4 ways that the West Midlands market is changing right now

One of the first things we hear as a recruitment business is how is the market?

This is a hugely wide-ranging question and I love giving tailored answers to our clients. However, there are a few parts of the market that affect us all.

Here are 4 ways that the West Midlands market is changing right now, if you’re a job seeker or a hiring manager.

Traffic and travel

"Birmingham is the third most congested city outside of London"

Sadly, traffic in Birmingham is getting worse. Despite the great intentions of pushing the public transport and cycling agenda across the region, for many of us this is just not a viable option right now. For those who do drive, it is getting harder to get across and around the city. A few areas have been hit hardest and they are;

The M6. No-one wants to go on it willingly and avoiding junctions 8 – 10 is a pre-requisite of a decent proportion of candidates I deal with. This has also stopped the Black Country candidates from travelling into Birmingham, with many much preferring a trip up the M54 to Telford.

Moving on to Birmingham, many candidates are struggling to justify working over the other side on a regular basis. Crossing over the city has become more difficult with Kings Norton/Rubery/Halesowen candidates not looking to work in Erdington/Castle Bromwich and vice versa. With Broad Street shut off, all the road works and limited parking, Five Ways can also be a surprisingly hard place to recruit for.

Finally, the M5 is making candidates think twice about going north through to Walsall. But there are reasons to be cheerful, with those road works due to finish and 3 new stations set to open in Kings Heath, Hazelwell and Moseley by 2021!

Resolution: Offering flexible start and end times or a day at home a week can make a huge difference.

Further reading: "Three new train stations to open in Birmingham"

Relocating candidates.

The proportion of those leaving London for cities such as Birmingham has tripled since 2010.

Another trend that is increasing year on year is candidates escaping London for the West Midlands. Areas like Sutton Coldfield, Solihull and Worcester are huge draws to candidates seeking a relaxed lifestyle, a family friendly environment and more house for their money! This is great for the area, often bringing career-minded candidates into the excellent talent pool we already have. I feel this can only be a positive for the region!

Further reading: "Relocate to Birmingham"

Rising salaries.

2018 salaries are due to rise quicker at finalist and newly qualified levels (4.2%) than 7 years PQE (3.1%) or Finance Directors (2.6%).

Great if you are looking for a new role, sadly not so much for recruiters! Over the past few years salaries have risen in Birmingham and the real increases have come in newly qualified, part qualified and finalist candidates. It pays to get qualified. Candidates with an ACA background can sometimes see their salaries hit £60k just 3 years after qualification!

Resolution: Relax your requirements around study, notice period or industry experience if you are struggling.

Further reading: What are UK accountants earning right now?

The West Midlands is a destination.

The West Midlands is the only UK area to have witnessed growth in both the number of foreign investment projects and employment.

On a very bright note, Birmingham and the wider region is a hugely popular place for companies to move their finance functions. From Advance to HSBC, companies have increasingly turned to Birmingham for a new home and with the west midlands recently awarded the countries first 5G project, this effect may spread further across the county. 

This investment will create more jobs and the continued success of local businesses will put pressure on candidate availability in the local area. Coventry and Warwick are already home to world leading companies such as JLR, IBM and Aston Martin. The region really is a destination for those looking for fantastic opportunities!

Further reading: "West Midlands 5G 'testbed' to trial connected ambulances"

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