2022: A Year In Review

From rising costs and (multiple) changes in government over the course of 2022, the UK has been experiencing huge amounts of change; and businesses have needed to be quick to adapt. 

The requirement for quality talent, however, has remained a constant. PRS has taken on a whopping 4,246 job vacancies over the last six months alone. 

The effects of the pandemic are still felt across the UK and candidate shortages are still an issue, particularly in hard services, such as engineering. The struggle to find quality talent could be attributed to the fact that migrant labour has not returned, so whilst many industries are experiencing rapid growth, the ability to find the skills to keep up is lacking. 

Organisations are fighting this battle for talent by investing in contract workers – staff that are brought in on a self-employed basis. Using the engineering industry as an example, technical temps are up by 9%, with around 1 in 20 jobs being filled by contract workers. In Q4 of 2022, PRS experienced a 50% uplift in contract work and currently have 1,300 contractors in placements. We’re excited to see this number reach 1,500 by Christmas! 

The growth that our economy is experiencing shouldn’t be negatively overshadowed by this need for talent. It is positive, and wonderful news for the UK economy. A great example is the exponential growth of the hospitality industry – a sector that was hit hardest by the pandemic. This time last year, PRS didn’t have a hospitality sector and, due to the level of growth in the industry, we launched a whole department dedicated to this sector earlier this year. 

Our growth has also been fuelled by other new sectors. Data Centres will remain a growth sector in 2023, as well as energy and the US. 

PRS has also experienced a noticeable 16% uplift in our average fee, but it’s important to note that this is not down to an increase in our fees. While the fee percentage we charge clients has remained the same over the course of 2022, employers’ salary increases in the war to win talent and keep up with the cost-of-living crisis has had a knock-on increase to their costs.  

To summarise, huge and exciting growth is being felt by all industries across the UK. Businesses are sensibly combatting their need for talent by hiring reliable contract workers and offering competitive salaries and benefits that will attract and retain high quality permanent staff. 

It’s a wrap

When we look at PRS’s own growth over the course of 2022, we can’t help but feel proud of what we’ve achieved. 

Beyond launching new sectors and experiencing growth in our client base, internally, we haven’t said goodbye to one member of staff over the course of the last 12 months who has chosen to leave PRS of their own accord. This really demonstrates to us that the culture we’ve created is one that nurtures our teams and ensures their development and well-being is looked after. 

From a candidate perspective, the main reasons people are looking to change employers vary from salary and opportunities to develop, to job stability, to business sustainability efforts. Culture is also a leading factor, with many people having higher expectations; particularly where staff retainability rates are concerned. In the current market, candidates have the upper hand. Employers need to recognise that better environments are needed in order to attract and retain the best talent. 

In November, we held our Client Christmas party for the first time in two years, which was positively received by our clients who said it was ‘the reunion of the year’. Half of those who attended are new and emerging customers who have gone into management; the other half are people who we have built relationships with for over 20 years. The party allowed us the opportunity to catch up with many of our much-loved clients and, in turn, was a huge networking opportunity for clients to meet and greet or spend some time with people they haven’t seen in years – they didn’t just come for the free bar!

The commitment from our clients to hire is far more prevalent this year, with the pendulum swinging in our favour. And we don’t just find the talent – we consult. A good example is one of our newer clients who was not only experiencing trouble attracting talent, but when they did, candidates were dropping out before the final stage.

Through peer-to-peer conversations and consultancy, we were able to identify that the business had too many stages in their interview process. Together we honed down their interview process and were able to send 360 people through the door. A fantastic achievement for the PRS team and a great result for our client.

Looking toward 2023

Here’s a brief overview of PRS’s predictions for 2023:

  • People will not take as many risks jumping into insecure roles – not for insignificant salary increases. Candidates are more risk aware, and employers will need to do more to pacify this concern. Where a salary increase of £1-2,000 used to be enough, 10 times that amount is now needed in order to convince a candidate to take the risk of ‘last in, first out’. 
  • Data Centres will continue to experience huge growth, but candidates are falling short of the requirements needed to work in this specialist sector. We’ve consulted with clients on uplifting skills of existing talent and investing in emerging talent, which has provided an opportunity to tackle the skills shortage.
  • In the US, facilities management alongside construction as verticals running out of our Houston, Texas location, will continue to thrive. Our US office had record breaking months in Q3 and Q4 of 2022, and we are proud to now have positioned ourselves as firmly established specialists in the USA, providing marketing and talent mapping as a broader service to contingent recruitment.

Our conclusion

The UK forecast for 2023 is, of course, in the back of our minds, but we have seen no slowdown in salaries or job opportunities. Our intention is to continue growing, adding to our existing services and encouraging our new Managing Partners to work on their own plans to grow their business units – as well as some exciting ideas for new growth verticals!

PRS is currently scouting for new locations, particularly in the North and across Europe; and we’ll be giving our Managing Partners complete autonomy. We’re looking forward to our strategy day in January which will further support their own professional development and growth ambitions.

Get in touch with PRS about our broad range of recruitment services

There are exciting times ahead for PRS and we can’t wait for you to be a part of it.

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