Eloise’s April 2023 News – Budgets, Recruitment Market, Job Poll, Office Working

Office Working Vanilla Recruitment Agency

Hello and welcome to April 2023

The clocks have sprung forward, the lambs are in the fields. It might feel cold when you’re outside, but it’s starting to look like spring through the window, and that’s a great start!

Spring brings with it feelings of hope and optimism. Couple that with the longer days and we all have more time to do the things we love, and more motivation to actually do them. It’s a win-win time of year for personal lives and business productivity.

I’ve had some very interesting conversations with businesses recently. In ‘normal’ years, or should I say pre covid years, we all spent time at the end of the year making plans, goals, and targets for the coming year. It seems that with the turmoil and unpredictability of recent years, many businesses have gotten out of the habit of doing this.

Businesses have been working month to month, remaining agile and responding to what’s thrown at them. Not a bad approach for the past three years. But change is afoot… Yes, there is talk of recession, and there is the cost-of-living crisis, but businesses seem to feel ready to start proactive planning again, rather than reactive responding.

This feels like a bit of a business reawakening. Time for a positive fresh start. Time to welcome that hope and optimism. Good times.

New financial year – changes coming

April brings with it the start of the new financial year. Here are some key dates and changes to be aware of:

  • National Minimum Wage rates increase from 1st April 2023:
    • Apprentice rate: £5.28 an hour
    • Young Workers rate (16-17 years): £5.28 an hour
    • Development rate (18-20 years): £7.49 an hour
    • Worker’s rate (aged 21-22): £10.18 an hour
    • National Living Wage (aged 23+): £10.42 an hour


  • Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental, and sick pay rates increase as of 2nd April:
    • Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay: £172.48 a week
    • Statutory sick pay: £109.40 a week


  • Gender Pay Gap reports due in by 4th April:
    • Private and voluntary sector organisations with 250+ employees must submit their Gender Pay Gap reports on the Government’s Gender Pay Gap reporting service website by 4th April.


Make sure your payroll processes are updated and the minimum statutory rates are changed in line with the above rates from their effective dates. And ensure you have records of your younger employees’ dates of birth, and that statutory minimum wage rates are applied effectively with increases in their age banding.

Another point of note for next month is the King’s coronation. We have been granted an additional bank holiday on the 8th of May. Have you communicated with your teams about if you’ll be open, or closed, and how it will impact pay or leave etc?

Spring Budget scenes

Before I summarise and comment on the Spring Budget, I wanted to touch on the scenes from the Spring Budget.

I had the budget live on the TV in the background whilst I was working, and I watched aghast at how a room of professionals conducted themselves in parliament. It’s pantomime. I know it’s always been this way. But that doesn’t mean it should be. If I went to a meeting and acted in the same way as an MP in parliament, people would think I’d lost my mind. Reform of the whole system is long overdue. Anyway, back to what was in the budget…

Spring Budget

As you know, the 2023 Spring Budget was announced on 23 March by Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The overall theme was a ‘Budget for Growth’.

The budget focused on measures to help SME businesses grow and invest, including:

  • An increase in the Annual Investment Allowance to £1 million, which will allow businesses to deduct the cost of new plant and machinery from their taxes immediately.
  • A new R&D tax relief scheme for SMEs, which will provide up to £500 million of support per year.
  • A new investment zone scheme, which will provide up to £80 million of funding per year to help SMEs invest in new technologies and infrastructure.
  • A number of measures to simplify the tax system for SMEs, including changes to the Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) scheme and the Apprenticeship Levy.

And measures to support employers, including:

  • A £2 billion increase in the Employment Allowance, which will allow businesses to reduce their national insurance contributions by up to £4,000 per year.
  • A new £12 billion Kickstart Scheme, which will provide funding to businesses to create new jobs for young people.
  • A new £1 billion Apprenticeship Levy, which will provide funding to businesses to train apprentices.
  • A new £100 million investment in skills training, which will provide funding to businesses to train their employees.

There were changes to pension and tax relief. The most significant change was an increase in the Annual Allowance, the maximum amount of money that can be saved into a pension each year without being taxed. The Annual Allowance will increase from £40,000 to £60,000 from April 2023.

Other pension and tax relief changes included:

  • The Lifetime Allowance, the maximum amount of money that can be saved into a pension over a lifetime without being taxed, will be frozen at £1.073 million.
  • The Money Purchase Annual Allowance, the maximum amount of money that can be saved into a defined contribution pension each year without being taxed, will increase from £4,000 to £10,000.
  • The tapered Annual Allowance, which reduces the amount of tax relief available on pension contributions for high earners, will be abolished.

Plus, announced were a number of childcare and wraparound care changes, including:

  • 30 hours of free childcare for all 2-year-olds from April 2024.
  • Increased childcare support for working parents.
  • Reduced staff-to-child ratio for childcare providers from 1:8 to 1:6 for children aged 0-2, and from 1:12 to 1:10 for children aged 3-5.
  • Funding for improved wraparound care at schools.

The budget also included a number of measures to help households with the cost-of-living crisis, including:

  • A £200 discount on energy bills for all households.
  • A £150 council tax rebate for all households.
  • A £650 one-off payment to low-income households.

The measures announced in the budget are designed to have a positive impact on SME businesses, on families, and on job growth.

The highlight for me are the changes to childcare provision. These will take some time to become available, as childcare, and wraparound care provision need to increase rapidly. But they do feel like a good step to enable parents to have more choice as to whether they work or not – to have more choice over if they can afford to work. It also feels like a contributing step towards levelling the playing field for career progression between men and women, and the gender pay gap. We’ll see.

Recruitment Market

The KPMG and REC Report on Jobs for February found that there was an upturn in the number of permanent jobs being advertised, a four-month high. And that temporary jobs had increased again with a 31-month trend of expansion.

The issues with candidate availability continued to ease, but this could have been caused by an increase in redundancies.

Starting salaries for permanent roles continued to rise sharply. But growth for temporary worker salaries softened.

A rise in zero-hours contracts has caused some concern – but they don’t have to be exploitative and could just signal the increased need for a flexible workforce in some sectors.

My takeaways from the report, and what I’m seeing at Vanilla Recruitment, is that there has been an upturn since the beginning of the year. A lot of doom and gloom was predicted but not all have been realised and this is giving both employers and candidates more confidence in recruiting and changing jobs.

As in previous months, the key is to get your package right and to move with speed and confidence.

Job poll

We are very keen on job adverts displaying the salary for the role. Not only does that show transparency but it also means you’re more likely to get the right applicants – saving you time and effort.

To highlight the power of salary transparency, we ran a poll on LinkedIn during March to see what puts off potential job seekers. To be honest, we thought a lack of flexible/hybrid working would come out top, but the results were very clear.

We asked:

What is the main thing on a job advert that prevents you from applying?

We had over 400 responses and the results were:

  • Undisclosed salary 74%
  • No flexible/hybrid working 20%
  • Confusing description or title 4%
  • Other 4%

The people have spoken. If you want to get the maximum number of applicants possible for your jobs, always disclose the salary.

Holiday cover

The Easter holidays are almost upon us and then we’ll roll into May, with three bank holidays this year. These dates kick off the annual leave-taking season and we are here to support you with our temporary workers’ team.

If you have any annual leave you need to cover, projects to fill, or gaps in recruitment, we can help provide a temporary solution.

Just get in touch with Jodie and she will guide you through the options available.

Vanilla office work

Our office renovations continue… we have solar panels being installed in April as part of our commitment to being more sustainable and our environmental policy. And we’re busy choosing paint colours – this is particularly fun because we have such a bright and vibrant brand, we can really go for it! But, with so much choice it’s also causing lots of internal debate about what we have where. It’ll look amazing though, I’m sure.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the new colours we’ve chosen…

Office working

Talking of offices, I spotted a fun and interesting post on LinkedIn the other day exploring how to entice workers back into the office.

There are loads of questions this sparks… Do workers need to be enticed back into the office? Do people need to be based in an office? Are you working on getting people back in? Have you found a good reason to get people back in? And if you have got people back in, did you need to entice them with perks?

A real theme for the post seemed to be pets and food – doggy day-care, dog hotels, bring your dog to work, free food etc etc.

Read the full post here: https://www.linkedin.com/news/story/perks-to-tempt-you-back-to-work-5585732/

And that’s it for another month

I hope you all have a great April and make the most of the longer daylight hours.


Our temps do an amazing job for a wide range of clients in the area. They are some of the most flexible and hardworking people and we want to recognise that every month.

So, if you have a Vanilla temporary worker on assignment, or who has just completed an assignment, who you think has gone above and beyond or exceeded expectations in any way. You can nominate them to receive our Temp of the Month Award.

We recruit throughout the East Midlands covering Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and the surrounding areas, especially Market Harborough, Lutterworth, Leicester, Corby and Kettering. We help people find their perfect job and match suitable jobseekers with businesses looking to hire the best candidates across our five specialisms – SalesMarketingAccountancy & FinanceHR and Office

Gain a new skill and a verifiable qualification

Study in your own time and at your own pace to get a verifiable qualification with New Skills Academy. With over 880 courses to choose from you’re sure to find a course that interests you. All of the online courses can be studied from your PC, MacBook, tablet or smartphone device. Click here for more info.

For Office Working recruitment contact Vanilla Recruitment Agency in Market Harborough.