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Preparing for the ERP Project Backlog

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Preparing for the ERP Project Backlog

It’s been an interesting year to say the least, but here are my thoughts on what’s happened and how you can prepare yourself to take advantage of the ERP Project Backlog.

A year ago, there was a lot of uncertainty in the market and at the time I wrote to discuss my thoughts/predictions. Firstly I looked at the common recruitment trends during a recession – as obviously none of us have a crystal ball and we not had a global pandemic to compare to!

I looked at a typical ‘recruitment demand cycle’ diagram before/during/after a recession, diagram below:

Starting pre-recession, when both permanent and contract are at normal levels, you can see in Phase 1, Perm start to fall first as a recession takes hold.

Phase 2 sees perm fall even further, and contract follows.

In Phase 3 sees a slight uplift in both, with any sign of increased workloads being handled by temporary workforce.

Then, in Phase 4, full market confidence returns, skills shortages emerge, and recruitment levels are back up to normal levels.

Now it’s all well and good showing that diagram, but the reality during Covid has been that these “ups and downs” have been all over the place. With intermittent lockdowns, 2nd peaks and lets face it, at times nobody really knew what was going on!

So lets look at now and the future...

I think we currently sit between Phase 3 & 4, with the market actively recruiting for roles on both the perm and contract sides. On top of that, we have a market that has adapted to remote working, is recruiting regardless of what might happen next and a backlog of projects (upgrades, new implementations, enhancements etc) that all still need to be completed – so the next 6/12 months is going to be a busy one!

So how do you prepare for the upcoming backlog? There are a few key things you can do to help:

#1 Update your CV

It might not be your favorite task but I guarantee you having a great CV will help you stand out against others.

Working in recruitment, I see a lot of CV’s and the best advice I can give is look at your format, a clean CV is easier to read/digest. And also be specific with your experience – things you might take for granted, add them in.

Eg. if you’re a contractor for an ERP system, talk the specifics of the system (version, modules) as well as your specific involvements.

Perhaps look at getting it reviewed professionally? Or ask a friend/colleague if you could do a CV swap with to get some pointers.


#2 Build your network

There are people out there the can help; create a close network of people that you like and trust and can keep in regular contact with them.

Specialist ERP Recruiters can help you keep on top of roles out there and work with you to secure your next role.

There may be other avenues that are unique to you too – use them.


#3 Be clear about what you can/can’t accept

With the ERP project backlog, there will be an abundance of opportunities out there soon. We have seen an increase in contractors taking permanent roles and many more fixed term contracts arising so you need to know what you can and can’t take.

Figure out what is a yes and more importantly, what is a no, and be realistic with this. You don’t want to be making a switch from contracting to taking a perm role and then hearing of a number of contract roles and regretting making the decision.

Likewise, if you need stability for a bit and the right opportunity arises, you can take it knowing it’s the right thing for you.

Rates are fluctuating so look at/remind yourself what income you need, could you take a role that is at a slightly lower rate for 3/6 months while they recover?

If it was within IR35, could that also work? Do you know enough about IR35?

Could you look further afield providing its remote?

When you’re clear about what is a yes and what is a no, then opportunities have a habit of showing up.


There are many other ways to improve your chances for the ERP project backlog, but hopefully that gets some ideas flowing! You can check out our latest opportunities here! If you need some help, or want to discuss this further, get in touch! I can work with you to secure relevant opportunities that are right for you.

Scott Taylor-McCormick is a technology contract recruitment specialist at Forward Role

Graph posted by Greg Savage 2020