Since 2019 there has been a 30% year on year increase in the demand for Assistant Company Secretaries across all sectors. Based on our current projections, we do not see any signs of this recruitment trend abating, on the contrary we expect demand to continue to rise.
This appears to be great news for company secretarial teams, many of which have secured supplementary budget for an additional hire to meet the growing demands placed upon the goveance function. However, many companies are finding it very difficult to secure top talent in the current market which is causing considerable frustration with hiring managers and recruiters alike.
There is most demand for CGI qualified individuals at the 3-5 year PQE level with budgets typically around the £50-60k mark. In response, employers have become increasingly aware that in order to retain top talent they need to offer more compelling reasons to stay. This is not all about money, in fact of the 60 Assistant Company Secretaries that we spoke to recently, 51 stated that a positive culture, strong leadership and continual professional development were more important to their career than a pay rise. This suggests that the candidate mindset has shifted towards achieving longer-term career objectives with individuals far less less likely to move if skills and experience gaps can be filled within their current setting. Employers that provide a clear development and succession plan as well as competitive salaries will retain their staff on average 18-24 months longer than those that do not.
During these unsettling times, we are not surprised to lea candidates who we would ordinarily expect to consider a move, have become more risk averse and will only consider changing jobs for that ‘golden opportunity’.
Salaries for Assistant Company Secretaries at the 3-5 year PQE level have unsurprisingly increased in light of the continued limited supply. Expect to budget £65-75k to attract top talent away from the ‘relative security’ of their current role. On average this represents a 15-20% uplift on their current salary, something I suspect the market will not like but may have to accept. 90% of ACS candidates placed by DMJ over the past 2 years were headhunted out of their current role which is an incredible statistic relative to other levels. It tells us that targeted recruitment works best - candidates are more likely to be invested in the recruitment process, less likely to be in multiple processes and expectations on both sides managed from the outset.
With the continued shortage of candidates at this level some of the larger employers have created trainee opportunities or goveance academies to ‘grow their own’ talent. This allows them to tap into a much larger pool of students and graduates keen to start their professional career, many of whom, with the right training, will prove to have all the right attributes to become a talented goveance professional. If enough graduates pass through these trainee programmes, it will help address the shortage of CSA’s and ACS and stabilise the ACS recruitment market in the longer term.
Our advice to employers currently recruiting at this level is as follows:
Get the Narrative Right
Candidates want to know what you can offer that is different – the job description alone is not enough. What are the values of your organisation? How do you define your culture? What is the development opportunity?
Good candidates do not stay on the market for long. Keep the momentum going during the recruitment process. Do not have long breaks between interview stages, provide feedback promptly, keep the candidate engaged throughout.
This is a big area at the moment and candidates want to know how your company is pushing the ESG agenda. What is your plan and how will they play a part in this.
Be Competitive on Salary or Alteatively 'Grow Your Own'
Salaries have gone up over the past 2 years, so re-align your expectations at the time of securing budget. If market rates are coming in over budget, consider hiring at a more junior or trainee level.If you require support recruiting an Assistant Company Secretary, please contact a member of the DMJ Company Secretarial Team - firstname.lastname@example.org