With 2022 coming to a close and a new year on the horizon, understanding recruitment and talent acquisition market trends in the United Kingdom is important to allow companies to get ahead of competitors. A number of trends are set to continue and grow in impact during 2023. Below are the top four major trends for 2023 that are likely to continue having the greatest influence on the recruitment sector in the upcoming year.
Trend 1: Hybrid Working Models for Employee Work-Life Balance
As of late 2022, hybrid working continued to be very popular in the UK. Commuting into workplaces was reported as much lower than pre-COVID-19 levels. In early 2022, 80% of UK employees who worked at home during the pandemic said that they would work in a hybrid style going forward. Between February 2022 to May 2022, hybrid working in the UK increased from 13% to 24%, with fewer employees than during the pandemic working exclusively from a home office. The most common pattern is where employees typically work from home and sometimes go to the office to work (rather than the other way around).
A key component of this trend is that employees choose hybrid working patterns to improve their work-life balance. A total of 78% of those who either hybrid worked or remote worked reported in a survey that their work-life balance improveddue to this arrangement. Additionally, 47% stated that working in this style improved their well-being. However, many enjoy working in a hybrid manner because it helps them to work with others – a challenge reported by those who only work from home. Research in the UK market shows that some industries are more likely to adopt these styles of working, such as information and communication companies. All of this has an impact on recruitment and talent acquisition. Firms must respond by helping potential recruits understand their hybrid working opportunities and highlighting how work-life balance is a focus for their teams. Recruitment advertising needs to clarify the possibilities for different job roles at different levels.
Tip: Highlighting the benefits of hybrid working in recruitment advertising will help, particularly emphasising improved work-life balance. Employees with hybrid work can better focus more on their home life during non-working time, rather than commuting, for example. As a result of the work-life benefits of hybrid working, candidates may be more motivated to join a company. Also, many candidates will expect this option to be open to them these days, so not including this new way of working may hinder the company from being attractive to top talent.
Trend 2: A New Focus on Employer Branding
The employer brand will likely continue rising in importance for attracting and retaining employees in 2023 and beyond. Sustainability is of special importance to prospective and existing employees, both in environmental practices and social responsibility towards people. Recent Chartered Institute of Personnel Development research identified sustainability as an area “needing attention” within employer brands in the UK employment market. Employee activism has been increasing. There is greater scrutiny, and employer behaviour must build and maintain trust through transparency, fairness, and inspiration. Employees are more switched on about fake news and will not accept employer branding messages that are not true.
Recent research has shown that some companies are reassessing their recruitment plans due to economic uncertainty. To date, this has only manifested as caution rather than companies calling recruitment plans to a complete halt, but it remains to be seen what will happen if and when the recession deepens. For now, the boom in jobs post-pandemic has ended, but hiring continues at a slower pace. Research shows that London has been more affected than the rest of the country so far. Some types of businesses are more likely to be affected by the recession than others. For example, analysis suggests that the hospitality industry may be more significantly impacted. This is due to cost of living prices leading to people lowering their spending on going out to eat and drink. Other areas more likely to be affected are retail, particularly for big-ticket purchases such as furniture or cars. Any company focused on consumer sales first and foremost is more likely to be hit.
Tip: Avoid following fad marketing in offering a slick employer brand. It's not authentic, and people will see through it. Instead, create a genuine employer brand. Make a point of differentiation central in messaging and showcase to top talent what a great opportunity it is to work at the business.
Trend 3: Focus on Showcasing Benefits
A continuing trend from 2022 is that inflation will continue to rise. As of late 2022, inflation stood at 11.1%, the highest figure in 41 years.A major contributing factor is the war between Russia and Ukraine. Food inflation has risen to 16.5%, putting considerable pressure on household budgets, and gas and electricity prices have continued rising. Economists have stated that the inflation rate may have peaked, but high prices are projected to continue until 2024.
Potential hires may continue to be focused on remuneration to cover their rising cost of living bills. At the same time, due to inflationary pressures, businesses may be unable to offer more money to candidates. Broadening the message to advertise the overall benefits package is important in this context. To appeal to candidates, showcase other benefits the company offers. This can include opportunities for career growth and personal development or mentorship. For some candidates/roles, highlighting benefits such as healthcare insurance is likely to be beneficial, particularly in the face of an NHS struggling under tremendous pressure in the UK (with the missing half a million workers – which may be more relevant for older generations. On the other hand, focusing on benefits such as personal alignment with the company's vision and sustainability objectives and “doing good” is important to attract younger generations. Here, companies might mention opportunities - such as the chance to volunteer through company-supported programmes.
Tip:Social media is a great awareness tool to showcase to passive audiences the perks of working for a company. This will help keep a company in the candidate’s minds when they’re ready to start their job search.
Advertising in the right places will help companies retain a competitive edge in recruitment. Due to greater numbers of people becoming unemployed, the number of applications per role will likely increase across many roles. Being specific about what is needed for the role in job advertisements to focus on attracting quality rather than quantity of candidates will be important. Having job specifications and descriptions that are clear and accurate will draw in the right candidates and put off those that are unsuitable. This will save the business and the candidate's time. Where funds for advertising might be constrained due to tighter reins on budgets, look for places to advertise for free, such as on social media platforms. Advertising on social media has the added benefit of showcasing possibilities to passive audiences and active job seekers.
Also, as mentioned above, this is a great time to highlight EVP and employer branding in recruitment advertising. Take the time to adjust and include information about the company and how the candidates will benefit from employment.
Tip: Recruitment advertising should be targeted based on the demographics in question to ensure that the benefits package will appeal to the specific audience. This will require expertise in recruitment advertising to highlight the wider benefits package.
The UK hiring market will likely continue to remain challenging in 2023. If you’re looking to ensure your recruitment strategies are ready to take on the new year, reach out to Recruitics!We’d love to use our breadth of expertise to help you navigate the recruitment challenges ahead in the UK market.