealing to a broader church than it was before. Webster, in particular, commented that he was managing to pull in more people from other industries that know leasing by association than previously. Something that is to be welcomed in an increasingly competitive environment.

    Mainland Europe it seems is where some of the better positions are to be found for the moment but as the need for new blood continues over the coming months there is little doubt that the UK will not be far behind during the next quarter. 

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