KPMG & REC Report on Jobs March 2023

I frequently mention that I have a lot of friends in the recruitment industry. I do.

And as a result, we're all able to comprehend whether what we're experiencing is 'the norm' or we're bucking trends.

One thing is for sure - when we're having a brilliant time, we're pretty much heads-down and not sharing. In fact, there's little time to share the good news.

However, when things are exceedingly tough, everyone's checking in. For understanding, advice, best practices, support, and friendship.

Because despite all the terrible things you hear about recruiters, I am proud to call many of them friends. They do a very tough job, often unpaid and they're in a sector that changes and evolves ALL the time.

So, when I sit in front of businesses and say, we had a tough start to the year, job numbers picked up in February but it remains a candidate market, I mean 'we'. That's the UK jobs market as I comprehend it.

You can trust me when I say that unless employers get a whole heap better at comprehending how to attract people to their business, they will not see any improvement.



No immigration, people going 'home' after Brexit, and employees leaving the jobs market during the pandemic and either haven't returned or are considering returning but employers aren't offering anything attractive.

And then there's GenZ who want clear career paths, education, and hybrid working from day one. They won't stay loyal when you don't deliver on your promises, they're onto the next thing.

People who found it difficult to function in a noisy office due to issues like ADHD, ADD, and autism are staying in jobs where they can work from home and will only move if they know you are making similar reasonable adjustments.

Parents can't leave jobs they hate that offer the flexibility they need to function for a job they might love that does not have flexibility.

Young people in remote locations are facing huge cuts in public transport services and can't afford to run a car, so five days a week in the office might be limited by budget or location.

And the list goes on.

Hiring managers need to invest an appropriate amount of time and energy to hire the right people from hereon in. And that means using EXPERT recruiters. Ones that are moving with the times, know their market, are educating themselves constantly around attracting people to businesses, and challenging you on the things you can do to be the employer job seekers want to join.

Since there remains a baffling resistance from businesses to do this, placements are down.

But the complaints about being able to fill jobs by companies remain.

I'll give you an example of something that might surprise you.

I know two brothers who both work as consultants in separate well-respected training NHS Trust hospitals. Their departments and those of their peers have vacancies all the time. No surprise really, in organisations of their size.

One brother says their turnover of staff is low. That whilst they always have vacancies, they have been partially privatised and asked the (mainly nursing) staff what they need, have listened and changed contracts to give employees the flexibility they need to have a home life, a less stressful work life and their people are therefore generally happier. Attraction is pretty easy and retention is there.

The other brother says the NHS won't even consider reviewing working practices and employee contracts. They are tearing their hair out trying to find people and have people leaving faster than they can be replaced.

This isn't about public versus private, but rather that it's really simple stuff that makes people happy. And if you can't adjust to attract and retain, you will lose out.

If businesses don't hire frequently, they cannot be expected to know this and should seek advice.

Businesses with failing recruitment and HR teams because they continue to 'process' vacancies and people like they always have, need to be educated to improve. Or live with the consequences.

Anyway, the data on what's happening is attached, as always. But please don't accept it for what it is. If you want to hire, it's not impossible.

I'm always happy to be a source of help and advice, for free (just remember me when you're hiring, will you?), whether it be around reviewing hiring processes or putting together a compelling offering to job seekers.

Contact us now for a free, no-obligation chat. Contact Clare here.

Clare Wight is the founder and Managing Director of Clarity Appointments, an independent recruitment specialist. She served as a Regional Director for The Employment Agents Movement, supporting other independent recruiters.

She remains an active member of Recconnect (formerly Members Only), a recruitment leadership network promoting high ethical standards, collaboration, diversity, equity and inclusion.

She believes business owners are more fulfilled and higher-performing when they provide emotional and professional business support to other business owners, even those they deem to be competitors. She does this actively, whilst challenging and updating her skills and knowledge of the recruitment sector, enabling her to offer the best advice to firms looking to make their next hire.

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