Why is it so difficult to fill job vacancies right now?

It’s hard to predict anything in this post-pandemic world. We’ve learnt to expect the unexpected – however some things truly do take you by surprise. The most recent turn of events? A huge job market, but less applicants than ever. It’s a vast comparison to this time last year where there were few jobs available, yet the past few months have given companies the opportunity to reassess their structures – meaning there’s more new and exciting jobs available than there’s been in a long time. However (and rather surprisingly), there’s a limited amount of people going for each role, leaving vacancies unfilled for a long period of time, and sometimes having to even re-advertise the job. What are the main reasons for that? 

Firstly, during a tumultuous, unpredictable time filled with uncertainty, workers are reticent to the possibility of moving roles. In a period where redundancies were rife, it’s understandable that some people wouldn’t want to move jobs right away, instead sticking with their safe roles and much-needed job security. 

On the flip side, many people have already changed their jobs throughout the pandemic. Be it time spent on furlough, searching for a new challenge, as a result of a redundancy from a previous role, or simply just because they felt like moving onto something else. Is the mass change an exodus too recent for people to consider yet another move?

However, this isn’t just a situation that’s on the side of the applicant. As companies expand and look to fill new roles, the more particular the job, it’s harder to find an exact skills match. This selective recruiting can leave positions unfilled for extended periods of time, but also meaning good candidates earlier in the process could have been unfairly overlooked. By also making the process a long ongoing one, a packed job market could mean better applicants find another role during that time.

As we return to normality (and today being the famous Freedom Day), many will have their eyes on the world of work, and what the opening up of society means in relation to going back to the office. It’s fair to say that most would prefer some levels of flexibility, and a hybrid way of working that we’ve got used to over the past year and a half. Companies need to take into consideration that in this new world, the less flexibility, the less attractive the role is. In these times, there’s so much more that makes a position attractive than its name or total salary, and that’s what makes the future of the employment market an extremely interesting place.