The 2017 Robert Walters Salary Survey shows that recruitment volumes were muted across many sectors in the first half of 2016, with the exception of accountancy and finance, where recruitment levels remained stable throughout the year.
In the second half of 2016, hiring volumes increased, though the presidential election remained a significant source of uncertainty for both employers and jobseekers.
"Uncertainties ahead of the election led many employers to adopt a cautious approach to recruitment, insisting on candidates with specific niche skill sets," said Kurt Kraeger, Managing Director at Robert Walters.
Hiring processes often lasted up to two months, as additional interview stages were added. In financial services, pressure from regulators continued to drive strong demand for specialists in compliance, risk and legal.
With demand for top talent outstripping supply, professionals in these fields were able to secure significant pay increases when they changed jobs. Elsewhere, digital media and technology represented major growth areas, particularly for IT professionals, as well as creating attractive opportunities for sales, marketing and finance specialists.
Software engineers were also highly sought after across all levels of seniority, with employers forced to compete for top talent by offering generous salaries and bonus packages.
In 2017 we expect regulatory compliance to remain a priority for financial services firms. Demand for accountancy professionals with a compliance or regulatory background will therefore be strong, and as a result, these professionals will be able to command generous salaries.
Uncertainties ahead of the election led many employers to adopt a cautious approach to recruitment, insisting on candidates with specific niche skill sets.
Digital media and technology will also continue to grow in 2017. "As companies in these sectors look to expand, junior to mid-level business development professionals will be highly sought after, particularly those who can demonstrate a strong understanding and awareness of the product," continued Kraeger.
As media and digital firms continue to face a chronic shortage of software developers, swift and efficient hiring processes will be vital to secure top talent. Overall, we expect 2017 to be a buoyant year for recruitment, with many firms looking to actively increase headcount. However, with the exception of certain niche skill sets, it is likely salaries will remain stable.
In this climate, employers looking to secure top talent should focus on their ability to offer a positive company culture, work-life balance initiatives, and potential for long-term career development, particularly when looking to recruit Millennial professionals.
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