Q1 2023 market overview: commerce and industry

Author Stephanie McCleery
April 25, 2023

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

Return of the recruitment cycle

This year we have seen the return of the typical recruitment cycle with a quieter start to Q1 2023 and vacancies across the board.

Looking back at the full quarter for the year so far, January saw HR functions typically focus on their people strategy for the year, making sure they have the employees in place to deliver the business’s goals and targets and to make sure that those in place are the right people. We sadly saw a number of businesses make cutbacks due to the boom of 2022 and over hiring to handle demand that is no longer there this year.

“A number of businesses made cutbacks due to the boom of 2022 and over hiring to handle demand that is no longer there this year.”

In February, we started to see an increase in roles. Businesses were setting budgets for April and confirming spend allocation. The half-term break had a knock-on effect which slowed the momentum of interviews as people took holidays and paused on recruitment for a week or two.

“The half term break had a knock-on effect which slowed down the momentum of interviews.”

A rise in replacement role search across all sectors

In March, we saw the market really begin to move. Those looking to leave current jobs after bonus pay-outs started to look and approach us about their career search. This in turn has driven market movement and opened up replacement opportunities.

Many businesses have focused on direct hiring – mostly successfully. However, some have received many applications but not with high quality and have seen a counterproductive lack of internal support or talent acquisition teams to handle the response.

This has resulted in businesses reaching out to Frazer Jones with their searches, seeking an effective hiring solution – whether that be interim roles or a permanent search to fill difficult or specific hires.

“The market has started moving and opening up replacement opportunities.”

We have seen a consistent number of new roles and replacement roles across all sectors throughout Q1 and a nice even split across PR and communications, marketing, energy, third sector, technology, retail, pharmaceuticals, life sciences and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) to name a few.

The number of roles being recruited is similar to 2022. But the shift has changed from 70% talent acquisition and minimal generalist to an even split in March of 31% generalist, 23% talent acquisition, 17% reward and benefits, 14% payroll and 3% learning and development, change, employee relations and HR operations. This is what we would generally observe at this time in a “usual” year.

Looking after employees

Our conversations with Chief People Officers, Chief Human Resource Officers and HR Directors throughout this quarter show that it’s been busy but steady and positive.

“Businesses are creating dedicated roles for ESG directors and ESG specialist roles.”

So far, the focus has been around strategy – making sure all employees are looked after, including career development opportunities and retention plans. Businesses are asking themselves “how do we keep our employees?”

Dedicated ESG roles

We are also starting to see more ESG (environmental, social and governance) roles starting to show their head. Businesses are creating dedicated roles as part of their 2023 strategy, driving more enquiries and requisitions for ESG Director and specialist roles.

We have passionately been focusing on this area for a while now, so it is great to see it gaining its own special space in the corporate world.

Get in touch today to discuss your hiring needs or career by completing the form below.

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