This summary bulletin is designed to update agencies and candidates of the region’s latest recruitment trends. These market observations and tips should help you improve the success of your recruitment strategies & tactics.


(1)    Agencies within the M4 & Thames Valley region continue with robust hiring plans: vacancies are circa 15% up year-on-year

While the scale of agencies vary across the region, the majority of our agency clients are reporting either staff shortages or concrete recruitment plans. Our internal vacancy tracking indicates an overall 15% year-on-year increase in agency vacancies. This is slightly down on February’s figure but still historically high.


(2)    The number of available immediately permanent candidates has reduced, mirroring the economy’s high employment levels

While we saw a number of agency candidates commence the New Year by resigning without roles to move to, this number has dropped. Our interpretation is that candidates are now in the main waiting for the right career move before moving on.


(3)    Agency employment conditions indicate that a rise in freelance levels is likely

Agencies who need immediate additional resource may now need to increase the number of freelancers they’re employing. While the M4 Corridor and Thames Valley region hasn’t traditionally been a freelance driven market, this trend may be set to change over the coming months.


(4)    Account Handling & Creative vacancies remain high, with candidates becoming increasingly selective

As we’d all expect, agency candidates can afford to be reasonably choosy. Accordingly, candidates are now looking to tick more of their criteria boxes before agreeing to be put forward for a role.


(5)    Agencies with defined hiring & interviewing strategies are more likely to secure their preferred candidates

Given the state of the market this statement might sound obvious. However, there are many agencies who can’t progress through the recruitment stages quickly, who wish to see a set number of candidates, or who expect interviews to be one-way experiences.

Conversely, agencies who move quickly, ensure all interviewers are adept at marketing the opportunity, and who consider the specific needs of individual applicants tend to enjoy more recruitment success.


(6)    Salary levels are only part of the overall Offer Package – an individual approach will increase the probability of a candidate accepting

We view Salary & bonus elements as hygiene factors. Yes, money needs to be market competitive and attractive but throwing cash at candidates is rarely essential. Rather, those agencies who offer tailored development plans, or exciting career progression, often achieve high acceptance rates. Tuning into the individual candidate is the key.


(7)    A candidate short market may call for a different approach to recruitment

The recruitment conundrum is that agencies, for solid reasons, often want to see an agency track record on candidates CVs. In a candidate short market this often results in unfilled vacanciess. One opportunity is to move towards slecting by competencies rather than CV history. Our experience is that defining the key competencies and combining them with a people profile can open up the candidate market.


(8)    M4 & Thames Valley agencies are highly competitive, speed often proves the deciding factor 

One under-appreciated element of the recruitment process is the candidate psychology. If an agency moves quickly this sends out highly positive signals to the candidate. This ‘you are wanted’ message is very powerful. Every week we see candidates decline opportunities in favour of agencies who may not be the best rational fit but who have won the emotional battle by moving quickly.


For more information please contact Ben Vickers or Katie Hart, Colloco Search

0118 9507 9389,