2017 had its challenges in the sense that the 2016 Brexit result had led to some uncertainty across the Real Estate market generally and other more niche issues, however, we witnessed a continued momentum in recruitment from Q4 of 2016 across all of 2017 with no signs of slowing.
Our clients' response to this uncertainty has been “business as usual” and a number of our clients saw their most significant total fee income to date last year. Added to this success, we witnessed a number of our consultancy clients strengthening their teams with the addition of Graduate Planners and in some instances, pushing forward with senior hires and appointing at Director level. This was also replicated within a number of our house building and developer clients, who all strengthened their in-house planning functions.
This appetite for recruitment shows no signs of abating into 2018 with continued demand for Senior Planners, although a shortage of talent at this level means that clients have continued to look above and below the lines of experience in order to support their busy caseloads.
London has once again led the charge for the Planning sector over the past twelve months. In 2017, we saw a number of new consultancies arise as well as substantial growth to existing planning teams across the capital. The demand for residential planners reached fever pitch as the market tries to catch up with the lack of supply of available housing stock that the UK is faced with. The Government has also recognised the need to help the planning regime and as such appointed the new Housing Minster, Dominic Raab. Let’s see what effect Dominic’s tenure has on the constraints Town Planners face with current Planning Policy and Legislation. It will be interesting to see if his desire to hand more power back to local government truly unlocks the potential to build more new homes across the country.
Regionally, we have seen a much more focused approach to capturing planning requirements across cities such as Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham. With a combination of Brexit uncertainty and high property prices in the capital, investors are looking towards the regions for their deals with Manchester in particular becoming a city that has a lot to offer. From new tech start-ups, through to major infrastructure plans and highly sought after PRS schemes, a number of our clients are keen to continue their recruitment drive with plenty of opportunities for experienced Planners and for those seeking their first role within the profession.
What is to come…
We have no doubt that 2018 will be a fantastic year for Town Planning. As the housing crisis looms over us, the demand multiplies and the industry grows. House builders and developers have been extremely busy with the delivery of schemes and as we reach the end of January, we find ourselves heading into this quarter with a number of exciting opportunities across strategic land promoters, housing associations and boutique developers. Clients are entering this year committed, with recruitment plans in place. Candidates are more discerning in their choices, knowing that good talent is still in short supply. Clients are really having up their game in order to keep attracting the best. Salary levels are important but candidates are considering the quality of work, office location, ability to give back socially alongside the wider group benefits available and I do believe that the very best of our clients are ready for this.
Article written by Joshua Palmer, Town Planning Recruiter
At Cobalt, we are proud to work with a varied client base that includes the UK’s leading planning consultancies, property companies, developers, house builders and Local Authorities. If you would like to discuss your recruitment requirements or the planning opportunities available, contact our Planning team on 0161 457 0105.
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