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If you think now is the time to take the next step on the career ladder, or perhaps you’re ready to change your line of work entirely, it pays to be aware of the seasonal trends in the recruitment market. As well as economic conditions and the health of the particular industry you want to work in, there are also natural peaks and troughs in demand that affect the number of vacancies out there. If you inadvertently start your job search in one of those troughs, you could get a false view of the number of opportunities that exist and potentially change your plans entirely.

To help you make the most informed career choices, we have put together this guide to the seasonal trends in the recruitment market that you need to be aware of. This is always worthy of consideration, but particularly now in the lead up to Christmas and New Year when we do see some typical trends emerging.

What Factors Affect Demand in the Recruitment Market?

As a recruiter, it is our job to spot trends in the market. There are undoubtedly times of the year when competition for new roles is particularly high between candidates and when certain industries can be quiet.

This can be a result of a number of different factors, including:

  • Interviewers and key decision makers are away on holiday;
  • It’s the end of the financial year and new budgets are yet to be drawn up;
  • Uncertain political climates can have huge impacts on certain sectors meaning businesses in some industries are waiting to see what happens before committing to new projects and hires;
  • Seasonality impacts many industries with some, like tourism in the lead up to the summer, and construction in April, experiencing yearly booms;
  • Tough economic times or cutbacks in certain industries can impact employment prospects;
  • Graduates finish university and start applying for roles en masse.

When is the Right Time to Start Your Job Search?

The right time to start your job search is when you want or need a new job. It’s as simple as that. You should not let seasonality dictate when you start to look around for new roles. However, there are more opportune times to search for certain roles than others…

Quarter 1 – January to March
At the start of the year, there’s typically a rise in recruitment as candidates want to stay true to their New Year’s resolutions and take their career to the next level or improve their work-life balance. With candidates seeking new roles, this also leads to more vacancies. The result is an increase both in the number of positions available in many industries but also in the level of competition. After an initial New Year’s peak, postings tend to fall ahead of the end of the financial year.

Quarter 2 – April to June
Once businesses have drawn up their budgets for the year ahead, some find they have a surplus of cash that can be used to hire new candidates and grow their teams. Along with an increase in demand from employers, there tends to be less competition between candidates during this time. There also tends to be an increase in construction projects getting the go-ahead which leads to new hires. Towards the end of the quarter, graduate recruitment begins.

Quarter 3 – July to September
The summer months bring a big increase in the number of opportunities in the tourism industry, although many of these roles are short term. With many decision makers and interviewers on holiday, the rate of recruitment typically falls during August but picks up again in September. Many graduates also choose to take some time off after exams before looking to enter the world of work at the end of the summer.

Quarter 4 – October to December
Autumn and early winter is one of the busiest times of the year in the recruitment market with a large number of seasonal vacancies to fill, particularly in retail. The end of summer also forces employers and candidates to acclimatise to office life, which means filling new roles and job moves are back on the agenda. The educational sector is also back in full swing and many events and marketing companies are typically at their busiest in the run-up to Christmas.

The Impact of New Technology

Technology has had a huge impact on the recruitment market and has helped to smooth many of the peaks and troughs caused by seasonality. Social media, company websites and job boards have all made it easier for employers to connect with candidates regardless of the time of the year.

However, some trends remain which can impact your chances if you’re looking for a new role. Importantly, if things are quiet, it’s not necessarily a reflection on your CV or your skill set. At DB Charles Recruitment, you can talk to us about when to approach the recruitment market and what to expect in your industry. Alternatively, take a look at our jobs page and upload your CV today.