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‘Time of death’ called on UK’s candidate-driven market

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Data reveals a shift in balance of power between employers and employees 

New research reveals a significant decrease of 17% in job postings during the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year. Over the same period, there has been a steep 29% rise in job applications – suggesting a shift in the balance of power between employers and employees.

The data, conducted by Reed.co.uk, reveals the drop in job postings reflects the ongoing economic challenges businesses faced in the first half of 2023. However, some sectors are growing – despite the uncertain landscape. The Motoring and Automotive sector experienced a surge of 63% in job postings, followed closely by the Energy sector with a 47% increase.

On the flip side, the Hospitality and Catering sector experienced a steep decline of 41% in job postings, whilst the Social Care sector experienced a 39% drop – highlighting the stark challenges these industries face. The IT and Telecoms sector experienced the highest surge in applications, with a healthy increase of 72%, while the Education sector also experienced a rise of 60%.  

The Training sector experienced a notable decline of 34% in applications, followed by the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector with a decrease of 12% – highlighting more can be done to bridge the gap between job seekers and available opportunities.

Average salary offerings, across every sector, rose in the first half of 2023, compared to last year. Sectors witnessing the greatest rise include; FMCG (20.8%), Charity and Voluntary (14.5%), Manufacturing (10.6%) and Customer Service (10.1%).  Meanwhile, roles in the Scientific, Financial Services and Human Resource sectors experienced the lowest year-on-year growth in average salary offerings — 2.1%, 2.1 % and 0.5% – falling far below the rate of inflation over that same period.  

Northern Ireland emerged as the most resilient area, with a 3% boost in job postings, potentially a sign of increased business confidence compared to all regions in England, which experienced a decline in job postings ranging from 15-18%, with London, experiencing the largest drop at 18%.

North West England and Yorkshire saw a significant boost in job applications – an increase of 34% and 35% – demonstrating potential growth avenues for businesses wanting to level up.

James Reed, Chairman of Reed, said: “The significant drop in job postings, coupled with the surge in job applications, indicates that a radical shift in the employment landscape is underway — as we move from a ‘sellers’ to a ‘buyers’ market for talent. This likely marks the end of the candidate-led labour market that emerged post-pandemic, as the balance of power tilts back towards employers.”


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