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Reed boss calls time on candidate-led job market

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James Reed, chairman of recruitment site Reed, has said the job market is no longer candidate driven, following a decline in job postings and increase in applications.

There has been a 17% decline in job postings in the first half of 2023 compared with the previous year, according to new research from the job site.  

Over the same period, there has been a 29% rise in job applications. 

Speaking to HR magazine, Reed said: “The significant drop in job postings, coupled with the surge in job applications, indicates a radical shift from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market for talent.  

“This likely marks the end of the candidate-led labour market that emerged post-pandemic, as the balance of power tilts back towards employers.” 


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The average salary across every sector rose in the first half of 2023 compared with last year.  

Sectors that saw the greatest rise include fast-moving consumer goods (21%) and charity sectors (14.5%). 

Meanwhile, roles in the scientific (2%), financial services (2%) and HR (0.5%) sectors experienced the least growth in average salary offerings. 

Reed added: “As employers regain control over the hiring process, this has the potential to impact everything from salary negotiations to the remote working arrangements that have become essential for employers looking to attract and retain talent.”  

On 10 July this year, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) Report on Jobs showed candidate availability expanding at the quickest rate in two and a half years. 

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC said skill shortages persist despite this trend. He said: “The labour market remains very tight. There are still broad skills shortages, with accountancy, construction, teaching and nursing struggling to find and retain workers. 

“Progress should start with action on skills and immigration, but also accelerating steps on childcare, transport and back-to-work support.” 

Reed said employers should stay focused on retention despite more candidates being available in some sectors. 

He said: “Investing in securing the right people now will position businesses for success when the economic recovery begins.  

“Business leaders should also ensure staff are being paid fairly for their efforts by taking a generous view and increasing wages wherever possible.” 

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