The hiring landscape is changing in direct response to the pandemic. While some areas such as AI and Cybersecurity were already set to boom, shifts in the way we live and work are creating new areas of demand as well as new opportunities. Economic and social reports predict that this year will see the lowest number of births in the UK since records began, along with the first decline in London’s population this century as remote working becomes the norm.
These factors will have an inevitable impact on the hiring landscape over the next 12 months. In particular, redundancies are expected to soar in March as the furloughing scheme comes to an end. Despite this, the UK’s FTSE 100 has already risen almost 7% in 2021, indicating that the economy will grow sharply this year in response to reduced uncertainty over Brexit now that a deal has been struck.
The good news for freelancers and contractors is that the independent workforce will be in particular demand as companies look for agile solutions to alleviate pressure points. The rapid changes brought about by Covid-19 and Brexit mean that many organisations don’t have the time to onboard new staff or train existing employees. Outsourcing work to independents gives them flexible access to specialist skills and the capacity to meet targets while watching their long-term expenditure.
The freelance and contracting sector is also set to receive an influx of talent from workers who are have been made redundant. The redistribution of skills and the way they are utilised by businesses will see some exciting developments this year. While there’s no question that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on creative industries in the UK, companies are now turning their focus on creative contractors to work on a project-basis in an agile way. There was a 69% growth of Creative Freelancers in 2020, and the past year has shown us how these skills can be transferred into new career paths.
Digital Marketing: One such sector is social media and digital marketing, which grew by 52% in 2020, with digital content freelancers growing by 118%. The rise of ecommerce has seen brands looking for quality creative content to boost their online presence. Digital freelance writers, in particular, have seen a 115% growth as brands use creative story-selling to reach out and engage customers. Both video and podcast creation are also presenting opportunities for content contractors. Podcast listenership in the UK reached an estimated 15.6 million listeners in 2020, while video allows brands to showcase products or create information vodcasts on product-related subjects. With tightening marketing budgets, there’s also been an increase in roles such as Growth Hacker and Growth Specialist, that focus on low cost and innovative alternatives to traditional marketing.
Tech: Tech will be another area where independents and consultants come into their own. Tech skills are needed across most industries as ecommerce moves the purchasing of goods and services online. In addition, the need for collaborative communications platforms that underpin remote working models will fuel demand for IT specialists who are ready to deploy. There will also be a huge demand for cybersecurity roles as organisations deal with the online security challenges that arise from digitisation.
E-commerce: At the other end of ecommerce there’s been a huge spike in workers needed from package handlers through to supply chain specialists and lorry drivers – to help get products into the hands of customers. Hiring for these roles grew by 143% between 2019 and 2020, with Amazon being the top hiring company. The change to an online trading model saw 54% growth in customer service roles, with businesses adapting from in-person to virtual methods. Top hiring companies for customer service roles included Sitel, Capita and B&Q.
Healthcare: This past year saw a huge demand for NHS staff as they worked to keep up with surging Covid-19 cases. Demand for frontline workers remains high with Intensive Care Nurses (155% growth) and Certified Nursing Assistants (133% growth). There was also a huge surge in affiliated roles such as laboratory scientists (68% growth) and medical laboratory assistants (156% growth). In 2020 we saw a 104% growth in healthcare supporting staff roles, such as home health aides, who provide care to the elderly and people in need, and 44% growth in hires of mental health professionals.
Construction: While commercial construction was severely disrupted during the pandemic, the tiered lockdown combined with the UK government’s cut in stamp duty gave UK home builders the opportunity to continue with projects. This resulted in a 132% growth in Construction roles in 2020. LinkedIn reported that the majority of construction roles were self-employed, with 31% of those hired holding an MA degree or higher, such as Site Specialist, Construction Specialist, Construction Worker and Construction Site Manager.
Education: The pandemic also impacted the education sector in 2020. With schools and universities forced to close, many academic institutions turned to online learning to ensure a continuity in education services. E-learning is revolutionising the education system as it remains the only option during the ongoing crisis. Internet of Things (IoT) is playing a bigger role in education and holds tremendous potential in terms of creating smarter and more connected schools. There was also a particularly high demand for tutors, in subjects ranging from mathematics to English, with top hiring companies including the charity Teach First, and online tutoring platform www.mytutor.co.uk.
Green Sector: Once the pandemic is under control, there will be a particular focus on the green sector in 2021. This will be the first year where the three main economies of the world will refocus their efforts to fighting climate change. While oil prices have lately recovered from the lows in 2020, it’s likely they will remain relatively subdued for at least the first six month of the year. This has seen companies such as Shell repositioning themselves to take advantage of green investment and the push towards renewables. For example, green bonds, which are used to directly finance environmental projects, are set to massively increase this year.
If you’re starting a contract or continuing an existing one past April 6th, then both contractors and their agencies need to act now to ensure compliancy with changes to the IR35 legislation. Amaze’s Umbrella service has undergone rigorous assessment to attain FCSA accreditation, giving you a fully compliant IR35 solution. Our service also offers benefits of employment that permanent staff receive as well as Perkbox* benefits, insurance cover and a seamless onboarding experience from our first-class customer service team. To speak to a member of the Amaze team see here.
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