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Recruiter Cooper Lomaz finds number of candidates falling but job market remains stable

Cooper Lomaz operations director Mark Fletcher, left, and Simon Brown, commercial director, with the company's Salary Survey 2017. Picture: NEWSMAKERS.

Cooper Lomaz operations director Mark Fletcher, left, and Simon Brown, commercial director, with the company's Salary Survey 2017. Picture: NEWSMAKERS.

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Recruiters are reporting the number of available jobs across East Anglia remaining stable – but available candidates have decreased.

Cooper Lomaz, which has offices in Norwich and Bury St Edmunds, found overall hires had gone up by 9% in the region in March to June, compared to the first quarter, but the number of jobs had slipped -4% in the same period.

The agency, which primarily covers IT, engineering, finance and food manufacturing, has seen an increase in hiring in the manufacturing sector, up 56% compared to the first three months of the year and 11% against the same period in 2016, but there are fewer candidates to choose from.

Commercial director Simon Brown said: “Our biggest challenge has been the lack of candidates.

“The market has got a lot of people not moving. Normally what happens is someone is offered a job then goes back to their company for a counter offer, but we have been seeing a lot of pre-emptive offers.”

Mr Brown said businesses were having to move more quickly to secure candidates, particularly for engineering roles, with high demand meaning hiring processes were being shortened.

He said: “What was previously a two- or three-step process is becoming an interview and a site visit, with the second part being far less formal. It has tended to be in the manufacturing middle management roles.

“When it is a strong job market, as it is, the candidates can be a bit pickier in terms of what they want.”

There were early signs of growth in the digital marketing sector and Mr Brown said Suffolk had seen a particular jump in such jobs.

He said: “Norfolk has grown over the last 12 months and has continued to grow but in the last month we have started to see a rise in Suffolk as well.

“We are seeing clients take these roles in-house as they look to keep up with the online world.”

Cooper Lomaz’s Employment Indicator also saw differences in the not-for-profit and public sector contracting market – which has been impacted by changes to IR35 regulations which govern tax collection.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the general election, Mr Brown said it was positive that the labour market had remained moving.

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