The past 6 months has seen some significant developments for the recruitment industry; most notably a large increase in the volume of candidates and a shrinkage in the availability of open positions.
However, what does this mean for candidates and businesses moving forwards? Our Business Development Director, Rebecca Thomas, recently addressed what the Autumn 2020 job market is likely to look like and how you can adapt your applications and recruitment processes to compete.
Are there any jobs out there?
Whilst between March to June 2020 the volume of open UK job vacancies shrunk by over 50%, the job market is starting to show slow signs of recovery, with an increase in demand for roles with a digital and tech focus.
This is due to lockdown accelerating the demand for digital skills as businesses had to adapt to compete within an e-commerce/ digital environment. However, demand for specific skills depends on project length and business need, with developers picking up more freelance/temporary contracts compared to digital & social media marketers who have more permanent opportunities.
One of the slowest areas for growth so far has been the creative sector, with a sharp drop in open positions for graphic designers, re-touchers and other creatives. However with a potential backlog of projects in the agency market and Christmas around the corner, we are anticipating an increase in demand for creative freelancers/temps during the Autumn period.
As more consumers are expected to be shopping online this upcoming festive period, it is also likely brands will be investing heavily into digital marketing and e-commerce, boosting the availability of freelance and temporary contracts for developers and specialist digital marketers (PPC, SEO, E-Commerce).
Our advice for job seekers
Though we anticipate the volume of open jobs to increase on the run up to Christmas, we do still anticipate the market to be competitive as the level of vacancies is yet to reach pre-March levels.
With this in mind we are advising candidates to enforce a quality over quantity approach when applying for jobs, taking the time to really consider what they are looking for and ensure they tailor applications to suit.
We asked our consultants what their biggest advice would be for candidates this Autumn:
Julia Williams - Stay positive. Even though the market is highly competitive it is important to take your time and find roles which are specific to your skillset and requirements.
Ellie Tibbs - As businesses are more expenditure conscious freelancers (and wider job seekers) should be open to discussing more flexible rates during the immediate period. Don’t beafraid to pitch yourself at a slightly lower rate now with the expectation for enhancement once business improves.
Harry Silvester - Outside of job applications, take time to learn new skills. Being willing to learn and expand your skills outside of the workplace shows prospective employers you are engaged in your sector and are willing to enhance yourself.
How has the candidate market changed?
The candidate market has developed massively over the past 6 months, where a failure to adapt your recruitment process and benefits package accordingly can impact your ability to hire and retain talented candidates.
A face to face 1st stage interview has largely become a thing of the past with 75% of our clients conducting interviews remotely to reduce the volume of non-fit candidates in a time effective manor. However, getting a positive in-person feel for candidates and their cultural fit is still important to organisations with 95% of our clients conducting second-stage interviews in office.
This is largely congruent with candidate expectations of employers, and we anticipate it to remain a core trend moving forwards into Autumn/Winter 2020, where offering a flexible recruitment model is vital in todays market.
To cater towards changing market dynamics we have invested into our own video interviewing platform Pitch+.
As many office based candidates have now had a taste of the benefits of flexible and remote working patterns, demand for flexible working in benefits packages is likely to increase with only 5% of our candidates not seeking either flexible start/finish times, hybrid working or fully remote working.
Including flexible working in your benefit package is likely to make your company more attractive to candidates, ensuring you are able to pull in the most diverse and talented candidates for your business.
However, whilst demands for enhanced benefits packages have increased, candidates do recognise the financial strain which employers are under. Through research we discovered 51% of our candidates would be willing to take a pay-cut of between 1-5% in order to secure employment, helping employers who may be feeling the pinch of the economic climate but are in need of additional talent.
If you are in a position where you think you would have to make a higher deduction, you may wish to consider whether making a permanent hire is necessary. Taking on freelance or temporary talent can be a viable solution for those businesses who may be unable to predict cashflow, or are having a short-term boost in business.
Want a deeper insight into our predictions for the Autumn 2020 job market? You can download our free Pitch Perspective guide here.