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Adapt, evolve and differentiate. Navigating the current recruitment markets…….

 4th Oct 2021


Almost 18 months has passed since the start of lockdown 1, and day to day life for many of us is starting to resume some patterns that we used to describe as ‘normal’.

For many, children are now back to school, working patterns are starting to become more defined, we can make plans to entertain or be entertained, we can travel, see family and the various questions around flexibility and working at home versus working back in our offices are starting to become clearer again.

This 18 month period of change has impacted most, if not all, of us in some shape or form. I can certainly vouch for that. What we want from our lives, and what and where we wish to invest in our work/life balance, our careers, our families, our homes will have crossed lots of people’s minds. What has become clear to me is that for many this has prompted some form of change or at very least a desire to consider the sometimes complicated equation we call life.

So, with all this in mind what sort of knock-on effects are we seeing from a recruitment perspective, and what should we be aware of.


Employers. The dial has shifted. Candidates are in the shortest supply that I can remember and certainly within the world of qualified accountancy and finance recruitment there remains a shortage of candidates versus the current demand. Particular note going to the interim and the newly qualified space. 

Competition for candidates is high, salaries have become inflated and counter offers are becoming more common.  At a time where candidates are thinking more and more about what they want from work, a working environment, and how this will fit in with their broader aspirations and requirements the best employers are going that extra mile to demonstrate more about what they can offer a candidate (culture, progression, flexibility) and this undoubtedly helps define them in a crowded recruitment market and can be a key differential in securing their preferred candidate.

Speed and efficiency of recruitment process, clear and regular messaging, sensible financial offers, and efficient pre-employment screening all make a difference and form a first impression. For some companies at present, feedback suggests they can sometimes confuse the values of a recruitment process over the personal experience of an applicant and this can leave a long-lasting negative impression.


Jobseekers. Remember flexibility has to work both ways. The market may be relatively generous at present but flexible working only truly works when there is harmony between the employer and the employee. For those that have multiple options, take your time to make the right decisions for you, try not to be influenced solely by money or titles, and definitely not by overzealous recruiters. Moving jobs is about so much more, about the experience gained, the culture you will work in, the people you will get exposure to, and the prospects that result from the move. 

Keep this front of mind. Wherever possible, set out your ambitions before you start your search,  discuss your options and invest your time in the recruitment processes that will ultimately progress your career aspirations. Ask questions, gain insight on culture, work/life balance, outlook, challenges, and on occasion be mindful of the recruitment process itself and the way the companies portray themselves and interact. Beware of words without actions and trust your instincts.  

Now is a great time to look for opportunities but also be prepared that it can take time to find the ‘right’ role. That time is always worth investing, and while it may be a ‘buyers’ market’, securing the best roles with the most attractive companies will still be competitive. Demonstrating your desire to secure a role, your interest in the business, its culture, your development opportunities, and a positive, flexible and energised attitude will still be vital in you differentiating yourself from your competitors.