Welcome back everybody! We hope your Christmas break was a relaxing one and that you’re ready and raring to go for 2022. While it might not be the start to the year we had hoped for, with many of us still working from home, there’s still plenty of optimism in the air.
So, looking into our crystal ball, what do we think this year has in store for the job market and recruitment?
The tech sector will continue to boom
As technology, IT infrastructure and data became integral assets of the effective and efficient day-to-day workings of all businesses up and down the country, the number of job vacancies for these sectors skyrocketed. Demand for tech specialists increased by 42 per cent in June 2021, compared to June 2019, and investment in UK tech reached a record $18bn, the highest in Europe.
Moving into 2022, as the UK continues to grapple with yo-yoing restrictions and threats of new variants that may rock the boat, continued large-scale investment in tech will remain. However, this year, companies will be far more prepared for any turbulence and will be focusing on long-term digital transformation rather than short-term, ‘reactionary’, implementation. From cloud computing to AI, data and analytics to cyber security measures – the landscape will evolve greatly over the next 12 months.
Office culture will need to be reinvented
Working from home will continue to play a huge role in most offices. Employers who choose to fight the tidal wave of flexible working must be prepared to lose staff to competitors who are willing to put their employees’ needs and wants first. Indeed, in a recent survey by EY, it was found that four in five employees want flexible working and nearly half would consider leaving their current roles if this wasn’t an option.
Nevertheless, with teams now dispersed around the country, perhaps all on different working schedules, there’s likely to be a strain on traditional company culture. Gone are the days of Friday drinks, water cooler chats and Monday morning camaraderie; instead employers must work hard to reinvent what effective company culture looks like.
From one-to-one mental health check ins to prevent feelings of isolation, to diarised team meetings to ensure everyone gets together and shares their ideas, feelings and weekly wins, there are a vast number of things that can be put in place to aid this new-age company culture. It’s important that during this process of reinvention, employers engage employees and ask what it is they would like to see happen. This will ensure everyone’s voice is heard and that all employees feel seen.
Salaries will hit a ceiling
The number of vacancies on recruiters’ books hit a record high in the summer of 2021, with over one million jobs needing to be filled. But with employees reluctant to move roles because of the ongoing economic uncertainty, as well as a lack of skilled talent in much-needed areas such as tech and IT, employers have entered a war for talent.
To entice and retain new talent, or to keep hold of existing staff members, businesses have had to negotiate unprecedented salaries with average earnings shooting up by 8.8 per cent in the three months to June 2021 in comparison to the same period the year before.
While we expect to see this battle for workers continue, salaries won’t keep rising at the rate they currently are. Not only is this unsustainable for businesses, especially SMEs, but the economy will suffer too. We envisage that halfway through this year, salaries will plateau.
2022 will continue to host its own challenges and business agility will be crucial but, unlike the years previous, leaders and teams will be more prepared. Knee-jerk reactions will be kept to a minimum and evolution of policies and processes will now look to be adapted for the long-term.