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What will the latest KPMG and Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) report mean for those looking for work?

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​Data. What does it tell us about the recent past and near future about the staffing market. Here’s your guide. And plan…

No one has a crystal ball, and yet we all want to know what the future holds, to help support us make the best choices. For many organisations in all sectors across the UK, 2020 and 2021 have shown a very clear and consistent message:

  • Open permanent job opportunities have continued to rise, and to record levels, almost 50% up post-pandemic compared to pre-pandemic times

  • Candidate availability has shrunk, and at the fastest rate ever seen in the recent labour market

But there could, that is – could – be a shifting of the market, and so an evolutionary approach may be needed to the staffing and labour landscape, and here at C4S Search, we’d like to help you navigate the waters ahead… 

From the data available, there is something of a shifting message from the latest REC and KPMG Report On Jobs and also data from the ONS. For some 17 months, the UK has seen a firm increase in open permanent roles in the UK, and the greatest challenge for most businesses and recruiting firms is finding enough great candidates.

That, coupled with the hangover from Brexit and the reduced availability of international labour, plus in some sectors – such as Engineering & Manufacturing – that sees some 20% of the national workforce approaching retirement age within the next 5 years, plus the sharp increase in ‘newly self-employed’ or ‘early retirement’ or ‘home working’ all means it has been ‘job rich – candidate poor’ for staffing and hiring firms.

That data is shifting.

The very latest month (July) indicated the first reduction in new open roles. Far too early to be a trend, but an indicator of what may come.

While the latest from ONS suggests that June also experience a shrink in GDP, which overall creates a shrink for the quarter, which is being pinned as a warning from some, many contributing factors are being pointed to as reasons for the shrinkage, including the wind up of test and trace, the late May bank holiday and platinum jubilee extending the bank holiday and reducing working days.

The HSBC’s forecast remains positive, stating, “We still expect a bounce back in July - the reversal of the bank holiday effect - to set the UK up for a positive Q3, as does the Bank of England”

So if all roles are urgent and candidates are at a premium, the best of the best candidates or those roles with the greatest demand/ lowest supply are hot property!

Within the tech industry, there are some essential skills which are in high demand, including:

Analysts; BI; C#; CAD; Cloud Engineers; Data Professionals; Design Managers; Developers; Software Engineers; Technical Sales

See our latest tech roles

Some skills will continue to be in demand. For example, with cloud engineering roles having a year-on-year growth demand, as working from home continues, so does the cloud market and infrastructure requirements.

Multiple language software developers continue to be in significant demand as the tech industry changes and grow. While specialising in one language is excellent, those who are “software bilingual” have many opportunities available to them.

The business analyst function continues to be integral to business understanding and creating strategic pathways to help businesses become more cost-effective; we may still see a rise in demand for these skills.​

The same can be said for the engineering sector, which is currently ranked second among industries with the highest number of permeant open jobs available in the UK. Some of the skills shortages in engineering include:

Electrical Engineers; Engineers; Maintenance Engineers; Mechanical Engineers; Technicians

See our latest engineering roles

So what is clear and can be deduced from this, is candidates can still find roles when partnering a talent solutions firm for the best access to the broadest range of opportunities.

Organisations still need to stand out and differentiate to attract the best talent, promote a strong EVP (Employee Value Proposition) and be competitive in offerings (not just pay, bonus, but also holidays, home working, flexible hours etc).

Oh, and be quick. Staffing firms are reporting candidates being placed ‘same day’ and frankly any recruiting process with more than two stages, and/ or taking longer than 5 working days elapsed results in losing ‘hot’ candidates to other, better, faster-moving businesses.  

The forward data and reporting will continue to shape the staffing picture, but three takeaways:

If you’re a candidate, you should:
  1. Have an updated CV, and be sure to share it with a trusted staffing firm who specialises in your sector

  2. Spend time talking to recruiters about what you really need and want, from the next role, as the best recruiters will source opportunities and not just fill them

  3. Don’t take the counteroffer! Be decisive, and if you really want to leave, leave. Counteroffers are a temporary sticking plaster that most often masks an underlying issue, that will resurface… 

All businesses that want to grow:
  1. Map very clearly your talent needs for the 3 months ahead at all times (and further out, if you can see with confidence) and partner a specialist in your sector to discuss current and future talent needs

  2. Discuss internally or with a talent solutions partner what your strongest EVP looks like and be sure its externalised (and of course, be sure you ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘taking the talk’)

  3. Move quickly and be decisive. The labour market moves fast, the best candidates are at a premium so complete ‘briefing the role -> 1st and 2nd stage interview -> offer’ within ideally 5 days and at the outside 10 days. And be completing with your offer and onboarding process…

The team at C4S Search have over 100 years of experience in successfully managing candidates into new roles to accelerate their careers and similarly not just placing candidates into new organisations but also partnering with organisations to discuss EVP, brand, package, market & competitor analysis. We can support your thinking and share new ideas.

If you'd like to know more, get in touch with Alex, Amy or Rick.