Keeping an eye on the recruitment market

Market Update 2023The recruitment landscape is often a good indicator for business confidence. That’s because hiring patterns and job-seeker activity can give us a strong steer on what businesses are thinking when it comes to growing or contracting. So here are some of our observations on what that landscape looked like in the second quarter of 2023.

Trend 1: Fewer permanent vacancies

The number of new permanent vacancies has gone down slightly in the last quarter. We’ve also noticed that employers are taking more time making hiring decisions. We attribute this to them being more cautious about hiring due to uncertainties about the economy.

Trend 2: More demand for temps

There’s greater demand for short-term and temporary workers. This shift in the way employers are hiring shows that businesses are looking for flexible employment solutions. That’s likely because these temporary staffing options make it easier to adapt to market fluctuations.

Temp workers can also help organisations meet demand for specific projects or during busy times without needing to commit to long-term contracts. (Find out more about the benefits of temp workers.)

Trend 3: More people becoming available as employers’ approaches to agile working evolves

As trading conditions have become more difficult, we’ve seen businesses looking to bring their workforces back together in house. This is probably due to a sense that workers who spend more time together get better outcomes through shared learning and improved communication.

But a large number of recent job seekers have told us that this transition to less agile working is one of their main reasons for wanting to change employers. Why? Because having been given the flexibility to work in different ways, people have changed their lifestyles. And that’s making office-based roles less practical.

Trend 4: There’s a skills shortage in specialised areas

Despite there being more job seekers available, we continue to see a persistent shortage of skills in our specialist areas of accountancy, HR, marketing, technology, professional office support, and supply chain and engineering.

This shows how important it is to work with an established recruitment specialist like Pure. Our 20 years of experience and great reputation means we have longstanding, trusted relationships with job seekers. This includes many skilled individuals who say that while they aren’t actively looking for a new role, they’d be prepared to move for the right opportunity.

The outlook

While there’s been a noticeable shift from permanent to interim job vacancies, the good news is that our region’s job market remains buoyant. In fact, according to Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce’s Economic Survey Report for April to June 2023, 63 per cent of businesses attempted to recruit staff, and 42 per cent think their workforce will increase in the future. As well as this, 57 per cent expect their turnover to improve in the next 12 months, with 42 per cent expecting profitability to do the same.

Having said that, the dynamic and unpredictable economic environment does mean that hiring a temporary workforce is likely to continue to be a strategic approach for all businesses. Coupled with employees’ desire for greater work flexibility, perhaps this is pointing to a longer-term move towards a gig economy – one where full-time work with a single employer becomes less common as workers take on multiple ‘gigs’ or assignments?

By staying agile and proactive, businesses can make the most of opportunities and find the right talent to meet their needs. Job seekers might also need to consider alternatives to permanent positions too – find out why temping could actually be a great career move.

How is recruitment affecting you?

We hope you enjoy reading our thoughts about what’s happening in the recruitment market. But we don’t know it all – so we’d love to hear from you about the challenges you’re facing. You can tell us about your or your company’s experiences by filling in our short survey.

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Written by

David Culley

David joined Pure in 2003 and has since played a key role in our growth. He has a great reputation among our charity and public sector customer base and is responsible for delivering executive recruitment solutions. David became Managing Director in April 2022 and now oversees all our business operations, while also staying close to his customers and being part of the Cambridge business community.

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