2014 Review of the Year

2014 Review of the Year


With the Christmas break on the horizon and 2015 looming large, it’s time for Ri5’s regular round-up of the year. It’s been a busy one – here’s our look back at some of the main events.


The year kicked off with some optimistic predictions for the labour market, which continued throughout the year – and in most cases were pretty accurate. Even at such an early stage in the year there was great news from KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, who told us jobs growth as at its fastest for four years. This was echoed by predictions that graduate recruitment would increase by 8.7% during the year. January was also a busy month on the awards front, with Teach First taking the big prize at the Social Media Graduate Recruitment Awards, while the RAD Awards saw Stafford Long take home the award for Work of the Year alongside its gongs for innovation and candidate engagement.


February continued in a positive vein, with more positive predictions for graduate jobs from the AGR, while data elsewhere suggested the fastest growth in the jobs market for 15 years. Meanwhile, the increasing popularity of apprenticeships and rising self employment became hot topics amid a changing employment landscape.  The largely positive outlook was reflected in industry activity, with a new launch from Johnston Press and acquisitions for Monster Worldwide.


Apprenticeships were again a big focus in March, with some 44% of employers saying they planned to recruit them, while there was yet more positive labour market data, with private sector roles increasing at their fastest rate since the 1990s. At the same time we saw marked growth in publishers’ digital ad revenues, yet another positive sign. Mwaeanwhile March was a hectic month on the awards front. The winners of the National Undergraduate Employability Awards were announced, along with the year’s Onrec Awards winners. Finally, Clifford Chance were the big winners at the TARGETjobs awards, taking home the prize for graduate recruiter of the year.


April saw more positive market activity, with Penna launching its BeMore career development tool and also its 2014 graduate programme, while CareerBuilder acquired Broadbean and Havas People securing its biggest account win to date, for Emirates. Meanwhile Ri5 also reported on the growing creative team over at TMP Worldwide. There were further positive forecasts for employers’ hiring plans for the rest of the year, as well as more suggestions that self-employment would make up a significant proportion of the UK labour market. Finally, the good news the industry – and everybody else – was waiting for, came in the form ONS data pointing to continued strong growth in the UK economy.


Yet again, in May we were treated to a positive outlook for recruitment, with vacancies showing a 24% year-on-year increase according to some statistics, although it wasn’t all good news this month, with data pointing to the majority of employees feeling underappreciated at work, while the market also saw an increase in the use of the much maligned zero-hours contracts.  More award winners were unveiled at the Recruiter Awards and also at the PPMAs, alongside the RIDI Awards. One of the biggest news stories of the month was the acquisition of Jobsite by Stepstone, while the shifting talent market resulted in a shortage of candidates for some positions as well as a fall in the numbers of graduate candidates available.


Perhaps one of June’s biggest stories as far as Ri5 was concerned was the departure of long-serving editor Peter Griggs, whose retirement saw plenty of farewells and fond messages from around the industry. June also saw a number of people moves, including the appointment of Tristan Moakes as Penna’s head of digital and social, while Marcus Body, previously head of research at Work, joined ThirtyThree’s brand and insight team. Finally, UCAS Media appointed Rachel Johnson as its first head of careers. Elsewhere the market continued to have a spring in its step, with the news that competition for vacancies was at a six-year low, graduate confidence had increased, and employers’ hiring intentions remained at a record high.


In July we heard good news from Alexander Mann Solutions, with its plans to create 250 jobs in Belfast, while GTI Media announced the launch of gradaustralia. In addition, Johnston Press also launched its new job site. Elsewhere there was a mixed picture in the graduate space, with the generally positive market activity increasing in the form of graduate jobs returning to their pre-recession levels. However, in July we also saw research suggesting graduates harboured ‘unrealistic’ job expectations, and also that half of UK graduates don’t work in their field of study. There was also a damning assessment of the role of college STEM courses in preparing students for the world of work.


Despite the onset of the summer break, August maintained the positive momentum seen up until this point in the labour market, with a strong showing by small businesses, whose recruitment growth was at record levels, while smaller operators were also hailed as a key contributor to the buoyancy of City recruitment. Robert Half told us that more businesses planned to create jobs in the next six months, and while the unemployment rate fell to a six-year low, part-time jobs were increasingly used as a tool by some recruiters who were still erring on the side of caution. Competition for vacancies continued to fall, leading to a rise in salaries, while we also saw an increase in the number of university places offered in 2014.


A number of people moves took place in September, with Fraser Chapman joining Newsquest as head of recruitment sales, and Dan White joining WikiJob as sales manager. Meanwhile Penna announced a handful of new additions to its recruitment solutions service and Gemma Cooney joined Prehash. We saw vacancies rise at the fastest rate for 16 years, with more positive news from small businesses. On the agency front, Havas People had a big night at the RBAs, while SAS unveiled a major rebrand and WDAD launched its new website. Also, we brought you the news that Cavendish Media had new owners, while BMJ Careers’ website was also relaunched.


A big piece of news in October was the major rebrand at Monster, which also saw the launch of a number of new products and services. Managing director Andy Sumner told us in more detail about the changes and about the company’s plans for the future. There was also a big rebrand and new strategy launch at Prospects, while Penna celebrated its 40th birthday in suitable style. Looking at the wider market, unemployment fell below two million for the first time in almost six years, while the London job market picked up after its summer slowdown.


A rise in business confidence saw us report on a large increase in permanent professional vacancies in November while elsewhere there was further evidence of a strengthening of the UK jobs market. November was also a packed month in the awards calendar, as we brought you news of the NORAs, Personnel Today Awards, In-House Recruitment Awards and the Prospects Postgraduate Awards. Congratulations to all of those who picked up gongs among that lot. Elsewhere in November the big news was that Bernard Hodes UK had been acquired by Symphony Technology Group.


As the industry looked forward to its Christmas break – not to mention anticipating a busy (and hopefully prosperous) 2015, we saw further growth in permanent placements while candidate availability fell. We also saw evidence that graduates typically earn £9,000 more than non-graduates, which might help to explain why some parents were failing to inform students about the alternatives to university. Glassdoor published the first UK version of its ‘best places to work list’, and looking ahead to one of the biggest events in early 2015, we reported on the shortlist for the 25th anniversary of the RAD Awards.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

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