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Money Talks

22nd June 2012

Aberdeen's recruitment market is thriving, a trend set to continue for the foreseeable future according to recruitment consultancy Thorpe Molloy Recruitment.

"The upsurge in activity may appear in contrast to the national economic outlook but it has been gathering momentum since mid 2011 and is set to continue in the wake of contract success and investment announcements by energy sector companies, fuelling the demand for skilled workers" explains Thorpe Molloy Recruitment's Claire Hedley.

"The talent shortage discussion still centres around engineering disciplines, particularly Subsea Engineering, Project Management and QHSE but we are also witnessing a significant lack of relevantly skilled and experienced candidates in a number of other areas, including analyst, economist, in-house recruitment and compensation and benefits (C&B) roles."

"That C&B specialists are highly sought after is particularly interesting as it reflects the evolving approach by employers to devise and implement robust remuneration and benefits programmes which are intended to expedite hiring decisions and retain talent," she added.

"C&B is often handled by generalists with some experience, rather than a dedicated specialist. So the current demand and the acute shortage of talent is creating incredible career opportunities."

So, it's back to the drawing board for many companies who are looking for a C&B specialist to benchmark and research salary, benefits, pension and long term incentive plans, but there's certainly no easy fix. Claire explains why,

"Surprisingly, many businesses don't have full transparency of their reward structures. This is most prevalent following M&A activity where employees' compensation and benefits have to be re-aligned, and it is currently affecting hiring and retention in the market. Although blunt, it is true to say that "Money Talks.""

"The oil and gas industry can be its own worst enemy. There is relatively high staff turnover because companies compete with each other on a financial basis. There is often an urgency to fill roles, or people with the requisite skill set choose to work as contractors, which is usually significantly more lucrative," continues Claire.

"This approach isn't sustainable and in a down turn, perhaps precipitated by a weakening oil price, or financial crisis as we saw 4 years ago, some of the talent which companies tried so hard to find are lost back to the market."

"The current stock market volatility is also contributing to a re-evaluation of retention packages, and ironically, companies that do not have employee share schemes are benefiting. For instance, some of our clients are offering significant cash incentives as golden handcuff or target driven incentive payments. This is much more attractive to candidates who historically received share options which are now valued at much less than their award price."

"Indicative of some larger companies searching for longer term solutions to the talent shortage, as well as competitive advantage, is the resurgence of interest in Organisational Development roles as companies try to get a better understanding of how they can continuously adapt to changing market and employment conditions."

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