Is it really a candidate short market at the moment?

Bet that caught your attention, didn’t it?

We all assumed when the pandemic hit, that this would be like all of the other ‘downturns’ in economic markets that we’ve experienced over the last 50 years…

We thought that there would be no jobs and too many candidates, and because of that companies that were recruiting could find people themselves without too much difficulty.

Well, pretty quickly we realised that the opposite was true. The ‘perfect storm’ of Brexit with 1 million workers leaving the UK to head back to Europe and a deadly virus keeping people home if they’ve been exposed or even worse… lockdown showing people they could work from home, as well as how much they hated their commute every day.



The demand for workers remains high amidst growing worker shortages in the UK. In the week of 23-29 August, there were 1.66 million active job adverts in the UK.

And then in the week of 13 – 19 Sep, there were 1.90 million active job adverts in the UK.  This was yet again another record figure!

“We’ve now had a year of a shortage of good quality candidates, but this will change. This is my 4th major downturn, and the good news is… it will change, and with that change comes great opportunity.”

The Office for National Statistics released their August update:

“There were an estimated 953,000 job vacancies in May to July 2021, a record high, having grown by 290,000 compared with the previous quarter and 168,000 more than its pre-pandemic level (January to March 2020).” 

So, here’s the good news…  

Unemployment set to newly rise after end of the furlough scheme

The furlough scheme has been unique in keeping people in paid jobs for the past 18 months, and because it’s finishing this month there will be individuals that find themselves out of work so hopefully there will be quality candidates to fill this record-breaking number of jobs. 

But the Government is also looking at ways that it can help. The new Visa solutions for the current candidate shortage  means there is a plan for a new ‘high potential’ visa.  The Innovation Strategy is driven by the government’s vision of a more inclusive, dynamic, and sustainable innovation and technology sector. 

So get ready for the next 6-9 months because supply and demand will start to equalise and that’s when recruiters really make their money and show their value to the economy of getting the right people in the right places. 

Sources: Click the titles above to be taken to the articles themselves 

  1. REC 
  2. ONS 
  3. HR Review 
  4. Brabners 

About the Author

Angela Cripps is a globally experienced trainer, management consultant, executive coach, board advisor, mentor and performance specialist who has been working within the recruitment industry for over 30 years.  

Her aim is to make companies more successful and profitable through the development of their people and processes – with a current focus on APac companies. She has worked with over 150 SMEs throughout the world in 16 different countries and her LinkedIn recommendations are a testament to the impact she can have on a business.  

Angela has recruited over 5,000 people herself during her recruitment career and trained and supported over 1,000 students to gain qualifications in recruitment.