Job Market Review: January 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 regional and sector labour market performance.

January 2023 snapshot

  • 222,016 adverts were posted on in January, up by 53% compared to December. Applications were up 74% MoM and 22% YoY
  • Following the anticipated decrease in activity in December, January saw a surge in vacancies. Jobs posted in Hospitality & Catering were up 92% MoM and 3% YoY, showing signs of market recovery. Sales vacancies were also up 87% MoM
  • Hospitality & Catering jobs experienced a significant increase in applications, up 98% compared to December. Other sectors which experienced an increase in applications MoM included IT (81%), Health & Social Care (76%), and Administration (75%)
  • The number of active applicants on were up by 67% MoM and candidates who registered their CV as searchable were up by 25% YoY

A new year’s reset

While ‘new year, new me’ may be an overused cliche, there’s truth in people seeing the new year as a fresh start. January is an opportunity to set goals, reconsider priorities and tackle life with reignited energy and enthusiasm. Businesses are ready to put strategic plans into action and employees are committing to resolutions that help move their careers in the right direction. 

As 2022 drew to a close, we saw an anticipated, seasonal decline in the number of jobs posted and applications made – however, the UK jobs market bounced back in January. The number of jobs posted grew for every sector compared to the previous month with the most notable month-on-month increases in Hospitality & Catering (92%), Sales (87%), and Administration (66%). The number of applications made on was also up 74% compared to December. 

While our data demonstrates that the ongoing economic uncertainty is unlikely to affect the jobs market – at least for now – we can’t ignore the effect that it is having on workers’ pay. Despite wages growing at their fastest pace for over 20 years, they aren’t keeping up with the reported 9.2% inflation rate. data shows that the average increase in salaries since January 2022 is only 7%, and further research shows that the majority of people who have benefited from above-inflation pay boosts are senior leaders. People are feeling the pinch and are trying to spend less where they can. But for some, the efforts don’t stop there. In a recent survey, one-in-ten (more than 4 million) UK workers admitted that they are considering taking on a second job this year to make ends meet. 

Is it still a candidate’s world?

All recruiters have felt the ongoing struggles of the candidate-led market that has thrown a spanner in the talent acquisition works, but the tides may be starting to change. In January, the number of active applicants on was up 67% MoM which shows increased jobseeker appetite. Interestingly, compared to January 2022, we saw a 25% uplift in the number of candidates that registered their CV as searchable on our CV database meaning that they are open to opportunities and want to hear from recruiters. 

If this wasn’t enough to demonstrate that candidates aren’t as closed off to new opportunities as they were this time last year, our latest research into jobseeker motivations revealed that 71% of UK workers will look for a new job this year.

Yet, it’s important to note that the jobs market isn’t solely dictated by candidates’ willingness to look for work or change jobs, there also needs to be jobs out there for the taking. Businesses are still looking to hire, but are perhaps being more cautious amidst the news of a potential four-quarter recession.

Signs that the post-Covid jobs boom has come to an end is demonstrated by the 17% decrease YoY in jobs posted on and is further highlighted by the endless news of mass layoffs. While not all companies are blaming the redundancies on current economic circumstances, they are bound to be a contributing factor to their more conservative spending. Just this month, Amazon announced the closure of three warehouses, British Steel is considering company-wide job cuts, and the Tech sector is making some serious changes to its staffing. 

Brighter times ahead for Hospitality & Catering

The Hospitality & Catering sector has been crying out for staff for months after suffering the hits of Brexit and Covid-19, but it appears that the tough time for the industry may be coming to an end. Applications were up 98% compared to December 2022 and were also up 41% compared to this time last year – the second largest YoY increase in applications for any sector. While it is still early days, these are positive statistics for the recovery of the sector. 

The inability to recruit enough staff has caused a strain on the industry for a while so, this uptake in applications is likely to be relieving news. As we previously mentioned, 16% of UK workers are considering taking on a second job due to the current cost-of-living crisis, and while this is a sad reality, a flexible job outside of the regular 9-5 (such as catering), could be a suitable option. 

On top of this, the industry continues to lean on student workers to fill their roles so the news of talks to extend the working hour limit from 20 to 30 hours a week for foreign students could alleviate more stress for the industry.

Health & Social Care increases activity

It’s been a turbulent time for the Health & Social Care sector with talks of unfair pay, poor working conditions, and industrial action taking over the headlines. The repercussions of the strikes are causing unfortunate and potentially health-threatening problems for the UK population with over 88,000 appointments being cancelled over the next 7 weeks due to the disruptions. 

Once again, our data doesn’t show a bleak story for this sector, especially for private care companies. When we consider that our job market data does not account for NHS roles, we can decipher that the 36% increase in Health & Social Care applications compared to January 2022 are for private sector roles. Not only are more and more patients turning to private care to skip the long wait times and subpar treatment, but more healthcare workers are looking for alternative employment to solve their current pay conditions. Private does not necessarily mean superior when it comes to healthcare in the UK, with many companies prioritising profits over patients, but with shrinking wages and worsening conditions, healthcare workers are left with no choice but to consider leaving the NHS

There is still hope for the Technology sector

The Technology sector has been put on a pedestal for years and has managed to attract intelligent and innovative talent through its lucrative pay packages and generous perks such as in-house laundry and free lifts home. However, as of late, the sector hasn’t been receiving good press as they have continually announced layoffs. 

The uncertainty of the sector is mirrored in our data which shows a 19% drop in IT jobs posted compared to January 2022. While Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, held his hands up and admitted that he misread the market and overhired during the pandemic, other companies are claiming they are simply trying to reduce costs and direct talent to their highest priorities

There is still hope for the sector and its talent in 2023. Not only are investment firms eyeing up new opportunities, but the former employees of well-known companies such as Google, Meta, and Amazon are looking to bring their innovations, like ChatGTP, to the market. And, those with coding and computer skills shouldn’t fear. There is still a high demand for valuable skills like Cloud Computing, Rust, and Python from smaller tech companies and start-ups. 

Looking ahead …

Last year we saw signs of the start of an unconventional recession and we will continue to see and feel the effects throughout 2023. Although news of a potential recession hasn’t had a detrimental effect on the redundancy or unemployment rate, the ONS reports that people will continue to struggle and have diminished spending power throughout 2023. It will be interesting to observe how employees react to these changes. Only time will tell whether the market will see less candidate movement as many prioritise job security, or if people choose to move in search of better salaries. 

Many recruiters can sympathise with the challenge of the ongoing candidate and skills shortage, but 2023 could be the year where all of that changes. In Sunak’s New Year’s Pledges, he vowed to get 100,00s of Britons back to work by reducing the burden of tax on workers as soon as possible. On top of this, we may see businesses being more lenient with their requirements and candidate must-haves in order to help fill open roles. The Santander Group is paving the way by removing the 2.1 requirement for their graduate scheme – not only does this open the door to a wider talent pool, but it will help to improve the socio-economic diversity of their recruits. 

As strikes continue to take their toll and cause intentional disruption, we will be keeping a close eye on how the government reacts throughout 2023 and what actions are put in place to improve pay and working conditions. February will see teachers and transport staff strike, and it’ll also be the backdrop to nurses and ambulance staff striking on the same day for the first time.