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CSMs! It's been tough. BUT...

By Alan Fecamp

What’s the market like? That’s a question I’ve been asked many times over the last six months.

Whilst most people likely know the answer, it’s understandable if you’re searching for a role, whether by choice or the impact of Covid redundancies, you’ll be looking for a chink of light or some signs of recovery. 

My answer each time has been honest and without sugar coating.

It’s been brutal and the Customer Success market has been impacted hard.

A few companies have continued to hire but the landscape is super competitive from a candidate perspective.

In 20 + years in the recruitment industry, I’ve never seen a market enter into turmoil so quickly as we did earlier this year. It was a unique scenario we’ve all had to figure out as we’ve gone along.

The flood of inbound candidate activity was the highest it’s ever been and unmanageable at times.

This was particularly noticeable at the mid-market level where companies already had resources and could absorb work into existing team members or manage with scaled back numbers. Where you may have had 10 CSM’s, you now have 5 for example.

Certain sectors have been hit really hard, especially with products relating to physical retail, events or, hospitality.

The top end of the market at the leadership level has fared better. If you need a Director or VP then you still need to make that business-critical hire.

In contrast, I put out a post in January 2020 to highlight the huge growth in Customer UK Success hiring in the previous year. The pool of CS professionals had grown by over 30% in 2019 and as we entered 2020, there were 900 + job posts.

Customer Success was in the Top 10 fastest growing professions as per LinkedIn data for the previous two years, including 34% global growth in 2019.

Then in March, the rug was truly pulled from under us!

So where are we now?

As of today (4.9.2020) there are 300+ live roles being advertised. This data is pulled from 40,000 data points globally so is likely to be fairly accurate.

Of course, not every company advertises, so there will be more jobs available but it’s highly likely we are sat on around 1/3 of the opportunities were at the start of the year.

Also, the total candidate pool is now at just over 8,000 in the UK. This is around 1,000 more from January; however, most of this growth will have been in Q1 as so many people start new roles in January.

So, and stating the obvious, we have a larger pool of professionals in the market, far fewer roles available, and lots of uncertainty still ahead of us.

Tough times indeed!

BUT……..

Finally, I am seeing some positive signs from the market again.

I’ve seen a number of candidates I’m connected with or have worked with secure great new roles in the last couple of weeks.

I’m in lots of different CS communities and there has been a big uplift in job posts over the last two weeks.

The clients who hit the brakes back in March are coming back online and making positive noises about hiring in Q4.

Q4 is usually a great quarter for hiring with 2021 plans coming together.

Plus, with the summer holidays almost over, the kids returning to school, and companies now starting to resume some kind of normal operating procedures, there are reasons to be optimistic about the coming months.

I also feel that Customer Success will bounce back really well with an increased focus on building valuable relationships with customers. CS may not be the afterthought for some companies as it was pre lockdown.

That said, there is still a backdrop of uncertainty with the furlough scheme coming to an end and we’ve all got to hope if there is a 2nd wave we avoid another complete lockdown!

Personally, I feel a lot of the damage in the CS employment market has been done and the furlough scheme ending won’t directly impact too much. It’s already priced in, in my opinion.

As of today, it’s still super competitive for CS job seekers and it’s likely to be a while yet before it fully recovers so you’ll need to make sure you are standing out from the crowd.

It will require persistence, a proactive and highly targeted approach. You’ve got fewer opportunities, so you’ll need to do the best possible job with what you have.

Check out the link – standing out from the crowd. There are a few tips that may help if you are in need of fresh impetus 🙂

If anyone would like to chat or needs any help navigating the market, please feel free to message me…….

Thanks

Alan

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