2021 – Recruitment’s Year of Recovery

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Ryan Kaye

- March 26th, 2021

To say the least, 2020 had been an unpredictable year for the recruitment industry with its first lockdown practically seizing work on many vacancies to a 2nd lockdown, in the run up to Christmas, where there was slow activity of roles on the market. But upon reflection, it seems a start of a new year brings new optimism to the recruitment industry, despite the UK headed into its’ 3rd lockdown in early January. We saw the demand for contract and permanent jobs increase at the start of this year, in comparison to December 2020.

It was clear to see the usual dip in recruitment activity over the 2020 Christmas period, hiring bounced back in January for both contract and permanent needs respectively – indicating that the current climate isn’t hampering the regrowth from the pandemic.

The statistics also reveal that while year-on-year permanent vacancies were down 28%, the annual percentage fall is continuing to decrease. In December, the year-on-year drop stood at 32% signaling a 4% improvement in January. In comparison, contract vacancies were down by only 11% year-on-year – a 5% improvement on December where the drop was 16%.

Elsewhere, the data reveals that while permanent placements increased by 7% month-on-month, contract placements fell by 6%. However, there was an increase in sales revenue from contract placements (up 7% month-on-month) suggesting that there were higher value placements in January compared to December 2020.

Interview numbers increased by 18.5% in the last two weeks of January compared to the first two, suggesting that this uptick will translate into positive placement numbers in February.

This is been the case within the Banking sector such as Shawbrook Bank’s Property Finance division has taken on 20 new team members in underwriting and lending support functions to handle increased demand in the run-up to the stamp duty holiday deadline. On top of this there has been increasing mandates from various organisations.

All in all it is increasingly optimistic that, after a dreadful spring and summer for the U.K job market in 2020, we are beginning to see a sustained recovery in hiring. There are still tough times ahead with lots of patience required, the job market will become more competitive and it’s clear that many sectors are keeping a lid on hiring while we battle through lockdown 2021.  With the great news of restrictions loosening there is more and more confidence is key to getting Britain hiring again, and that will come from keeping the virus at bay, a strengthening economy and continued government support for our businesses big and small.