Growth through Talent

Where did all the candidates go?

 12th Sep 2022

No matter whom you speak to, in what industry, everyone has (and still is) struggling to hire. We’ve all had professional conversations and chats with friends to try and work out – where have all the people gone? 

We joined event economic climate event with behavioural economist Roger Martin-Fagg, who shed some light on the UK employment market arithmetic:


  • The UK has lost 1.3m EU workers since Brexit
  •  UK demographics mean we have 1.8m fewer 15-24-year-olds entering the workforce
  •  Around 500,000 55-65-year-olds have retired early
  • has fallen by 3.6 million


  • There are 1.4m unemployed
  • In Q1 2022, a record 994,000 changed jobs, so they are also off the market
  • There are currently 1.3 million advertised jobs!
  • Earnings up 7% (inc bonuses) in Q1

However you are planning for H2 and beyond, one thing you can prepare for with certainty is that there will continue to be a shortage of #DigitalTalent.

Are there less jobs out there now?

Despite the recent press reporting the dreaded “R” word…the bottom of the market has most definitely not fell out! What is true though is that our economy is moving away from the post-COVID boom, back to normal. It doesn’t mean we are in a bad market, it means that the market is normalising. A 12 out of 10 recruitment market isn’t sustainable; and it feels like we are in a 9 out of 10 recruitment market now. For context, Pivotal are recruiting for over 150 roles currently (all time maximum)– in April 2020 we were recruiting for 5 roles…it is still a great market.

So what are candidates REALLY looking for?

And as candidates have so much choice, especially at junior-mid level, we thought we would share some of the common themes that candidates are consistently telling us they are motivated by when making a move into a new company:

  • Salary Increase – we conducted research into our talent pool; and on average candidates are asking for a 15.7% salary increase in order to move roles. For the best of the best, we are seeing companies offer 25% salary increases. The amount of choice candidates have and cost of living inflation are driving factors.
  • Hybrid Working – not having the flexibility puts candidates off, a WFH 2/3 times a week seems to be the most popular structure. Fully remote or 5 days in the office alienates a significant talent pool.
  • Development of Job Title – seems obvious but it is unlikely someone will have an aspiration to move from a Sales Manager role, to a ….Sales Manager role. We are seeing companies getting creative here…
  • Security - companies with strong brand names in their fields seem to be more attractive to candidates. It doesn’t mean that smaller challenger brands can’t hire great talent, but they really need to focus on selling their company and opportunity brilliantly.

How can you continue to win at Recruitment in 2022?

Start with getting the basics right! ����������

  • Pace & Momentum – candidates won’t wait around for a week to hear from you, they will just take another offer
  • Clearly defined roles – vague role descriptions and deliverables won’t cut it
  • Job Title Progression – candidates don’t need to take a sideways step
  • Fair Pay – candidates don’t have to take a lower salary, they’ll take a higher offer elsewhere
  • Streamline your process – candidates will prioritise jobs with streamlined processes
  • Feedback – candidates will prioritise the companies giving detailed, constructive feedback
  • Put the candidate front and centre of the process – realistically candidates are being briefed on 10-15 roles and could be interviewing for 5-7. It’s imperative you make a great first impression. If you make the interview a one-way interrogation, you may not get another chance
  • Personalisation – work with your Recruiter/Talent Partner to truly ID & understand what is important to the candidate beforehand, and tailor your interview to them – this is your chance!
  • Make sure one person in your team leads recruitment – make sure someone in your team is a Recruitment Lead (chasing feedback, getting availability, setting interviews up & driving the process forward)
  • Making Recruitment your top priority – if it’s not a core business focus, opportunities to hire great people will pass you by

Pivotal are a Digital, Marketing and Media Talent Consultancy. We partner with VC backed scale-ups, ambitious corporates, agencies, media companies and technology businesses, who are serious about building world-class Digital, Marketing and Media teams. We recruit roles which help companies to acquire and retain more customers; and have placed over 400+ roles in the last 12 months, at 90 companies. Get in touch with us to solve your biggest recruitment problems!

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