From where we were just 9 months ago, the recruitment market has been more buoyant than anyone would have expected. If you have been watching the job boards though, it may not have looked very positive. The reason why is that many of the opportunities and new jobs were through the hidden job market and referrals.
In the last couple of months, we’ve had a number of clients decide to opt out of finding a new role, and wait it out until next year, as scores of job vacancies are being flooded with hundreds of applications.
So what will the market look like in 2021?
In a typical year, there is very little job market activity in the first two weeks of January, as government departments, construction and corporate services close for two weeks. People then slowly return from annual leave, with many key decision makers returning to work from the second or third week of January. Following the Australia Day weekend, there is increased activity as schools go back as well.
What we’re hearing over this Christmas period is an increased forced leave period for many major organisations. Anything from two to four weeks closure, including new recruits that will go straight into negative leave. This in itself means that many decision makers will be on annual leave for longer. Without key decision makers at work, plans for 2021 aren’t executed and job vacancies don’t get filled.
For the first quarter of next year, and once we have a clearer understanding of vaccines and travel, there will be very cautious recruitment around strategic and growth plans.
As companies remain risk averse, expect recruitment decisions may take longer, and opportunities will be more sideways moves than promotion. Opportunity for promotion will more likely be due to internal restructures or strategy changes.
If you are ready for the next step in your career, make sure you explore all opportunities with your current employer, as well as going out to the broader market. If you’re looking to transition to a new industry or role, expect that it may now take three steps instead of one or two.
In any market, there are always jobs for good candidates. By managing your own expectations, setting yourself apart by accessing your network, and having the ability to clearly pitch what you want and what you offer, 2021 could be the beginning of something new.