It has been a difficult 2019 in politics and, in turn, the professional world of policy and public affairs. As the leading Advocacy and Communications Headhunters, we at Ellwood Atfield have been going through it with you.

Whatever your views on the current situation, we are experiencing unprecedented political times. Following the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, we are only a few small steps away from a Labour-led government and a second referendum – and 3 months’ worth of “negotiation”. Equally, if things pan out slightly differently, we are a mere month away from a No Deal Brexit and a continued Boris Johnson Premiership.

The impact on the market.

Our clients face a difficult dilemma. Many of them need resources, whether that be additional support or to replace colleagues who have moved on, but aren’t quite sure what this looks like, or are under pressure internally to keep costs to a minimum.

Many clients who have gone to market have found the candidate pool to be passive and unengaged. Simple advertising is no longer working, which is explained in more detail below. There is also the small factor of the UK being at record high employment, traditionally this causes a candidate shortage.

A number of clients who have decided not to take the external hiring route have split up vacancies and tagged responsibilities onto the brief of other team members, either for the interim or permanently, causing internal frustration.

Equally, our candidates find themselves in a precarious situation.

We speak to a lot of candidates on a daily basis, many are frustrated with the lack of opportunities on the market at the moment and as such have “put their job search on hold” until the pathway is clearer. Others are simply so consumed in their day jobs, that a committed job search isn’t sustainable.

Candidates are citing three main reasons for their passive approach to the job market:

  1. There aren’t many jobs being advertised
  2. They are worried that accepting a new job would leave them vulnerable (i.e. within their probation period) as this uncertainty plays out
  3. There will be a deluge of jobs hit the market once the Brexit and/or Parliamentary drama has been navigated.

All three of these are natural reactions, and we work with our candidates to understand their concerns. However, we also work with them to realise that if the right job does become available, they must be in the right position so they do not miss out.

As a side note, we have also seen a standard 10-20% increase in salaries available, and being demanded, on the market.


Simplified, the market in 2019 has seen a lack of vacancies and a lack of candidate demand. An Imperfect Storm of situations which rarely arrive together, but cause frustration and fatigue on both sides.


We can help.


What we can do: There are certain elements of the above that we can help you address. We have access to a huge network of candidates within the Policy, Public Affairs and Regulatory space and the skilled Headhunters who are available to take your brief to market and confidentially seek out those candidates who aren’t “interested in new opportunities” but would make great additions to your team.

We can also work with you to set expectations and find a solution which works within the current climate. The right jobs put in front of the right people is still a process which ends successfully for everyone.

What we can’t do: Predict the future. We’ve given up trying.

Would you like to advance your career or appoint someone?