Planning recruitment in 2021

By Anita Jaynes on 31 December, 2020

Dan Barfoot, Operations Director at Wiltshire-based CMD Recruitment provides an insight into the recruitment market as we get set to embark on a new year.

2020 has seen a complete reversal in the recruitment market. At the beginning of the year, it was very much candidate-driven. Now, however, the picture is somewhat different. With higher unemployment, there are more candidates than ever, but not always the ones you’re looking for. All of the uncertainty has made recruitment more challenging as many of the strongest candidates choose to stay put.

When you combine the virus’s direct impact with the challenges presented by lockdowns, there has been a real upheaval in the labour market. 

The Effects On The Labour Market

It’s hard to be sure of the full effect that Covid has had in 2020. We know there are businesses that have been able to grow while others have struggled. Some entrepreneurs have started businesses during the uncertainty and thrived. Studies suggest that new business applications are up by 19% in 2020. Here are some of the measurable metrics to give you the best feel for the situation.


The national unemployment rate has risen to around 4.8%. This is 0.9 percent higher than it was at the same time in 2019. 0.7 of the 0.9 percentage rise is only in the last quarter. This shows the impact that the pandemic is having on the employment market. It also shows that many effects are delayed, and we are likely going to continue to see more fall out over the coming year.

Unemployment figures only reveal a small piece of the picture. When you look at the statistics in more detail, you can see that the workforce has not been hit evenly. For instance, the most affected group is 16-24-year-olds. 

So at the moment, the employment market is saturated with inexperienced candidates. Many of whom are highly qualified but may have been unable to secure a relevant position. It’s also worth noting that there may be some incongruent jobs on the CVs from candidates in this demographic. 

The national furlough scheme is undoubtedly going to have had an impact on these numbers. As all the schemes begin to wind down, it is very likely that unemployment numbers will once again shift. The effect is hard to predict. The most significant take-up for the furlough scheme is in small businesses, where over 50% of them are using it.

Business Longevity

Wiltshire is known for many of the established businesses based in the region. In fact, the area has a greater share of established businesses compared to the national average. 46% of businesses in the region are over five years old, while 19% are between 11 and 19 years old. However, as well as established businesses, Wiltshire is also home to a large share of young businesses too, with 59% of business younger than five years old. 

With this in mind, Wiltshire offers good prospects for businesses to become well-established, and with innovation, will be able to pivot and weather the storm that the pandemic has brought for many industries. 

The Big Picture?

There is no way to know what the current state of affairs truly is with all this uncertainty. It’s unlikely that anything will become apparent until we’re into Q1 of 2021, and some of the dust of the second lockdown has begun to settle.

Planning For The Future

No matter what sort of business you own, these unprecedented times will have forced you to reflect on the future of your company. Many have been turning all their past decisions over in their minds and second-guessing their choices. 

However, it’s time to start planning for the future. With 2021 on the horizon and the world set to shift again as vaccines beginning to trickle out, there is still no end date insight and a lot of mixed forecasts. 

Planning for the future has probably never been more of a challenge. But it is clear that there are going to be opportunities. At the end of June 2020, there were just shy of 15,000 people in Wiltshire who wanted a job. It’s quite clear that that number will be significantly higher today. 

So, with the right planning and approach, 2021 could be an opportunity to find some high quality and enthusiastic new members of your team.

Making A Shift In Recruitment

At CMD, we have seen everything that our clients have been experiencing. We have done all that we can to support them because we genuinely value our relationships, and we pride ourselves on how we work with our clients. This is why we have offered all of the help and support we can, and we will continue to do so.

To best serve our clients, we’ve adopted a different model. Traditionally recruitment works on a contingent model (paid by results). In this model, recruiters will be racing to be the first to get a CV to a business. There are several drawbacks to this method, in our opinion. The first is that the right candidates may get peppered with contact from multiple recruiters all about the same job. This makes the business seem desperate and the role less appealing. It also means that you’re not always going to get the best candidates, just the first candidates.

We have made a move to a more exclusive model. We take sole responsibility to find candidates for our clients. Instead of racing to be first, we work to find the best candidates within a set time frame. You give us a deadline, and we give you a shortlist of the best candidates. We’ve had enthusiastic feedback about this approach, with many employers facing the hard decision of wanting to employ more than one of the candidates we’ve presented.

We’ve seen some fantastic results with this approach, and we believe that this is the best way to get real talent for our clients with the labour market as it is.

Planning Your Next Steps

If you are interested in working with a recruitment agency dedicated to giving you a choice of great candidates, do get in touch with us. My team all have extensive experience and will work in partnership with you to help your business grow by finding the right people to join your team.