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How the market has changed…..July 2020

How the market has changed…..July 2020

I said on a previous post that Covid hasn’t changed anything, it’s simply accelerated things. And I meant it. One thing I’ve learnt over many years in recruitment is this. Nothing stays the same and markets change quickly.

We couldn’t have seen a much quicker charge than we have done over the last few months, and this week I listened to a very informative webinar by Alex Fourlis – MD for Careerbuilder and Broadbean and James Osborne – Chairman of TRN. Both highly respected and knowledgeable with access to a lot of data. They outlined just a few of the changes that they’ve seen and there are some interesting outcomes.

We all know that the number of advertised roles has fallen. Generally, by May, there were half the number of manufacturing roles advertised. Interestingly, regional variance was minimal so the effect was national, despite the peaks of the virus in London and then the Midlands/North during that time. There’s no surprise that applications per role are up an average of 35% per role but whilst applications per role increased, the actual number of jobseekers fell.

Fewer people looking can be attributed to many things – Lockdown I suspect, and the furlough scheme have kept many people at home and with some feeling of security that they still have a job. And I’ve seen some fantastic examples of businesses and teams who have kept in touch above and beyond what you’d expect. Scavenger hunts, quizzes, online Pictionary – we’ve all done them and for those who have participated, they’ve been the ‘glue’ that’s kept the team engaged and not reaching for the job boards to start a search for a new path.

There have been more temporary opportunities – companies are needing resource but unable to commit to longer-term employment. These roles have benefitted those who haven’t been furloughed (and some who have), and jobseekers have been able to find alternative roles, or join businesses temporarily where demand has been substantial such as supermarkets and distribution.

Where is the demand and the highest number of roles? Top 20 professions, and no real surprises here, are Support Workers, Nurses, Warehouse Operatives, Software Engineers and more recently, Teachers. Makes perfect sense. And there’s plenty of talk about people reskilling and retraining to fit the evolving workplace. Recruiters can play a key part in this and I’ve seen fellow #APSCo members doing this well within their internal academies and training their own recruits, alongside up-skilling talented candidates for their clients.

The lifecycle of jobs is also changing. Average time a role is now online is 10 days, down from 25 days at the start of 2020. Could the impact of this restrict the stream of talent? If recruiters are overwhelmed by response and are closing roles earlier, have we maximised access to the talent pool? Time will tell.

I said at the start of this that Covid is an accelerator, and in no small way either. The use of technology for communication, meetings and interviewing has affected everyone. But the use of more sophisticated AI in recruitment makes some people uncomfortable and it will be an interesting time ahead to see how this affects diversity and the corporate D&I agenda.

Data is king. It always has been. Never more so in how we work and how we monitor activity and work flow. I suspect we’ll see a decrease in time to hire as processes speed up through enabling technology, and candidate engagement is high on the agenda. Leaders, managers and employees now need to start analysing data and using it to drive efficiency, but without losing the ‘human’ touch.

What will the rest of 2020 bring? Whilst things are still slow, there are signs that activity in the market is starting to build, and I predict that once the schools return in September then demand for candidates and jobs will inflate further. This downturn was created by an event rather than by economics and I’ll agree with Alex James and many thought leaders on this, that recovery will be quicker than after the financial crisis. There is a real will of the people to get things moving again, and I for one can’t wait.

Thank you for Alex and James really insightful webinar and look forward to hearing their thoughts as the recovery builds.

#alexfourlis

#jamesosborne

Caroline Vooght – July 2020

Photo by Stephen Dawson on Unsplash