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  • Rob Houghton

Is the Candidate-Driven Market Over?


It’s been a nice ride. But all good things must come to an end. Is it possible that this crazy candidate-driven job market is finally coming to an end? Really?


Here’s my take on this: Just in the last two weeks, I am once again finding candidates for client job searches who seem to be good fits at a fair and reasonable compensation. I am here to announce that the candidate-driven market where 20%+ salary raises are being given to attract top talent is coming to an end. Finally.


In fact, I have one particular candidate who is very good at what she does, but she had priced herself about $10k over what she is worth – and this is at 2022 dollars. I actually submitted her as a candidate for three different clients who were in desperation mode and willing to pay a premium. All three had the same feedback: “Great candidate, but overpriced…” Last Wednesday, the candidate called me back and reduced her ask from $105k to $95k. She interviewed client #4 and guess what? They made her an offer on the spot + they threw in remote options. Bingo.


I am also seeing my clients getting much smarter about attracting top talent. On my advice, which goes back before COVID-19, I had been advising my clients that the way to attract insurance talent in the WDC market was to offer some relief from the gut-wrenching commute…remote, or a hybrid work environment. My advice was simple: offer remote/hybrid for the experienced candidates in exchange for paying someone a big raise. It has worked. Post COVID-19, more of my smart clients are using remote/hybrid to steal top talent from their competitors – with my help, of course.


The results? 87% of our placements in 2022 are because of the remote work option being offered. Salary has come in a distant fourth as a reason to make a move. We have made ZERO placements of candidates going from a remote/hybrid to a commuter arrangement. NONE. In fact, I have two clients who have been looking for a commuter-based client in the WDC Metro area for 14 months!


Moreover, my WDC metro clients have saved approximately 23% on their compensation being offered to those hired on a remote basis from southern Virginia, West Virginian, and the outreaches of Maryland.


The most successful model across all my insurance clients is to offer experienced insurance candidates (three + years) a remote environment, but to only those who remain in their respective state and no more than a three-hour drive in the event, they have to attend a headquarters function or attend important client meeting as a subject matter expert.


Now that the candidate and client market are once again reaching equilibrium, we can have some sanity returning to the job market.


Equilibrium is important. It is a healthy thing.


Rob Houghton



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