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2020 job and employment trends: how can you capture top talent?

By Simon Winfield, Managing Director, Hays UK & Ireland

Given that post-Brexit we might finally have a reprieve after years of uncertainty, it is interesting to look at what job trends we can expect to see and the 2020 employment trends. Many of the employers we speak to are struggling to find the people they need, so it is particularly important to look at what’s happening across employment and reflect on some of the key trends. What are the top hiring trends that employers should be aware of?

1. Embrace the power of potential
Given that many industries are in the grip of skills shortages, increasing your emphasis on potential and soft skills when hiring is vital.

Our recent What Workers Want report showed that, even for those organisations investing in digital transformation and automation, where you could assume technical skills take precedence, attitude and soft skills remain vital. Perhaps these companies appreciate even more that the technical skills needed today will be different from those needed tomorrow so it is more important to recruit on the basis of soft skills like problem-solving, communication and adaptability. In fact, 73% of respondents to our survey believe that the key to making digital transformation a success is an open mindset to change – far greater than the number who cited technical skills (25%). 

But this also requires a shift in processes. Do you have the processes in place to ensure that candidates have the right soft skills and will your interviews draw these out? Do you know how to assess potential in a one hour interview slot? Also, do you have the time and resources to train and upskill promising employees? These are all issues that organisations and hiring managers need to get to grips with now.

2. Prioritise diversity and inclusion
These days, it can seem that diversity fatigue – where people feel overwhelmed, disheartened or that they have nothing left to learn on the diversity and inclusion agenda – is on the rise.

However, the facts don’t lie: organisations with more diverse boards perform better and professionals want to work in organisations that prioritise diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion must continue to be a priority as you attract, select and seek to retain talent. This means ensuring your candidate journey, from job adverts to your website, is inclusive. Ensuring that hiring managers are aware of, and able to mitigate, their own unconscious biases. And it means creating and maintaining a company culture, which allows all employees, regardless of their background, to be their authentic selves.

But the diversity and inclusion conversation is changing too. Candidates and employees expect their organisations not simply to focus on single areas – gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, neurodivergence and so on. Instead, organisations should take a more holistic view of diversity, where all these factors intersect, and the burden of importance lies with providing equal opportunities to all individuals, especially those who are underrepresented.

3. Don’t delay your tech investment
From our list of the top jobs for 2020, technology and digitally focused jobs are in the greatest demand from employers. This is likely to continue and is largely due to the widespread digital transformation projects, which continue to shape both our personal and work lives.

If your company isn’t already investing heavily in tech, then now might be the time to consider what expertise will help you to start on your digital transformation journey. If you are, consider what skills you’ll need over the coming year and make sure you’ve got succession plans in place for key roles.

Top 10 jobs for 2020

  1. BI analyst
  2. DevOps engineer
  3. Finance manager
  4. Software developer
  5. Quantity surveyor
  6. Management accountant
  7. Project and change managers
  8. Digital marketing managers
  9. Automation engineer
  10. Auditor

4. Continue to embrace contractors
The IR35 reforms could have a considerable impact on hiring because they are shifting the responsibility of determining tax status from the contractor to the organisation engaging them. Engaging non-permanent contractors, including temporary workers, is the most common way employers are overcoming immediate skills shortages, so employers can’t ignore this issue.  

2020 will provide a good opportunity for employers to review their approach and ensure they have the right processes and support structures in place to minimise risk and maintain access to contractors. It might be ensuring they have the right payrolling solutions in place or it might be an extensive managed service programme.

Whether you engage with an individual Personal Services Company worker, a handful or hundreds, there’s a solution for you. What’s clear is that with the changes coming into effect from 6th April, now’s not the time to bury your head in the sand. Be proactive looking for the latest information about IR35, value your contractors and engage with the experts to make sure you have the right solutions in place.

5. Fine-tune the candidate experience
With skills shortages so widespread, it is no mean feat to stand out from competitors and be able to attract talented professionals.

It is therefore vital that you consider the experiences of candidates that apply for your roles. Consider, for example, how easy it is for someone to apply for a job with your organisation – do they need to submit a CV only to then fill in the same details on an online form? How long will they need to wait until they hear back about their application? Are they able to contact someone should they have any queries? These are all simple but important aspects to get right that every employer must consider when hiring in 2020.

Having a strong employee value proposition (EVP) is also a key part of the recruitment process, and therefore important to develop. A good EVP will answer the key question for jobseekers, ‘Why should I work for you?’, and will encapsulate everything from what the job itself entails through to the benefits on offer, who they will be working with and the culture of the organisation.

Your EVP should shine through when hiring and should feature at all stages of the recruitment process from your job adverts right through to your interviews. An EVP is the essence of your organisation, and so should rightly be showcased to those who apply to your roles.

What do you think the year ahead will hold for your career, your organisation and the wider hiring market? Take our short 2020 Outlook survey today.

About this author

Simon joined Hays in 2006, having commenced his recruitment career in 1993. Initially responsible for our businesses in Western Australia and Northern Territory, Simon relocated to the UK in 2014 where he was responsible for our operations in the West & Wales and Ireland, before being appointed Managing Director of the UK & Ireland business in 2018.

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