With much of the focus on the pandemic being about the impact on our economy and jobs, who better to go to for insight than Cheltenham-based recruitment agency Hooray?
Richard Arthur, one of the firm’s founders, talks about that impact, how companies are reacting, what sectors are hardest hit, and gives some timely advice for businesses trying to prepare for the post-pandemic world.
About the expert – Richard Arthur from Hooray
With more than 16 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, managing director and founder of Hooray, Richard Arthur, launched the Cheltenham firm in November 2017.
The first ethical recruitment company in Gloucestershire, Hooray has been making its mark on clients through its transparent and honest approach.
What impact has the pandemic had on businesses in Gloucestershire in terms of jobs and recruitment?
There’s no doubt the job market has been affected by the pandemic, however many press articles would have you believe that it’s a case of most people being made redundant or being put on furlough and all recruitment being put on hold. This simply isn’t the case.
It’s true there have been fewer vacancies overall, however 2020 still saw many businesses in Gloucestershire recruiting and after an initial drop in vacancies in March we had a steady trickle throughout the year. Clearly some sectors have suffered more than others and it’s a very difficult time for them and the people who are used to working within them.
The impact of Covid-19 has caused job losses in many industries, but some sectors seem to be faring much better than others. Are you seeing demand for staff increase in some sectors?
Yes. Unsurprisingly healthcare continues to see a very strong demand for staff, however a proportion of the vacancies require skilled staff so it’s not necessarily easy for job seekers to simply transfer, however there are definitely vacancies which also require unskilled staff.
Other sectors such as financial services and legal remain robust and we have continued to service these industries well throughout the pandemic.
Are businesses using this period as an opportunity to reshape their teams – at senior management level, or across the board? If not, should they be?
Some businesses are using the opportunity to recruit staff who may not ordinarily be available and do see this a time to hire, upskill and retrain.
It’s also a good time to restrategise, look at how roles can be amalgamated and also look at benefits packages and other ways to hire and retain the best talent for when we start to emerge from the pandemic.
However, there are many businesses which are simply ‘fire-fighting’ which is understandable!
Are you seeing staff also using the crisis as an opportunity to change roles?
Yes, some are seeing it as an opportunity to explore other avenues and the pandemic has given rise to some people wanting to do something more community led. However, conversely many candidates are sitting tight as they are concerned wherever they end up might be affected adversely by the situation.
Of course, Brexit is also affecting the jobs market. Has that driven demand for particular skills in any way as firms plan for the longer term?
Yes, the ‘B’ word (which was the biggest topic of conversation) seems to have taken a bit of a back seat! We shouldn’t however underestimate the challenges around Brexit.
Again, healthcare is a notable sector which relies on workers from outside the UK and this will and has already been impacted by Brexit. It’s no coincidence that the skills demand in the NHS is at an all time high.
Has the pandemic highlighted the need for skilled recruitment firms like Hooray – for businesses in need of staff and for individuals seeking new challenges?
Many people think recruitment is straightforward and it most definitely is not! Like many fast-paced service industries, some will appreciate and recognise the hard graft we put in and some won’t.
I do have to say though, throughout the pandemic there does seem to be a little more empathy and gratitude from our clients and candidates and that can be seen by looking at our testimonials!
Do you have any advice for businesses out there trying to prepare for the post-pandemic world?
Yes, if you have the time, use it as an opportunity to take stock and restrategise. That is certainly something we are doing at Hooray Recruitment.