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Has the balance of power shifted from the candidate to the employer in the current jobs market?

We recently read an article in HR Magazine suggesting that the recruitment market is no longer candidate-driven based upon a decrease in job postings and an increase in applications on recruitment website Reed. That really jumped out at us because that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case in the global shipping industry where clients – even strong brands – are still experiencing a limited supply of available appropriately-skilled talent. True, there are usually plenty of applications, but employers are regularly surprised by how tight the supply of good people is. Our job as recruiters has never been more valuable – we find the unicorns and sell them the opportunity.

There is a hangover from Covid. Candidates’ expectations still seem high, if not unrealistic in many cases, with regard to salary levels and the extent of their hybrid working demands. While there are murmurings from employers about increase office-time, the balance of power has not yet shifted back.

We are still seeing a significant premium attached to new hires in the market compared to incumbents. Quite simply, “if you want them, you’ve got to pay for them”. This feels unsustainable to us and stores up resentment with existing staff.

The aspirations and expectations of younger employees is a constant topic of conversation with employers at the moment. Actually, it’s the subject of quite of lot of moaning and exasperation. More than ever before, it seems that people in their late twenties are demanding senior titles and large pay rises along with flexible working arrangements.

Good people do exist and some of them are ready to move for the right career progression reasons rather than just the money. But, the key is to think really hard in advance about the problems your vacancy is looking to solve and to properly identify the prerequisites you can’t do without in your new hire. Then, listen to the recruitment experts’ advice and when a unicorn floats by, lasso them before someone else does.

Phil Parry is Chairman of maritime recruitment experts Spinnaker, and you can view all the vacancies he and the team are working on via the jobs page.

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