Although much of the hiring space seems to have been put on hold over the past couple of months, we continue to see a strong appetite from employees looking to progress in their careers.

Experienced hire sign-ups to the Final Stage network have surged over the month of May and although we initially assumed this to be a result of redundancies and furloughs, after digging a bit deeper, it turns out that this isn’t exactly the case.

Of course there are those who are being pushed into making their next move prematurely, but around 70% of sign-ups currently hold ‘secure’ positions with the likes of KPMG, Deloitte, Grant Thornton and EY; all firms who have yet to even furloughed employees. So what’s driving these individuals to continue progression planning in such an uncertain time?

Given the consultative nature of the network and involvement of talent guides who regularly speak with network members, we were able to dig a little deeper into employee motivations and thought it’d be useful to share some of the most common reasons as to why individuals are still looking for their next move.

1. Involved In A Restructuring

It turns out that many companies in the professional services space are undergoing some form of internal restructure to direct resources into areas of need (or from areas where work has dried up). This has resulted in numerous employees working in roles they were not initially hired for, and in many cases, roles which they don’t particularly enjoy. Concerns that they could be in these positions for the foreseeable future has led some individuals to start seeking a change in employer.

2. Having Downtime To Reflect

One thing this pandemic has given most people is time to think, and in relation to employees, this means job satisfaction. Do I actually like what I am doing? Is there more that I can achieve in the industry? What do I want from my job? In ‘normal times’ employees are typically so caught up in their daily work that they don’t have time to think about the bigger picture and given a bit of downtime, cogs are starting to turn.

3. Wanting A Change of Location

Although similar to the point above, this specific reason was one that came up quite a lot and was especially true for those who had previously been commuting into London. Whether it was being out of the bustle of the city, ditching the three hour commute, or simply spending more quality time with the family, it appears that many are enjoying their time at home and are keen to explore roles that offer greater flexibility to work remotely on a prolonged basis post-pandemic.

4. Questioning Long-Term Job Security

This has tended to be true for those working in smaller companies or industries that have been hit hardest from the pandemic. Individuals have questioned their employer’s ability to emerge from the crisis in good shape and even how they’d hold up in future crises. This has given them the catalyst needed to explore their next move into a more secure or progressive industry/company.

5. Impacted By A Company Freeze

Most companies have been required to put a freeze on promotions, pay rises and bonuses in an attempt to limit the impact of the pandemic and reduce potential redundancies. Although likely the correct thing to be doing from a wider company perspective, some employees who were set on (and even potentially relying on) a pay bump in 2020, have told us that their only way to now achieve this is to look at options elsewhere.

The question remains as to whether there will be enough suitable opportunities in the market for these individuals to make moves right now, but one can’t help thinking that once the seed has been planted, even if not now, they will likely be looking for an exit once things have returned to ‘normal’.

It would be interesting to see how many HR teams have considered the above impacts and whether they are preparing themselves for what could happen post-pandemic. Although not obvious at the moment, from what we are hearing, it looks like Covid-19 could be a catalyst for a career move.


If you’d like to find out more about how your team can gain access to individuals who are progression planning via Final Stage, please get in touch with a member of the team.