The European recruitment market went from strength to strength in 2018. Overall hiring levels were high, underpinned by a growing economy, increased investor confidence in the eurozone and UK-based roles transferring to the region due to Brexit, all of which led to businesses aggressively hiring new talent.
Looking back at 2018
In France, the strong market conditions of 2017 continued into 2018 with companies actively recruiting across the market. The economic climate was reinforced by a business friendly government easing employment regulations. This bolstered confidence leading to investment across all sectors. In particular, the number of construction projects increased. The demand for engineering and supply chain professionals was also high thanks to large-scale investment in new plants and factories. As a consequence, HR, legal and finance professionals were in high demand.
The continued economic upturn in the Netherlands led to an extremely candidate driven market at all levels of seniority, with shortages most apparent at the junior to mid-level. In an attempt to attract talent early, high-potential students were beginning to be offered contracts for finance and banking roles whilst still at university.
In Belgium, recruitment levels remained high as businesses expanded in response to the positive economic climate. There was also strong demand for bilingual candidates, especially for accountants and customer services specialists.
Hiring levels increased in Ireland resulting in high demand for candidates across multiple specialisms. In response, businesses focused on reducing time to hire, improving employer brand, staff retention and benefits packages whilst offering more remote and flexible working options.
Switzerland saw minimal shifts in hiring volumes in 2018 with only a couple of pockets of increased activity. The luxury sector had a more positive outlook in comparison to 2017 and the financial services industry saw an increase in corporate banking hiring from both local and international companies.
Confidence in the German economy continued to rise which led to significant hiring activity across a vast array of disciplines. In Frankfurt, banking and financial services hiring across risk, audit, finance, compliance, legal and regulation increased as roles were transferred from the UK due to Brexit. Outside of financial services, we saw a continued trend for digitalisation both in marketing and technology.
In 2018 Spain benefited from the positive macroeconomic situation in Europe. Hiring was strongest in the information technology, manufacturing, energy and construction sectors where businesses focused on hiring engineers and digital transformation specialists. English speaking professionals were highly sought after as companies strengthened their accounting and human resources functions.
Europe is expected to continue its strong economic growth in 2019, resulting in a favourable recruitment market with confidence remaining high among professionals and employers.
The biggest issue for the region will be keeping up with demand as candidate shortages are already present and are expected to intensify over the next 12 months.
In the Netherlands, hiring shortages will become more acute across all sectors but will also move upward in seniority. Within finance, the standardisation of financial processes will decrease the demand for operational and transactional professionals and increase the demand for candidates with strong analytical capabilities.
The demand for new hires in France shows no sign of slowing down, but this must be considered within the context of growing skills shortages which will once again drive up salaries. HR professionals are most likely to be highly sought after, as in all sectors companies are becoming acutely aware of the need to retain employees, especially those at a senior level.
In Belgium, we expect organisations to continue to expand and create new jobs. The demand for bilingual candidates will remain high, especially in the Brussels region. The Belgian labour market will remain candidate driven, with hiring managers needing to move quickly and be more flexible in order to secure top talent. As pressure on talent pools continues to increase, employers will need to raise salaries of highly sought-after professionals in order to remain competitive.
In Ireland, the job market will remain strong, with hiring continuing across most sectors. Britain’s departure from the EU will lead to an extremely high demand for regulatory professionals across the risk, compliance, legal and finance sectors, leading to a persistent skills shortage. Securing and retaining top talent will mean offering competitive salaries, but employers will also need to focus on promoting their brand and company culture.
In Spain, the employment market will continue to be buoyant as IT and engineering businesses continue to hire at great pace. We also expect to see more hiring activity across finance, legal and HR as many small businesses grow and larger players try to defend their market position.
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