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5 key NFP recruitment trends you need to know

NFP Trends

The NFP sector has been faced with an avalanche of societal and technological advances in recent years that, together with the global pandemic, have forced many established NFP organisations and institutions to fundamentally rethink how they operate from the ground up. This shake-up, whilst bringing a lot of opportunity with it, has also created a raft of challenges for NFPs to navigate, whether it’s implementing digital-first processes or complex new legislation.

A key challenge faced by Finance Hiring Managers in NFP organisations is around how they can remain competitive in a changing world and attract top finance professionals, whilst also keeping staff engaged and happy during periods of upheaval.

Read on to learn the five key trends that NFP senior executives and HR teams should be aware of as they navigate through these uncertain and changing times.

1. A shift from contract to permanent

As a specialist NFP recruitment team, we are seeing a shift towards more permanent NFP roles on offer, with lower numbers of contract opportunities in the sector – The reason for this? Our NFP clients now understand that offering long-term security in the high-demand recruitment environment will ensure they remain a competitive option and attract the best talent from a limited pool of candidates. In turn, businesses can rest assured that they will retain top talent, whilst also, to some extent, mitigating the risk of candidates being lured away with the offer of a permanent role from another organisation. Although this is a trend, sourcing quality finance professionals who are looking for contract roles can be difficult. Because we have worked closely with many contractors over the years, our database is rich with talent that is not out there in the market but, rather, chooses to come to us first when they are seeking new employment opportunities.

2. Candidates looking to ‘contribute’

With the unprecedented levels of instability we are currently facing on a global scale, we are seeing many of our candidates now taking the opportunity to take stock of their current situation and consider what genuinely motivates them in their work. This has contributed to significant numbers of people now wanting to change careers, often looking to move from the commercial sector to an NFP organisation that stands for a higher purpose.

We are seeing this at both ends of the experience spectrum: newly qualified finance candidates (less than 5 years of experience) and mid-level to senior candidates (5+ years of experience). Both groups have different motivations for wanting to make the move to NFP, which are important to consider when approaching them as potential employees:

  • Newly qualified finance candidates (less than 5 years of experience) – We find that many of our newly qualified finance candidates, many of them classed as ‘Millennials’, are highly socially aware and motivated to make a difference to society from the outset of their careers. Whilst they may have some experience in entry-level roles, they are keen to join a values-aligned organisation where they can grow and develop their knowledge and skills from the ground up.
  • Mid-level to senior candidates (5+ years of experience) – Mid-level to senior corporate finance professionals are also taking stock of their current position. Whilst they have reached a certain level of stature in their career, their priorities have now shifted (potentially in alignment with other life changes), fuelling their desire to ‘give back’ and use their skills to genuinely make a difference in an NFP organisation.

Making the shift from commercial to NFP can be daunting for candidates – especially those who have never worked in the NFP space before. At Moir Group, we offer recruitment services in both the commercial and NFP sectors, and have successfully guided many candidates on this transition in the past.

3. Big changes in internal culture

A significant change we are seeing within the NFP sector is a modernising of internal culture. Many of the organisations we work with are very established, some having been in operation for hundreds of years! With this we see long-set ways of working and, often, a risk-averse outlook. This has led to the enduring perception that NFP organisations don’t offer a fresh, modern cultural experience for their employees.

The implementation of new systems and ways of working in recent times, has given these organisations an internal shake-up. Long-standing, change-averse staff may have moved on, bringing an influx of new personnel and new perspectives. One client referred to their organisation, established for more than 200 years, as now feeling ‘more like a start-up’.

NFP’s that can demonstrate the strength of the culture they offer to potential employees have a key opportunity to stand out in the market.

4. Finding the balance in flexible working

At the start of the pandemic, we witnessed many NFP’s quickly and efficiently enabling their staff to work remotely. However, as we move toward a ‘new normal’, we are now seeing many of those same organisations pushing for employees to return to the workplace.

At this time, there is a tricky balance in appealing to the range of preferences people have around remote or onsite working arrangements. This is something we are currently coaching our clients in the sector to effectively manage.

From our experience, offering potential employees a certain level of flexibility in their work is an invaluable benefit that offers many rewards to the business, from increased levels of staff retention to attracting better quality candidates.

5. Increasing complexity in NFP roles

A common misconception we hear from our candidates about NFP roles is that they are more simplistic when compared to roles in the commercial sector. The perceived impact of this is the potential downgrading of candidates’ skills and experience, which may, in turn, decrease their appeal with potential employers in the future. The reality at this time is quite the opposite, however.

Within an NFP organisation, you will be operating in a highly complex environment, often working within stringent regulatory frameworks. This makes for a highly challenging and stimulating work experience, with strong opportunities to develop and hone a number of key skills as you progress through your career.


Kelly-Ann Arthur is the Manager of the NFP recruitment Division at Moir Group.

Our team of NFP recruitment specialists are here to help. Whether you are looking for a fresh career challenge or seeking experienced finance professionals for your organisation, we would love to help. Contact us today for a chat.

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