It seems an unusual choice of topic - planning for planning – but as a new year quickly approaches it is common that planners now begin considering where their future lies. Many of us have had an idea of how we would like to see our careers progress since the days of secondary school. However, we may have witnessed many political and economic changes meaning it is likely those pathways have altered. So, how best to plan your career?
My first tip is to be informed. Of course, from a recruiter’s perspective, I see no issue in keeping in touch with how the jobs market is looking for planners across the UK and this doesn’t necessarily mean taking repetitive calls from recruiters but it does mean that it is useful to attend CPD and networking events to hear from your peers about their experiences and to gain insight as to which direction the market is heading.
Secondly, remain flexible. I appreciate that many people have a clear plan for their long-term career but I would always suggest that you remain open minded as the jobs market is always subject to change and your ‘dream’ job might appear at the most unexpected of times! Presently, there are plenty of opportunities for planners across the UK with consultancies, developers, local authorities and house builders at nearly all levels and there appears to be no slow down for some of our clients who are growing their teams. As such, remaining flexible to new opportunities means that you can seize the opportunity you want as and when it arises. Sticking too rigidly to a career plan can mean missing out on some of the most desirable opportunities!
My final tip is to be ambitious! Do not simply settle when there are so many superb opportunities out there for planners to build on their experience, gain new experience and really make a difference. Our consultancy clients are optimistic about the future for the sector with many opening new offices across the UK, investing in team growth and reviewing and improving their offerings to staff – not only increasing salaries but introducing competitive benefits too! Away from the consultancy market, there is an increase in client-side opportunities affording planners the chance to move in-house and often become either the lone planner responsible for the management of superb developments to joining established teams undertaking sizeable schemes across the country. Last, but not least, the public sector has plenty of opportunities for planners across all levels as our need for housing increases the workload alongside significant projects such as HS2.
In short, it’s always great to have a ‘plan’ for your future but unlike your day to day work, don’t plan too hard as you never know what could be around the corner!
Jason Moore is associate consultant at Kingsley Recruitment