2024 January Recruitment Outlook

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The most recent data from the REC’s ‘Report on Jobs’ shows signs that 2024 will see business confidence return and hiring plans getting underway once more. The end of 2023 was characterised by quite a tight jobs market, especially in London and the South East, so this is welcome news.   Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive said, “The averages hide a great deal of variability in regions and sectors though. The ongoing stronger performance of the private sector on new vacancies is also a notable positive signal.” It’s important to explore the data in detail so that we unearth what’s relevant for our clients and candidates.

Let's dip into the latest facts and stats to bring you the insights you need for 2024:

End of 2023 hiring was subdued but with positive pockets

The end of the year is always tricky for hiring as employers tend to push their hiring decisions forward to the New Year. Add in the weaker economic climate and it’s no surprise that hiring was relatively slow according to the latest data, with permanent job placements contracting at the second-quickest rate since June 2020. However, while the temping landscape was also subdued, as always, employers turned to temps to help them weather uncertainty.

Excellent choice of candidates for employers

After prolonged stretches of candidate shortages, employers are getting much more choice in their candidate pools as candidate numbers increase. There are good, active and skilled candidate pools across more job types and sectors, ensuring employers can find exactly who they need – whether for temporary or permanent positions. 

Increases in starting pay and temp wages continue

Candidates can command higher starting pay and temporary wages because of the competition for talent. However, the rate at which starting salary and temp wage inflation is rising is finally starting to ease, giving employers some breathing space. The rates are still sharp, but the increase in new starter pay was the least pronounced since March 2021 and temp wages grew at the slowest rate in 33 months. The Office for National Statistics reported that employee earnings had grown 7.9% in the third quarter of 2023.

There are good opportunities for skilled candidates

While the overall number of vacancies has declined marginally, this is only the second time that total vacancies have fallen since February 2021, meaning plenty of excellent opportunities are still available. Temporary vacancies continue to grow overall, with the private sector leading the way. Permanent and temporary vacancy numbers do vary by sector. For example, the secretarial and clerical sector is leading the way in terms of demand for temps.

As 2024 unfolds, employers and candidates are considering their options and the key to successful decisions lies in access to the best information and advice. If you are looking to build your team for 2024, we have outstanding Business and Office Support candidates who are available to start with you now.   So click on the Hire Now button below or call us on
020 7870 7177 to discuss your recruitment requirements.