Hiring confidence reaches a two-year high as applications rise and time to hire drops

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Hiring confidence amongst UK employers has risen to a two-year high as new research shows applications have surged and the time to hire decreased over the last quarter.

The latest Totaljobs Hiring Trends Index, which surveyed 1,005 HR Decision Makers in the UK reveals an 8% increase in hiring confidence looking into Q3. With hiring confidence now at 57%, this is the highest level seen since 2021.

Industries with the most confidence in recruiting the people they need in Q3 2023 are IT and telecoms, media/marketing/advertising/PR and sales, construction and finance and accounting.

The Index also reveals a decrease in the average time to hire for Q2 2023, with it taking an average of 5.8 weeks to hire in Q2 2023, down from 6.4 weeks in Q1 2023.

Moreover, 81% of businesses successfully recruited in Q2 2023, marking an increase from the 78% reported in Q1. Notably, over a third of these organisations increased their recruitment efforts during this period.

Candidate movement driven by inflation

A combination of factors have influenced the rise in candidate activity and subsequent confidence among employers, with ONS data revealing a cooling in the labour market while candidate demands for salary continue to drive applications for different roles.

The latest Labour Force Survey shows the unemployment rate is slightly up from last year. It briefly reached a low of 3.5% in the summer of 2022 but the current unemployment rate of 3.8% is still near a record low.

Research from Totaljobs earlier this year showed that over a third of UK workers were considering changing jobs due to the rising cost of living.

Businesses using AI to speed up recruitment processes

The Hiring Trends Index has also revealed notable shift towards the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recruitment processes, with two in five currently using AI to streamline and speed up operations.

More than one in ten businesses are already using AI to fine-tune job descriptions and remove biased language. The same figure also said that AI was being used to efficiently screen CVs and job applications.

The research found that the technology was also being used to help source candidates, coordinate interviews, and craft compelling job adverts by 11% of businesses.

20% of businesses plan to educate and train staff on AI usage to improve productivity. Additionally, 19% of businesses aim to increase their use of AI within day-to-day work before the end of 2023, with media/marketing/advertising/PR and sales and IT and telecoms leading the way.

Furthermore, 33% of businesses are considering creating and hiring roles that heavily rely on AI in the next three months. This strategic embrace of AI underscores the importance of leveraging technology to streamline recruitment processes and secure top talent.

Julius Probst, European labour market Economist at Totaljobs said: “Inflationary pressures are prompting candidates to explore opportunities with higher salaries elsewhere, leading to increased movement within the job market. This heightened mobility underscores the growing battle for talent, and the need for businesses to exert additional effort in attracting and retaining the skilled professionals they require.

“Businesses are recognising the value of leveraging AI technology to streamline their hiring procedures and improve efficiency.

“As the job market evolves, it is imperative for businesses to embrace innovative solutions like AI to stay ahead, streamline processes, and secure the talent they need. By combining strategic talent management approaches with the integration of AI, organisations will be better placed to achieve their recruitment objectives in the current climate.”