Information from the Office for National Statistics shows that 2022 continues to be a great time to be looking for a job.  Largely, the jobs market remains in the same position at the end of Q2 as we’ve seen through the first half of the year.

High numbers of vacancies, record starting salaries, and a competitive market mean that skilled candidates have the pick of positions and are in a prime position to negotiate generous salaries.

The landscape doesn’t look quite as rosy if you’re an employer.  Businesses are still struggling to fill roles. Unemployment is at an all-time low, while the number of economically inactive people has reached 8.8 million.

Inflation and rising costs have heady implications for businesses. However, even amid rising costs, the data suggests that organisations still intend to fill both permanent and temporary vacancies in the coming months.

Anecdotal evidence from recruitment teams across the UK has reported that there is a lingering hesitancy. Decision making has slowed, with employers seeming to drag their heels at critical points in the recruitment process.  A toxic combination of uncertainty and rising expenses are impacting hiring decisions, particularly for permanent staff.

Here are June’s ins and outs from the centre of the recruitment industry.

Vacancies.

The number of vacancies continued to rise throughout June. This was the trend in both permanent and contract markets. However, the lift was more notable across permanent roles which experienced the steepest upturn.

Despite a rise in vacancies, the upturn of growth was the slowest we’ve seen for 15 months since March 2021.

Numbers from the ONS said the same. It too discloses a rise in the total number of national vacancies in the 3 months to May 2022.  At 1.3 million vacancies, the UK is experiencing the highest number of vacancies ever recorded. A figure increasing only slightly from the previous record set in April this year. Just 2 months ago, this figure was set at 1,296,000.

Public vs Private Sector.

In evidence that permanent vacancies dominate the job boards, the strongest requirement was for permanent staff in the private sector. This was followed by permanent staff in the public sector. The softest demand was for temporary staff in the public sector.

Vacancies by sector.

As ever when we receive this report, the Ignite eyes travel straight to the IT and computing sections. If you read The Recruitment Landscape for May, you may remember that IT and Computing was the sector that topped the permanent vacancies charts. This month Catering and Hospitality moved into the top spot. IT and Computing are now in silver position on the podium.

In-demand skills.

According to the report, these are the skills that are most sought after within the tech and digital sector:

  • Analysts
  • Cloud Engineers
  • Data engineers
  • Developers
  • Software Engineers.
  • Automation testers

We’d agree with all these.

Our clients – new and established – are embarking on some terrific digital transformation projects. Have a look at the tech jobs posted on our website. Excitingly, you’ll see every one of these categories represented.

Cloud technologies and data are two critical areas for businesses right now. Cloud-based technologies hold significant advantages for organisations. Our clients are hiring tech professionals to do work that not only will facilitate their business goals but will also allow them to meet the needs of a world changed by the pandemic. Remote and hybrid working has required companies to look internally at their own systems and transition to cloud-based services.

Data and the cloud go hand in hand. As businesses are relying more heavily on data, they require analysts and data professionals to leverage insights and help them move their businesses forward.

Placements.

Across June, the headlines from the recruitment space indicate that contract billings exceeded perm placements.  Although we saw an increase in the numbers of permanent placements across the UK, the rate of growth was the slowest for 16 months.

All 4 regions of the UK included in the report noted softer rises in permanent placements.

This was attributed to candidate scarcity and slower decision-making of clients. As we mentioned earlier, rising costs and an uncertain outlook are making business leaders more hesitant to commit to hiring new staff.

The lift in contract billings.

This lack of commitment could very well explain the lift in contract billings. Perhaps decision-makers are more willing to make smaller commitments, taking on staff with limited scope and timeframe.  It can also be suggested that the temporary market continues to grow as a direct result of scarce numbers of permanent candidates.

London saw the sharpest lift in contract billings, while the Midlands noted the softest.

Ignite Digital’s contract work.

Here at Ignite, we are seeing the highest number of contract requirements in a long time.  In line with the evidence of our recruitment colleagues from across the UK, we are placing new contractors at a substantial rate. We have also negotiated the extensions of many of our current runners.

Head over to the contract page of our website to have a look at some of the work we are doing. Perhaps your next assignment is waiting there!

Candidate availability.

Candidate availability continues to decline. Not only this. The rate of deterioration in June was the quickest in 3 months. This echoed the trend that’s been emerging since February 2021, which is that candidate numbers are falling across both permanent and temporary markets.

Recruitment information from across the UK remarked that this could be attributed to the cocktail of low unemployment rates, fewer foreign workers, high demand for staff, and the uncertain economic climate.

a red for hire sign on a metal post

Pay and salary.

June saw a further increase in starting salaries. The rate of salary inflation did ease however and was the softest it’s been since August 2021.

The huge competition for staff has seen companies entering bidding wars to secure candidate interest. Candidates are firmly in the driving seat when it comes to salary. More and more, they can enter salary negotiations with potential employers and push up pay rates.

The ONS has issued data that confirms a slight softening, but still marked, increase in employee earnings (including bonuses) over the 3 month period to April 2022. At 6.8% the rate of growth was down from 7.0% in the three months before. However, it is still among the quickest seen for over 20 years.

It noted weaker increases in both the public and private sector earnings in the latest period.

an african american candidate is being interviewed by two young professional women

The second half of the year.

Just like that, we have worked our way through half a year. It’s fair to say that the data over each month have been variations on a theme.  High numbers of vacancies, low candidate numbers, and rising salaries are the headlines.

Although the small print has noted slight changes, the overriding message remains the same. It is a great time to be a job seeker, and hiring will be challenging.

The next 6 months of 2022 are yet unknown, but it’s likely that we’ll see much of the same.

Rising costs impact businesses as well as domestic units and as a result, there may be changes on the horizon. Perhaps the rising costs of living will force the hand of the economically inactive back to the workplace?  Perhaps economic uncertainty will continue to strengthen the contract market?

Candidate scarcity is likely to continue as people opt to remain in their current jobs rather than stick their toes into the jobs market. Caution levels are high amid economic instability. Job security has never been more highly prized.

Do you need help filling your latest permanent or contract tech vacancy?  We can help.

Reach out today to find out more about how we work.

About the author: As Client Relationship Director, I am responsible for helping grow the new and existing client base of Ignite Digital. I work as a “trusted connection” with my clients and candidates aiming to deliver the best service I can to connect talent to opportunity.

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