February 2023 market overview: commerce and industry

Author Stephanie McCleery
March 15, 2023

Across the UK’s commerce and industry sectors, we’ve pulled together a review of the live data we have captured in February 2023 – including London, Home Counties, West Midlands and South West England. 

The market is still showing signs of increased hiring  

After a slow January start, we saw an increase in job activity and movement in the market across HR recruitment throughout February.  

There have also been more vacancies advertised across job boards. But instead of outsourcing recruitment support, many businesses are focused on direct hiring. This is generally due to end-of-year budget restraints, optimising spending and utilising the newly hired talent acquisition (TA) teams. 

“Many businesses are focused on direct hiring instead of outsourcing recruitment support.” 

February has been a promising month for the commerce and industry sectors. The number of job opportunities proves that the market continues to show signs of increased hiring. Of course, 2022 was a year of mass hiring on every level – so the volume of roles has slightly decreased since then but remains steady which is positive considering the current economic climate. 

Planned hires at the top of the agenda 

We are also seeing more focus on planned recruitment rather than the knee-jerk hiring we saw last year when businesses were trying to keep up with the market, resulting in many companies reducing headcount later in the year and early into this year.  

The roles coming through have been diverse in terms of content and carefully considered to fit within organisational structures. Career development paths have generated discussion at this early stage of hiring. 

“Roles have been diverse in content and carefully considered to fit within organisational structures.” 

This February, the highest volume of vacancies has been in the non-profit, energy, consumer and technology sectors. Despite the talk of a slowdown in technology, this sector is actively hiring in the HR space. You’ve probably noticed that this is not the case for TA. However, HR generalist roles across Business Partner and Advisor levels have been strong.  

“Technology is actively hiring in the HR space despite the talk of a slowdown.” 

Similarly to December and January, the manufacturing sector did most hiring with 17% of the placements we supported. This was again followed by engineering and retail, both with 13% of placements we supported. This comes as no surprise with the volume of roles we saw become available in earlier months.  

Companies are raising salaries to secure mid-level talent 

We have seen a particular increase in roles above the £100,000 salary mark with 22% of businesses we support securing talent above this salary level. 43% secured talent at the mid-level between the £50,000 to £100,000 mark. We expect this to be mostly generalist functions where 46% of the roles we support sit.  

“43% of mid-level talent secured were between the £50,000 to £100,000 salary mark.” 

There has been a consistently high volume of placements in payroll specialisms throughout February. John O’Brien, Executive Director of our payroll recruitment team hasn’t seen the market slowing down. Some businesses are even requesting multiple hires due to growth. 17% of roles we placed in February were in a payroll specialism. 

All in all, February was as we would expect – a steady month with notable increases from January. This is a good sign that the market is moving in the right direction with positive signs for March already. 

Get in touch today to discuss your hiring needs or career. 

Featured Content