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What’s in store for the world of work in the months ahead?

By Maureen Lynch, Director of Hays Ireland

Back in May, in the midst of lockdown, we asked employers and their employees to share their sentiments about the world of work. Now, as government restrictions continue to ease, we surveyed almost 1,500 professionals in July to discover their views as we move to the new era of work.

So, how have these views have changed and what’s in store for the future?

1. More employers don’t have all the skills they need

Our survey results show that there has been a decrease in the percentage of employers who say they have all the skills they need in their team to meet organisational objectives, to just a third. Employers need a mix of the right specialist and soft skills within their teams – the top sought-after specialist skills in Ireland include managerial and leadership, operational, IT infrastructure and project and change management skillsets.

In terms of soft skills, just over half employers need professionals with the ability to adopt change. As has been put under the spotlight since the start of the year, change is inevitable, and sometimes this will happen at pace. All of us should take the time to reflect on how we have adapted in recent months to great upheaval and consider how to take the lessons we have learned forward. You may find our guides around managing and embracing change a useful starter to this reflection.

2. Hiring is on the rise

In May, hiring activity had slowed down, with a third of employers saying they were actively recruiting. In July, hiring plans had accelerated, with 49% of employers now recruiting new staff. While hiring activity remains more widespread in the public sector than in the private sector, both sectors have seen a boost in recruitment plans since May.

As hiring increases, competition for some of the most in-demand skills listed above will become even greater. Employers should therefore think about the steps they need to take to secure the most sought-after professionals in the weeks and months ahead.

3. Views differ on the return to the workplace

We asked employers their expectations of their workforce’s working patterns in the coming months compared to employees’ preferred ways of working, and our results highlighted a mismatch in expectations. In the next three months, 59% of employers expect their teams to be working in a mix between the workplace and remotely, but only 39% of professionals showed a preference for this. Just over a third would favour working fully remotely in the next three months, something only a fifth of employers expect to happen.

This is a similar story when looking at ways of working in the next three to six months. 67% of employers expect their workforce to work in a mix between the workplace and remotely, compared to just over half of professionals who would prefer this way of working.

As can be seen, many organisations expect to take up ‘hybrid’ working practices in the months ahead, where some team members will be working from home and others in the workplace. It’s therefore important for employers and professionals to understand the challenges and opportunities that hybrid ways of working can bring – some of which are outlined in our guides for employers and employees

There is no doubt about it, the world of work will likely never return to the way it was pre-pandemic. Although uncertainty remains, there are signs of organisations looking ahead and taking steps to set themselves up for the future. Therefore, there is the opportunity for employers and employees alike to reflect on their triumphs and mistakes over the last few months, and apply the lessons learnt to be in the best position to succeed in the new era of work.

For further insights into how sentiments have changed during the Covid-19 pandemic, read our Career Insights Snapshot in full. You can visit our employer and employee hubs for guides, blogs and advice to help you to succeed in the new era of work.

About this author

With over 20 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, Maureen believes a strong relationship is at the heart of recruitment. This approach allows her to create innovative recruitment solutions reflecting her clients’ desire to grow their teams, while also working closely with individuals looking to take the next step in their careers. Maureen began her Hays career in our Senior Finance division and is now the Director of Operations for our offices in Cork, Limerick and Galway, managing our finance, construction & property, financial services, operations & administration support and IT functions. Maureen also takes the lead for Hays Ireland Diversity & Inclusion initiatives creating and implementing diverse recruitment strategies that effectively support the representation of more diverse staff profiles both within Hays Ireland and in the organisations with whom we work.

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