2023 February Recruitment Outlook: Patterns and Differences

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Unsurprisingly, the reports for early 2023 represent the unpredictability experienced at the tail end of 2022 and the economic uncertainty that comes from the early days of a recession. However, despite the unfolding economic situation, there are excellent opportunities for both candidates and employers that represent a clear and bright forecast. We look at the most up-to-date information from the REC’s Report on Jobs to share why now remains an excellent time for candidates and employers.

Patterns and differences
Before looking at the data, it’s worth explaining an interesting situation in this recession that is different from others. Normally with a recession, it’s tricky for employers with tighter budgets. This means they tend to freeze or pull back on hiring. As such, recessions are normally harder for candidates too, with fewer opportunities to change roles.

However, we are entering this recession against a very different backdrop to what we have previously experienced. First, unemployment rates are incredibly low. Secondly, we are facing an extremely tough candidate shortage. As such, and as the data reveals, this recession isn’t following the usual pattern of tough times for hiring managers and candidates resulting in excellent opportunities for both. Let’s take a closer look at the main points from the latest Report on Jobs.

The number of people getting new jobs is still high
Month on month since January 2021, we’ve seen increasing numbers of job placements. Temporary billings remain very robust, increasing now for 29 months in a row. In fact, temporary billing expansion is the highest we’ve seen in three months. During recessions, employers often rely on temporary workers to manage their workforce requirements.

The number of vacancies is extremely high but easing
Employers have been struggling to fill their vacancies for quite some time now and as such, vacancy numbers have been growing month on month. However, vacancy growth is now at a 22-month low. Demand for staff is still high and this signals that recruitment may get a little easier for employers soon. There is also noticeably steep growth in demand for temp workers in the private sector.

Candidate supply is still tight but softening
Candidate supply has been tricky for employers for a good while now. Candidates have been wary about changing roles for various socio-economic reasons. Candidate supply continues to fall but it’s now at the softest rate since March 2021 – great news. London is an exception to the nationwide picture and has not experienced falls in permanent labour supply in the latest report.

Starting pay is still increasing
Starting salaries and temporary wages are increasing, but data suggests the rate of growth is predicted to slow in the coming months. The reduction in growth is predicted to create a steady influx of candidates moving jobs to take advantage of a higher salary.  

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC says that “the overall picture is still of a robust labour market…” and that’s likely to characterise the rest of 2023.  

Do you need qualified staff now? We have highly professional temporary and permanent candidates in our network who are ready to start with you today. So please send us an enquiry at the red button below, or call us on 020 7870 7177.