In what has been the most challenging year for so many of us, the recruitment market has certainly been no stranger to the ups and downs that 2020 has brought. I’d like to share a few thoughts to reflect on how the year has been; where we are currently at; and, some things to consider to help you get ahead in 2021.
Reflection on 2020
At FPSG, we were fortunate to have been set-up to work remotely ahead of the impact of Covid-19 reaching the UK, with the first lockdowns as far back now as March seeming like a lifetime ago. That enabled us to quickly adapt our business model to meet the needs of our Candidate and Client bases who all moved at different speeds and in varying directions given their diversity across numerous sectors with wide-ranging in-demand skills to take into account. Whilst we supported some who were facing imminent furloughing, redundancies or contractor terminations, others needed our innovation and tact to navigate the restrictions in place, in order to continue to feed and move the pipelines of talent needed in the areas we specialize in recruiting for (www.fpsg.com). Where possible, existing or hastily implemented working from home practices became a saving grace for a lot of businesses with the only certainty at times being change and the need to be flexible in getting things done. They now need to be further honed and readied for the business world we are now living and operating in. Indeed, had it not been for the ability to continue working seamlessly from home, the contractors and permanent employees FPSG have continued to deliver into the Public Sector and Private Sector across Scotland and the rest of the UK, would have faced a very different 2020 that was sadly experienced by so many who have struggled to secure opportunities in the challenging economic climate. Finding solutions has become a way of life and one we always want to be at the forefront of when challenges are met, so we are always open to discussing and applying bespoke approaches for the Clients and Candidates who are our lifeblood in the recruitment industry.
Where we are now
Fast-forwarding to the current period, with the Festive Holiday Season just around the corner, it has recently felt more like we are starting to edge towards the other half of an upturned bell-curve with changing goals from how 2020 initially started. Where the traditionally office-based working world has not only adapted to being based remotely, it is now starting to yearn for a day or two back in the office to “escape” the home-working environment, rather than that once-upon-a-time nirvana of a day or so from home when required to help manage life. Somewhere in the middle of all this journey, there has been a learning curve where everyone can hopefully come out of it with a clearer idea of what equilibrium is for their best way to optimally function in the workplace.
In the main, we should have learned that previous assumptions that so many roles could only be done in the office between 9am-5pm were flawed ideals, forged in an era which has now quickly sped past it’s sell by date. This is something which should be roundly accepted and bar the odd exception where restrictions on the nature of the work dictate on-site presence, be embraced for all the right reasons as we move into a healthier and safer New Year. Rather than employers scorning the cost of under-utilised office space, it may prove more productive to reflect upon the travel (and often family) time saved for their people, before re-negotiating leases with landlords or perhaps seek to find something more appropriately sized altogether. No harm in constructively assessing the waste of office resources that may have been previously ignored and value instead the efficiency of the power of technology when harnessed effectively, as cost-savings can be vital and used as fuel to fire the engines of our economies in more fruitful directions. Indeed, for employers who can now confidently reflect on how they can meet more of their diversity and inclusion goals, they could do worse than consider the fact that more mature and evolved remote working practices can now help them secure the most diverse, inclusive talent pools which many businesses can, for the very first time, access not only to recover from, but ultimately to thrive from.
Points to consider
At FPSG we are proud to be considered as trusted advisors to the Candidates, Consultants and Clients we partner with. Our 5 star rating on Trust Pilot indicates the value and faith our partners place in us. (https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/fpsg.com). It has been a constantly challenging and changing marketplace in my past few decades in recruitment, so adapting to it has been crucial to staying ahead of the competition. One particular change I have noted after the significant drops in hiring are around the actual time it can take to hire. With this, there have been winners and undoubtedly losers, who have either seized the opportunity to act fast when given the chance, or failed to capitalize through a combination of uncertainty around hiring, lack of forward planning and/or a general appreciation of what it can sometimes take to get someone on-boarded to start in a job. With Public Sector Clients a huge part of FPSG’s business, we are very familiar with the type of screening that is needed for BPSS (Basic Personnel Security Screening) and for the Private Sector, we have a first class Compliance Manager over-seeing our PES (Pre-Employment Screening) for those we place into our Financial Services Clients, amongst others. The diversity of our Client base means we get to see the bottlenecks that appear, which can be regarded as common pains, across different sectors. So much so, that delays can occur to getting jobs started and project deadlines met, through not having a particular document or valid piece of paperwork.
The strain in particular that 2020 has had upon the wonderful NHS is all too obvious to see by tuning into the news, however, for employers and jobseekers, it is worth remembering that front-line workers are priority cases, who also require valid, current Disclosure Scotland / DBS certificates and this will contribute to causing delays should you require it to be part of your process before someone can physically start in a job they are offered. It is therefore something I would actively encourage all job seekers* to be clear on as to what the specific requirements are for on-boarding, if they are successful, and where possible for employers to make it clear and manage expectations for candidates they engage when realistic starts can occur.
As we see it every day and have live data that we can share, please feel free to reach out directly to me for advice around how to manage expectations and implement better ways around resource planning with challenges such as this. There is never any harm in being proactive, especially with a bit of paperwork like Basic Disclosure Scotland which costs £25 to apply for online, when compared to knock-on delays to earning a wage that could be pushed back by several weeks. Like all good advice, this is down to an individual to assess the value of for them before taking up. “It’s a useful thing to have or apply for today” at initial engagement stage is possibly one of the most repeated statements I have made this year to people who have started jobs earlier than they might otherwise have. Food for thought with practical outcomes to consider.
(*) NB….Should anyone have current SC Clearance (including to HO level), DV Clearance DBS, Basic Disclosure or Enhance Disclosure Scotland, etc, please get in touch with myself or the Team at FPSG through our website, as some roles, particularly within our IT Division, are currently moving so quickly they are not able to be advertised as normal.
My over-all thoughts are that we can continue to work pro-actively through the challenges, learn the lessons, self-reflect and get ready for a far more positive year ahead than the one we will soon leave behind. With the right attitude and approach we can continue to achieve anything. Merry Christmas, have a peaceful Festive period and an inspired start to New Year 2021.
Michael Taggart – Director|IT Recruitment Solutions
+44 (0) 131 270 6605 – email@example.com