Job Market Review: April 2023’s monthly Job Market Review gives recruiters and businesses fresh insights into what happened in the jobs market last month – including candidate insights and labour market performance. 

April 2023 snapshot

  • 175,855 jobs were posted on in April, down 21% compared to March. Applications were down 15% month-on-month (MoM)
  • The market showed some signs of cooling down, with the number of jobs posted down MoM across Hospitality & Catering (8%), Sales (12%), and IT (17%). However, Education job vacancies were by 10% year-on-year (YoY)
  • Despite the number of jobs posted falling, applications remained strong – up 30% compared to April 2022 
  • The number of candidates that made their CV searchable was up for the fourth consecutive month – rising to 56% 

The UK has dodged a financial bullet, but unemployment is on the rise

Following Jeremy Hunt’s mid-March statement, in which he made the claims about a recession swerve, some economists further predict marginal growth for the UK in 2023. Although the economy won’t see much growth in the short term, they forecast that it will rise again later in the year. 

Over the past two years, the cost of living has increased by a staggering 17.2%, so the predicted climb down will be warmly welcome. It is, however, a mixed bag and, naturally, never simple. The decline, if it comes, is still not predicted to be anywhere close to the Bank of England target of 2% and does not guarantee a drop in prices for consumers.

The jobs market saw an unexpected increase in the unemployment rate, from 3.7% to 3.8% in the three months to February – but the rate remains close to historic lows. This is a stark difference to previous times of economic uncertainty when unemployment rates were hitting double digits. The marginal increase is undoubtedly linked to inflation and salary as some companies have looked to cut costs and lower headcounts, where possible. But, thankfully, we are nowhere near the challenges of the 2008 recession.

The job market is cooling down

With many businesses entering a new financial year, some are proceeding cautiously. As a result, some companies are trying to hold out on hiring to see how the economy plays out, but that tactic can’t last forever. 

We’ve seen this across the board with the number of jobs posted down for every industry month-on-month (MoM). On the flip side, the number of applications made was up year-on-year (YoY) for every industry aside from Transport & Logistics – but given the increased demand for workers in this industry in 2022, we can take this as something of an anomaly. 

Overall, 30% more applications were made in April 2023 compared to the previous year. And in more good news for recruiters, not only has the average number of applications per job increased for the fifth consecutive month – but the number of candidates who made their CV searchable on’s CV database, rose to 56% – the highest it’s been this year. 

Passive candidates are the new focus for recruiters 

Firstly – what is a passive candidate? 

Essentially, these are the people who are open to hearing about new opportunities but are not actively updating their CV, speaking to recruiters, or searching for roles on With 63% of UK hiring managers predicting that the market will continue to be candidate-led*, employers need to be more strategic to attract the talent they need – and hope that the bait is enticing enough to draw candidates in. 

However, in a tougher financial landscape like the one we are currently in, employees are being much more cautious with their decision-making. In a recent survey**, we found that only 25% of people are considering leaving their role this year. Those who aren’t looking to move are doing so because they’re happy in their roles (64%), they value the job security they have (37%), and they value the workplace benefits they receive (35%). 

But, there is great merit in investing in these passive candidates. A more proactive approach allows recruiters and hiring managers to deeply qualify their candidates first, ensuring they have the qualities and skillsets required for the roles they’re recruiting for. Time is saved or better used by not having to wade through unqualified applicants. There’s also the potential to fill critical roles more quickly with a more targeted approach. And by hiring more efficiently, the scope to build better relationships with candidates and clients with a high-quality, well-researched, and dedicated service, and will only positively serve recruiters.

The results are in – The UK’s Gender Pay Gap

Following the annual Gender Pay Gap reporting in April, it came to light that the UK still has much work to do. In fact, the gap remains at 9.4% – the same as it was in 2017 – 2018 when companies were first legally required to share their pay gap. 

An analysis carried out by The Guardian found that the public sector has seen the biggest contrast, with a gap of 15.1%, compared to 8% in the private sector. On top of this, the analysis found that women are being paid less than men at four out of five employers in Great Britain.

While many employers already publish action plans detailing the steps they will take to improve gender equality in the workplace, The Fawcett Society, an organisation that campaigns for gender equality,  wants this to be legally mandated by the government. But the gender pay gap isn’t the only pay gap in today’s society, the ethnicity pay gap is also a huge obstacle to workplace equality – and one that deserves greater attention and reporting.

Looking ahead…

Every month, the Office for National Statistics releases its findings with the Labour Market Overview. With the changes we are seeing and promises made within the budget statement, the May 2023 Labour Market Overview should make for interesting reading. On top of that, we’ll be keeping an eye on the Bloomberg Reed Jobs Report which suggests that wages are starting to catch up with inflation. At such a pivotal time of year for businesses, and in a new financial year laced with hope from the Chancellor, as we’ve said, May’s labour market findings will help to deliver a picture of our economy’s performance and how it responds to government intervention.

Elsewhere, but arguably related, strike action is looking set to continue. While the education sector waits to learn if their recent action has been successful or if more is needed, further strikes are planned for the transport sector in May. With closures and delays expected across Britain and affecting big events such as the Eurovision Song Contest being held in Liverpool and the FA Cup Final, the transport sector and those affected will be willing those in power to come to an agreement to suit all.

*This online survey was conducted by Atomik Research and consisted of 251 UK hiring managers. This survey took place between the 6 – 9 February 2023. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides by the MRS code.

**This online survey was conducted by Atomik Research and consisted of 2,000 adults in the UK. This survey took place between the 6 – 9 February 2023. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides by the MRS code.