2022: It’s The Perfect Time To Find A New Job, And Here’s Why
For any recruitment agency, January is a busy time. As people embrace the ‘new year, new me’ spirit, job boards are busier than ever before, as candidates and recruiters alike return to work reinvigorated after the Christmas break. Although it might be tempting to think applying for jobs right at the beginning of the year might be a bad move due to the amount of increased competition, as organisations receive new budgets and begin looking ahead to expansion plans, there’s plenty of positions to go around. It’s no wonder, then, that almost one in four UK workers have their sights set on levelling up in their career right now. If you count yourself amongst that number, then it’s good news – and we’ll explain why.
Wages are finally rising
The pandemic sparked a number of complex changed within the recruitment market. For one, people came to reassess their relationship with work, and realise that life’s too short to wallow in a job that has an overall negative impact on their quality of life. In addition, people who found that remote work suited them best have been prompted to leave if their employer refuses to make hybrid working a permanent policy. Perhaps most importantly of all, seven out of ten UK workers haven’t been offered any form of increased remuneration since the start of the pandemic, and 24% have also seen cuts to employee benefits and perks since March 2020. All of these factors, and more, have led to a phenomenon now known as The Great Resignation. This means that in almost all industries, there’s more open positions than there are candidates to fill them. In addition, companies are realising that low employee retention is very expensive. Thankfully, this has prompted many organisations to offer more competitive compensation packages than ever before in a bid to attract and retain new employees, particularly when it comes to senior professionals within industries such as marketing, finance, and IT. However, across the board, salaries are rising at the fastest rate in 24 years, providing plenty of reason for optimism for workers at all levels.
Companies are more focused than ever on employee wellbeing
Keeping employees happy is a matter many organisations have historically given little thought, aside from free tea and coffee and a beanbag corner. However, as remote work has blurred the lines between our personal and professional lives, HR leaders are prioritising mental health, and focusing on nurturing positive relationships that will inspire long-term loyalty. Organisations are taking measures to improve holistic wellbeing, knowing that people who are satisfied in their working lives are far more likely to be engaged and productive. Depending on the type of organisation, this might consist of deepening social connections between employees with team building activities, providing free access to mental health services, or offering physical exercise and wellbeing programmes. Perhaps most importantly, flexible and hybrid working has now become the default in many office-based positions, and it’s estimated that nearly 20% of all professional positions are now completely remote. This means that job seekers are no longer constrained to searching for positions within their local area, and instead can accept positions with national or even international organisations. Whatever wellbeing strategies are important to you, it’s vital to understand that if your current employer isn’t stepping up to the plate and taking these issues seriously, they’re in the minority. If your current needs aren’t being met after reasonable discussion with your employer, chances are, there’s a company out there who’s more than willing to accommodate you, especially if you’re bringing valuable skills to the table.
There’s continued investment in employee growth
If your professional development is important to you, then you’ll know how vital it is to find an employer that offers new opportunities to learn new skills, step out of your comfort zone, and be challenged. Not only is it vital in boosting motivation and engagement, achieving new goals and feeling accomplished also highly contributes to our overall sense of self-worth. Of course, investing in the personal and professional growth of employees also has many benefits for organisations, from a happy and engaged workforce, to reduced staff turnover. Although with the continued talent shortage companies are likely to feel that every new hire is a big win, there’s also a realisation that the work doesn’t end there: loyalty in the long term relies on demonstrating a willingness to invest in an employee’s future. There’s also a recognition that the widening skills gap can hinder a company’s ability to grow; although they might want an employee that excels in every area, from great interpersonal skills to a comprehensive understanding of the latest technology, most understand that this isn’t a realistic goal. So, when employers recognise this is an issue, many will look to upskill their existing team members, rather than look elsewhere or outsource work. Provided they’re also willing to increase compensation in line with increased work and responsibility, this is a win-win. If you feel your personal and professional development has come to a standstill at work, or it’s never been considered at all, know that there’s plenty of employers out there who’ll be willing to put in the time and effort to invest in you, if you’re willing to invest in them.
Equality, diversity and inclusion is being taken more seriously than ever
Here at Gleeson, we’ve written a great deal about the value of taking ED&I issues seriously. From tackling unconscious bias to taking steps to make the workplace more accommodating of disabled people, we’ve seen first-hand that such efforts drive real results in terms of employee engagement, innovation, and overall productivity. Over the past two years, awareness of wider social issues has increased, as people of colour have been impacted more significantly by unemployment, and women have struggled with the challenges of working from home whilst often acting as primary caregivers. Thankfully, many employers have taken note of struggles like these, and have formed a greater understanding that, in order for their team members to be successful, their individual struggles must be understood and accommodated. This has led not only to landmark achievements such as the right to request flexible working from day one, but also more subtle considerations such as the importance of being a true ally to marginalised groups within the workplace. If your current workplace isn’t taking such issues seriously, it can certainly be disillusioning. It’s also almost certainly a sign that the organisation isn’t cut out for tomorrow’s business challenges, and a major red flag that it’s time to move on.
Preparing for interviews post-pandemic
So, we’ve established that right now is an excellent time to find a new career challenge. However, if you’ve not put yourself out there for a while, this can feel intimidating. Although record numbers of people are seeking a new position, the average tenure for UK workers is still around three years. This means that most people will be unfamiliar with navigating the challenges of the post-pandemic recruitment landscape. So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can prepare yourself for when the job interviews come rolling in.
Be prepared to talk about your pandemic experience. Whether you were an essential worker, had to deal with furlough, or faced unemployment, potential employers will want to know how you faced your individual challenges with resilience and determination. Don’t be intimated, be honest and use it as an opportunity to reinforce your growth mindset.
Emphasise the skills employers are looking for. Coming out of the pandemic, employers are recognising the importance of agility and planning for the future more than ever. If you can emphasise your ability to learn and adapt quickly, you’ll be well on the way to winning them over.
Talk about your ability to work well remotely. Most businesses are continuing to allow employees to work from home at least part of the time, so they’ll want to be reassured that you have the self-discipline, as well as the familiarity with virtual tools, to achieve this effectively.
Do your research. If you’re able to, find out the ways in which the pandemic has affected the company you’re interviewing with, as well as their industry in general. Discuss these challenges with them, issues they’re likely to face in the future, and be ready to propose solutions.
Ask challenging questions. For your own reassurance, it’s vital you’re comfortable that your potential new employer has handled the challenges wrought by the pandemic in the right way. So, don’t be afraid to ask what new initiatives they’ve introduced to help care for their employees wellbeing post-Covid, and what their plans are moving forward.
On the lookout for a new opportunity? Don’t wait. We’ve hundreds of positions available in industries such as accountancy, human resources, marketing and digital, IT, and many more. Alternatively, you can search all our positions here, or register with us.