One of the best things about being a Headhunter is the opportunity to engage with many people across your industry and take a holistic view of what’s been, what the present looks like, and what’s upcoming. It’s the first question you’re asked in every interaction, “How does the market look? What has next [week/month/year/decade] got in store?”.

Well, readers, my first prediction for the New Year is as such. Twenty-twenty-one is the year of the Economist.

The UK legislative and regulatory frameworks are up for an overhaul and businesses, associations (on behalf of businesses), NFPs and pretty much any other organisation you can think of, are interested. Some have been interested since June 2016, and others have left it a little late and are now coming to the party.

We have seen an increased demand for Policy and Public Affairs professionals in varying degrees over that period. As mentioned, a host of organisations looking to put themselves at the front of the queue when government and regulators come to consider the future of their sector. What we are now seeing is an increased demand from clients for an economic skillset, when called upon and when able to get around the table with the aforementioned decision-makers, to quantify their asks and recommendations.

My suggestion here is not that organisations have not engaged with Economists previously, indeed many have had in-house teams for decades, and others have Consultants on speed dial to contribute to projects on an ad-hoc (read: costly) basis. In addition, many Policy professionals join the industry with a degree encompassing Economics and are required to be able to provide a basic level of economic analysis.

Experts are required to generate quantitative analysis to both support policy positions, and educate interested parties (shareholders, members etc.), often needing to translate complex ideas into simple terms for non-experts. Much like the evolution of the Policy professional, it’s not simply good enough to produce consultations, reports and briefings anymore. You are also expected to be able to sit around the (virtual) table and present your findings.

Why? My feeling is that this is the latest evolution in an industry that has been professionalising over the past few decades. What was once conducted by a shouty lobbyist who went to school with “the Minister you need to know” and had a monthly “lunch budget”, is now conducted by team(s) of skilled professionals across Research, Policy, Public Affairs, Stakeholder Engagement, Communications and, now, Economists…..

As ever, Ellwood Atfield continues to recruit the people who speak for you. If you’re looking for somebody who can also speak numbers, please do get in touch: hello@ellwoodatfield.com 

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