For many industries, 2020 got off to a strong start. The World Health Organisation declared 2020 to be the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, honouring the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale and recognising the vital role nurses and midwifes play in providing health services. Elsewhere, the UK legal services market increased by 4.6% from 2018 to an estimated value of £37bn in 2019, with annual growth of almost 5% predicted for 2020 and 2021.
However, much of this positive activity came to a halt from March when the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. We’ve since seen industries furlough workers, make difficult decisions and reconsider what a successful business model looks like in a post-Covid landscape. So what can we expect from the recruitment market in the coming months, and how can businesses and jobseekers make the most of the rest of 2020?
Recruitment and Hiring Trends
2019 was a strong year for the recruitment sector. On any given day, the industry put more than1.1 million people into contract or temporary work, with high levels of satisfaction reported from businesses that engaged with recruitment firms. Despite Brexit and IR35 legislation changes, the job market was thriving up until news of the novel coronavirus started to spread. The resulting pandemic has seen record numbers of people working from home, while many businesses have taken up the government’s furlough scheme in a bid to prevent job losses. As this scheme comes to an end, we will likely see more job losses – but also opportunities for companies to rethink their business offerings, as well as for candidates considering a change.
Social carers and workers have been in the spotlight throughout the pandemic. These key workers have not always had the recognition they deserve, but have proven to be indispensable during this time of crisis. As social workers’ roles in protecting people at risk have become impossible to ignore, we hope public and government awareness and support for social work will continue into the second half of 2020 and beyond.
We can expect to see an ongoing focus on CPD – as just 18% of practitioners have uploaded CPD onto Social Work England’s website – and diversity and inclusion. Social Work England has promised to take action after a staff survey revealed only 10% of its organisation are from Black or minority ethnic backgrounds. We will also see specialist mental health social work become more important in society, with social workers developing new skills in mental health work.
The legal industry has had to quickly adapt to home and remote working conditions, with many courts forced to conduct hearings and trials virtually as lockdown took hold. Research has shown that there is a generation divide in terms of how solicitors have adapted to the new technological trends, and we can expect to see employer demand for technology skills increase as flexible work conditions continue to be the norm. There will likely also be an enhanced focus on wellbeing and mental health in the industry, as a survey shows that nearly half of solicitors have noticed a greater focus on their mental health in the wake of home working.