Beringer Tame Blog

So how is recruitment and the talent market looking right now?

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Once upon a time there was a small, independent recruitment firm which specialised in ecommerce and digital marketing and business was good.

One day they woke up and COVID-19 had struck; people went home, businesses closed doors and the world went quiet. Jobs were cancelled and the phones stopped ringing... but not for long!   

It was super hard for a good few months back in 2020 but during 2021 there was a freeing up of some excellent candidates and the creation of a plethora of roles within digital as the world evolved.

Now, as (sadly) some big tech companies start to lay off staff we foresee the same happening again. 

But, as the wise Benjamin Franklin once said "from adversity comes opportunity" and there is now an excellent opportunity to acquire good talent if you have a business that looks safe in the longer term.

What does the ecommerce & digital landscape look like?

  • Ecommerce has grown exponentially during the pandemic
  • Ecommerce jobs will continue to be plentiful
  • Digital skills will continue to be in high demand
  • Individuals who truly have the skills (and desire) to succeed, will

Digital transformation.jpg

"It has been super hard but there is a freeing up of some excellent candidates as some big tech companies start to lay off staff.  An excellent opportunity to acquire good talent if you have a business that looks recession-proof.."

(James Minter)

Finding talent is going to be easy - if your business is recession-proof

We are a positive bunch at Beringer Tame and we are fantastic at recruiting digital and ecommerce talent.  We thought that filling jobs for our clients was going to be easy during the pandemic, after all the pool of talent had grown due to the unfortunate rise in redundancies, but we realised pretty quickly that this wasn't going to be the case.

There was a very clear supply & demand issue!

April, May 2020 

  • redundancies were happening (especially in travel & hospitality)
  • talent was flowing around the market
  • it was an employers market

June, July, August 2020

  • the top 20% talent had already disappeared into new roles

By June, we realised that there was a clear supply & demand issue - a role which earlier in the year would have been easily filled within 2 weeks, was now much more challenging.  By August, top talent had already disappeared into new jobs and those we headhunted told us that 'now was not the time to make a move'.

They say hindsight is a wonderful thing, and of course it is.  

Looking back at what happened to the talent network at this time seems obvious now, but we learned important lessons.

During 2021

  • the market started to pick up
  • jobs were plentiful
  • talent was moving.. for the right price

2021 was a bumper year - there were plenty of jobs - and using our expertise we managed to fill them. Candidates and clients alike felt safe in the (almost) post-Covid world.  Things were looking very positive indeed.

Early 2022

  • political unrest
  • significant cost of living increase
  • tech company bubbles burst

So far, this year has been ... interesting!  

With political unrest in the east, the global cost of living crisis and tech firms in crisis, we've had a bumpy start to the year. However, we have still been filling jobs.

Has it been harder? Yes

Is talent available? Yes... if you're offering stability, above market remuneration, career prospects, flexibility AND work-life balance.

The Three R's

1. Recession

During the 2008/9 recession, digital unfroze - it was seen as the focus for growth and being a recruiter in the digital space, we survived and thrived.  Similarly, in 2020 we are seeing a renewed bounce in digital and ecommerce and we were prepared to be ahead of the game.

Learning: Yes recession is scary, but in boom-or-bust bust times, it seems yet again that digital is at the forefront of the boom - and if your business is recession-proof, you're onto a winner!

2. Redundancy 

Lockdown exposed many businesses' vulnerabilities, resulting in huge redundancies as British firms became fuelled by "elevated economic uncertainty" (especially those in the arts, entertainment, accommodation, food and travel industries).  The knock-on effect was that the candidate marketplace became very quickly saturated with both skilled and unskilled job seekers - all looking for work.

The ONS reported that there had been over 695,000 redundancies made in the UK during this time with 156,000 being between May & July 2020 - the sharpest (up to this point) increase since the 2009 financial crisis.  

In May 2020 the number of job vacancies advertised online started to increase (ONS) and the UK economy started to "re-open" in July 2020.  Digital and ecommerce recruitment began to grow from May 2020 as businesses continued to digitally transform and build their online offering.

However, this plethora of talent flowing around the market was short-lived. The creme-de-la-creme - the top 20% - disappeared back into new roles within a month.

"too many people chasing too few jobs" (BBC)

Speed is of the essence.  If you need to employ digital talent, do it fast and efficiently.  If you don't, someone else will.

As we head into 2022, times are again tough and we're reading in the press that many businesses which thought their momentous growth over the 'Covid years' was normal, have yet again been shown to be vulnerable now that the market has settled - just look at Klarna/Gorillas.

However, it's important to remember that things are still buoyant in the e-commerce & digital marketplace. There are new digital trends to watch and consumers to think about, but if you play your cards right, you'll ride this next wave and come out the other side.

3. Reluctance to move (without good incentive)

Individuals who were (and still are) in secure jobs are (understandably) reluctant to move elsewhere.  People will generally play it safe and keep their heads down unless they have a low-risk-high-value option.

Know what you're offering - whether that's salary, job scope or even benefits!

If you want to encourage talent to your company you need to be top of their mind, making them an offer they can't refuse... and which trumps their current situation.

If you're looking to hire a role in e-commerce or digital we'd love to chat and take you through how we can help find you the perfect candidate. Or if you're looking for a new job, check out our current vacancies or send us your CV.

Originally published Sept 2021

Updated June 2022

Photo by Jaël Vallée on Unsplash

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