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It’s a Candidate’s Market: UK Job Vacancies at Record High

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a record number of job vacancies across the board in the UK, as well as unemployment rates dipping as the UK’s recovery continues.

According to The Mirror, vacancy posts spiked to a high of 953,000 in the three months leading up to July, and the unemployment rate dropped by 0.2%.

LinkedIn also reported that there had been an increase of 9x more jobs available on their site compared to 12 months prior.

Working in recruitment, you notice the slightest changes within the market; that being said, we’ve never quite experienced an increase quite like this. Chris McCarthy, Founder of Focus 5 Recruitment, says: “I’ve been in the business for over 22 years now, and this is the busiest we’ve ever seen the job market. There are currently more jobs out there than we have ever known.”

“It really is an exciting time to be a part of the recruitment industry, and our client base has increased drastically over the past few months. However, we’re in the position now that we’re having to turn down new clients for the time being because the market is continuing to grow, and we’re that busy!”

The question is, why is the job market so busy?

There are several reasons why the market has soared in recent months, the pandemic being the main one.

There were millions of redundancies, layoffs, and furloughs throughout the pandemic, leaving people jobless and without security. Companies were hesitant to hire at this time as there was no end in sight whilst lockdown was in place, meaning they couldn’t guarantee people’s jobs. Another aspect of this is that businesses were able to manage with fewer employees while keeping the company going and making a turnover; therefore, the need for more staff wasn’t there. As the economy is recovering, this has created a bottleneck effect for recruitment; everywhere has been hiring at once, leaving a backlog of empty positions that need to be filled. The demand for candidates is high, so people looking for jobs are being snapped up quickly, making recruiters work harder to find suitable candidates for their roles. The pandemic has also changed how we work, leaving many questioning whether the typical 9-5 is over. Businesses have realised they can put more trust in their employees and allow flexible working. Remote working has opened up more opportunities to candidates because geographical restrictions are no longer an issue. Job seekers are casting their nets further afield, searching in areas they may not have previously considered because of the commute factor.

Finally, another reason the pandemic has caused this effect is businesses are making up for lost time. Many of the companies we work with are VC and PE invested and have strict performance criteria's to meet. 2020 had a significant impact on these companies' sales and performances, so now we’re on the road to normality; businesses are overperforming to make up for the targets they missed out on in 2020. In turn, they need more staff to meet these targets.

What can clients do to attract the right candidates?

Putting out a job advert is all well and good; it’ll attract candidates, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right people for your business. Something in recruitment that is especially true to us at Focus 5 is that we don’t just recruit on skillset. We recruit to all aspects of the role, ensuring that the candidate can not only do the job but will also thrive within the company. Finding an employee with the same values as the company and who wants similar things for the future of the business will make them more likely to be successful in the role and stay with the company longer. When searching for a job, people no longer just look at the role itself; they’re interested in the business. They want to know what the company culture is like, what values you hold and what can they expect if they were to join the team.

Embracing this new way of working will ensure you find better-suited employees for your business. As a business owner, start to look at what you can do for your employees. Let them follow their passions and fulfil their obligations, and in turn, it will create a more committed, happier workforce.

What can candidates do to make the most of the current spike?

In this climate, it’s a job seekers world! There are more opportunities than ever, and you’re able to consider roles that you may not have even thought were possible previously.

Our advice to candidates is to be open to new things. With the number of incredible opportunities on the market, reflect on your current role. Have a look at the average pay for your job; could you be earning more elsewhere? Are there other companies that could turn your head and have a culture with values more suited to you? And is there somewhere with more career progression? These are the questions you should be asking yourself. Also, now that remote working is becoming the norm, the world is your oyster. Cast your nets further afield and see what other cities have to offer; you may even find your dream job.

What are Focus 5 doing to help people in this crazy market?

More like, what aren’t we doing!! We have a higher level of demand than we’ve ever experienced, so we’ve expanded our own team. We have just welcomed three amazing new starters to the Focus 5 crew, not just in Recruitment but in Marketing and Admin too! We make sure the people we hire not only fit with our culture, team and values but add extra insight into things we may not have considered. We also ensure each of our team has the full training so they can represent our clients and us in the best way possible. In terms of candidates, we’re always finding new ways to resource, which includes spending money on new, state of the art tools and tech to find incredible candidates for our clients! As we always do, we’re passionate about the brands we represent, being fun to engage with and cutting out the corporate bull***t. At the end of the day, we’re just normal people who want to advertise the fantastic opportunities out there and give companies and candidates the tools to succeed in this uncertain world; and we do so with a human-centric focused approach!

If a candidate searching for your dream role, get in touch! We’d love to work our magic and assist you on your journey.

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