The beginning of the year is traditionally a busy time for recruiters – people take the Christmas holiday to relax, which often leads to decisions about finding their new career move, a #newyearnewview
It’s also a time when hiring managers, HR professionals, and recruiters, have new budgets to play with, new roles to fill to align with new year projects and goals, and in some cases, a backlog of hiring requests from the previous year that were put on hold but are being re-released in line with refreshed budgets.
But no matter which side of the hiring process you’re on, leave it too long and you’ll have more competition.
In this article, some of our top recruiters give five reasons why you should act now and beat the crowd to secure your #newyearnewview.
1. Faster recruitment processes
We’ve seen a trend really since the pandemic recovery lead to a hiring increase in that companies are trying to make their recruitment processes much faster in order to secure the talent they want, says NonStop Associate Director Jonathan McNab.
“I think we’ve seen a strong desire for that to continue as many companies have seen the benefit to speeding up processes but adding to this, the beginning of the year is typically a time when most key decision makers are back in the office, meaning decisions can be made faster too.”
However, this also means they are busy with other tasks, so it’s a good idea to follow up if you haven’t received feedback in the expected timeframe.
Another reason behind this, he says, is many companies want to hit the ground running in the new year with new projects, or reigniting stalled projects from the previous year, again often in line with budget releases. This means they need the talent in place quickly to get those projects on track, which means it’s a particularly good opportunity for freelancers or contractors.
2. You could earn yourself a pay rise, better benefits, or accelerate your career
As we’ve covered before, employers wanting to remain competitive in their markets are increasing salaries and benefits in order to attract the talent they need.
As with the above, this was a trend we’ve followed post covid, and something we expect to continue for now, but with the fear of recession in the back of everyone’s mind, no one can be sure how long this would continue for, says Director David Lord.
At the same time, moving now might be more than just a career step, it could be a leap. If you’re willing to go outside your comfort zone, you could advance your career faster than you thought possible as employers desperate for talent consider hiring slightly less qualified people and train them up internally. This is yet another strategy we saw employers implement to help them win the war for talent but as with the above, we can’t be sure how long it will continue.
“So for now, if you’re considering making a career move, we would advise you make the most of this sweet spot.”
3. Hiring budget decisions have been made and hiring managers have fresh pots to play with
December 31st is the most common financial year end, which naturally means budgets are refreshed from the start of January and teams that had put hiring decisions on hold last year due to budget reasons now have the finances they need to move ahead.
In some cases, says Associate Director Anca Busoi aka Hanna Bussi, we see companies carrying over unused budgets from last year with the understanding it’s used early on, typically in Q1. On the other hand, there are companies that paused hiring decisions last year because they had overspent their budgets, so it’s all full steam ahead now.
Because of these fresh budgets candidates in recruitment processes right now, particularly if those processes have carried over from last year, might also find now a good time to try and negotiate salaries should you get to that point in the process.
4. Paused hiring processes are reignited
As the year winds to a close, hiring managers often pause hiring processes and decisions for a variety of reasons including key members of staff being busy or already on holiday, budgets being exhausted, projects being reimagined, and more, says NonStop Director Abid Kanji.
“For an employer, this represents a risk because candidates in the pipeline could find other jobs in the meantime, or be incentivised to stay in their current role with a nice Christmas bonus.
“Yet for candidates, this represents a good opportunity jump into that pipeline by being a fresh application in January, theoretically helping you get to the top of the pile,” he says.
5. There are more candidates on the market
This is one for the employers reading this: there are traditionally more employees looking to make a move at this time of year.
They’ve earned their 2022 Christmas bonuses, they’ve had a holiday to reflect on their job and career aspirations, to update their CV, and maybe even start looking.
In addition to this annual influx of interest, there have been reports from the likes of the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics that say up to 75% of the workforce are considering changing jobs right now to help them cope with the cost of living increase.
According to Roxana Andrei, who leads one of our social care recruitment teams, employers should bear in mind that the best of this talent won’t be on the market for long.
“We’ve seen increased interest in most profiles in most sectors we cover, which leads us to believe the competition, especially for qualified people in niche roles, is still fierce.”
However, employers should also bear in mind they might lose some of their existing workforce at this time and put contingency plans in place, such as freelancers or contractors who can quickly step in and cover workload, she adds.