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Wendy Alexander | 21 March 2023

Navigating the uncertainty of 2023

In conversation with other business leaders across Aotearoa, it’s clear we’re all navigating the year in the best way we can.

Like many of us, you’ve probably lost sleep recently over what 2023 has in store for you. So many of the levers and indicators we usually rely on when forecasting or planning have become harder to predict; it’s not a comfortable time!

The dark side

In conversation with other business leaders across Aotearoa, it’s clear we’re all navigating the year in the best way we can. Many of our high growth clients are finding it harder to secure investment to power their growth – quite a change from last year. 

We’re supporting others who are making tough decisions about reducing the size of their teams to help extend their cash runway, or introducing salary sacrifice measures in an attempt to avoid this. If any of this resonates with you, you are not alone. 

For every story of redundancy that hits the mainstream media, there are 10 more that don’t. There is no escaping the fact that there will be more casualties before this year is out, but with this comes some much needed relief for our incredibly restrained labour market. 

The bright side

While many of us are distracted by the buffeting of this year, there are some upsides if you’re a business owner or business leader:

  • Job applications have increased significantly, even since January. Late last year, a job board might deliver as few as 3-4 applications for each role, our team have seen this number increase to 20 or more
  • Higher calibre applications are part of this increase in number; applicant shortlists across all job families are packing more of a punch
  • Greater engagement from search candidates nicely rounds out the easing we’re seeing in the market. Passive candidates (those not actively looking for a new role) are more open to a conversation about a new opportunity than they were pre-Christmas
  • Unrealistic salary demands have in turn cooled off somewhat; a natural by-product of the supply / demand scales shifting.

Overall, there is a greater desire from job seekers to join an organisation with clear, authentic values, and a strong sense of purpose. Factors like social impact, environmental impact, or new innovations are all draw cards. 

And in terms of what is attractive to job seekers right now, the top five are:

  • The ability to work flexibly
  • Work / life balance
  • Career progression
  • Learning opportunities
  • Remuneration and benefits

Whether you’re taking a watch and wait approach or making tougher decisions in the months ahead, remember there are many others in the same boat. Connecting with peers or getting a fresh perspective from a trusted advisor can make all the difference. If 2023 is bringing us the ‘gift’ of a market correction, how are you preparing for it?