New world of work; What will 2022 bring?

So, another challenging year draws to a close with a direction of travel which reminds us that COVID19 has not gone away; a stark reminder that as a society, we still have to work out how we are going to live with the challenges which the virus presents, both personally and professionally.

As with all trends that we observe as a recruitment business, we can once again sense that the Covid situation has created both winners and losers in the jobs and career stakes. On top of that, it is not impacting all practitioners in the same way, leaving some in a position to where they are unable to directly influence the impact for them.

We can see this reflected in the Arras People job board where the working requirements are diametrically opposed:

Roles such as this Account/Project Manager are positioned as 100% WFH (Working From Home). The new world totally suiting the business and allowing them to prosper under a new way of working. This has created the opportunity to employ a wider range of people as they are no longer tied geographically to the concept of bricks and mortar.

At the other extreme we see roles such as Project Manager – Food Production (FMCG) 100% WFW (Working From Work). Here because of the nature of the work being undertaken, ie. physical construction / manufacturing we have a scenario where it is impossible for the activities to be undertaken at home. The physical nature of the deliverable and its reliance on physical stuff leaves it firmly in the old world of work.

We are also seeing cases of inequality, even within a business; where some roles can be undertaken remotely whilst others are needed to be physically present. These scenarios raise really interesting questions as those who are needed to be physically present potentially have an increased risk profile, not to mention increased costs for attendance and also commuting time compared to their remote working peers.

In the longer term it will be interesting to see how organisations address the “commuting issue”. Will commuting every day ever become acceptable again to those who now have 20 months of getting accustomed to a new way of life? HR, I’ll leave that one with you!

Covid insecurities and the Governments support plans have also led to a decrease in “churn” in the employment markets. As in any troubled or challenging times many practitioners have battened down the hatches to see out the storm with the employer they know (and love?) leading to some shortages in candidates for available roles. Some people have been tempted out with significant pay increases and flexible approaches to work but not all organisations are in a position to flex and make generous offers over and above their anticipated cost base.

As a result of candidate shortages we have seen the return of gazumping during 2021, with good candidates having multiple offers on the table and generally going to the highest bidder. Sometimes though, it’s not just money that talks as a formal offer in the hand is seen to have more value than a proposed offer! HR in hiring organisations have needed to be nimble, on their proverbial toes when managing a recruitment process.

Interestingly, Project Management has consistently reported as both in under and over supply during 2021, for both permanent and temporary (contract) roles. So yet again, whilst practitioners see their skills as transferrable; this suggests that recruiters do not agree. We appear to have practitioners with inappropriate skill sets for the roles on offer, be that in their project management or the domain/sector skills that the hirers are looking for. Definitely food for thought for both practitioners and hirers as we head into 2022 and need to find a way of bridging the skills gap that so many commentators are talking about!

In terms of future skill gaps, it will be interesting to see how the Zoom intern generation learn their trade. The change to remote working has on the whole been easier for older more experienced workers, whilst the less experienced miss out on the opportunity of learning by osmosis. Zoom, Teams etc will never recreate the physicality of working in a shared environment; they are not accidental, you don’t get the opportunity to eavesdrop on a Zoom call whilst undertaking a different task. So many learning opportunities are being missed and it will be interesting to see the long-term impact.

So, 2021 is done and dusted from a business perspective and 2022 and its many challenges to look forward to. We are all looking forward to the break and looking to come back in January refreshed and ready for the challenges thrown our way.

If you are considering a new role, please do take the time to update your profile by logging on to the candidate portal or alternatively if you don’t have a profile head here to create one.

Have a great holiday and we look forward to engaging with you in 2022.

Best wishes from the Arras People team.

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