Recruitment market activity update

Recruitment market activity update
Published: 2 July 2020

We have recently been working with colleagues at our media partner Online Media Experts (OME) to understand trends in what has felt like a volatile recruitment market activity over the last three months. It will come as no surprise that the employment markets have been hit incredibly hard. Job vacancies in all major territories are down by 25-50% between March and June. This is the lowest level of new job postings since the post 9/11 market collapse. 

Disappointingly the UK is at the wrong end of global trends. We have experienced the sharpest and the deepest decline in new job postings of any country over this period. New job vacancies in the UK were down 83% in May. There were glimmers of light in IT, healthcare and education vacancies, which retained some buoyancy, but they too were still badly affected. 

With eight million people in the UK presently on furlough, and large sections of the workforce exhibiting substantial risk aversion, there has been a massive drop in candidate activity level. Across the UK markets, ‘applications made’ are down by 75% in May when compared with a typical month. 

From our perspective as leadership recruiters, we see these trends mirrored across the ‘senior appointments’ spectrum, albeit not quite so sharply – whilst our search activity has not been so starkly affected. OME reported that the market for advertised senior vacancies in May 2020 was down by c.80%. However, the modest easing of lockdown, and promise of further flex, has generated some positivity. We are beginning to see this reflected in the re-animation of those search mandates paused at the outset of lockdown. This is borne out in the statistics too; OME’s analysis shows a rise of 22% in senior postings over the last ten days. Whilst it is too early to say that this is an enduring trend, hopefully it is signalling positive intent in the market at large. 

For more information, please get in touch with Matt Cockbill or Alex Richardson in our IT & Digital Leadership practice.

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