28 September 2023

Supply Outstrips Demand: Unlocking Opportunities for Experienced Candidates

Steve Halsall

Red Tiger Consulting


The return back to work has resulted in an influx of potential candidates who are relatively experienced looking for their next move. The challenge we have as recruiters is the market seems to be very busy with junior or mid level management roles, but my calendar is filling up with chats with a range of candidates who are seeking salaries typically between £60k and 100k+.

As a recruiter, this is quite frustrating. These candidates have expressed an interest in a fresh challenge, but at the moment I am unable to put them forward for roles because we don’t have any appropriate roles for them. Why is that?

Job Market Challenges

The demand for experienced candidates seems suppressed. A couple of years ago we worked on a significant number of £80k+ roles but not in the last year or so. A lot of these senior roles are not there in the volume that more junior roles are available. I’ve also seen that there have been a disproportionate number of redundancies with some pretty heavyweight leaders and managers being let go onto the market.

There also seem to be quite a few experienced professionals who are just after a fresh challenge. They feel like they are on autopilot and would like a change of role to rediscover their mojo. They can’t see themselves remaining in their current role or working for their current company in the medium term. I have been working with some clients on the career coaching side of things in terms of ‘what’s next?’. These are particularly selective about their next challenge – it has to be right as they are thinking this could be their last hurrah before retirement.

Navigating Career Shifts: The ‘Squeezed Middle’

It’s a fair observation that more senior people do tend to remain longer in their role. The natural churn in this cohort is less – most of these people have been in their current roles for quite a long time and are now reaching the stage in their career where they’re thinking what next? Senior Managers at those levels block juniors from stepping up and often their only route to progress is to move away from the business.

This is why it is actually quite healthy for seasoned leaders to potentially move from roles in order to create the space for these people to step up. I can speak from experience – when I left my role at CACI after 7 years there are a number of senior managers in that team who have now stepped up and the team has gone from strength to strength.

I think of it as a ‘squeezed middle’, with more junior candidates looking to step up into the senior roles as well as highly experienced candidates potentially happy with a more junior role with less responsibility (and salary). Some of the more experienced candidates are looking to drop down into a less pressured role as they re-prioritise what is important to them. This seems to be mainly when the financial burden of mortgages and young children have diminished as they reach the latter stages of their career. See more earlier post on Ageism in the Workplace for more on this.

The continuing concerns about cost of living, economic downturn, and the general travails of the world mean that there is a certain level of stickiness involved with some of these people already in situ in senior roles, which in turn contributes to the lack of roles at this level.

The good news is that we’ve had a number of other conversations with smaller businesses who have expressed an interest in getting someone at this level in order to lead their drive for greater insight and analytics. Some of these conversations have halted, mainly because the timing wasn’t right for economic reasons, but I’m sure these will come back further down the line.

Seizing Opportunities for Experienced Candidates

The purpose of this blog post is to really invite hiring managers from organisations who envisage a potential or actual need for a more senior hire to reach out to me as there could be a once in a career lifetime opportunity to get some quality, experienced talent onboard.

If you are a candidate please don’t be put off by the lack of opportunity. We are working extremely hard to facilitate select introductions with highly targeted hiring managers which could result in a placement or at worst put you on their radar should a requirement arise.

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Published by Steve Halsall

Steve is the founder of Red Tiger Consulting. He has worked in Location Planning for over 20 years – both on the consultancy side and client side. His passion is building successful teams that evolve their capability (skills, software and data) to meet the ever changing requirements of analysis. In his spare time he is mainly kept busy with his two children, falling in and out of love with Liverpool FC and at some point he wants to re-start his golfing ‘career’.


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