There have been ups and downs in the Northamptonshire job market in recent years.
Here, James Taylor, director at Northampton-based recruitment agency Macildowie, gives his take on employment trends and areas of growth within the sector.
“Over the past four years, there have been dramatic changes in market attitudes towards the recruitment of new staff.
“In 2008, when Britain was in the midst of the recession, general thinking among businesses of all sizes was to ‘batten down the hatches’.
“Survival was the name of the game and as such growth through the recruitment of new staff was restricted to departments that could help cut business costs.
“The Macildowie procurement and supply chain division thrived during this period.
“Business owners wanted to save money, because of this high quality procurement professionals were in demand as the outlay in new wages could easily be recouped through savings made from supplier costs.
“The recession also bore witness to the evolution of the supply chain.
“Businesses began to add new layers to their suppliers, looking further afield for more cost-effective solutions to bulk up their profit margins.
“Investing in individuals with experience of supply chain management was a vital aspect of this new business model.
“Some feel Britain may well be heading towards a triple-drip recession, but the signs of recovery and growth within business is beginning to shine through.
“The number of vacancies registered with Macildowie in the first quarter of 2013 is up 46 per cent on last year.
“After weathering the storm of austerity, business owners have started to seek out opportunities for expansion and growth.
“We opened our sales and marketing division at the tail end of 2012 to meet the demands of an ever-changing market.
“Increased investment in sales and marketing departments is a sign of an economy beginning to stretch its legs.
“As businesses plan for growth after a period of consolidation, finding and selling to new customers is of the upmost importance.
“Across the East Midlands, companies have started investing in personnel to fill positions that sell their products and/or services.
“Acting early to stay ahead of the curve will place businesses in the strongest possible position as the country creeps out of recession.
“This investment covers positions right across the spectrum of sales and marketing, from strategic leaders to entry-level graduates, positions are available and people are hiring.
“This first quarter also saw the launch of Macildowie’s new intelligent website.
“The site offers companies a state of the art recruitment service that allows them to start pro-actively ‘talent pipelining’ through the ‘star candidate’ functionality.
“This service allows companies that are in a position to start thinking about recruiting, to be alerted when potential candidates become available (who match their star criteria).
“This less aggressive recruitment strategy is perfect for businesses trying to ease their way towards growth, only the right candidate for the right position will be put forward for recommendation.
“The jobs market across the East Midlands is beginning to thaw and there are more positions becoming available and skilled professionals are in demand.
“In my opinion this will continue over the next few months, setting the region up for a positive and profitable summer.”