What is going on with the job market?

“so what is going with the job market at the moment?”

A surprisingly common question from friends and family who do not work in recruitment (and from some that do).

Well the answer is sector dependent but on the whole, pritttyyy, pritttyy, prittty bad.

It is extremely sad that we’re seeing so many redundancies, and whilst redundancy does not always categorically rule out a company from hiring, it is a key indicator that they do not have the funds to pay agency fees. It’s a double blow for us: fewer companies hiring and more candidates on the market (and client perception that it is easier to hire).

For us (evil – ha) agencies, we’re spending the vast majority of our time speaking to candidates who find themselves unfortunately out of work or facing redundancy. Being completely honest, most of these calls are about managing expectations and coaching, knowing that 95% (and that is being very conservative) of the people we speak to, we can not place (but would hope they would go on to find employment and make use of the tips/advice/leads we give them).

Those candidates also ask me, as someone who is a professional (I definitely am as well, as I actually get paid (even if I pay myself) to know what is going on in the industry) what I think is going to happen in the next few months.

So here goes:

Since lockdown was enforced, there have been two types of restrictions; actual and confidence. Actual restrictions was ‘lockdown’. Millions of people physically unable to work because their employers were not allowed to open or operate. Confidence restrictions were when there was an ability to be operational, but there was not enough consumer/customer confidence to buy.

As actual restrictions are lifted, we see a lag of about 2 weeks to the confidence being built back up. This makes sense. As a nation, we are still extremely cautious and reluctant to jump straight back in to a ‘new’ normality. We like to dip our toe and make sure we’re not being reckless.

Businesses follow about 2 weeks after the nation’s confidence lag. Plenty are still very risk-averse and cautious about the feared ‘second wave’, so do not want to commit resource until they can be confident everything is going to be ok (well, not ok, but you know what I mean).

Today, the prime minister announced further plans to ease restrictions as of 1st of August. Fantastic news for many, many industries. In my eyes, that means the job market should have picked up considerably by September 1st. We will hopefully see new jobs created, people willing to move jobs and people who have been made redundant getting back into work.

Our pipeline today is about 12% of what it was in July 2019. By September 1st, I would be extremely pleased if we were at 75% of pipeline of Sep 1st 2019. A lot of dick swingers will see that as pessimistic, but if this pandemic has taught me anything, it is to be realistic, honest and appreciative.

Will Grashoff

Managing Director

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