Take advantage of the September Surge

6 min read | Gaelle Blake | Article | Job searching | Interview advice

September Surge Job Market

The summer holidays have all-too-quickly come to an end. Any remaining annual leave you have is likely thin on the ground; you’re starting to notice the morning commute becoming cooler, and the evenings getting darker. It’s September, and you’re facing the bleakest months of the year at your current nine to five.

Or are you? Could the grass in fact be greener on the other side?

September has classically been a good time of year to search for a new role, as the job market tends to pick up post the 'summer slowdown'. This rise in job vacancies – and jobseekers as more people reflect on their careers – is referred to as the September Surge: a term first coined in the US that has now seen traction in the UK.

Prime time to job search

Evidently, September is a favoured month for many jobseekers. In our recent LinkedIn poll, we found that over half (56%) of people think September is the perfect month to look for a new job, while fewer than a third (29%) think the month is unimportant and 15% remain undecided.

But what are the driving factors for this preference? Of the people who are planning on job searching this September, over a quarter (26%) cited wanting a job by the new year as their main motivator and 11% said they were too busy during the summer months. The most common reason, however, was believing there would be a greater number of vacancies, with over a third (34%) of voters selecting this option.

A candidates’ market

Typically, September is a busy month, not only due to picking up momentum post-summer, but also because companies have a clearer idea of how much spare budget they have for hiring as year-end approaches. You may be feeling uncertain if this will be the case this September, however, as you’re hearing on the news that unemployment figures continue to rise as we battle through a turbulent economy.

Yes, unemployment has crept up since last year, but it’s important to bear in mind that 2022’s unemployment rate of 3.7% was the joint lowest on record (along with 1973 and 1974). The post-Covid bounce back and mass hiring freeze lift meant that 2022 was an exceptional time for jobseekers. It’s misleading to solely compare statistics to a record-breaking year. 2023 is still a candidate’s market and 4.2% unemployment certainly falls below the historical average. We’re not anticipated to reach unemployment rates of 5% until 2026, according to The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Report.

Vacancy levels have also dropped year-on-year but, again, the wider picture shows a positive outlook; vacancies are still higher than pre-Covid, as is the vacancy to unemployment ratio. So, although the job market may not be as buoyant as 2022, there certainly will be a September Surge and ample opportunities for those seeking their next career move.

To give yourself the best chance at securing a new job during the September Surge, make sure you stand out from the competition with our top tips below.

How to stand out during the September Surge

  • The quality of your CV can make or break your chance of success as it will be every hiring manager’s first impression of you. Make sure you’re presenting yourself in the best possible light by avoiding common CV mistakes such as a generic profile, unexplained gaps and not being specific enough.
  • Before applying to any new roles, you should also make sure your online presence shows you in the best light possible. Hiring managers nowadays often look at your LinkedIn profile – so make sure you have the most up to date experience and qualifications, a professional photo of yourself, and ask for testimonials where appropriate – as well as your more personal social media, so it’s best to change the settings of these accounts to private.
  • An increase in jobseekers means the pile of direct applicants will be time-consuming for hiring managers to trawl through. Applying through a recruitment consultant means your application will be presented in a far smaller shortlist and your CV will likely be read in greater detail. A more tailored approach is a more effective method, so take a look at our live vacancies and chat to a specialist consultant about your experience, requirements and long term career goals. Don’t panic-apply. Instead, take the time to consider your five-year plan and how your next career move can be a vital step towards achieving those ambitions.
  • With more people active in the market, it’s probable there will be a greater number of suitable applicants interviewing for each opening. Make sure you leave a positive and lasting impression by doing solid interview preparation, including swatting up on competency-based question techniques and discovering key ways to manage your nerves.

Download the Hays app today to manage your job search the quick and easy way.


About this author

Gaelle Blake, Director of Permanent Appointments and Construction and Property, Hays UK&I

Gaelle Blake began working for Hays in 1999, joining our Construction and Property Division in London Victoria. Since then she has held a variety of operational management roles across a variety of sectors, including setting up the Hays Career Transitions business in 2009. In 2018, Gaelle was appointed as UK&I Director for Permanent Appointments, and in July 2020 Gaelle was appointed as the UKI Director for Construction and Property, in addition to her role as UKI Director for Permanent Appointments.

Prior to joining Hays, Gaelle studied at both the Universities of Warwick and Bath, gaining an BA (Hons) and then an MSc in Management.

articleId- 61115981, groupId- 20151