Market Update: May 2021

In the words of Phil Collins….

“I can feel it coming in the air tonight,

And I’ve been waiting for this moment, for all my life”

Ok, not quite all my life. But certainly the last 12 months anyway. You can feel the buzz and positivity in the atmosphere, it’s palpable. The growing sense of freedom is infectious and it’s creating a real sense of optimism!

As we move into brighter and better days, here are just some of my observations on emerging trends and predictions for the upcoming months.

Better Leaders For Better Business

We’ve gone through so much in the past year, but one thing that has come to the forefront is how employees have been treated during this time. The focus on mental health and employee wellbeing is the key to unlocking the next 12-18 months of strong performance. Better leaders understand that now is the time to show up for their people – to be there and be present, lead with authenticity and with the heart!

Re-energising The Workforce

There is a strong need to reinvigorate the workforce, after spending much of last year being furloughed, flexi-furloughed or full time working from home! There is a real need to shake off the covid-blues. But how can we achieve this? This expertly written piece by Sarah Rozenthuler lists some great tips – read the full article here.

The Future is Hybrid

…but not for everyone. Millions have welcomed the flexibility that comes with remote working, but some interesting data has emerged from ONS. It found that people who worked from home did an average of 6 hours of unpaid overtime per week in 2020, compared with 3.6 hours for those that never work from home, and homeworkers were more likely to work in the evenings. It also found that the sickness absence rate for home workers was 0.9% on average in 2020, compared with 2.2% for those who never worked from home in their main job. The vast majority of businesses I’m in contact with are positively embracing the hybrid model – understanding the true benefits of trusting their employees. Now more than ever it’s about output, not input. However, there are exceptions to this approach, and some will inevitably slip back into the daily office-based model for varied reasons. I fear this rather misses an opportunity to innovate and modernise the way in which we look at our relationship with work. These businesses will also suffer long term with new talent – many job seekers are going to be more discerning about their work-life balance and levels of flexibility in the workplace.

Open To Work

An interesting survey carried out by Ceridan’s 2021 Pulse of Talent reveals a majority of the workforce (67%) is open to new job opportunities. Not all of these employees are unhappy with their current jobs — but they’re looking for new challenges, growth opportunities, and salary increases. I do believe this has been accelerated greatly by people having to put their careers on hold during the turbulent times of 2020.

Time to Reflect

Looking back at 2020 I believe it will be a watershed moment for the Recruitment & Staffing industry. Certainly, in my career so far, it’s been the biggest opportunity to evaluate processes, things that worked and things that didn’t. Most importantly, time to revolutionise what we do to add more value. I predict we’ll see some impressive innovations over the next 12 months coming to the forefront that will focus on candidate journey experience as well as saving hiring managers time and money!

Speaking of evaluating processes, induction and training continue to be creatively delivered to cope with the remote nature of our current world. I suspect the efficiency of this will stay, for the most part. The growing concern at the long-term impact on new employees ‘learning journey’ in the absence of being around more experienced colleagues in a traditional office environment stay, but hopefully not for much longer post July! More on this in my article from earlier in the year: WFH: the long term impact – read the full article here.

The Human Element

As a fellow #peoplewarrior, it fills my heart with great joy that the human element is now taking centre stage! Companies are now being more transparent about their identity, shouting out about their values and wearing their culture like a badge of honour. Not only is this inspiring a new style of leadership but also it taps into increased employee satisfaction and higher performance. There’s no denying it’s a brilliant talent acquisition strategy too! Ultimately employees want to feel valued. They want to know their work makes a difference, with real purpose and aligned to the values of the business. The added transparency of an organisation enables this.

As one of my all-time favourite people, Elizabeth Langley-Jones, Chief Commercial Officer at Baker & Baker brilliantly said to me once:

 “People are your unique point of difference that none of your competitors can replicate”

Amen Elizabeth.

More Female Leaders, Please

While the number of women on UK boards is increasing, there is much work still to do especially when comparing to our European counterparts. The UK is far from a clean 50/50 split, with women accounting for just 33.8% of all board directors. This is still lower compared to that of France and Norway, where women account for 44.6% and 44.2% of all board directors respectively.

This certainly confirms my anecdotal perceptions that there is a genuine strive to hire more female leaders to bring more balance to the board and create further diversity.

The Social(ly distanced) Network

Vast numbers of job seekers are networking hard – with friends, acquaintances and past work colleagues. Not only is it wonderful to keep in touch with others within your industry, but it’s a great strategy to helping you secure your next job role too. Check out some expert advice by Sam Waterfall, AKA London’s Global Career Coach in Ep16 of The Leader Insights Series Podcast where Sam shares his powerful secrets for successful networking – his magic formula gets results! Listen to the episode in full here.

And so in summary, as the industry rallies and hospitality continues to ready itself for what surely will be a golden Summer, we are excited at the prospect of meeting actual human beings in person with potentially no restrictions!

I’m as optimistic as I’ve been for quite some time about the industry, its prospects and the job opportunities that 2021 will present.

The second half of 2021 could be one of the most important couple of quarters in a company’s history, as we all navigate the road to recovery with heightened optimism and a spring in our step!

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