Executive Reward – UK & International Market Update May 2020

We are still seeing activity in the exec reward market within the UK albeit a little slower, as individuals are busy with modelling around cost saving, ensuring benefits are supporting enough for employees (particularly wellbeing initiatives) and with the design of new reward approaches to suit the current market.  A small handful of businesses have been looking for Head of Reward level individuals, particularly within the FS, Tech and FinTech space, although we have seen a significant drop in  the majority of project and “additional support” hires, whilst firms assess their financial position or adopt a wait and see approach.  Good Reward talent remains hard to find within the UK market, but firms are more willing to have a go themselves even though they realise that finding the right blend of technical skills and cultural fit will be difficult.  If there are cost savings to be made, it is inevitable to that businesses will try.  A notable trend is that the appetite to move roles at the senior end in Reward remains very high.  With a sluggish market in 2019 and few opportunities there is clearly a lot of pent up frustration and once the market returns, we believe that activity will pick up quickly.


The New York Reward market remains active although the state has seen a significant drop in vacancy numbers and from our analysis, we can point to a 55% drop in active vacancies advertised within the field of compensation and benefits since March. However, clients are keen to stress their resilience and confidence that the market will return.  Many firms in the financial services industry feel fairly well protected from the current storm and some in PE have already mentioned an increase in activity across their deal teams looking to invest and save distressed assets where possible.  A notable trend at present is that candidates are very reticent to move in the current climate, which is understandable.  With New York approaching the peak of their epidemic the focus on access to healthcare and other benefits is definitely dampening down people’s appetites to move.  This will change once the city opens up and our prediction is that the market will return very quickly, albeit in certain industries.

Jamie Newton – Partner

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