Billy’s Blog

Economic Indicators & Hiring News for January, 2021

19 January 2021

Economic Indicators & Hiring News for January, 2021

With the coronavirus pandemic far from over and the finer details of the Brexit deal still to work out, the economic outlook for 2021 looks uncertain. PWC’S recent economic report predicts 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. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has already warned that up to 4,000 financial services firms in the UK are at risk of failing, with around 30 percent having the potential to “cause harm in failure”. These include insurance services groups, payments firms and retail lending, which have all taken a downturn due to the pandemic. Despite this, the financial turbulence is creating a need for financial specialists, with hiring demand in this area growing by 82% in 2020 according to LinkedIn data.

The UK’s FTSE 100 has already risen almost 7% in 2021, indicating that the economy will grow sharply this year. One of the key areas of investment and job opportunities will undoubtedly be the green sector, with 2021 predicted to be a turning point in the fight against climate change. Green bonds, which are used to directly finance environmental projects, will increase by over 40% this year. In addition, investor appetite for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) funds could account for up to 57% of total European mutual funds by 2025. Opportunities will be varied across this sector, but there will be a huge demand for candidates with STEM skills that can be deployed on major projects.

Another area of predicted growth along with increased hiring is IT, with around 60 percent of the fastest growing jobs being tech-based. The demand for tech skills is being fuelled by the remote working culture and the demand for IT platforms that that underpin remote communication and collaboration. Additionally, as businesses moves online, there’s a huge need for IT to deal with the cybersecurity challenges that arise. Tech companies are predicted to pay out up to 20% more in salaries next year as demand exceeds supply. The need for individuals who can work independently with minimal introductory support means that IT contractors and consultants can command a high premium for their skills.

Digital skills will also play an important role in the marketing sector, which will see growth in 2021 as brands compete to make their online presence convert into sales. Social media and digital marketing grew by 52% in 2020, with the use of digital content freelancers, in particular, growing by 118%. As touchless shopping takes over from the high street, consumers are spending more time than ever researching products online. Brands must take advantage of the latest technology to create the best online user experience for their customers, with strong visuals and creative content. With visual commerce playing a pivotal role in the shopping experience, skills such as video marketing are likely to become an essential tool in 2021, allowing brands to both showcase products and enhance their storytelling capabilities.

Travel restrictions, lockdowns and curfews have led to a 54% growth in customer service roles as businesses look to find new ways of serving their customers. These roles are adapting from in-person to virtual methods, with customer services being treated as an important part of the overall ‘user experience’ that’s crucial for customer retention and repeat business. Top hiring companies for customer service roles included Sitel, Capita, B&Q. HM Revenue & Customs has also been a major hirer for customer service roles with the financial support schemes increasing demand during the pandemic.

With so many businesses implementing change projects to accommodate new ways of working, 2021 will also be the year of the consultant. From management consultants with the capability to oversee complex restructuring across departments, to specialists in IT, HR and operations, Covid-19 has shown that consultants are essential when it comes to adapting to the new normal. Typically, the range and depth of experience that consultants bring to the table increases the speed and accuracy of project completion, helping to protect a company’s bottom line.

As well as demand for financial and tech consultants, there’s a strong need for consultants in the construction sector. While construction on commercial building projects ground to a halt during the pandemic, the tiered lockdown combined with the UK government’s cut in stamp duty gave UK home builders the incentive to push ahead with projectsThis resulted in a 132% growth in construction roles in 2020. The majority of construction roles were self-employed, with 31% of those hired holding an MA degree or higher, showing the need for specialists in this area.

Lastly, the ongoing pandemic and the vaccination programme continues to fuel hiring in the healthcare sector. Overall, specialised medical professional roles grew by 58% in 2020, with intensive care nurses (155% growth) and laboratory staff (156% growth) among the roles most needed. There’s also an urgent demand for mental health professionals as increasing numbers of people are reporting symptoms of severe anxiety and depression due to coronavirus. NHS England has invested an extra £15 million to strengthen mental health support in response. In 2020 there was also a 104% growth in healthcare support roles, such as home health aides, as healthcare continues to cater for the needs of an increasingly elderly population.

For more on the companies that are currently hiring see here. If you’re starting a new contracting role, Umbrella Exchange have access to a wide range of hassle-free services that can help you with setting up a limited company or finding the right umbrella company for you. To talk to a member of our team, call: 0203 393 3881

Topics: News, Coronavirus, contractor jobs