We’re a little over a month away from wrapping up 2020 and needless to say it has been a challenging year. While some businesses have had to cut down on staff and look at furlough options, others have had to pivot their overall strategies and this dramatically impacted hiring. While no sector was immune to the shock of the COVID-19 lockdown, IT has shown to be one of the more resilient sectors.
With this in mind, the tech sector will be more agile in 2021 and will see new trends. At Square One, we have seen the changes and trends shift in the last six to eight months, and have gathered some exciting trends we feel will impact recruitment and general hiring in 2021.
Digital Skills Will Be Essential
Digital skills will be increasingly sought after to support technology infrastructure and ongoing digital transformations. Digital transformations being essential for both SME’s and FTSE-500 companies, it will now be more critical than ever. This not only means an increase in IT roles but also that highly digital-literate new hires will be a minimum. Hiring the right candidates to implement your digital transformation strategies will also mean identifying the candidates that want to expand on their knowledge and upskill themselves – an incredibly important aspect to consider when hiring the right team.
Remote Interviews and Working from Home
One unique opportunity that has never occurred to such a global degree before is the work from home model. Many people have encountered a work/life balance never before thought possible having been forced to work from home during lockdown, and they are very likely to want to retain this flexibility for the foreseeable future. Applicants in 2021 will likely expect that any new job opportunities come with the possibility of home-working as the new normal (as long as it is feasible). Unfortunately, this also means that businesses will no longer be able to say this is an exclusive ‘perk’ either.
Additionally, to create greater ease, businesses have begun to engage with remote interviewing with Zoom and Microsoft Teams being the go-to alternatives. Following the end of 2020, companies will undoubtedly identify the ease of use and utility of implementing remote interviews as a way to decrease hiring times and add another tool for hiring managers.
Diversity in the Workplace as a Culture
With more significant strides made in diversity in the workplace, 2020 has laid the foundation for diversity to no longer be a talking point but rather an essential part of the hiring process. With the BLM, Women in Tech, and BAME movements picking up more attention globally, businesses will look to infuse a more well rounded, holistic and diverse hiring strategy.
Soft Skills Given Greater Value
In the same way, as technical skills are, soft skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, and communication will continue to be valued. Soft skills are an essential part of what makes someone great in a position, and it is likely to be of great significance in 2021 to be able to trust someone to be driven and diligent while away from the workplace. This also ties in with the more diverse hiring mentality as historically soft skills have been underappreciated, especially within the IT sector, and that trend has begun to change.
Marketing is Not an Option Anymore
Employer branding has long been used to distinguish employers and retain great talent-the way workers, and how prospective hires view you. This was critical in the pre-pandemic candidate-driven industry and will remain so even though the environment has changed drastically. New hires will be looking for organisations they can trust, that during this time treated their workers equally, that adapted well to change and have future contingency plans.
Despite the ups and downs of 2020 both candidates and clients, from our end, have expressed an eagerness for 2021. Not only because of the soon-to-be COVID-19 vaccine but also because there is a hunger returning to recruitment and a great desire for new talent to join teams returning to the marketplace.