2013 started off slowly but has been gathering momentum with pockets of hiring across industry and commerce. Notable areas of recruitment activity include the IT, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, FMCG and media sectors. There appears to be an increased focus on direct hiring, particularly in areas where margins are traditionally low, such as outsourcing. Whether or not this approach is sustainable when market conditions improve remains to be seen; lawyers have a highly specialised skillset and when there are more opportunities on the market, it will become much harder to identify top talent quickly and effectively.
While the market has been tough, great candidates are still a highly valued commodity, perhaps more so than in a buoyant market. Given the risks associated with moving jobs, companies are having to exceed the traditional market rate in order to entice good people to join them. The outlook for the next six months is one of cautious optimism; more teams are growing and there has been a marked increase in the number of first time hires.