As 2020 comes to an end, business leaders should reflect on the challenges they've had to tackle, and the innovative solutions that have helped them navigate through the struggles caused by the ongoing pandemic.

Businesses spanning all sectors have accelerated their digital transformation and turned to the latest technologies to get them through.

In this piece, we have compiled 4 predictions from leaders in technology, who have shared their insights on what the year ahead holds for businesses:

1. More support for upskilling and personal growth

Anna Brailsford, CEO, Code First Girls:

"Today, women make up only 17% of IT specialists in the UK, and a mere 35% of women pursuing STEM at higher education level - but this is changing. As we transition into 2021, companies globally will take the opportunity to reshape the way we work and fight to achieve gender parity in the workplace. By empowering women to upskill in technology, businesses across industries can establish a work culture that enables women to thrive.

"At a time when businesses are facing increased uncertainty, a highly-skilled diverse team is invaluable and such a workforce doesn’t need to be solely outsourced. Instead, forward-looking organisations will look to their existing employees and provide opportunities to support upskilling and personal growth. Whether in person or through the use of a video-conferencing tool, businesses can partner with organisations dedicated to creating tailored training sessions - empowering attendees with new skills and perspectives. Not only does this help futureproof the business, but this also demonstrates a commitment to a company culture that values its employees.

"In the new year, don’t rest on your laurels. Take the initiative to set an industry example for 2021, educate and upskill women. The businesses that get this right, and build a diverse and inclusive workplace for women, will thrive.”

2. Flexibility will become the norm as businesses start to rethink nine to five working hours

Sacha Michaud, Co-founder, Glovo:

"2020 has already seen drastic changes in the gig economy. From the passing of California’s Proposition 22, to the latest rulings in Spain classifying food delivery couriers as employees, this year has challenged businesses in the space more than ever. It has and will change the way we work forever. Looking ahead to 2021, there will be even more of an emphasis on the legislation around the gig economy as more people turn to the sector for work as a result of the pandemic.

"The flexibility provided by the gig economy will gradually become the norm among businesses globally. Whether it’s moving away from rigid working hours, or giving teams new responsibilities, the trend is set to continue. Flexibility is essential to survive the pandemic as people need to ensure they have a good work life balance - not only for their mental wellbeing but for productivity and work satisfaction. To successfully thrive in 2021, businesses should start to rethink the nine to five working hours and allow teams the autonomy to uncover how they work most productively. With good regulation in place organisations can provide maximum flexibility for workers and at the same time giving them solid social rights.

"With the gig economy being an option many workers are turning to during the pandemic, it is imperative that industry players, governments and labour unions create new agreements to protect our essential workers while providing flexible work. As a European company it's extremely important to us to face the challenges of the future of work head on and ensure workers can retain flexibility while still being protected.”

3. More businesses will recognise the value of hiring freelancers

Liron Smadja, Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing & International Expansion, Fiverr:

“Whilst the pandemic has been incredibly hard on small businesses - one key learning has been the proof that many employees can work from anywhere, any time. Even as vaccines become available, it’s unlikely we will go back to the office full time. The demand for full-time office work simply isn’t there. Business leaders therefore need to ensure they are equipping their staff with the skills to manage and operate in a hybrid team.

"The workforce structure itself is also changing, and we’ll see this coming to fruition in 2021. Many businesses don’t want to take the risk of hiring full-time employees to meet spikes in work that may prove transient - so we believe the year ahead will bring with it a continued trend towards agility. Bringing freelance specialists in to fully digitised workflows to help cope with this extra demand is something we’ve seen many businesses doing through 2020 - and expect the trend to continue to grow through 2021.

"More businesses will recognise the value of hiring freelancers as a solution to filling in the skills gap they may have in their immediate teams. Opting to hire freelancers rather than full-time employees will help small businesses be able to acquire an agile, on-demand workforce which can help with their wider business goals without affecting their cash flow.”

4. More support to help employees manage their wellbeing

Dean Sadler 100x100Dean Sadler, CEO and Founder at Tribepad, said:

"The one trend we cannot ignore is our new style of working. Remote working is here to stay. For many, it brings that work / life balance we have come to appreciate. However, whilst lockdown has taken away the commute, it has also taken us away from basic human interactions. The cornerstone of successful working relationships.

"Looking forward, we will try to get the best of both worlds. The option of working from home, with the reassurance of having an assigned desk in the office. But times are tough, and money needs to be spent wisely, which is why we will see a rise in hub offices next year. With fewer employees in the office, business owners don’t need to pay for an office that holds capacity for the whole team.

"Looking at the wider recruitment strategy for businesses in 2021, by spring - when we will hopefully begin to see it pick up - there will be a huge influx of job applications. As businesses will start to open their recruiting doors again. While we have seen mass job losses, we will likely, and hopefully, witness a mass hiring spree. 

"A recent report has suggested that throughout COVID-19, firms have been spurred to look inwards for appropriate talent. And this will most likely be the case for larger businesses throughout 2021. They have the capability and funds to invest in wider learning and development programmes; building up their current employees’ skills, rather than them having to outsource for new talent. 

"However, SMEs that are suffering financially, may have to adopt new recruitment strategies. Either paying less in the long-run by outsourcing talent - which may take far more time and money than they ideally would like to spend. Or automating inefficient processes and utilising the skills they currently have in their current workforce. Each business is different, and will need to do what is right for them. 

"The success, or failure, of managing employee health and wellbeing will also be a massive trend in 2021. 2020 has put a huge amount of pressure on employees' mental state, with the impact of COVID-19 putting a pause on many career goals. It will be HR teams and line managers’ roles to help employees manage the implications the crisis has had on their wellbeing. Especially those who were put on furlough, who haven’t been working for months on end. It has been an uncertain time for all, but there are plenty of ways businesses can help employees maintain positive mental health. Regular one-to-one catch ups, or mental health first aiders and support groups, will go a long way in supporting those in need during this challenging time."

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page