I often receive calls from recruiters asking me if I know of anyone who might suit this vacancy or that opportunity.  In recent weeks I’ve been telling them that I’m aware of far more vacancies than potential candidates.  Few people are looking to move from one firm to another in the current economic climate.

In one of my posts last year I asked whether you Hope, Pray or Train key staff?  I made the point that:

Employers will spend a fortune in an effort to ensure that ambitious professionals keep upto date with technical developments. But when it comes to maximising the professionals’ potential to do their job, to progress and to get more done, little time or money is invested.

One reason for this is the difference between a short term and long term perspective. Everyone needs to be uptodate with their knowledge of technical developments.  The alternative is to risk the provision of out dated advice with  all the adverse consequence that can then ensue.  Thus there is a short-term need to train staff in technical matters.

On the other hand, the development of personal and management skills is something that has more of a long term impact.  Until quite recently many partners in accountancy firms were concerned that such training would simply help key staff to become more marketable. In effect there was sometimes a fear that the firm’s investment might not be worthwhile as it would benefit a future employer.

There are still plenty of opportunities for good accountants (especially those with specialist skills (eg: tax).  The difference today though is that staff are far less willing to risk a move to a new employer during what are perceived as tough economic conditions. They are likely to stay put if they can.  I remember making much the same decision during the last recession.  Better the devil you know….

What this means is that firms can afford to invest in their staff more now than ever before. Not only will the staff value the support but the firm will gain a longer term benefit from the investment.

And at this stage I should of course draw attention to my white paper on Personal development for ambitious professionals.