Despite only being 6 months in to 2019, Q2 has brought about some quite stark contrasts to Q1 in terms of activity levels. Whilst markets in Q1, to some extent, felt like they were still carrying the weight of the investor nervousness that dominated Q4 2018, Q2 has seen a bounce back in optimism and activity. Perhaps this is linked to the decision for a Brexit delay, and whilst activity/business decisions were on hold in Q1 “waiting to see” the Brexit outcome, companies realise it is just not feasible to now wait till October so business decisions have resumed, particularly around meeting hiring needs and we have seen a big increase in the number of opportunities that we are working.
Anecdotally, speaking to active candidates on the market, there is no doubt of a “tick up” in the market of IR opportunities, across the UK and internationally. We have had the benefit of working with a multitude of clients across the FTSE 100 & 250 space, pre IPO opportunities, alternative assets and service providers – all of which are in need of high quality, well experienced IR professionals.
All of this is achieved against a backdrop of a 10 year low in the number of IPOs in London in H1 2019. The number of companies that listed on the London Stock Exchange in the first six months of 2019 plummeting to just 13, down from 38 during the same period in 2018.
So whilst we are undoubtedly in an unprecedented state of uncertainty, with a far from positive outlook in the financial markets, we continue to believe that appetite for IR talent is not correlated to market sentiment and despite a bull or a bear market, IR and Communications are functions that are necessary and rising in importance on board agendas and therefore we look forward to the rest of 2019 with optimism and interest.