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Sustaining skills in a post-Covid world: recognising opportunity

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In part one of our series on sustaining skills in a post-Covid world, we take a look at the shifting workforce trends and the ongoing importance of assessing your own skill set.

Across a range of sectors, from communications and public affairs to engineering, payments and credit services, the working world is experiencing an unprecedented transformation due to the current pandemic.

The recruitment industry has faced challenging times in the face of uncertainty, and it seems as though few have been immune to the difficulties presented by the pandemic. Data indicates that the number of vacancies fell 60 per cent, from 818,000 to 476,000, between March and May 2020 as employers pressed pause on the hiring process.

These circumstances have offered a unique opportunity to consider what the future of work will look like. There is now space for clients and candidates alike to explore their options, re-evaluate their needs and develop the necessary skills and strategies to drive successful and meaningful change within their industry.

Businesses will be looking forward to life after lockdown and re-entering a market that is rich in talented and successful candidates who are aligned to accelerate a company’s values, mission and projects.
Taking a look at workforce trends

The current market is showing glimmers of hope and confidence. For months now, the recruitment industry has buckled under the intense pressure brought upon by the effects of Covid-19.

“The UK is clearly entering a major employment crisis.”
Gerwyn Davies, Senior Labour Market Adviser at the CIPD (June 2020)

However, the workplace is recovering faster than we may have anticipated. In the UK, he number of new job adverts published in the first week of June was 112,000, a significant 64 per cent more than for the last week of May. The gradual rise in new vacancies suggests increasing confidence across certain sectors to restart their hiring strategy and fulfil placements that were forced to be frozen or cancelled.

The challenges of social distancing guidance

As the lockdown continues to be gradually eased, and the relaxation of the two-metre social distancing rule is introduced, the ability to be able to hire for certain roles, across an array of sectors, is looking more promising now, compared to the beginning of the lockdown period. 

For sectors such as engineering, where there is a reliance on project managing larger groups of workers, hiring needs are dependent on the guidance provided by government bodies, including the impact reducing the social distance has on their ability to increase the number of individuals working on any given project.

The introduction of social distancing measures in March brought huge changes and pain points to the labour market, as professionals needed to adapt and change how they completed their roles. 

Despite these measures now being relaxed and a pressing need to rebuild the economy, there is also a strong and wilful interest in maintaining the safety of individuals. This continues to be a key element in starting the process of placing new roles and supporting the revival of the economy too. As such, candidates should be prepared that the workplace will be very different and take steps to ensure they are able to adapt.

Looking ahead

In a talent pool that continues to widen, how can a candidate become as attractive as possible to a potential employer? Is it enough to maintain the same set of skills, or do you need to consider up-skilling and re-skilling to slot into a newly formed talent pool?

Don’t forget to read the next part in our series to find out the answers to these questions and how to best position yourself as a candidate entering the post-Covid world. In the meantime, if you’re looking to bring in the best talent to your business or to secure your next position, get in touch. 

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