Julie Graham, CEO of Ingeus’s Employment Services, looks at what we might expect in the recruitment sector in 2022.
Surprising. Fast moving. Splintered. Unpredictable. Challenging. You could pick any of those words to describe the employment landscape in 2021. Let’s face it, you could use ALL those words! And I believe this time next year we will still be using those words although, with the coronavirus seemingly coming under control, the changes may not be so fast or dramatic.
Expert forecasts at the beginning of 2021 were dire: deep financial depression would lead to fast-rising unemployment. But as it turned out, recovery in the jobs market was swift and by the third quarter of the year, vacancies topped one million for the first time ever!
So, in such unchartered territory what might this year bring? With advertised job postings having risen by 34 per cent since 2020, an ageing population, rising consumer demand and a reduced supply of workers from Europe, the recruitment pressures faced by employers are likely to continue in what we call a ‘tight’ market.
According to the latest UK Regional Labour Market Outlook produced by Emsi and burning glass, among the jobs on employers’ most wanted list are office administrators, kitchen porters, waiting staff, and sales and customer advisors, all of which have seen demand for employees double. This is a trend we’re most certainly seeing with our employer partners, such as Mitchell and Butler, keen to recruit work-ready candidates, many direct from our skills-based work academies.
The shortage of professional drivers – from motorcycle couriers to HGV drivers – is also likely to remain a recruitment hotspot. I think the growth of home delivery culture holds many new possibilities and has seen us respond by piloting motorcycle training schemes to provide road-ready motorbike riders. I hope this will become a blueprint for future initiatives and a career choice some of our participants may never have considered before.
On a national level, increased Government investment in the health and social care sector will provide ongoing opportunities for jobseekers. We work with multiple care providers and agencies, including Bluebird Care Lewisham & Southwark, taking learning from these employers’ requirements to direct the content of our vocation-specific workshops.
But of course, the national picture is a sum of what’s happening in the regions, where the picture differs from area to area. These differences are well understood by Ingeus, where our grassroots teams use locally researched insight to understand the jobs market.
In London it’s sales reps, bartenders, baristas and kitchen porters among those most in demand. So, for Premier Inn we are running monthly interview events at their hotels across London.
In the north west it’s the hospitality sector again that is leading the demand, with kitchens needing porters and assistants and restaurants needing waiters. Here, we have been supporting companies for years to find the people it needs for its holiday centre business.
The labour market landscape that’s evolving in part reflects re-opened sectors of the economy. These employers are hiring vast numbers of people and I can see this continuing in 2022 as public confidence continues to grow in hospitality, the arts, travel, and other entertainment.
And let’s not forget another boom industry – one very close to my heart: Employability! I’ve built a varied and enjoyable career supporting people to develop their skills and employability; it’s a growing sector that’s looking for fresh perspectives, career switchers and people with lived experiences. I’d highly recommend it!
With so much opportunity, it’s a candidate-driven market right now and employers need to think carefully about work-life aspirations. The pay cheque isn’t all that candidates are interested in. Being creative in your offer, looking at different ways of working, and embracing different perspectives is essential.
How can you proactively recruit those disproportionately affected by the pandemic: young people with little experience, older workers, ex-offenders?
How can you actively support people with disabilities or health conditions into your workplace? As recent research reports that 72% of UK jobseekers and employers believe a diverse workforce to be an important factor in recruitment, it’s an area Ingeus, as a Disability Confident Leader, is actively supporting other employers to embrace.
All that said, employers will still be discerning about the talent they’re recruiting. Being resilient, adaptable, and ready to demonstrate your transferable skills is a huge door opener to the job of your dreams.
If this surprisingly quick recovery is to continue, our job at Ingeus, along with all the other experienced skills and employability providers in this diverse and dynamic industry, is to stay ahead of the game – targeting employer demand at national and local level with skilled and motivated work-ready candidates. We continue! If you fancy joining us, you can do so here.