A recent REC report shows that demand for workers grew rapidly in March. The Midlands has seen the fastest increase, exceeding the London market in both permanent and temporary contracts. 
 
We are certainly seeing our clients focus beginning to shift back to growing their teams. As previously discussed, much of the demand is for online and digital skills however creative and PR skills are on the increase too.
 
Encouragingly, the creative, marketing, PR and digital agency market is showing signs of resilience and strength. Conversations with our agency partners have been hard over the past year, unfortunately one of the worst hit sectors. As corporates begin to draw down again on their agency relationships, the demand for roles has increased significantly and quickly. 
 
Since 6th April, some temporary and freelance positions have been impacted by the roll out of IR35 ‘Off-working rule’ in the private sector. This has led to a slowdown of the flow of freelance opportunities. Impacting medium to large businesses, many of the significant hirers have had to make changes to the way they operate. Adjusting to this may take a while and we are anticipating some time to pass before we see this side of the market move with confidence. 
 
So, what about the candidates in the market? Well, it’s a very interesting time to be recruiting… Throughout last year we spoke to you about the highly talented professionals, who by no fault of their own, have found themselves open to new opportunities. Speaking to many of these people over the past year we know it wasn’t easy, but many of them did indeed get snapped up – which is great! 
 
The furlough scheme has also been extended, which has avoided many further redundancies – again brilliant! So, what does this mean? Well, the candidate market is not what you may expect as an employer, particularly in the case of the in demand digital skills. Active candidate numbers are lower than average, many having found solutions they feel safe with and not wanting to take the risk of moving or changing plans at this time. 
 
Speaking to candidates, their drivers have changed significantly. Job descriptions have become a secondary concern, with job security, flexibility and benefits becoming primary. It’s crucial for hiring teams to be very clear about their policies and be prepared to ‘sell-in’ their soft and hard benefits to attract their future employees (read more about benefit trends here). Considering longer paid notice periods in probation could be a good way to safely transition employees at this time – despite many positive steps forward, we can’t predict what will happen next and appetite for risk and change is low. 
 
The conversations with our clients are increasingly positive, the market is lifting along with lockdown and there are many reasons to be optimistic. However, there is work to do to develop confidence in the candidate market. 
 
If you would like up to date advice on candidate attraction and best practise, get in touch today.  
 

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