Hays UK jobs and employment blog


Nearly a third of employers are looking to hire: how can you secure the best talent for the new era of work?

By Mark Staniland, Managing Director of Hays Ireland

We recently surveyed over 16,000 professionals and employers, and according to the findings of our Market Insights Report, nearly a third (31%) of employers are actively recruiting. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this number is higher amongst public sector employers, with nearly half (46%) currently looking to hire – no doubt demonstrating the pressure that the Covid-19 pandemic is currently placing on public services which is increasing the need for skilled workers.

But who are employers looking to hire? What are the skills most needed as we enter a new era of work? And how can employers who are considering hiring ensure they are able to secure the best talent out there?

1. Communications and problem-solving skills are in demand

The soft skills that employers want the most include communications (in demand by 54% of employers), problem-solving (48%) and flexibility (45%).

Whilst these skills have always been important, the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted just how crucial they are to organisational success – especially in times of change as we are currently undergoing. These skills should be prioritised by employers looking to hire as we move forward into the new era of work, alongside others, such as a change mindset and strong technological literacy.

2. Spotlight on work-life balance and mental health

In terms of priorities, job security has increased the most in importance to professionals since the lockdown, followed closely by work-life balance and mental health support.

The Covid-19 lockdown has led many employees to attribute increased importance to work-life balance and mental health support – in what have been anxious and unusual times for many, progressive employers should place staff wellbeing high on their agenda. Employers should also take care to showcase these provisions as part of their candidate attraction strategy in order to stand out from the competition.

3. Offer long-term career pathways

Overall, professionals demonstrate positivity regarding their careers, with 44% stating they have a positive or very positive outlook towards their jobs. This positivity varies according to the seniority of their role, with more senior professionals tending to have a more positive outlook.

However, professionals are less confident in their ability to progress their career since the coronavirus outbreak – just over a third (34%) say they are now less confident. Employers looking to hire should therefore highlight clear, long term career paths to candidates throughout the recruitment process.

4. If you’re planning to hire, ensure you’re ready

The post-lockdown era of agile working and social distancing looks set to remain for a while, so you will need to consider how to accommodate any new staff into your overall strategy. There are a multitude of questions that employers need to think about, from the way their organisation operates, how technology can be best used, and which skills will now be needed. Throughout all of this, keeping the wellbeing of your workforce front of mind will be crucial in the coming weeks.

To help support you, download our guide for advice on what to consider now and in the future to establish your new way of working.

Download the Market Insights Report for more insights into employer and employee sentiment right now. For additional resources on topics including onboarding remotely, managing hybrid or flexible teams and undertaking virtual interviews as we move forward, visit our Inspire Me in the New Era of Work hub.

About this author

Mark joined Hays in 1985 as a trainee consultant and has been in various roles, sectors and locations during his time at Hays. He is a Board member and in 2019 his responsibilities extended to Hays Ireland.


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