The UK recruitment market

“Moving into 2019 and beyond, it’s hard to escape the fact that there is a certain instability in the air – whether politically or economically. We don’t yet know the extent of the impact Brexit will have on British industry, but as we watch negotiations play out over freedom of movement and employment law, now is a good moment to assess the health of the recruitment market as a whole.

As I write this, employment rates are at a 43 year high. This suggests a buoyant, candidate driven market.

Set that against the potential for major legislative upheaval as a result of Brexit – together with new technologies, communication methods, and a shift towards greater flexibility – and we are definitely living in interesting times, bringing opportunities and challenges for all organisations.

With all this change, there remains a certainty: central to taking advantage of any such opportunities is the workforce. Across all industries, firms will rely more and more on attracting and retaining the best people available to drive growth and success.

Our market-leading insight, gathered in partnership with, is a great starting point to help identify key trends influencing the market. I believe we will continue to see certain trends dominate: development in tech, a candidate-driven market that calls for creative HR strategy, and a wealth of opportunity for candidates with multiple skills.

It will come as little surprise to most that technology is increasingly disrupting traditional working practices. Current trends in recruitment follow the balancing act of deploying cost and time efficient automation and AI alongside human input, which brings greater empathy to customer interactions and strategic thinking to organisational direction.

That said, advancing technologies in the workplace will replace many lower and mid-level roles. As such, those candidates with adaptable and up-to-date digital skills are likely to find themselves better placed and with a wider range of options. Employers will be best served by looking to hire candidates with a broad range of skills and experience combined with adaptability and a willingness to learn. Candidates with this mix are in high demand and employers will need to offer flexibility in return and be both willing and able to act fast to secure the best talent.

Increasingly, we’re seeing a multifaceted approach to roles within a workforce. There is less separation than ever between areas of a business. For candidates this means making the most of any opportunities to develop new skills and gain new experience. Employers should adjust their training and retention strategies accordingly offering opportunities for collaboration to help develop skills and talent.

Employers and HR departments need to think creatively about how they attract, and retain, the workforce that drives their business. Whilst salary levels and core benefits such as pension and health benefits remain vital, more than ever, employers need to account for flexible working practices and packages of softer lifestyle perks.

Best regards,
Tom Lovell, Global Managing Director, Reed Specialist Recruitment

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