Romford recruitment agency reports 'candidate-driven' job market as 2022 begins

Interaction employees

From left to right: Driving consultant James Gowen, 23; manager James Harman, 40; driving manager Chesney Lee, 29. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

The manager of a recruitment agency in Romford has claimed there are “tons of jobs” available but a shortage of candidates.  

Interaction Recruitment in South Street provides independent recruitment services to commercial, construction, driving, finance, industrial and IT sectors across London, Hertfordshire and Essex.   

Branch manager James Harman, 40, has been working with the company for around seven years and formerly worked for the government's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).  

Reflecting on his job, where he looks through hundreds of CVs daily, James said the “biggest problem” is that “people don’t answer the phone or reply”. 

He said: “You need to at least speak to people over the phone to talk them through an opportunity, but the problem is no one picks up the phone”. 

Another issue he has recognised in what he calls a currently “candidate-driven market” is people not wanting to travel to work.

He explained: “Everyone is looking for everything they can get at the minute, but travelling shouldn’t be shunned, it should be seen as time where you can read the paper and catch up on the day.  

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“When looking to secure a job, people shouldn't just think of now, but of the future.”  

According to James, recruitment for permanent and senior-skilled jobs is "strong" but there is a lack of active entry-level applicants.  

Office

Interaction Recruitment is based at 14a South Street in Romford. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

He explained: “The problem we’ve had over the last two years is people not wanting to go back to work or being very comfortable not working.  

“They don’t realise the implications of not being in work, because it’s difficult to get back into work when you’ve had a prolonged break.  

“There are tons of jobs out there, but I believe there is a shortage of candidates.” 

Recruiting for many roles via recruitment sites, James said he searches for professionals by filtering when they were last active online, so that he knows they’re currently searching for work.  

Traits James searches for in potential employees include competence, how they will fit in, their work ethic and "how they come across". 

“A presentable appearance is also key as first impressions are gaged within the first 20 seconds.” 

James said Interaction pays in an “ethical way” using a PAYE structure, which he says is “fair”.  

He added: “We try to get the best rate for our employees and we ensure they are not undercut in any way.”  

What do people think about the current job market?  

Myles

Busker Myles Crossley, 25. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Myles Crossley, 25, is a busker who often performs in South Street, Romford. 

On the topic of looking for jobs, he encouraged budding musicians to create their own opportunities by “getting on the streets” and giving busking a try. 

He said: “I get a lot of people who ask me about busking and they want to try but are scared.

"In a perfect world it would be great to have an open space where young people can come forward and jam out or get experience with professional street performers equipment.”  

Zidan

Accountant Zidan Saadman, 24. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Zidan Saadman, 24, works in accountancy and managed to find a job within one month of searching. 

He said: “I think enough is being done to help people find jobs, if you know where to look there’s a lot of opportunities.  

“It’s all online now and I managed to find my job within one month after being in the UK for eight months.”   

Zidan recommended job seekers look on Job Today, where he found his role. 

He added: “There is a huge advantage to using job apps because there’s so many jobs available and you can apply to ten jobs within ten minutes.”  

Natasha

Natasha Khan, 28. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Natasha Khan, 28, works an online sales job and believes there are “enough jobs out there if you look”.  

She said: “Whenever I look for a job I keep my options open because you can’t be too fussy.”  

Offering tips for job seekers, she advised: “When you stay out of work for so long employers worry you have lost your touch, so it’s important to stay in working, even if it’s a voluntary job which allows you to gain experience.”   

Statistics show job vacancies hit 'record high'

According to a report released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on December 14 last year, in November 2021 there were 29.4 million payrolled employees in the UK.  

This number is up 257,000 on the revised October 2021 level and up 424,000 on pre-coronavirus February 2020 level

It said job vacancies over September to November 2021 saw a rise to a “new record” of 1,219,000, which is an increase of 434,500 from pre-Covid over January to March 2020.  

Further data highlighted in the reports showed the number of part-time workers “decreased strongly” during the pandemic, but has been increasing since April to June 2021.  

The pandemic saw young people, aged 16 to 24 years old, hit hard with unemployment increasing.  

Simon Winfield is managing director of Hays UK and Ireland, a recruitment company with an agency in Romford.

He said in the current market, despite Covid-19 restrictions, professionals “remain in the driving seat if they are thinking about moving jobs”.  

When thinking about a new job, candidates should consider “what really matters to you in a career", he advised.

"Whether that’s work-life balance, colleagues, organisational purpose, training or career development, making smart choices for the long term will be critical if you want to thrive in a rapidly evolving jobs market,” he said.