UK jobs data – “There is a decidedly mixed picture right now” – reaction from recruiters

by | Mar 14, 2023

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In response to the UK labour market data published this morning, recruiters have shared their views.

Ken Brotherston, CEO at Godalming-based TALiNT Partners: “There is a decidedly mixed picture right now. Employers are still actively hiring to backfill positions but are not so confident to hire for growth. In the same way, no one holds all the cards. Employers with a strong brand that are offering well-paid jobs with a reasonable degree of flexibility will find it easier to hire. Candidates with a skill set in high-demand areas will still be able to call the shots. Accordingly, pay rises are much more selective. Given the structural shortages in the labour market, unemployment will remain low. For many employees, flexibility in working practices is second only to pay in deciding whether to accept a new role.”

Lauren Thomas, economist at Glassdoor: “Wage growth may be hitting record highs but this is not being felt in workers’ pockets. Glassdoor’s data shows discussion around inflation and the cost of living is up 171% year-on-year. Employers need to consider how they can help their workforce through this difficult period, whether that’s through pay rises, other benefits or improving working conditions. And although unemployment rates have risen recently, they’re still very low. The Chancellor will have his work cut out in this week’s spring Budget: early retirement and long-term illness are continuing to contribute to high economic inactivity. All of this means one thing: hiring remains difficult and employees have the power to vote with their feet, so employers can’t be complacent.”

Adam Dolman, director at Leicester-based recruiter, Stirling Warrington: “Candidates still hold the cards, particularly those with niche skills and a loyal, dedicated career history. Employers are still hiring, though are being more cautious and fussy when making hires. While, throughout the pandemic, businesses would go over and above to do whatever it takes to secure talent, whether through flexibility or an enhanced package, they are now being more realistic given the sheer level of economic uncertainty.”


Lily Shippen, director of London-based recruiter, Lily Shippen“Employers are still confident with hiring but are being far more measured in their selection processes since there isn’t the huge rush in the market that there was last year when there was such competition. There is a disparity between what salaries and pay rises employees are seeking and what companies are willing to give, or can afford, likely due to margins being squeezed for employers in so many areas.”

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