Reflecting on 2023: A Year of Walruses, Wins, and Workforce Challenges

It’s the last Friday of the year and also the last ‘working’ day of 2023!

Lets look back at the year that was……….

It’s almost a year ago that an unexpected visit to Scarborough Harbour from Thor the Walrus caused the town’s New Years’ Eve fireworks display to get cancelled. 

It was the year of a new Scottish First Minister and we even managed to keep the same UK Prime Minister for the full calendar year! Staying with politics, we’ve seen the Covid enquiry show how very easy it is to lose WhatsApp messages and equally easy to lose one’s memory of certain events.

2023 saw the largest labour strikes for more than a decade, involving Teachers, Doctors, Nurses, Civil Servants and Train Drivers.

There was a devastating earthquake in Turkey & Syria and distressing conflicts in Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and Sudan among others.

Manchester City dominated the football world, winning the League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and World Club Championship. August’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest saw Team GB win 2 Gold Medals via Josh Kerr (1500m) & Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Heptathlon).

The Movie-world was abuzz in the summer with the Barbenheimer phenomenon. The marketers within Warner Bros and Universal Pictures helping Barbie & Oppenheimer to gross a combined $2.4bn globally!

From a musical perspective, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour breaks the record as the highest-grossing music tour ever, becoming the first to surpass $1bn dollars in revenue. While Scotland had its own piece of record breaking with Harry Styles setting the record for the highest-selling stadium show the country has seen when more than 65,000 fans sang along with him at Murrayfield on a Saturday night in May (added kudos to Mr Styles as this was the 2nd night of a double-header from him. I know this as my daughter is a massive fan and insisted on being there both nights!)

Finally, looking at 2023 from a recruitment angle, the ongoing adjustment between the demand and supply of labour is still in progress, with job openings decreasing from their highs and workforce participation recovering from the effects of the pandemic. However, the labour market remains relatively tight compared to historical norms. Unless unforeseen disruptions occur, it is expected that we will only see a gradual easing in the near future.

This implies that hiring conditions will likely continue to pose challenges, especially in lower-paid sectors such as hospitality, food, retail, and distribution, which are grappling with persistent staff shortages in the aftermath of the pandemic and Brexit. Additionally, candidates are likely to maintain some influence over salary and working conditions.

Aye, it’s been some year!

We wish all of our clients, candidates and suppliers a Happy New Year and all the very best for 2024!