UK Job Market 2022: Recruiting Post Pandemic

Businesses and candidates alike have been navigating a climate of uncertainty over the last couple of years. In March 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic brought recruitment activities to a grinding halt for many businesses as they were challenged by national lockdowns and supply chain disruptions.

However, as the world starts to return to normal, the UK job market in 2022 is bursting with opportunities as employers move forward with their hiring plans. Recruiting in the current climate though is proving to be a big challenge. Let’s take a look at the challenges that companies are currently facing and what they can do to optimise their hiring processes.

How vacancy numbers were impacted by the pandemic

Source: CV-Library

This data from leading UK job site CV-Library demonstrates how drastically vacancies were impacted by the pandemic. Vacancy numbers started to fall in February 2020 as businesses preempted the first UK national lockdown in March. Employers began to regain confidence in the UK job market throughout June and July as the country began to slowly re-emerge from lockdown and while there have been a few dips since then, on the whole, vacancy numbers continued to grow and even surpass pre-pandemic levels.

According to the Office for National Statistics, November 2021 to January 2022 saw the number of vacancies reach a record high of 1,298,400. The chart below highlights how sharply vacancy numbers have risen post pandmic.

UK Job market 2022

Source: Office for National Statistics – Vacancy Survey

With more vacancies on offer than ever, employers will have to be at the top of their game if they wanted to secure top talent.

The shifting of power

Before the onset of Covid-19, candidates held all the power in the UK job market as vacancy numbers were high. This power dynamic flipped practically overnight when the country locked down and as demonstrated by the graph below, the number of applications per job increased by a whopping +78.7%, giving employers a plethora of candidates to choose from.

UK job market 2022

Source: CV-Library

Between March and September 2020, employers enjoyed a seven month period of being in the power position however this was short-lived. Job seekers gradually saw power shifting back to them, meaning the pressure is now on employers to refine their hiring processes and benefits packages. Given the continued increase in vacancies since June 2021, we can estimate that the number of applications per vacancy has continued to fall.

What employers must include in their job adverts

Given the state of the UK job market in 2022, employers will need to do everything they can to give themselves an edge over their competition when it comes to recruiting the best talent.

When it comes to job adverts, candidates want to know the following information.

UK job market 2022 - job adverts

Source: CV-Library survey of UK professionals, conducted in June 2021

We always encourage our employers to include this information at the advertising stage. Displaying the job salary is particularly important as it makes an advert 58.1% more likely to receive applications, on average.

The interview process

Job interviews are a big opportunity for employers to not only assess candidates but also to pitch their business. With plenty of opportunities available, candidates can be pickier about what they want from their next role because they have so much choice. Candidates can be put off at an interview stage by their interviewer and will withdraw their application when met with the following behaviour.

Job market 2022 - interview behaviour

Source: CV-Library survey of UK professionals, conducted in June 2021

The hiring process

The length of the hiring process will also have a big impact on the success of your recruiting efforts. The entire process should ideally take no longer than 2 weeks, with multiple interview stages and delays being off-putting to candidates. In the current climate, if your process takes too long, the best candidates are likely to be snapped up by another company before you get to the job offer stage.

The job offer stage

After a turbulent couple of years, candidates once again hold all the power in the job market. This means that businesses need to offer competitive job packages in order to attract and retain top staff.

UK job market 2022 - job offer

Source: CV-Library survey of UK professionals, conducted in February 2021

Offering a competitive salary is clearly very important for attracting candidates. So, before you decide on what to offer, do some research or work closely with recruitment experts to figure out what your competitors or other similar-sized businesses outside of your industry are offering for the same type of role. You don’t have to pay the highest salary, but it will give you a good idea of what constitutes a fair wage.

It’s not just about offering the highest salary. A significant number of job seekers are looking for a position that can offer a good work-life balance and more flexible working opportunities. If you can’t offer an industry-leading wage, you might be able to sell your role based on these factors instead.

Are you looking to recruit new talent? We specialise in recruitment for graduates, wholesale, distribution and manufacturing industries, recruiting skilled individuals at all levels for over a decade. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help shape the future of your business.

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