Dental Staffing

How To Recruit Successfully In A Stagnant Market

A paper with the word strategy plan on it.

By: Julie Mott, managing director of Howett Thorpe
Brought to you by: Dental


Although employment rates have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels this year, the outlook for next year looks even more bleak. Rising food and energy costs have exacerbated the cost-of-living crisis, and recent government budget U-turns have steepened inflation and threaten another recession.

As a result, sourcing and retaining talent is becoming increasingly complex. Recent reports suggest that the job market is experiencing a period of stagnation, with many companies forced to freeze hiring as they struggle to keep up with salary expectations.

So, how can business leaders overcome economic uncertainty and achieve growth in this landscape? The solution lies in analyzing market trends and planning ahead to ensure every skills gap is covered as we enter the new year.

Understanding job market stagnation 

In recruitment, market stagnation refers to a situation where job growth slows, output plateaus, and wage increases flatten, leaving candidates demanding more than employers can offer.

Stagnation often follows a period of stunted economic growth, which we have experienced since the first coronavirus lockdown in 2020. The economy showed signs of recovery after the government eased restrictions. However, hiring activity is declining as rising costs and competition for staff cause employers to become more cautious about their hiring plans.

Recent surveys indicate that starting salary growth slipped to an 18-month low, permanent hiring has fallen for the first time in almost two years, and temporary billings have stagnated. Hiring intentions have increased, but recent reports suggest that business confidence in the economy has turned negative due to worries over labor shortages, political disruption, and inflation.

Consequently, recruiting and retaining staff in the current economic climate is becoming more challenging. People are less likely to change jobs for the same or less than they are currently earning, with candidates that are going to market upping their salaries by as much as 30%.

Equally, in today’s turbulent market, workers may stay put rather than move in anticipation of further economic instability. So, unless hiring managers include adequate long-term budgets for staff increases at the start of the financial year, they will likely feel the sting of stagnation as we head into a new year.

As a result, employers must assess their hiring needs sooner rather than later to avoid facing a scenario where they are desperate to fill a role but lack the funding and resources to present their top candidate with an enticing job offer.

Taking a proactive recruitment approach

It is easy to grow complacent when things seem to go smoothly in the short term. But if we have learned anything from recent disruptions, it is just how quickly things can change.

Candidates still drive the job market, so companies have their work cut out to attract and retain workers. Business moves fast in the modern world, and employers must always stay one step ahead of their staffing needs. To successfully overcome existing and upcoming recruitment challenges, hiring managers must focus on improving the most critical areas of the recruitment process.

Review benefits packages

Companies must assess market trends to ensure they can make a competitive offer and fulfill regular pay raises in line with industry expectations. The same goes for existing employees. By investing in reward schemes, training, and bonuses, hiring managers can fill skills gaps from the inside and boost retention, reducing the worry of losing staff.

Enlist professional support

Enlisting the support of a third-party recruitment team ensures someone is continuously monitoring the job market, and overseeing the entire recruitment process. With these tasks taken care of, business leaders can turn their focus from merely staying afloat to generating long-term growth amidst economic uncertainty.