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Recruitment trends: Reflecting on 2021 and previewing 2022

This year has been one of change and challenge. Even with vaccine rollouts across Europe and the USA, COVID has maintained a firm grip on 2021. Businesses have been both recovering from the hits taken in 2020 and trying to move forward with new working practices and demands in 2021.
Written on 12/02/21

There are several characteristics of 2021 that have been particularly obvious to us:

  • During the summer of 2021 when restrictions had eased a bit, we found a greater candidate willingness to switch roles – worries about the fate of their existing companies was a big prompt here. However, towards the end of 2020 and into 2021, that willingness faded, with candidates being worried about the potential consequences of leaving a stable role to look for something new.
  • Both candidates and clients have been less able to form and maintain useful contacts. The reduction in face-to-face meetings, networking, conferences and events has decreased one of the things that is critical to the labour market – building relationships that can result in new opportunities. This too has had an effect on the number of moves from one company to another, in our opinion.
  • Fewer candidates are taking a speculative look at the opportunities available to them. In a ‘usual’ year, we would see candidates looking at the market for one of two reasons: they were dissatisfied with their current role or benefits, or they were reasonably happy in their current role and wanted to dip a toe in the water to see if anything better came along.
  • This latter group have not looked around at all this year. Those in roles where they currently feel satisfied with their work, salary and benefits are playing it safe. So the only moves we are seeing are from those who are unhappy in their current role.

Our predictions for 2022

Our recruitment trend predictions for the year ahead are usually based on reliable economic and sector forecasts. At the moment, of course, it is extremely difficult to plan too far ahead because we cannot predict the evolution or effects of COVID in our markets. 

We are largely positive about 2022, however, as increased vaccination rates, more awareness of how to manage working environments and the ongoing demands of economies mean that sectors will pick up, candidates will relax and the group of candidates that has been less active in 2021 will start to look for new roles in the next twelve months.

For example, we have found that the insurance sector has weathered the COVID storm extremely well, maintaining stability and sustaining their recruitment plans. There is still a demand for highly qualified and experienced candidates and we expect this to expand across all insurance and financial sectors as 2022 plays out.

This article was provided by actupool Competence Partner JCW