As I approach a milestone birthday in a few weeks, thoughts inevitably turn to what’s been and what comes next. I’m approaching 20 years into what is typically a 45 year career….or is it? In recent months as the transition to working at home has been implemented across the financial services sector and the increasing recognition that it is both achievable and sustainable to work remotely, it seems logical to think that the ability for people to work for longer (and hopefully live for longer) will continue. Already we have seen the average retirement age slowly rise and the Government is still planning on bringing in changes to the state pension age from 65 to 66 in October this year and a further planned increase to age 67 by 2028. People are working for longer and living for longer and that is surely a theme that is only going to continue as an unintended consequence of a global pandemic that has fundamentally changed working practices for a large proportion of industry.

When we embark on consultancy engagements, we provide our clients with the flexibility for us to either work onsite in their locations, or remotely, using technology to maintain collaboration. While being based on the south coast has its benefits, inevitably most of our clients are located in the various financial hubs around the UK and as such, we are experienced travellers and willing to be flexible to suit our clients needs. However, having undertaken roles that have resulted in a six hour daily commute for extensive periods, inevitably that travelling takes its toll and long periods of travelling, especially through those winter months can be energy sapping. In recent weeks, as we’ve been talking to our extended network about their working plans as engagements have come to an end, increasingly we’ve heard that the willingness to travel extensively and commute daily is less appetising than it’s ever been before. Conversely however, clients have also been telling us that the requirement to be permanently on-site is diminishing and they expect recruits to blend remote and on-site working to fulfill the needs of the role.

This has resulted in two immediate outcomes; firstly, that candidates are now more open to undertaking roles in locations than previously they wouldn’t have considered (on a daily commuting basis). The competitive nature of the market now means that there are more high calibre candidates than ever before applying for roles and this is giving clients difficult decisions to make when selecting preferred candidates. Secondly, we have already seen some of our more experienced consultants contemplating opportunities that they may otherwise have not considered, had the pandemic not changed working practises. Those who had previously considered retirement are now looking for one more pay cheque, whether that is driven by the thought of an impending recession or simply because roles are more attractive without a long commute, even on a short basis. In the long-term this will inevitably result in people working for longer, contributing more to industry and topping up those pension pots further.

For clients, this means greater access to experienced, highly capable resources and the ability to negotiate on price from a position of strength. For candidates, this means more opportunity than ever before. Roles that would previously have been out of reach are now achievable. Undoubtedly there are downsides too – more candidates searching for fewer roles in a contracting market place and simply more competition, driving down day rates and salaries. The following months are going to bring their challenges, but a consequence of Covid may just be that remote working and location agnostic roles become the new norm and candidates and clients alike revel in the opportunity that provides…

At Simplify Consulting, we supplement our consultancy engagements with the best and brightest talent; practitioners in Wealth who understand not only their discipline, but the Life and Pensions and Investments domains as well. We source experienced, high performing individuals who are pre-assessed and Simplify-approved. Contact us today to become part of our associate network.