Is the Labour Market Tide Turning? A Rise in Candidates Says So

Logistics Made Easy lmerecruitment | 26th Apr 2023

In the latest UK jobs report survey from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG – a report that has been compiled by S&P Global – has found that the overall candidate availability has increased from an index rating of 50.2 in February 2021 to 51.4 in March 2023.

Now, that statement is fine but what do the index rating figures mean? Simple. It’s all about candidate availability. Any index above 50 indicates an overall increase in candidate availability. Below 50 indicates a candidate decrease. The start of 2023 is already looking promising for employers looking to recruit.

Whilst March’s labour availability rise has been categorised as ‘modest,’ it should be noted that this rise is the first time since February 2021 that employers have access to a wider talent pool, both permanent and temporary.

Let’s not forget that this is especially true of the shipping and logistics sector, which is thriving, bucking the gloomy outlook many take of the UK economy.

220,000 More People are Looking for Work

Now, indexes are indexes. They don’t mean a whole lot to the average candidate looking for a new opportunity, or employers wanting to learn about how accessible the UK-wide labour market is. So, let’s take a look at figures.

Between December 2022 and March 2023, approximately 220,000 more people were looking for work than in the preceding three months. More interestingly, there’s been a rise in employment rate, meaning more people were returning to the jobs market, despite economic growth being flat since spring 2022.

More people looking for work puts employers in a strong position. Why? They have a better chance of finding those perfect candidates to fill vacancies – whether they’re on the hunt for warehouse operatives or multi-skilled engineers.

Average pay growth according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), was 6.9%n in August to October 2022 in the private sector and 2.7% for the public sector – the largest growth rate the public sector has experienced and amongst the largest differences in growth rates between the public and private sectors. * As you may expect, this has encouraged people to look for work.

Expert Tips to Find Work

Of course, it’s one thing to know that there are opportunities for candidates to take advantage of. For skilled candidates to find the right role for them, one that’s reflective of their skills, acumen, experience and personal ambitions.

It’s not enough to sit on your backside, twiddle your thumbs and then half-heartedly send a CV or fill out an online application. Good candidates know the value of being proactive, of working with a reputable recruitment agency who knows how to find them the right role – a recruitment agency like LME. This is how they progress within their career, despite a challenging economic climate.

But, in the real world, what does this mean?

Following these six expert tips to find work.

  • Don’t limit your job search by geographic location. Sure, it’d be great to find your ideal job a stone’s throw from home. But the odds of this aren’t in your favour. We recommend searching at least beyond a 30-mile radius and being open to flexible and hybrid working arrangement, depending on the role.
  • Search for jobs astutely. Now, this may sound a mite ambiguous, but all it really boils down to is knowing what you want from a new role. If you believe you’re ready for a managerial role, go for it! Want to use your qualifications? Apply for qualified roles. Leverage online searches, engage recruiters, go get the role you want!
  • Don’t limit yourself to only the vacancies you see. According to LinkedIn, 70% of job vacancies are never published publicly. 85% of jobs are filled through networking. * What does this mean? Be proactive. Network. Work with recruiters who have pre-existing relationships with employers in the shipping and logistics sector. Don’t just apply for jobs on Indeed, Totaljobs or any of the countless job sites.
  • Boost your knowledge. Whilst you’re looking for a new role it’s a great time to up your knowledge. Take a course. Learn a new skill. Offer to volunteer or shadow. If you’re a warehouse operative, why not learn to use a counterbalance forklift? You may just find more roles with better pay!
  • Get social media savvy. Employers and recruiters use LinkedIn to identify candidates for roles. If your LinkedIn profile isn’t in tip-top shape, you may be missing an opportunity. Show that you’re on the ball by managing an engaging, knowledgeable Twitter platform… you’d be surprised how many job seekers have matched with their dream employer by just having a strong social media presence!
  • Reward yourself. Finding the right role can be a challenging process. A long road, one filled with potholes to navigate. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t find a role in a matter of days or weeks. Be persistent. Reward yourself when you make progress. Trust us, this positivity will motivate you to keep going until that perfect job is yours!

Staff Shortages ‘A Major Challenge for Many Firms’

REC chief executive Neil Carberry said that while staff shortages remained a major challenge for many firms, the overall increase in available candidates was “big news.”

Mr. Carberry went on to state that “while the market is still tight, it should be getting gradually easier for firms to hire over the next few months.”

He added, “the continuing fast rate of pay growth is reflective of the impact of inflation on wage offers, as well as low labour supply. That means increasing pay is likely to persist, despite more people beginning to look for work.”

However, in addition to his positive outlook, Mr. Carberry was quick to mention that government and businesses still need to do more to attract potential employees, arguing that chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s recent budget measures did not do enough to help candidates find the right employers.

What’s clear is that despite the CPIH all goods index rising by 13.4% in the 12 months to February 2023 * putting a strain on everyone’s wallets, staff shortages mean that those candidates who want to secure the right role for them have as good a chance as any other time to do so.

A Resilient UK Labour Market

The UK labour market is resilient. This has been true since 2019. Sure, the market wasn’t unscathed by the Covid-19 pandemic – nor was the UK economy – but on the whole, the labour market rebounded rather well from its Covid-19 pummelling.

Indeed, the previous index rating increase – in February 2021 – only saw a “fractional” rise following a spate of pandemic-related redundancies. This was then followed by a decline in labour availability in 2022 and 2023.

More interestingly to candidates, the report suggested starting salaries and total vacancies are continuing their upward trend. The growth in temporary contracts hit a six-month high in March 2023, suggesting that economic uncertainty was affecting hiring policies. But this doesn’t indicate that there has been any reduction in workforce demand.

The bottom line? Much of the UK’s economic forecasting has been, at best conservative, at worst alarmist last year and this. However, what data has shown is that the UK labour market is strong.

This bodes well for prospering sectors, like shipping and logistics who can offer candidates much opportunity. Now’s the time to secure your professional future in the blossoming shipping and logistics sector by engaging one of the most capable recruiters out there – LME Recruitment Ltd


Straight from the Bird’s mouth