As we began Q4, the recruitment landscape continued its recent pattern.

On the surface, recruiters are experiencing a higher availability of candidates with a desire to work. However, those candidates are often without the skills necessary to secure a successful placement. In turn, this shortage continues to drive starting salaries higher and higher as companies try to outbid each other to win the war for talent.

Broadly, we are experiencing a sectoral split. Some areas of industry are being hit harder than others.

Mergers, organisational restructuring, and redundancies mean that some areas of IT and the construction sectors are experiencing a surge of talent, while others such as hospitality and healthcare are still suffering from significant shortages.

Here is our monthly recruitment update from recruiters working across the UK.

The recruitment landscape – October 2023.


The Office for National Statistics reported that the total number of vacancies continued on a downward trend across the UK. At the end of Q3, vacancies sat at 988,000. This was a drop of 43,000 from Q2’s numbers and was the lowest since July 2021.

Recruiter reports supported this.  Looking back to September, we saw a decline in the overall number of vacancies for the first time since February 2021.  As we enter Q4 and look at October’s data, the demand for staff appears to have stabilised.

Across the permanent market, vacancies dropped for the second successive month, albeit with a softer rate of decline.  The growth of demand for temporary staff slowed to a more modest pace and was the least pronounced since May.

Public vs. private sectors.

The public sector saw a slight increase for permanent staff which helped to offset a reduction across the public sector at the start of Q4.

Meanwhile, temporary vacancies rose in the private sector and picked up slightly from September’s numbers.

In the public sector, the demand for temporary staff fell significantly and to the greatest extent in 3 years.

Vacancies by sector.

The recruitment data from across the UK shows that 50% of the 10 monitored categories registered a stronger demand for permanent staff in October.

Within the IT and Computing sector, recruiters report that fewer vacancies were registered than in the same month last year. This is true across both the permanent and contract markets.

Skills in demand.

As in previous editions of The Recruitment Landscape, we can see a bridging of the gap between the professional and the IT sectors.

Business Analysts, Project Managers, Business Intelligence, and Change Management professionals are in demand across both sectors. This speaks to the large-scale digital transformations that organisations are undertaking in the wake of AI and operational efficiency.

Within IT, we are seeing an increase in the demand for Senior roles which is indicative of the changing demographic of the UK workforce.

Other roles that have been cited as being in short supply within IT and Computing are

  • Analysts
  • Automation Testers
  • Cyber Security professionals
  • Data Engineers

As ever, developers and software engineers are also in demand.

Placements and billings.

Here is October’s placements and billing information.


Within the permanent market, recruiters reported a reduction in the number of placements for the 13th consecutive month.

Although solid overall, the rate of contraction eased from August and its 3-year record.

The latest drop has been attributed to recruitment freezes, delays in hiring decisions and fewer vacancies amid an uncertain economic outlook.

London reported the most rapid decline and was the sharpest of all the registered areas of the UK. There were also falls in both the north and south of England, while the Midlands recorded a fractional rise.

Temporary and contract.

Continuing the back-to-back run, October registered a marginal increase in temporary billings, however, the rate of expansion moderated from September.

While the greater flexibility accounts for the overall increase, the moderation indicates fewer specialised projects amid budgetary pressures.

3 of the 4 UK regions reported higher billings and was led by London. Only the north of England diverted the trend and reported a modest reduction.

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

Candidate availability.

October brought with it the 8th consecutive month of candidate availability. This was true for both permanent and temporary job seekers.

The permanent sector continued its trajectory that began in March while the temporary market also extended its sustained rise of available candidates.

Restructuring, company layoffs, redundancy, and fewer projects are just a handful of reasons cited by recruiters as an explanation for the surge of active job seekers.

This pattern was true across all 4 areas of the UK, with the south of England experiencing the steepest rate of growth.

Salary and pay.

At the start of the fourth quarter, permanent starting salaries are still rising. Although sharp, the rate of inflation in October was the softest in 31 months.

Within the contract and temporary markets, October saw a rise in both daily and hourly rates.

The quickest increase was reported from recruiters in the capital, while the softest was seen in the south of England.

What is your experience of the job market? Are you struggling to find a new tech, digital, or data job? Perhaps you are looking to hire, and are struggling to find candidates with the skills you need.

We can help.

Reach out to Ignite Digital today or head to our jobs pages.

About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

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