SAP UK Permanent Market Overview

Given the changes we have seen in the SAP UK permanent recruitment market over the past 6 month I wanted to share with you Whitehall Resources’ experience of the market.

Whilst individual companies demand different SAP skill sets, when we observe our SAP clients as a whole, there are some obvious trends. Following the style of my previous post, I spent some time with Wes – Whitehall Resources’ Team Lead of the SAP UK Permanent Team –  to discover what new trends are emerging and what we can expect from the permanent market over the next 6 months. Here’s what we discussed:

What is the busiest area in the SAP UK permanent market?

There is no clear-cut area where we have seen a significant shift in SAP jobs in demand in the UK. As you may expect, the requirements we’ve received from our clients are primarily distributed across London, Birmingham and Manchester. However, our clients also demand Permanent Consultants in locations all over the UK as many of them don’t require central sites. Ideally, you want to be located just outside of these major cities so that you are suitably located for roles both inside and outside of them.

What SAP modules are most in demand for the UK currently?

Which is the best SAP module for UK market? Over the past 6 months or so, there has been a good consistency in the demand for SAP BASIS, FICO, LE and SCM experts. However, experts in BPC, HANA, Securities & Authorisations, and specifically GRC5.3/10 are noticeably in high demand. It seems that there is quite a shortage of specialists in these areas, so if you get the opportunity to learn them, there has never been a better time to do so. Our clients are willing to pay big for candidates specialised in these areas, providing that have strong commercial experience – although there are very limited number of candidates that match this criteria.

What are salaries/packages like and which modules are paying more?

For the SAP UK Permanent consultants, salaries and packages are tighter than they have ever been! Companies are largely focused on cost reduction and are willing to rule out candidates for being even £1 over budget. They are also setting parameters on the hike in a consultant’s salary when moving from one role to another, capping it at 10% – please correct me if you’ve found something different.

This lack of flexibility from clients is, in our opinion, the reason for the apparent shift where more and more permanent SAP consultants are moving over to contracting. This isn’t just happening in certain modules of SAP, it seems to be happening across the board.

Although our clients are sometimes willing to pay big for very niche skills, such as BPC, generally they use level benchmarking for salaries meaning that those that boast niche skills but only a limited amount of experience are suffering. Client’s benchmark based on the number of years’ experience you have as opposed to the specific skill set. As a result, you will reap the rewards of niche skills providing you have plenty of industry experience to coincide – otherwise your salary will match consultants specialised in more generic modules that have a similar number of years’ experience.

What training and certification should I get for future job security?

It will always be beneficial to have a whole host of certification and training under your belt – it shows knowledge, expertise and that you take your SAP career extremely seriously. This doesn’t detract from the age old dilemma that is predominant within the SAP UK Permanent market, that is “you need the experience to get the job and you need the job to get the experience”. But with SAP moving forward at such a fast pace, obtaining training and certification in the latest versions and specialist areas such as BPC, HANA, Securities 7 Authorisations, and specifically GRC5.3/10 is a great way to help you stand out when being considered for a role.

What are SAP hiring mangers looking for?

Managers are looking for everything as normal when it comes to permanent gaps in their team. SAP skills, commercial knowledge, personality, motivation and drive. Managers are also doing their research, cross checking CV’s with Linked In profiles, speaking with people they know (for off the record confirmation of skills and personality etc.) Managers are always busy and when looking at CV’s, they are looking for it to be relevant and clear as to what the candidate actually does, rather than everything they could potentially do.

What is our take on the current SAP UK permanent market?

In our experience, the SAP UK Permanent market for the first 6/7 months of the year was extremely busy, whilst the past 2/3 months have been rather sporadic and unpredictable. The SAP UK Permanent market will always be candidate driven, but with confidence growing in the market and in the economy as a whole, more and more hiring managers are actively scouring the market for new potential candidates.

As a candidate, it is crucial that you know exactly what you are looking for. It is also more important now than ever to be represented by a good recruiter that understands the requirements of both the candidate and client, to ensure that time is not wasted by searching & representing the wrong talent.

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