Pawel Adrjan is the Head of EMEA Research at Indeed and economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab in London. His team monitors the labor market using many data sources, including millions of job postings and searches on Indeed’s global platform. We talked with him about economic recovery; Brexit; and the current state of the talent market globally, specifically in the United Kingdom.
Could it be said that the talent market has recovered from the COVID-19 crisis? What can we expect in the short term?
We haven’t made a complete recovery yet, but there are many encouraging signs. In most major economies hiring activity is on the rise and there are more job vacancies than before the pandemic. Job switching is also making a comeback, which is a sign of growing candidate confidence in the market.
But there is still a long way to go before things go back to normal. Unemployment remains elevated across Europe, millions of people are still on full or partial furlough schemes, and many candidates remain on the sidelines due to Covid concerns. Over the short-term, we need to get the virus under control so that employer and jobseeker confidence can continue to grow.
Has Brexit has a negative impact on the UK’s ability to attract talent from Europe?
The impact of Brexit on talent attraction varies a lot by sector. Since the start of 2021, new migration rules have made it harder for EU citizens to come to the UK for work, while requirements for skilled migrants from the rest of the world have been relaxed. At Indeed, we already see candidates reacting to these shifts. Job searches from people in the EU have fallen, while interest from outside the EU has risen, especially for high-paid jobs. As a result, the supply of overseas talent remains strong in sectors like tech and engineering, but European candidates are increasingly being replaced by those from the rest of the world. That means employers in those sectors need to think globally about talent.
“Job searches from people in the EU have fallen, while interest from outside the EU has risen, especially for high-paid jobs.”
Has this reduction in talent flows from Europe led to greater competition for existing talent? Have salaries increased in certain sectors or positions?
At this point, recruitment is impacted both by Brexit and the pandemic. In the service sector, the easing of restrictions prompted many businesses to try to hire staff at the same time, leading to hiring bottlenecks in hospitality, driving, retail, and construction. Lower access to the EU workforce contributed to those bottlenecks, and wages have risen slightly in these sectors as employers try to attract candidates.
Meanwhile, hiring in professional sectors like tech, finance, HR or marketing has been recovering more slowly, driven by gradual improvements in the broader economic picture and declines in uncertainty. In the salary data we extract from jobs posted on Indeed, we are yet to see any meaningful increases in advertised salaries in these sectors. But that may change very quickly if hiring ramps up in the coming months.
How will employers fill the positions that may have previously been held by citizens of the European Union if inflows of new European workers remain low?
Employers who face challenges filling open positions will need to attract and train domestic workers and, additionally, tap into the global talent pool for professional roles. We are already starting to see a rise in the share of job descriptions that mention training, which suggests this is an area of focus for employers. Pay and working conditions are another lever for making jobs more attractive. That is especially true for lower-paid, ‘essential’ roles. If we see better pay and working conditions as a result of the current hiring challenges, then that would be a silver lining of the pandemic and Brexit.
“Employers who face challenges filling open positions will need to attract and train domestic workers and, additionally, tap into the global talent pool for professional roles.”
What sectors and roles are expected to grow the most in the coming years?
I see three main areas of growth, based on what employers are already demanding. The first is health and social care, driven by the long-term trend of aging populations in most developed countries. Jobs involving both in-person care and technological solutions will likely grow. Second, the pandemic accelerated certain trends in consumer behavior, like the shift towards online retail and remote working. Production, delivery, e-commerce, and information security roles will benefit. Finally, growth in ‘green’ jobs related to the manufacturing, installation, and maintenance of renewable energy sources is likely to accelerate in the coming years, boosted by government policies and concerns about global warming.
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