U.K Overview

04 March 2021

By Ed Rossiter and Ruth Lyndon

U.K Overview

Many of us could not wait to shut the door on 2020 and begin a new chapter in 2021. For most of us, the past 12 months have been the most testing period to date, a point of view shared even by some of those who lived through WWII.

In the year where children and pets attempted to help with conference calls and zoom meetings there were plenty of positives worth highlighting. For starters, in many aspects, 2020 was a year to pause and evaluate. Families got the chance to spend more time together and the technological revolution, which has taken place over the past decade, simplified working from home a great deal.

However, as if dealing with the most unprecedented threat to human kind for many generations was not enough, UK businesses still had the “B word” hanging over them and the uncertainty that brought. A deal with Europe agreed in the final hour was a welcomed relief.

Crisis usually offers huge potential and 2020 was no different. Co-operation and social support became evident during the past 12 months. Communities realised we are all in this together therefore looking out for others became key. Whilst we witnessed huge collective improvements in medicine we saw a huge amount of innovation led by the business world too. In order to survive businesses have had to adapt to a new way of working and this has meant unprecedented levels of innovation and invention. However, not all sectors have been so lucky, there are certainly many business sectors on the wrong side of Covid which will feel the pinch for the foreseeable future.

Digitisation has been on the agenda of most organisations for a number of years which meant working from home and the situation as a whole was as painless as well as possible. This is one of the key reasons why a huge amount of businesses are past the crisis stage and are able to put solid strategies in place for 2021 and beyond.

The outlook of the next 12 months is understandably cautious with 45% of professionals lacking confidence in the UK’s economic recovery. However, many businesses have thrived over the last year and many of them have already turned a corner therefore at least 28% of professionals believe in a recovery within six months.

Over 30% of businesses have reported they are in business as usual state and over 12% are in growth or rapid growth mode. Whether you are an employer looking to strengthen your team or a professional seeking expert career advice, our specialist team is here to help.

There is no arguing with the fact that the human resources market is going through a shake up. Not only from a skills perspective but also from what is on offer and the quality available.

With remote working predicted to become a big part of the future it has become increasingly challenging for organisations to hire the right talent. Skills in the highest demand are managerial, strong communication and problem solving skills, each ranking between 35% and 55% on the importance chart.

Employees, on the other hand, rate job security as highest on their requirements agenda. Work life balance and work support network comes closely second but it is interesting to see mental help support being important for at least 44% of professionals.

Although remuneration and role exposure will remain high on the priority list when looking for a new opportunity, we predict that those will continue to be lower than the points mentioned above for the next 12 months. Counter offers will continue to rise throughout 2021 as teams fight to stay together. We believe employers will have to pay special attention to selling their organisations and roles on offer from the start as competition for top talent is predicted to increase over the next year.

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