15 Jun 2017

How long does it take to find a job?

How long does it take to find a job?  One of the most common questions that I get asked.  And to be honest, there is no fixed answer - other than 'it depends'.

At the time of writing (June 2017), the market in the North is reasonably buoyant.  However, it's more buoyant in certain areas than in others.    The digital market is buzzing and there will always be a role for a Digital Project Manager or Developer.    Similarly for integrated agencies, the market is reasonably consistent when it comes to AE to AM level - there are usually several opportunities around for people at this level.  The caveat here is that often when the market is more buoyant, candidates have choice and this often frustrates clients as the candidates will reject offers whilst waiting for something more 'attractive' - something that doesn't happen in the less busy periods.

But timewise....If a Digital Project Manager lands in my inbox today - a solid and traditional PM who has min 3 years experience in a pedigree agency....I can probably place them within 3 weeks. Possibly sooner.  However, if a Digital Account Director comes along looking for £55k, they may have the perfect CV but it is likely to take a little longer.   The market contracts as we head towards the senior roles and the bigger salaries. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the salary, the longer it takes to find a job.

In the agency world, we don't normally see recruitment cycles around the financial year or seasons. It's just down to supply and demand. If clients have won new pitches, they'll recruit.  However, recruiting an Account Executive or Project Executive is a reasonably small impact on client overheads so the decision making is not normally extended or long winded. If I put a good CV in front of a client at that level, they'll make a hire.  Proactively trying to engage clients in senior/expensive candidate CVs is more likely to result in a coffee rather than a formal interview - it's something that I do but without any expectation that it's going to lead to an immediate placement.

I usually advise people to keep their CV up to date (yes, I know I would wouldn't I).  If you're SAM level and above, I would say it doesn't hurt to keep an eye on the market.  The roles are not so frequent and if you wait until the day that you really want to find a new role, you'll have less choice. I encourage candidates to stay in touch regularly, even if they're not actively hunting for a new role - I'm a useful contact if you're trying to gain a pay-rise or to get the most out of your appraisal. Equally, if you have a vision of your 'dream role', it's worth making your recruiter aware of it so that if it does land, they'll call you immediately.

Rough guidelines:

Account Executives: Should find something within a month
Senior Account Executives & Account Managers: Should find something within 3 months (depending on how choosy you are!).
Senior Account Managers: Currently this level is quiet.  Largely because most SAMs are looking to move to an AD role....and the AD market is flat.  So it can take 6-12 months.
Account Director and above:  6-12 months.
Digital Project Mangers: Up to £35k and a solid CV - Within 2 months
Search Marketers (SEO, PPC, Display): Up to £30k - Within 2 months.
Search Marketers (SEO, PPC, Display):  Up to £50k - Within 6 months - market quiet busy at the moment and candidates short in supply so likely to be shorter lead time.
Brand Planners: Usually in high demand and short supply so it can be very quick....but again, at the senior end, it can take longer to find a client with budget to hire.
Digital Development & Design:  Clients at the moment are looking for quality and strong agency backgrounds.  I'd almost go so far as to say that we could place 'quality' within a month across both sides of the Pennines such is the shortage of candidates.  But you must have recognised agencies on the CV and have impressive portfolios.

Ultimately, agencies are increasingly wanting quality candidates with solid work backgrounds and people who have stayed in their roles.  This gives them confidence in hiring strong talent and they'll recruit quickly.  My advice is that it doesn't hurt to keep an eye on the market as you never know when the perfect role will present itself. I send out a weekly jobs update to candidates and if you'd like to be on this circulation, email me at fiona.christian@perfectmarketingpeople.com.  This has all the latest opportunities on both sides of the Pennines and if there is anything that appeals, it's easy to drop me a line - but equally easy to ignore if the timing isn't right for you!

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