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Oakleaf Executive Market Update June 2019

2018/19 definitely was a stand out year for Oakleaf Executive and the market has remained healthy regardless of political and economic uncertainty.

In what is still a fragmented recruitment space, Oakleaf Executive placed 51 candidates into permanent executive roles across HR, Talent Acquisition, Reward, Immigration and L&D in the last 12 months.

We were delighted to have Laura Booth join the Executive team as Executive Researcher and Zoe Bradley, who moved from our Financial Services team to drive our Executive interim agenda.

Keeping true to ourselves, we have continued to offer honest and flexible service to our candidates and clients, with over 60% of our business being referred on from our loyal customer base. We are disrupting and challenging the traditional search market because of our genuine interest in the HR profession, the active and up to date research and consultative approach and delivery.


Over the course of the last 12 months, we have seen an increase in internal mobility and direct sourcing in the larger corporates, understandably due to the size of resourcing teams and talent management plans. Key permanent hires we have made in the larger FTSE /blue chips have required candidates with experience from global technology businesses, to give an advantage and new perspective when it comes to building state of the art tech centres for their organisation.

Emma Castillo who works with Katrina on search mandates commented recently about how technology companies have faced talent shortages and tend to have a very strong recruitment culture as a result.  We have often been retained to recruit the Head of Talent Acquisition in smaller Fintech firms to increase headcount, reducing recruitment spend and placing at times difficult mandates in offshore locations.

Tech companies have the added advantage of playing in exciting spaces. Companies are alluring by their very nature because they are at the leading edge of the products, services and social media that we all love. Oakleaf Executive meets lots of HR Directors who are keen to work within the sector but it’s those who are able to innovate and work with ambiguity who truly succeed.

Oakleaf Executive have recently created some solid partnerships with Private Equity firms to support them not only with their own internal HR and recruitment, but that of their portfolio businesses. This has been extremely successful both for permanent search and interim solutions at board level.

We have seen a number of the smaller Financial Services and tech boutiques create or replace HR Leaders over the last 6 months, where the skill set really is top to bottom strategic and operational and everything in between. The increased pressure impacting HR around GDPR, SMCR, Compensation and Brexit has forced some organisations to review their HR offering and upskill the department as a whole.

We partnered with Eversheds recently to host a dinner for HRD's in Asset Management on the topic of SMCR and the impact on organisations. Excellent food and healthy debate!

An article recently in The Executive Grapevine described the challenges faced by a CEO in 2019, the main two relating to talent management and communication. Having worked with a number of CEO's over the past 12 months we have discussed at length about how great HR professionals address these main issues within an organisation. It's a common pressure point for leaders and one which can only be managed well through innovative HR practice and understanding of the business.  Common requests from business leaders for HR include evidence of communicating and delivering a change agenda, creating a diverse and inclusive culture and understanding data.

To stand the test of time, organisations need to invest in people, not just their product offering and technology. HR needs to be able to set a clear and inclusive talent strategy that is communicated effectively, at the right time and delivered to plan.

Our executive interim team conducted research into the state of the market, IR35 being a hot topic and one which carries on into 2019 with still no clear outcome. From conversations with our clients, many will look to mitigate any risk resorting in a PAYE model or a fixed term contract offer.

As always we strive to support and advise our customers, hosting talks and round tables on key interim topics relevant today.

Our continued advice to candidates is to be authentic and commercial, sharing key metrics and achievements on a CV rather than the usual tasks.

For a confidential discussion regarding our executive recruitment services and your career plans please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Katrina Stewart

020 7220 7030

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