It’s a jobseeker's market!

French companies hired over 308,000 mid-to-senior level staff in 2022. To attract the best talent, they were obliged to revise downward their criteria and improve salary and benefits – the very opposite of what they would want to do. While this is obviously a boon for job-seekers, today’s job market is not exactly an employment El Dorado.

Posted jeudi, juillet 13 2023
It’s a jobseeker's market!

Difficulties in recruiting persist. Worse still, they are even more extensive than they were pre-pandemic. This is a major headache for companies, of course, but from the jobseeker’s perspective the deck is stacked in their favor, so now is as good a time as any to sit down at the card-table and try your luck.

According to French management confederation Apec, 64% of companies with more than ten staff members who hired a high-level employee in the past year were obliged to offer a salary higher than had initially been advertised for the position (as against 55% in 2021). “Big companies, which have more room for maneuver when it comes to sweetening the pot, resorted to this approach in 2022 (76%),” stated Apec.

What’s more, around half of all hirers revised downwards their requirements in terms of technical skills and experience, a fact that has allowed younger candidates to access more senior posts than their profile would typically permit, notably in critical sectors such as IT and engineering research and development. In addition, only 30% hired a candidate with the desired level of experience and qualifications.

As regards the perks dangled before candidates, “remote work is a thorny subject,” with less companies in 2022 prepared to budge from their stated position on the number of days staff are allowed to work from home.

Management-level jobseekers are in a great position to negotiate at present, and don’t hesitate to do so

Even if they are not bending over backwards for potential new employees, because of the difficult job market, recruiters are willing to go to greater lengths than normal to get their guy. In 2022, companies recruited some 308,000 experienced staff, passing the symbolic 300,000 milestone. And there is no reason to believe that 2023 won't see similar figures registered.

“Companies are going to continue to have to adapt their approach to sourcing and selecting candidates, notably when it comes to their initial criteria,” predicts Apec.

Almost full employment
This recruitment dynamic is taking place amid the backdrop of almost full employment, in a country where for most of the past decade and a half the jobless rate has hovered at around 10%. “With a rate of unemployment at 4.1% for management-level employees in the private sector, this segment of workers are less fearful of the prospect of suffering a long period out of work,” asserted Gilles Gateau, the managing director of Apec, when the corresponding report was issued in January.

Nevertheless, of those management-level jobseekers that landed a job in 2022 “only” 35% found a position that exactly corresponded to what they were looking. So it would seem that adaptability is still the name of the game for the majority of job-seekers too.

What’s more, if you look beyond the “full-employment” headline, you find that, when it comes to managers in work, more women than men are currently looking for a job (45% against 37%), and for under 35s vs over 35s, the ratio is 32% to 27%.

While, overall, management-level jobseekers are in a more advantageous position, some are still struggling to land a job that corresponds to their requirements, yet once they have found a job, they are in a great position to negotiate, and don’t hesitate to do so.