According to the latest data from ONS, there are currently 1.34 million unemployed people in the UK. Approximately 8.9 million workers – 1 in 4 – have also been placed on furlough, with no guarantee that they will be able to return to their jobs. Candidates are eager to secure new opportunities, with the application-to-job ratio thought to have increased by 84 per cent in the second quarter of this year.

From the outside looking in, this appears to be a hiring manager’s dream. After years in a candidate-centric market characterised by talent shortages and skills gaps, suddenly the roles have been reversed and employers are able to set the rules. Except, it’s not quite as simple as that – because more candidates does not mean a bigger talent pool.

For starters, let’s consider who is most likely to be out of work. Those employed in hospitality, retail, manufacturing and construction are at an increased risk of permanently losing their jobs, compared to those in technology, finance and healthcare, for example. The aforementioned sectors are also thought to be some of the slowest to recover, dependent as they are upon relaxed restrictions and a stronger economy.

Though there are more people seeking work, a skills deficit persists in industries which are developing at a faster rate than talent can be produced. This is particularly true of technology and healthcare.

Then, we must think about those who are fortunate enough to have retained their roles. They are likely to feel grateful to their organisations for retaining their employment throughout the pandemic, and may see moving to a new job as an unnecessary risk. Ask any recruiter, and they’ll likely have a story involving a candidate who was excited about and open to new opportunities, only to change their mind at the last moment when circumstances were deemed too uncertain. These candidates can be rescued, but this takes a lot of reassurance, time and resources.

Finally, even the sheer number of applications can become overwhelming. With several more people out of work unexpectedly, despondency and desperation sets in, and candidates apply for roles they are unsuited to and uninterested in. Finding the right candidates to interview suddenly feels like listening for a hidden melody in a cacophony of noise. It can be almost impossible to home in on the right notes.

So, even though there are more people looking for work, it doesn’t look as though things will be easier for organisations intending to hire. In fact, feelings of uncertainty may make it more difficult to recruit. When it comes to finding the right talent, companies still need everything they relied upon pre-pandemic: a strong employer brand; a well-connected candidate network; an all-encompassing hiring strategy; and a recruiter who knows their business, their markets and their prospective candidates.


Faulkner Scott places talented candidates in sales, marketing, HR, supply chain and financial roles across all sectors. For more information on how we can meet your hiring needs, get in touch.