Am I paying my staff enough? What is the appropriate inflationary rise? How do we compare with our competitors? These are just some of the questions I am regularly asked as the accounting profession moves from the hectic tax season to the world of annual reviews.

It would be easier if I could give an exact answer, but there are many variables to consider. So, while we prepare our Annual Salary Review, we wanted to share an insight into trends from the past 12 months that will help you remain competitive in the market and supportive of your team.


Despite a slowdown in inflation, the cost of living is still driving people to search for new roles that increase their income. Of course, many more factors influence job seekers, but salary is an important part of the jigsaw and as a good employer, you must get the balance right.

With a high demand for good people, there remains an easy temptation to switch for more. It wouldn’t be the primary motivation for my career choices, but pound signs have definitely been driving a desire for change.

Interestingly, the gender pay gap is still prevalent in accountancy. According to the ONS, the median hourly full-time pay gap increased to 7.7% in 2023, so there is still a lot of work to be done. To ensure you support your female staff, I encourage you to remember this at review time.

Employers continue to find staff training a challenge when people work from home. You simply don’t learn as much remotely, and we have found that some employers’ expectations for delivery have fallen short of what they are paying.

Candidates have also found challenges when switching jobs linked to home working. When required to be in the office full-time during their probation and to work in a hybrid way thereafter, it doesn’t always fit with the lifestyle they have established. Adjusting their routine for 3-6 months can be a barrier to accepting a new role.

The Big 4 and national firms have a clear advantage as they can offer more flexibility. Not as reliant upon staff being in the office, they offer a range of working patterns, something much harder to achieve for smaller firms.

Having said that, there has been an upturn in the level of interest in smaller firms due to the attraction of working a more 9 to 5 role and less pressure than the demands of the Big 4.


In 2024, the accountancy sector will continue to face candidate shortages. Coupled with a scarcity of new skills that are changing the way the sector operates – data analysis, technology integration, and AI – we expect salaries to continue an upward trajectory.

With bonuses introduced more widely to combat this, the biggest attraction for our candidates is the balance between salary and flexible work patterns, with firms offering consolidated hours or a 4-day working week having the upper hand.

We expect to see this level out in 2025 as what people want is to be able to live in the same way as they have been doing. With 60% of monthly salaries spent on essential purchases and 1 in 5 unable to save each month, most monetary requests are linked to being able to live comfortably rather than greed.

Undoubtedly, the best investment any business can make is in its people, but it needs to be the right people. Whatever you choose to do with your annual reviews, I urge you to also place a renewed focus on your recruitment process.

If you can get this right, you will see improved productivity, a better culture, and increasing levels of client and customer service, which all go to directly improve the bottom line and keep your team happy.

At this time of year, my work and life tend to become especially hectic, and I don’t think I’m alone.

For many people, the nearer we edge toward the sanctuary of a well-earned festive break, the more this most wonderful time of the year transforms into one of the most stressful.

Whether it’s linked to the pressure of sales targets, the financial year-end, or the need to lock down new budgets and plans, the calendar’s end never fails to instigate a deep desire in people to clear any outstanding jobs and tick them off their list before they can even begin to contemplate relaxing.

This year, when you add into the melting pot two years of constant change, irregular holidays, the blurred work-life boundaries created by homeworking, and the pressure of organising a magical Christmas at home, it is all too easy to see why December and January are the months that carry the highest risk of people burning out or losing the enthusiasm to work for their current employer.

What can you do to help yourself?

A certain level of stress may be unavoidable but, even if you are working long hours, burnout is preventable.
Firstly, there are some common warning signs you should look out for, including an increasing number of errors at work, higher than usual levels of anxiety and worry, being constantly tired, or becoming disengaged and moody.

If this sounds like you, then it’s time to sprinkle a little bit of joy back into your life. Start by stepping off the daily treadmill, even if only for a short time, to look after your health and well-being:

  • Exercise

Not only is exercise good for physical health, but it is also good for mental health and gives a positive emotional boost.

  • Eat Well

Eating healthily and, if possible, including foods in your diet that act as natural antidepressants, like those rich in Omega-3, can also help to lift your mood.

  • Get some sleep

Resting your body and resetting your mind is essential for your welfare, and that means getting into a healthy and regular sleep routine.

  • Ask for help

During stressful times, it’s so important to reach out for help when you need it and share your problems instead of burying them and letting them build.

I know it’s not easy – and I need to take a lot of this advice myself – but these four widely accepted pieces of wisdom should help to navigate you safely to the Christmas break.

If you still feel unhappy, however, the holidays also offer the momentary pause you need to reflect, and I would start with four key questions; where you are, what is important to you, where do you want to be, and are you happy with the balance between home, family, work, and time for yourself.

They are big questions, so you must be brave and honest with yourself. If you struggle, try chatting openly with family and friends, and thinking about what makes you truly happy. The answers to what you do next won’t be far away from there.

Personally, I like to use the downtime Christmas brings to be with my family and plan for the new year by creating lists and setting new goals and routines. This helps me to be clear about what it is I want to achieve in the coming months and how I plan to make it happen.

This year, I have a feeling it could lead to introducing and sticking to some new work-life boundaries, but whatever it means for you, don’t be afraid of change. It is always better to try something new than settle for something that doesn’t make you happy. Not many people regret making a choice, but plenty regret doing nothing at all.

Millions of people around the world are re-evaluating their working lives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commonly known as the ‘Great Resignation’, this growing movement of reflection continues to drive record numbers of workers to voluntarily head for the door and join a job market brim-full of labour shortages and rising unemployment.

Should I stay or go?

Many different inspirations can trigger the search for a new job. When compiled by the pressures of a global epidemic, permanent changes to working environments, or even a new appreciation for the ephemeral nature of life, it is no surprise to see so many people reassessing their situation.

Like most things, jobs have ups and downs and, while it is easy to get swept along in a sea of change, here are some thoughts to help you to decide whether it’s the right time to make a change, or not.

  • Know your purpose.

Whatever the catalyst for change, when working out the best way forward, the most important thing to do is to make sure you understand what it is that truly motivates you.

We spend more than half our waking life at work, so getting satisfaction should be the priority. If you aren’t happy then maybe it is time to weigh up your options.

  • Be honest with yourself.

Start by asking yourself questions along the lines of What are you good at? What are you passionate about? What do you like about your current job? What is important to you?

You need to work out what matters most in the long-term and, if you’re lucky enough to match this with your strengths, it should become a lot easier to figure out the direction to your goals.

  • People grow out of even the best jobs.

Sometimes you need a change or a new challenge to reinvigorate yourself, but before you begin to search, make sure you take time to think about your current role, your employer, and your prospects.

Does your company’s ambition match your own? Do you get on with your colleagues? What does your boss think of you? What do you think of your boss?

There’s a lot to be said for being appreciated and trusted in the workplace. If you feel empowered and have autonomy, you need to make sure that will remain if you decide to move on.

  • Work-life balance sometimes requires compromise.

Try to avoid making decisions based purely on money. While it always pays to be aware of your market value and the quality of your total package, sometimes you may have to compromise a little on some of the wider benefits like holiday entitlement, pension payments, or bonuses, if you want to positively affect your overall level of job satisfaction.

That’s not always the case, but key questions to consider should be whether you have flexibility at work? Are you supported when you need it? And what is your current work-life balance like?

  • Think long-term.

No job is completely perfect, so it’s important to think about the bigger picture. Consider the experience you’re gaining, the networks you’re exposed to, and the kudos you get from working where you do. This should all help you understand what to do next.

Is the grass always greener?

The grass is not always greener but if you’re not happy you need to make a change of some kind rather than live with regret.

The decision to move on comes down to knowing what you want and understanding what your employer can offer, so, don’t forget to speak to them and give them the chance to change things.

It could simply be that you’re stuck in a rut and it’s not as bad as it seems once you adopt a more positive approach but, whatever you decide, be confident and don’t be put off by the fear of change because the rewards from finding a job you love can be life-changing.

A company is only as good as the people it keeps and they will ultimately determine its success. In my mind, that makes recruitment the single most important business decision you will ever make and yet I regularly see firms leaving the entire process down to human interpretation.

As an interviewer, your goal is to match the candidate’s ambition, personality, and experience to the requirements of the job and business. The key is being able to tell the great people from the great talkers.

Every interviewer goes into a meeting with the best intentions, hoping to find the ideal person, but, in my experience, the most common mistakes are made when there is a lack of structure and consistency in the process.

One way to avoid this is to plan interviews so all candidates receive the same questions. Eliminating the likelihood of the conversation straying too far from the agenda is a proven way to increase reliability and compare candidates evenly. This will help you to be more accurate in your prediction of future job success.

When interviewing, the best candidates will be well prepared and trying to make a good impression. With their guard up, it’s your job to get under their skin and find out what they’re like.

Build a strong rapport from the start. If candidates trust you, they’ll relax and that will make it easier for you to dig into the detail of their answers and flow into topics they haven’t previously rehearsed.

This not only helps you to get a feel for their communication skills, but it uncovers potentially unseen aspects of their personality and behaviour, which is crucial to making sure they are the right fit for your business.

Try opening with a request for their personal and professional goals; and how they see the role fitting in with these.

Ask them to tell you about a situation that has brought out the best in them; giving examples and sharing the experience they feel makes them ideal for your company. Other behavioural questions could be: What attracted you to this role? What are your motivations? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Whatever you opt for, make sure you ask for details within the answers, as this is the best way to separate people who like to embellish the truth. Liars don’t like to get into specifics as they know they are more likely to get caught out. People telling the truth will be happy to drill deep as they are answering the questions honestly.

Once you’re happy that someone can do the job, move into uncharted waters. Ask about any mistakes they’ve made. This is a great test of self-awareness and will show the scope of which someone is willing to take ownership of their actions; and whether they learn from their errors.

I like to ask who the smartest person they know is (and why). By getting people to explain this you’ll not only find out about their networks, but also the values and personality traits they aspire towards.

Find out what it is that gets them out of bed on a weekend. People’s passions outside of work are critical to fitting in well to any team environment.

Are they entrepreneurial? Examples of innovative ideas they’ve put into practice will help you measure whether they’re a self-starter, commercially-minded, or have a healthy attitude towards calculated risk.

Of course, these are just a few examples to try and help you, but whatever you discuss, don’t forget that interviews are a chance to find out more for both parties. While you aim to work out what makes someone tick, they will most likely be doing the same to you, so make sure you give a good impression of your business.

It’s no coincidence that the most successful companies have strong brand equity and an abundance of great people.
Almost always the result of long-term planning, careful and consistent reputation management, and excellent communication, if you flip this on its head, there is a lot that people climbing the career ladder can learn from the way top brands gain trust and stand out from the crowd.

If you are career ambitious, creating a personal brand that supports your work goals should be part of your development.

Social media offers the best platform to raise your profile and, if you are committed and consistent in your approach, communities like LinkedIn can amplify your voice, build your network, and have a big impact on the way people perceive you.

In a candidate-led job market, it is too easy to lose sight of the importance of this. Skilled people looking for a new challenge are in the driving seat right now. In certain sectors, they have the pick of jobs and can almost be forgiven for getting carried away, but the status quo won’t remain this way forever.

When it comes to looking for your next challenge, if you want to stay respected in your industry, then the key is to remember your long-term goals throughout the recruitment process. To help you navigate this with your reputation intact, here are some things to keep in mind:

Constantly communicate

There is nothing more unsettling than not knowing what is happening during the recruitment process. Even after receiving an offer, if you need time to decide, make sure you keep people updated with your thinking. Silence is deafening. It never leaves a positive impression, regardless of the outcome.

Be decisive

A couple of days to reflect on a job offer is perfectly acceptable but, whatever you do, make a decision. You would be surprised at how many people struggle with this but, if the job is right, you should know fairly quickly whether you want it or not.

Plan for success

You don’t have to take the first job you are offered but, if you are exploring several options, try to organise interviews as close together as possible so, if you get multiple offers, you can manage the decision-making process promptly.

Don’t play games

Avoid playing companies off against each other at all costs. In recruitment, honesty is always the best policy, even if you have two offers or want to attend another interview before committing to a new role. People will understand and respect that, but not if you treat recruitment like a game.

Be responsive

The speed you react with shows a prospective employer how interested you are and also how you are likely to act with their clients and the tasks they set.

Don’t be greedy

Negotiation is part of the process but there is a limit before it turns an employer off. If you want a job but are uncomfortable with the terms, discuss them at the earliest opportunity and be clear about why. I’ve seen many offers withdrawn when an employer doesn’t appreciate the way a negotiation was handled and you risk appearing like money is your only motivation.

In all of this, the important thing to remember is that, whilst good people are in demand, employers want them to be the right people, so you still need to impress from start to finish.

It also helps to remember that the market you are working in is probably smaller than you think, especially in the North East, where people often talk.

How you behave and engage with a prospective employer during the recruitment process and, perhaps more critically, during an offer, is crucial to maintaining your reputation. It reveals a lot about your integrity and character and will leave a lasting impression, so make sure it’s a good one.

In the wake of eighteen difficult months for the recruitment industry, the beginning of the summer saw the market pick up.

Improving business confidence led to a steadily increasing flow of proactive businesses looking for new and permanent recruits.

Due in part to the changing circumstances and priorities for many people, we saw an immediate flurry of market movement, encouraging the positive momentum to endure; so much so that recruitment activity in June was reported to be at an all-time high.

Now, as the final restrictions of the pandemic are removed, there is little sign this newly found aspiration to grow will slow down any time soon, despite candidate availability declining sharply in each of the last four months to reach an all-time low.

Right now, this is the only thing holding businesses back and, as recruiters, we are seeing some worrying signs ahead as the battle for the best talent heats up.

So, what is the answer?

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to a familiar situation. What is clear, however, is that if we want to ensure the economy continues to grow, businesses, the government, and education providers need to be willing to reassess their plans and get behind the creation of a culture that supports training, reskilling, and upskilling of furloughed and prospective workers.

To put this high on the agenda – especially in the long term – better communication between industry and academia is fundamental. The Government, universities and colleges must co-operate with businesses to identify key areas where skilled workers are in short supply.

Positive steps have been made in this regard, with initiatives like Quickstart helping to build bridges, but this alone is not enough. We must take a collective approach if we want to ensure the status quo between candidates and vacancies is healthily balanced.

From the perspective of an employer

Flexibility is going to be important in the coming months and, as we adapted to home working, it is not inconceivable that we could adjust our mindset to see the recruitment of someone who has 75% of the skills you need as a good idea. In many cases, it may even be quicker to train people in the final 25% than to hold out for the perfect person.

Bringing in recruits straight from school, college, or university is another option. While it may not address your needs today, developing the right skill sets within your business will pay off, particularly if you encourage diversity in their experience by rotating people throughout different business departments.

For example, in an accountancy practice, rather than a graduate spending three years training in only audit or tax, why not offer them a programme of six-month secondments across all disciplines so, by the end of their training, they have had a much better exposure of the business and, probably, developed a clearer idea of what it is they enjoy.

In tight job markets, working with recruiters to position your business as a brand of choice is also important. I would say this but, with social media, people have access to many different channels of communication and the way your company is portrayed and how an opportunity is sold to them is crucial.

To be successful, you need to demonstrate what it is that makes you stand out, and that also goes for pre-planning ways to get your company culture across when the interview is via a video link.

The final word

If you take one piece of advice from this article to help with an upcoming piece of recruitment, please make it to act fast.

Taking positive and swift action is the key right now because I can assure you that talented people will get job offers quickly.

If you find the right person be prepared to act as, if they are truly at the top of their game, it won’t be long before one of your competitors snaps them up if you don’t

Permanent recruitment is rising at a record rate according to the latest KPMG and Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) survey.

As pandemic restrictions ease and more industries reopen, there is a mounting belief that the economy will bounce back quickly and that means optimistic businesses are shifting their mindset from consolidation and preservation to target growth.

The survey – compiled from the responses of around 400 UK recruitment agencies, of which I am one – showed that, in May and June, demand for new workers increased at the fastest rate in 23 years.

Record demand

The upturn followed an increase in April, at which time we were unsure if employers were simply recruiting to catch up from the previous 12 months of low activity or we could see new momentum building in the market.

Two months on and the improvement shows no signs of slowing down with, rather pleasingly, the North of England leading the way nationally and boasting the steepest increase in permanent appointments in IT, Computing, and the Hospitality sector. The accountancy market is also one of the busiest I have seen in the last twenty years.

Low availability

Here comes the ‘but’. While demand for good people is at an all-time high, their availability is at an all-time low. Mapped over the same timeframe, the number of workers looking for a new job dropped at the quickest rate for four years. Seeing the same pattern across a myriad of industries, the decline is linked to the furlough of staff, fewer EU candidates, and, of course, uncertainty following the pandemic.

Increased starting salaries

In a candidate-driven market, mixed with a refreshing air of private-sector business confidence, supply is outstripping demand and that means starting salaries are inevitably on the up.

In the North East, for now, they are just about holding up, but we have seen some outrageous salaries offered elsewhere in the country. Taking a London-based job but working from home (anywhere in the UK) can lead to astronomical increases for some, although I believe many national companies are working to address how they regionalise salaries when they have a remote workforce.

The challenge for recruitment

The challenge as a recruiter and an employer is to keep up with demand and always attract the right talent. Staff availability has declined immeasurably, and in part, because those willing to risk moving in the pandemic have already done so earlier in the year.

Positively in our region, I know there are a lot of people who are what I would call ‘window shopping’ right now. They are waiting in the wings and keeping an eye out for something special that grabs their attention.

There is no doubt that the flexibility to work from home and attend the office on their terms is playing a big part in decision making. As is having the flexibility to shape their hours so they can continue with the lifestyle they have built throughout COVID.

How can recruitment help?

By no means the hero, but the recruitment industry has continued to play a role in helping to keep vital services running smoothly throughout the pandemic. Now, it is playing a part in helping displaced workers find new jobs, and supporting companies as they adapt working patterns and prepare for the easing of restrictions.

This is why I couldn’t agree more with the deputy CEO of the REC, Kate Shoesmith’s, assessment of how businesses, recruiters and government need to work together to address the skills gap before it slows down our recovery.

The trends are worrying and we need to urgently address the skills gap together, supporting people to train, reskill and upskill so they can progress their careers and move into new roles.

According to Gallup, the number of people working full-time who are highly engaged and enthusiastic about their work is 15%. Pulling data from 155 countries, their 2017 research reveals a huge obstacle to creating high-performing teams while, at the same time, presenting an enormous opportunity due to the top 25% of companies also being 17% more productive and 21% more profitable.

And then along came COVID.

Bringing with it one of the greatest economic challenges of our time, the pandemic flipped the world on its head. It forced businesses to change overnight, to re-evaluate how they work and, in many cases, what they stand for.
When you think about it, it is all very sobering but, from my perspective, the big positive to come out of the chaos is that the importance of company culture as a key to long-term success is firmly back in the spotlight.

The culture of a business defines the working environment for employees and helps to guide their decision-making. It is the personality of an organisation and, regardless of the corporate values you have written down, is made up of the most commonly shared beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours in your team.

As we all look forward to the return of business growth, I urge you to take inspiration from many of the world’s most successful companies when recruiting and explore the merits of value-based interviews as part of your process.

While competency to do the job is still important, being able to understand a person’s motivation is the only way you can hope to determine whether they will fit well within a team and go on to thrive.

During the interview process, you must provide an opportunity for candidates to showcase their character. If done well, this will help you to understand whether their priorities match your goals and what it is that drives their behaviour.

Your mission is to find the perfect person, but the best candidates will always be well prepared and ready to make a good impression. With their guard up, it is your job to get under their skin. If people trust you, they will relax and make it easier for the conversation to flow into topics they have not rehearsed.

For many years, Timpson – the shoe repair business – has recruited entirely on personality. Priding themselves on great service, the outcome of an interview is the direct result of the cultural match of the Mr Men character your personality most resembles. It may sound crazy, but they live by this rule, meaning you can turn up with the best CV in the world but if they think your ‘Mr Grumpy’, your journey will end there.

While Mr Men may not be right for you, uncovering unseen aspects of people’s personality and behaviour during an interview is crucial to making the right choice, so try opening with a request for their personal and professional goals; and how they see the role fitting in with these.

Ask them to tell you about a situation that has brought out the best in them; giving examples of why they feel that makes them ideal for your company.

I like to find out who the smartest person they know is (and why). By getting people to explain this you will not only find out about their networks, but also the values and personality traits they aspire towards.

These are just examples. You will need to develop a series of questions that match your specific values but, whatever you end up with, try to remember that every interview is also a chance to find out more for both parties.

While you aim to work out what makes someone tick, they will most likely be doing the same to you, so make sure you do not forget to give a good impression of your business and the way it operates.

Even before the pandemic, the typical Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm working pattern had become outdated.

Advances in technology have long supported an always-on culture, with the pursuit of “work-life balance” replaced, for many, by a “work-life integration” revolving around 24-7 access to emails and notifications on your phone or tablet.

Fast-forward (if only we could have!) through fourteen months of lockdown, furlough and working from home. Our adoption of productivity apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams has accelerated to the point where some people have gone as far as to hail this as the death for the office.

Sure, the workplace needs to change because, to some extent, we have all changed but, even after the biggest employment experiment of all time demonstrated that remote working works, we need to think carefully about whether it is the permanent solution.

On the face of it, it appears to be the ideal scenario. Losing office costs and overheads will make huge financial savings after what has been a very challenging time.

Staff have also revelled in an extra hour in bed instead of suffering the daily commute and the opportunity to spend more time with family is not something people want to give up easily.

Despite this, I suggest that business leaders considering their next step approach it with caution. Try to remember that most people have a fundamental desire to be part of a community, as it is the lack of being able to create and sustain a positive company culture remotely that worries me most.

While a virtual culture undoubtedly has benefits – flexibility, trust, increased autonomy – the reason many companies were able to transition seamlessly to a remote working model was that their teams already had a sense of comradery.

They had been in close proximity with one another for a reasonable period before having to work from home and the resulting bond – and shared values – helped to make it a success.

Now, after a year of working apart, research from Gallup suggests that employees are 7% less likely to see their connection to the company’s mission than at the start of COVID. This means that the cultural connection is slowly diminishing and, ultimately, that means productivity will soon follow.

As business leaders ponder how they are going to reinvent the way we work, the challenge they have is to come up with a flexible model that works for us all. It can no longer be about offering a one-size-fits-all solution.

We need to discover a way to get back to work, but not in the way it used to be. We need to be better at being accommodating people’s needs because working from home has shone a bright light on the benefits of being in a comfortable environment and this is something the office will need to reflect; to offer employees the best of both worlds.

As well as the culture, many benefits will also come from being back together, not least creativity and innovation, which undoubtedly increase when people exchange ideas and collaborate. Even an overheard conversation can spark a moment of ingenuity; something that simply would not occur virtually.

In summary, whatever happens, I hope businesses don’t make quick decisions and they allow their teams the opportunity to help them shape when and how people go back into the office.

As social creatures, we all crave connections and while helping to build a strong culture, perhaps the office will also be redefined as a place constructed purely for interaction, where people go once or twice a week to meet and brainstorm ideas.

By allowing people the flexibility and trust to have control of the way they work, as much as possible, whatever the outcome, you stand to gain the benefits of both ways of working, as well as demonstrating understanding and empathy for your team – something the value of which should never be underestimated.

Given we have been in lockdown since January and are only now hoping to emerge, recruitment has dealt with the dip in business confidence and endless uncertainty remarkably well.

In the world of accountancy practices, as soon as the Government announced schools were closing there was an instant impact on the labour market, with a fall in the number of permanent recruits and a slowdown in the growth of temporary placements.

Switching their focus, businesses became rightly absorbed with supporting existing employees and mobilising teams to work from home once more. Alongside the economic unease, jobs vacancies were placed on hold, with hiring decisions stalling, and people becoming reluctant to move.

Fortunately, the trend has been short-lived, and businesses appear to have quickly bounced back from a recruitment point of view.

The publication of a roadmap to recovery, an extension to the furlough scheme, and being able to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel has helped to buoy confidence and resurrect people’s appetite to think and act positively.

In the past month, we have seen a continuous increase in the number of permanent vacancies coming to market. Whether it is firms playing catch up or new investment, only time will tell, but industry research points to this being the case in other sectors too, with demand for temporary recruitment continuing for those a little more uncertain about the future.
We are also seeing an increase in maternity cover on the horizon. The impact of a “COVID baby boom” is leaving companies with the dilemma of whether to replace temporarily now or invest in permanent cover, intending to retain both people in the long-term.

Sadly, we have not yet seen the same signs of recruitment picking up for trainees, but as confidence returns, I hope this will change so skill shortages can be avoided further down the line.

So, with some positivity in job creation, the spotlight inevitably turns to the availability of great people and, so far, the growth is slow. In fact, in a recent KMPG report, London was the only area to see a real increase in this respect.

I know from experience that those looking for a new challenge in the North East are mostly doing so in light of concerns about job security in their current workplace, because of frustration with a lack of career progression, or because of the way they perceive their treatment throughout the pandemic.

Many have also reappraised their priorities in the last 12 months and struggle with the thought of returning to their old work-life-balance. Instead, they want to leave behind an environment where they work too many hours and replace it with something that fits better with their new outlook.

The most common request is a job offering a permanent mix of office and home working.

Of course, all of this is good news if you are a specialist in your field and want a change. If that is the case, you are likely to be fortunate enough to receive multiple job offers, typically in a short space of time.

However, be warned that even with good people in short supply and fierce competition to attract the best talent common, the frugal nature of businesses right now has not meant that starting salaries have skyrocketed.
Companies are holding firm across the board in this respect, with very little increase or decrease on starting salaries month on month.

The emphasis is very much on the role, the opportunity for progression and the culture, which means if you want to be successful as a recruiter, it is very much on you to either show people why you are the best place to work or find someone they trust to help to do it for you.