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Why a Down Job Market is an Optimal Time to Hire

As we head into the second half of 2023, there is no doubt the hot job market for marketing, PR,  and creative roles experienced in 2021 & 2022 has cooled considerably. Tech layoffs, bank failures, and fears of a recession have been the main contributing factors.

While these are challenging times for employers (and job seekers), the slowdown in hiring does create certain advantages for businesses looking to strategically grow and strengthen their organizations. Here’s a look at some ways companies can benefit.


MINE THE SURPLUS OF ACTIVE JOB SEEKERS

While companies will typically hold on to their best talent when forced to reduce headcount, that is not always the case. Change brought about by mergers and acquisitions can lead to the elimination of a top performer’s role. Or, on occasion, companies cut too deeply and highly capable team members are let go. An increase in the number of job seekers means there are more gems available today than there are in tighter markets.

 

LEVERAGE MARKET UNCERTAINTY TO ENGAGE PASSIVE CANDIDATES

While some employees are more reluctant to change jobs in a down market – if they feel their position is secure (even if not totally satisfied with it) or they fear being “last in, first out” with a new employer – many others will worry their job could be eliminated. These folks will be keeping their eyes and ears open when it comes to new opportunities and will be more open to exploring new roles than usual. 

 

UPGRADE YOUR TALENT & REPLACE UNDER-PERFORMERS

Letting go of any employee is difficult, especially in a lousy job market. That said, the talent surplus, combined with greater ease in engaging passive candidates, make it easier to find a better-suited replacement for an employee who’s not performing well. 

 

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY

Down markets afford employers more flexibility when it comes to employment arrangements. With more active, unemployed job seekers and fewer available roles, more folks are willing to consider contract or temp-to-perm positions, giving employers (and employees) an opportunity to see if the match is right before committing to a full-time position.

 

SAVE ON SALARIES

While salaries have steadily increased over the past several years and a weak job market won’t drastically drive them down (at least initially), employers today have more leverage in compensation negotiations.


By recognizing the benefits of hiring in a down job market and strategically capitalizing on them, companies can position themselves for growth and success, even in challenging times. Embrace this transformative period and your team can emerge stronger than ever.

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