Most sectors saw a quieter 2023 compared to the heady recruiting sprees post pandemic. Economic uncertainty hung in the air, the cost of borrowing increased significantly and labour shortages continued.
So, what will shape 2024 for the recruitment industry? Various factors such as technological advancements, economic shifts, and the aftermath of global events from 2023 leaves many of us wondering: will this year continue on the same trend?
In 2024, technology is playing a pivotal role in recruitment. Whilst currently AI for most us is an easy way to write a blog for our websites, the future harnessing of this tech could streamline many aspects of the hiring process, allowing for quicker candidate assessment and improved efficiency. That said, recruitment is a people-orientated industry, so AI needs to be used without sacrificing the human aspects of recruitment – a tricky task to navigate. AI-powered tools designed for candidates and recruiters will certainly change the landscape in the future, but the necessity of quality human interaction throughout the process will remain for the foreseeable. What is certain is if you’re not looking into it and how it can help you, you’ll get left behind.
Flexibility as a key driver:
Temporary roles are becoming increasingly attractive to both employers and job seekers in a new era of flexibility. The temporary market offers individuals the chance to choose when and where they work, while companies benefit from the agility that temporary staff provides.
The traditional 9-to-5 work model has given way to a more flexible approach as well. Whilst a slight increase in unemployment towards the end of 2023 has shifted the balance slightly in favour of the employer, most candidates still favour hybrid working options, placing it alongside salary in terms of importance. Granted, many temporary positions in certain sectors such as Construction and Education are excluded from the new flexible narrative, but it’s a conversation that will continue into 2024 and beyond. 2020 was pure work from home, 2021-22 embraced a hybrid model, and 2023 saw a mandated return to the office for many. Where we land in 2024 will depend on the state of the economy.
Economic factors and the post-pandemic landscape:
The aftermath of the global pandemic has left a lasting impact on the job market. 2023 saw a remarked slowdown compared to the immediate aftermath of Covid, which was a time businesses became more resilient and adaptable. The general post-pandemic trend has seen companies leveraging temporary recruitment as a strategic tool to navigate uncertainty and manage costs effectively.
Overall in 2023, vacancies fell, supply of candidates rose slightly as a result of redundancies, and a slowdown of activity and demand for workers was subdued. In 2024, we hope for an upturn in economic growth rather than a weathering of the storm. However, The Bank of England (BoE) forecasts zero economic growth in 2024, and the forecast from the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) isn’t much better at 0.7%. Both organisations expect the economy to have grown by just 0.6% in 2023. Additionally, expansion is forecast to be sluggish in 2025 as well — with growth at 0.4% (BoE) and 1.4% (OBR). Against that backdrop, the labour market is expected to weaken further. Both the BoE and OBR anticipate unemployment rising modestly, from 4.2% currently to approximately 5% by 2025.
Upskilling and Reskilling Initiatives:
In the fast-paced world of work, the demand for specific skills is ever-changing. Recognising this, both employers and temporary workers are investing in upskilling and reskilling initiatives. The ability to adapt to evolving job requirements is becoming a key differentiator in the temporary job market, as workers seek to enhance their employability and employers strive to build agile and versatile teams. More and more individuals are retraining in entirely different fields or are adding extra layers of education to their current arsenal.
Remote Work and its Impact:
Remote work, once considered a temporary solution during the pandemic, has become a lasting feature of the employment landscape. This shift has opened up new possibilities for the temporary recruitment market, allowing companies to tap into a global talent pool and hire individuals for short-term projects without geographical constraints. The hybrid work model is influencing how temporary roles are structured, with a focus on results rather than physical presence.
The state of the temporary recruitment market in the UK in 2024 is characterised by a blend of technological innovation, economic resilience, and a changing perception of work. Now more than ever, it is important to move with the times, engage with clients and provide top notch service levels.