Recruitment Round-Up. THE BRUTAL TRUTH #11

Recruitment Round-Up. THE BRUTAL TRUTH #11.

by Howard Greenwood, 29th September 2023

Welcome to another Brutal Truth. Over the last two weeks, we have been working with numerous recruitment agencies and trade bodies, such as the REC and the TEAM Network, and one of the reoccurring topics has been candidate attraction and how to educate clients and consultants on this.

Another topic has been authenticity and its importance when building a business and selling services to clients so we will be interested in your views.

We have also reviewed the State of the Nation from a recruitment point of view by looking at the National Office of Statistics August Jobs Report and breaking it down for you.

All Jump Advisory Group hope you enjoy our newsletter.  

The Talent Tug of War: Large Firms vs. Small Firms. Who is Educating Who?

In the ever-evolving landscape of recruitment, one recurring debate continues to captivate the attention of both employers and job seekers: Do large firms have a better chance of attracting and retaining employees than small firms? This question carries significant implications for recruitment companies, as understanding the factors at play can help tailor strategies to meet the unique needs of different businesses. This article delves into the advantages and challenges both large and small firms face in attracting and retaining talent.

We should educate our consultants and clients on how to win the tug of war, but do we?

The Battle for Talent

Attracting Talent:

Large Firms:

Large corporations often enjoy a competitive edge when it comes to attracting talent. They can offer higher salaries, comprehensive benefits packages, and greater job security. According to a survey by Glassdoor, larger companies typically pay 13.4% more than smaller companies for the same job position, which can be a strong incentive for job seekers.


  1. Glassdoor Economic Research, “What’s the Gender Pay Gap in the United States?”

Small Firms:

Smaller firms, on the other hand, may need more financial resources to match the salary offerings of their larger counterparts. However, they can compensate by emphasising attractive aspects such as a close-knit company culture, more direct career growth opportunities, and a stronger sense of purpose.

Retaining Talent:

Large Firms:

While large firms often excel at attracting talent, retaining it can be a different challenge altogether. The bureaucracy and hierarchy prevalent in larger organisations can sometimes stifle creativity and innovation, leading employees to seek smaller, more dynamic workplaces.


  1. Harvard Business Review, “The Large, Lumpy Company Syndrome”

Small Firms:

Smaller firms have a unique advantage in retaining talent because they give employees a sense of ownership and directly impact the company’s success. Employees at smaller firms are more likely to feel valued and integral to the organisation’s growth.

Finding the Right Fit

When it comes to attracting and retaining talent, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The key is for recruitment companies to help employers identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop tailored strategies.

For Large Firms:

  • Emphasise the organisation’s stability and competitive compensation packages during the recruitment process.
  • Highlight opportunities for career growth within the company.
  • Implement initiatives to foster employees’ sense of belonging and purpose to improve retention.

For Small Firms:

  • Showcase the unique company culture and the potential for employees to have a significant impact.
  • Focus on personalised career development plans and mentorship opportunities.
  • Highlight smaller firms’ flexibility and agility, which can appeal to particular candidates.

Educating Clients:

1. Understanding the Competitive Landscape:

  • Large Firms: Clients from large firms should be made aware of the fierce competition for top talent. Educate them on the need to offer attractive compensation packages and emphasise their unique selling points to stand out. You should have enough DATA or have access to DATA sources to do this.
  • Small Firms: Clients should understand the importance of highlighting their company culture, offering opportunities for career growth, and creating an appealing narrative to attract candidates. Can you highlight the differences enough for a candidate to make the difference?

2. Tailored Talent Acquisition Strategies:

  • Large Firms: Advise large firms to streamline their recruitment processes, ensuring they are responsive and efficient to secure top talent before competitors. Dare you, are you, can you?
  • Small Firms: Encourage small firms to invest in personalised recruitment strategies focusing on cultural fit and individual career development paths. Do you have alternative recruitment strategies, or are you churning out the industry norm with no thought of value and always competing on price?

3. Employee Retention Initiatives:

  • Large Firms: Educate large firms about the significance of employee engagement, innovation, and inclusivity to retain talent. Encourage the creation of mentorship programs and avenues for creative expression. Do you know your market well enough to know who does what?
  • Small Firms: Emphasise the value of maintaining a close-knit company culture, fostering a sense of ownership among employees, and providing a clear career growth trajectory. What are your client’s retention levels compared to others?

Educating Recruiters:

1. Understanding Client Needs:

  • Train recruiters to actively listen and understand clients’ specific needs and challenges, whether they are large or small firms.
  • Encourage recruiters to ask probing questions to uncover the unique selling points of each client. You can use these to build a better recruitment solution. Stop selling the same solution to all.

2. Customised Candidate Sourcing:

  • Teach recruiters to tailor their candidate search to match the requirements of each client. This includes considering not only skills and qualifications but also cultural fit and career aspirations.
  • Provide ongoing training in sourcing and interview techniques to ensure recruiters can find candidates that align with the client’s needs.

3. Building Long-Term Relationships:

  • Stress the importance of building strong, long-term relationships with both clients and candidates. This involves regular communication, feedback, and maintaining a network of talent. Do you know your client’s talent pipeline needs, or do you have your eyes down, only looking at today and not the future?
  • Educate recruiters on the value of understanding the evolving needs of clients and candidates to adapt their strategies accordingly.

Large and small firms have advantages and challenges in the tug-of-war for talent. Large firms may attract candidates with higher salaries and greater job security, but they must work diligently to retain employees who seek a more dynamic and innovative environment. Small firms may offer different financial perks but can attract and retain talent by emphasising their unique company culture and direct impact on the organisation’s success.

Recruitment companies can play a crucial role in helping businesses of all sizes understand their strengths and weaknesses in the talent acquisition and retention game. By tailoring their strategies to match the needs and aspirations of job seekers, they can ensure a win-win scenario for employers and employees in the ever-competitive job market.

In the talent acquisition and retention tug-of-war, education becomes the key weapon in the arsenal of both clients and recruiters. By educating clients on industry trends, tailored strategies, and employee retention, recruitment companies can effectively empower them to navigate the competitive landscape. Likewise, educating recruiters on client needs, customised sourcing, and relationship building equips them with the skills to deliver outstanding results.

Ultimately, winning the talent tug-of-war is not just about attracting and retaining employees; it’s about creating a harmonious partnership between clients and recruiters. Through education, both parties can work together to achieve their goals, ensuring that the best talent finds its way to the most fitting organisations, regardless of size or stature.

Will Trying to Be Authentic Make a Fool Out of Me?

Pursuing authenticity can often seem daunting in a world filled with filters, facades, and social expectations. Many of us find ourselves grappling with the fear that trying to be authentic might result in making a fool out of ourselves. This fear is not unfounded, as our society often places a premium on conformity and fitting in. However, the paradox lies in genuine authenticity, often requiring breaking free from these constraints.

Authenticity, in its essence, is about being true to oneself. It involves embracing your unique qualities, quirks, and idiosyncrasies without fear of judgment or ridicule. But here’s the catch: when you choose to be authentic, you essentially relinquish control over how others perceive you, which can feel risky.

So, does trying to be authentic make a fool out of you? The answer is not a straightforward one, as it depends on various factors:

  1. Society’s Expectations: Society often expects us to conform to certain norms and standards. Some people may label you unconventional or eccentric when you deviate from these expectations. However, it’s important to remember that societal norms are ever-evolving, and pioneers of authenticity have often shaped these norms through their courage to be different.
  2. Your Perception: The fear of making a fool out of oneself often arises from our own self-criticism. We tend to be our harshest critics and fear judgment from others because we already judge ourselves. Working on self-acceptance and self-compassion is crucial, recognising that being authentic means embracing your imperfections.
  3. Genuine Connections: Authenticity can be a magnet for genuine connections. When you are true to yourself, you attract people who appreciate and resonate with your authenticity. While you might not please everyone, the relationships you build will likely be more meaningful and authentic themselves.
  4. Growth and Learning: Sometimes, being authentic means stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks. These experiences, even if they result in feeling foolish, can be incredible opportunities for personal growth and learning. Mistakes and setbacks are part of the journey towards authenticity.
  5. Changing Perspectives: What might initially seem foolish to others can later be perceived as courageous and inspiring. Think of artists, inventors, and innovators who were often considered eccentric in their time but are now celebrated for their authenticity and contributions to society.

In conclusion, trying to be authentic may lead to moments where you feel like a fool in the eyes of some, but it’s important to remember that this is a natural part of the process. Authenticity is not about seeking approval or avoiding judgment; it’s about living in alignment with your true self. In the long run, those who dared to be authentic have often left a lasting impact on the world and inspired others to do the same. So, don’t let the fear of making a fool out of yourself hold you back from being authentic – embrace your uniqueness, and you might discover a more fulfilling and genuine way of living.

How many people in recruitment claim to be authentic when, in reality, they are a Chameleon trying to align themselves with anyone and everyone and, in the long run, align themselves with no one? Is this one of the main reasons clients see us as suspects, not prospects, and purely negotiate on price, as they cannot perceive our value and values?

The State of the Market According to the Office of National Statistics

In the second quarter of 2023, the UK employment rate was estimated at 75.7%, a marginal decrease of 0.1 percentage points compared to the year’s first quarter. A decline in the number of full-time employees and self-employed workers primarily drove this dip in employment.

For July 2023, the estimate of payrolled employees exhibited a notable monthly increase, rising by 97,000 compared to the revised figure for June 2023, reaching 30.2 million. It’s important to note that the July 2023 estimate should be treated as provisional, with potential revisions pending as more data becomes available in the subsequent month.

From April to June 2023, the unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points, settling at 4.2%. This upturn in unemployment can be attributed to individuals without employment for up to 6 months.

Conversely, the economic inactivity rate experienced a slight decrease of 0.1 percentage points during the same quarter, reaching a rate of 20.9% in April to June 2023. This decline in economic inactivity was primarily fueled by a reduction in individuals who were inactive due to family or home responsibilities. However, it’s noteworthy that there was an increase in those inactive due to long-term sickness, reaching a record high.

Analysing flows estimates, the period from January to March 2023 to April to June 2023 saw a substantial net movement from economic inactivity into unemployment, indicating shifts in the labour force dynamics.

From May to July 2023, the estimated number of job vacancies fell by 66,000 compared to the previous quarter, marking the 13th consecutive quarterly decline in vacancy numbers.

Annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was robust at 7.8% from April to June 2023, representing the highest annual growth rate recorded since comparable records began in 2001. Meanwhile, annual growth in employees’ average total pay (including bonuses) stood at 8.2%. Considering that this total growth rate was influenced by one-off bonus payments made in the healthcare sector in June 2023 is important. Adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Prices Index, including owner occupier’s housing costs (CPIH), annual growth for total and regular pay increased on the year, with total pay seeing a 0.5% growth and regular pay rising by 0.1%.

Additionally, there were 160,000 working days lost due to labour disputes in June 2023, with over half of these days lost occurring within the Health and Social Work sector.

The Key Stats

Payrolled employees

The number of payrolled employees

Monthly change: ▲ 97,000

Since Feb 2020: ▲1,211,000

The number of payrolled employees is now well above pre-pandemic levels.

Hours worked

Total actual weekly hours worked

Quarterly change: ▼-5.6 million

Since Dec-Feb 2020: ▼-5.8 million

Total actual weekly hours worked decreased in the quarter.

Job vacancies

Number of job vacancies

Quarterly change: ▼-66,000

Since Jan-Mar 2020: ▲219,000

Vacancies decreased in the quarter but are above pre-pandemic levels.

We would love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to leave a comment. 

All the data is saying that green shoots are starting to appear. However, we are a long way from the highs of 2022, but when the market is challenging, it is about what you do; there is no place for compliancy or moaning about the things you cannot affect. 

Irrespective of the state of the market, for those who adapt and do so quickly, there are rewards to be had. 

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