In 2020 we launched two communities (CREO and FORT) to help sectors hard hit by the pandemic and lockdown. We saw membership of both snowball over the year, as professionals in those industries (events, communications, marketing and digital) struggled to react to the cancellations, closures, furlough and redundancies that felt like they happened overnight.

So far, we’ve seen around 2000 people in those two communities generously providing practical and personal support to each other. We’re thrilled now that there seems to be some good news on the horizon for the economy in general and the jobs market in particular. Here are seven signs we’ve noticed recently that things are picking up:

  1. The Bank of England predicted at the beginning of May that Britain's economy would grow by the most since World War Two (forecast raised to 7.25% from February's estimate of 5.0%).

2. The Office for National Statistics January to March 2021 figures estimate a quarterly decrease in the unemployment rate - the largest quarterly decrease in six years. The BBC reports further that “in the February-to-April period there were 657,000 vacancies, up about 48,400 on the previous quarter

3. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation concurs in its May Jobs Recovery Tracker, noting 181,000 new job adverts posted in the first week of May, equalling a total of 1.53 million active job adverts in the UK. It says this follows a record high of 211,000 new job postings in the final week of April.

4. The CIPD Labour Market Outlook survey says employment confidence has continued its upward surge this quarter, and employment intentions are now at their highest since 2013. At the same time, redundancy intentions continue to fall. Just over a tenth (12%) of employers expect to make job cuts in the next three months, down from 20% last quarter and dipping below pre-pandemic levels.

5. The Association of Professional Staffing Companies announced in its April Recruitment Trends Snapshot report that permanent vacancies were up 90% year on year, with successful placements up 82% year on year.

6. Individual recruitment agencies report similar trends: Tiger, which recruits internationally across finance and investments, private equity, legal, industrial and creative, says it’s working on the highest number of live jobs since the pandemic began and several recruiters told the Evening Standard about increasing vacancies in cybersecurity, finance, engineering and PR.

7. Activity in two Guild groups, FORT and CREO, has decreased or changed direction (while group members continue to share scores of job vacancies with each other). And we think it’s a good omen for the sectors they support. Members say they’ve noticed a pick up in the types and number of roles just in the last month or so. Adil Jaouhari, FORT community member and PR and marketing communications manager at Enterprise DB, says: "I'm noticing more detail in recruitment adverts - it feels like employers are more confident and also more aware that competition is rising, which is fantastic news for those looking for work."

After a tough year for many organisations and the people who work for them, it's heartening to see recruitment activity back on an upward trend.  


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