View from the board: silver linings

The share prices of those that are quoted are falling. Restaurants are not as
booked as they once were. Every paper screams panic every day on most pages. So
what does this mean to you from a job security and ‘should I move right now’

The first thing to say is that whatever is happening in the market in general
has not happened to the finance market that sits within it. My firm Odgers is
busy. And I mean, really very busy.

There are not just roles to replace people. Growth roles are being recruited
too, and by a number of businesses. Now, I’m not saying that this is a trend
that will continue forever, but it’s an extremely positive sign for finance

I believe that members of the general management community now recognise that
they are better placed to run a business when they have a strong commercial
finance partner. As a result, whatever the market, when they need one, they want
to recruit the best one.

So what does this mean for the finance community? Well, simply put, nothing.
Obviously, you should congratulate yourself on choosing a profession that, like
being an undertaker, seems to be immune to hard times. However, there are some
other things that are worth pointing out.

First: your colleagues outside finance may be worried about moving roles.

Last in, first out is not a cliché for nothing. However, allowing for the
usual due diligence, I really don’t think this should be an issue for the
finance market right now. Of course, you should not join a business that is
going to go bust, unless there is a compelling reason to do so.

Second: in a business that is doing well or badly, the commercial and
financial agenda remains the same. Add value, drive bottom line improvement
through top-line growth or cost management and challenge the status quo. In a
market that is declining, your ideas will get listened to even more closely, and
the opportunities you will have to add value will be even greater. This will
benefit the business, your CV and your future career potential ­ internal and

So don’t laugh too loudly at the worried-looking sales and marketing teams.
Find ways of making them more effective, and they won’t look so worried ­ and
what’s more, they’ll be your friends for life.

Mark Freebairn is a partner at Odgers Ray &

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