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A new dawn for commodity trading and talent?

Posted on July 2022

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Global net-zero targets have altered the commodities landscape, which now sees the industry playing a defining role to supply essential materials, from copper to rare earth, that work towards a carbon neutral future. What’s more, commodities remain the best-performing asset class of 2022 and enjoyed healthy activity in Q1, rising to nearly 30% as calculated by the S&P GSCI Index.

The outlook ahead for commodities suggests strong growth, but to be able to capitalize on opportunities, commodities firms need the right people in place. Here we take an introspective look at the latest talent trends that you should be aware of to get ahead in this fast-moving industry.

The year of counter offers 

In today’s competitive landscape, with the brightest minds in commodities in ever-increasing demand, firms are opening their wallets to not only secure professionals but also as a retention tool. Since the beginning of this year, organizations found themselves in a candidate-driven market, which has simultaneously resulted in compensation swelling to facilitate this demand.

While it’s not all about capital, it’s important to note that professionals are bargaining hard for the top offer. We’ve observed many professionals increase their salaries by seeking greener pastures, and even passive talent are making moves to follow the money. Commodities firms are rapidly trying to fill seats post-pandemic and are therefore heavily compensating mission-critical professionals to facilitate their expanding growth plans.

Counter offers also pose a threat to any firm looking to develop a dynamic pipeline of talent. Selby Jennings has seen business leader offer top-tier employees large salaries to alleviate the chance of a counter offer, or any retention issues in the future. According to the latest research, most professionals leave their current employer within 12 months of accepting a counter offer, meaning it is important for the industry to retain staff before it comes to a counter offer, and for professionals to realise what the cost of accepting a counter really is on their career.

Flexibility for the future

However, while lucrative compensation packages are a big attraction, they are not all encompassing. Heavily driving career decisions is flexible, hybrid and remote working, with many commodities specialists actively looking for prospective roles that offer fully remote capabilities. The ability to tap into a wider and higher-paying job market that isn’t constrained to one particular location is a compelling factor right now, and even if a role is commutable, professionals are still interested in some degree of flexibility that the hybrid model affords. It’s clear that the flexible working paradigm is of critical importance to today’s workforce, yet some individuals are opting for the office to enrich collaboration, communication, and some feel an office environment services them better in building their personal profile.

Places of note 

Although rising inflationary pressures and supply chain challenges have impacted commodities verticals, the landscape is buoyant. Since the 1990s, Houston has established itself as the major energy trading arm in the US. New York closely follows behind as the second energy trading hub, with energy asset operators evolving in the area and enlarging their portfolios.

The renewable energy space has surged in importance, with California dubbed to be the key district that is garnering attention from investors and highly skilled talent alike. Houston and New York have also amplified their renewable energy presence, with a large commercial building in Manhattan – One Manhattan West – transitioning to 100% renewable fuels. Despite the scarcity of talent in renewable energy, the year ahead for this industry promises exponential growth and acceleration, and the specialist team at Selby Jennings are excited to see the future developments in this space.

Interested in learning more about the current trends in commodities? Whether you’re a professional seeking opportunities or a business in need of the right talent, have a confidential discussion with our commodities talent team today.