In the final of a four part series, Managing Director Steve Preston takes us through his overview of a tumultuous year, but one from which common themes have emerged as we build back to our pre-pandemic economic levels.
Despite all that has happened over the last few years there are lots of positive signs emerging that we should consider as we look forward to 2022. Despite the summer of 2021 being termed ‘the summer of resignations’ by various press and ONS reports, we are now looking at the highest job count that we’ve had for business since the 1970s. A multitude of companies are looking for talent and there are a huge number of opportunities. We are also seeing obvious growth areas, a good example of which is in cyber security and cyber insurance. Cyber security is classed as Digital and Tech, but cyber insurance is a key product in the Insurance market which is rapidly becoming a must-have in business. Another good example is the Financial Services industry, which is now widely recognised as one of the most innovative sectors and is adept at reinventing itself to deal with whatever challenges it faces, whether that be legislative or regulatory.
We are always looking to the future and helping with the priorities of people wanting to push their businesses forward, and that includes the increasing use of artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning. This can be slightly daunting, but we need to remember that this offers opportunities for those that want to get on board and upskill into these fields because there will always be a need for human intervention behind it. At the moment, many firms are still trying to backfill roles where they had genuine gaps prior to the pandemic, and improvements in technology offer scope to fill these in a wider geographical sense. As I’ve highlighted throughout this, it is crucial for growth to focus on training and retraining, upskilling and providing new development opportunities. Unlike my parents’ time, the days of people staying in a job for 30 years are rare and if you want to recruit or retain excellent staff, then you must invest in them. A question that remains to consider is how far salaries will continue to rise and what impact that will have more generally. Will it eliminate certain companies from being able to bid for a certain person? If we reach a point where some cannot attract top talent will they need to consider not just competitive salaries but a working environment that offers more of a ‘lifestyle’ option to attract and retain a new workforce? All of this remains to be seen.