It's been a 'sluggish' year, but market is starting to get moving

So far for 2023, the one word I keep hearing is ‘sluggish' or ‘sticky'. The market does seem to be in a slowdown but definitely not a recession because there is activity still happening. The activity has however been sporadic, to say the least. Certainly, if you read across a number of people's results in the recruitment industry, you'll see there have been companies who have been struggling.

Overpaid candidates disrupting the market

Why is that? I believe that the biggest issue that we're facing at the moment is that over the previous 12  months or so, a lot of companies hired candidates and overpaid for those candidates. They now find themselves in a situation with highly paid individuals who can't do their targets because the target is just unachievable in a market like this and they don't have the experience to grind it out and make it happen.

As a result, we're now starting to see a kind of reshuffle of the deck and people having to move out and move into new roles. Recently, I was working with a candidate who in his last role had got a £30k increase and had to drop back down to get a role which was one he was capable of delivering on the target in this market.

Hiring managers just starting to feel 'bullish'

But there have been some positives as well. We haven't seen companies go quiet completely. People are still taking the time to look at the market and add to the market. There have been some sensible clients who didn't spend huge amounts of money acquiring average sales people who are still delivering. These companies are therefore still acquiring in the market and getting good people.

And for tail end of the year, I have, over the last six weeks or so, both this side of the pond and across the Atlantic, heard that there are some positive stories. On the US teams, hiring managers are feeling bullish despite the fact that there is still some uncertainty. They're trying to get themselves sorted for the start of 2024. We're also starting to see this in the UK as well and we normally see this during the second and third week of September, so we're on track. It's time to start feeling more positive.