Rewind a couple of years and no-one could have predicted that a global pandemic would fundamentally change where, how and when we work. As the nation emerges from a long period of Zoom calls and furlough, what does getting back to normal mean for the world of work?

Jobs galore, but fussy jobseekers

First off, it looks like the recruitment market is booming. The ONS reports that the volume of online job adverts in the second week of August was 128% higher than February 2020, pre-pandemic. Businesses are clearly easing restraints around spending and hiring – scaling up for growth now the future is looking more certain.

On the other side of the fence, just 11% of those not working or on furlough are urgently seeking a new job, according to a report by Indeed. And, even as we have battled uncertain times over the past weeks and months, it seems that we’ve had a ‘Great Resignation’, with our study of workers in the UK and Ireland for HR software company Personio showing that 38% plan to quit within six months to a year.

So to sum up: although hiring is on the up, it seems that the workforce is being particularly discerning when it comes to the opportunities they are going for – or indeed staying put for.

Employer brands win the war

With the past year seemingly full of redundancies, long periods of furlough and pay cuts, it’s easy to assume that job seekers would be grabbing any opportunity that arises. But perhaps the pandemic has had a more unexpected effect – showing people that there are new ways to work, giving them time and space to reassess their careers and perhaps reminding us that life is too short to take, or stay in, a job you don’t love, or with an employer that doesn’t support you. And with reports that Google is considering cutting pay by up to 25% for staff in the US that opt to work from home, it seems that there are plenty of employers sending up red flags to their people that it might be time to jump ship.

This is something we know a thing or two about at firstlight. Not only do we have a wealth of experience working in the employment space and helping businesses talk to their existing and potential talent, we have been named a Great Place to Work for the past five years. We know that people are an organisation’s biggest asset, and looking after them is a no-brainer if you want business to thrive. A strong employer brand is key, but worthless if it’s not authentic to its core.  

For businesses looking to hire (and to retain) staff, it’d be easy to assume that we’re in an employer-driven market after such a turbulent 18 months. But in reality, right now candidates and employees are the ones calling the shots. It may not be an obvious priority as businesses prepare for the world getting back to normal, but communicating how and why you’re a destination for talent is too important to ignore.

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