The Recruitment Landscape

The Recruitment Landscape has been looking better of late. The good news has kept rolling in since the start of May. As we saw from the Jobs Outlook, the number of available jobs rose at the fastest rate in 23 years; recruiters across the board are reporting a boom in certain sectors but rising staff demand is driving salary inflation.

Is this an accurate picture of the recruitment landscape?

The fact is that the jobs market has yet to stabilise. Come the May jobs report, we may well see the rise even off. Or it could be the case that recruitment across the board has returned to pre-pandemic levels. But since there is a time lag in the ONS data, it is not yet possible to tell. The data also does not show what candidates expect from prospective employers or what employers are doing to attract and retain them.

So the picture is not yet fully formed.

What surprises might be waiting around the corner?

Employee Relations Issues:

The pandemic has provided clear evidence that remote working is possible and efficient. Although, many will be looking forward to the social aspect of returning to the office. But equally, remote working has offered some a greater work-life balance. Those who found working from home reduced stress and increased their efficiency might not want to return to commuting and working full time in an office. Furthermore, increasing numbers of job seekers are actively asking if a role permits flexible or remote working. Employers may want to keep these points in mind. The implication being that, if they enforce pre-existing contractual working conditions on existing employees, they might have a harder time attracting or retaining new talent. Particularly if competing firms have amended their policies and contracts to reflect a shift toward remote and flexible working.

Salary Anomalies:

Available candidates with solid skills have been snapped up during the recent uptick in permanent recruitment. Some of these candidates will have accepted lower salaries.  This has usually occurred if a role fulfils certain criteria. Usually, this criteria will reflect what they value, such as working from home, stable employment, or flexible hours. Others have secured higher salaries, particularly in tech, because their skills are in short supply and high demand. In the latter instance, this was common pre-pandemic. But the former instance, of highly skilled candidates accepting salaries below their market value, could lead to a distorted expectation by employers that they can get more bang for their buck. While this maybe the case now, it is likely an anomaly that will even out as more companies offer competitive salaries and flexible or remote working in order to attract and retain the best talent.

Faster and Continuous Changes to the Landscape in general:

It isn’t surprising that tech was the sector with the highest increase in vacancies. As many workers worked from home, the importance of tech became more apparent than ever. It was also widely reported that, for this reason, the pandemic increased the rate of the tech revolution as more businesses were forced online, contactless payment was encouraged and people were only able to meet online.

Businesses may have invested in these measures on a temporary basis. However, the landscape will likely become very changeable for some time while businesses figure out which elements of their new ways of working they want to keep and which elements no longer serve.