Year End Review

As the year draws to a close it’s a good time to reflect on some of the year’s activities, trends and forecasts looking to 2022.

Interestingly, whilst the Covid lockdown in 2020 severely impacted our business, this year business returned to 2018/19 levels and the Covid lockdowns in the first two quarters had little effect. This seem to have been driven by a combination of factors;

  • Delayed appointments from 2020 ‘coming on stream’.
  • Acceptance by businesses that whilst Covid was a concern, underlying confidence was reasonably strong.
  • In our core sectors across energy, transport, property and construction investment has continued.
  • The energy transition is driving new investment with a need for specific skills.

Key trends we’ve noticed through the year are:

  • The pendulum has swung towards the candidates rather than employers.
  • In high demand skill sets some eye watering salary hikes, reminiscent of the late 1980’s boom (for those able to remember that far back!).
  • Frequent counter offers.
  • Some degree of flexible/hybrid working has become ‘the norm’ and is expected by candidates changing jobs.
  • Increase in early retirements.

Looking ahead to 2022 we expect to see:

  • Continued high demand and short supply for many roles requiring specific skill sets and experience.
  • Salary inflation, although perhaps not so rapid as in 2021.
  • Following Brexit, a gradual drift of EU nationals away from the UK will further tighten the supply of skills in key areas including engineering.

Our advice to companies given the lack of supply is to carefully review job descriptions and person specifications before starting any hiring exercise.

  • Are all those qualifications/skills/experiences really necessary?
  • Can we realistically find people for the salary we are able to pay with the desired skills?
  • Internally, have we people who meet most of the criteria and can be developed?

To candidates, this is your time. But as a night follows day it will not last forever. 

So, think longer term – where do you want to be in 5 years time? Will this new potential role help you achieve that goal? If not then maybe look elsewhere and position yourself with a business which will enable you to meet your goals, not purely pay a higher salary in the short term. 

Remember, salary is the easiest change for a company to make. Changing cultures; values; organisational structures; career progression routes and so on are all far more difficult and slower than salary adjustments, so look carefully at these before being distracted by a higher base salary.

Finally, as the year end approaches, we wish you all a healthy, happy Christmas and a successful 2022.