James Reed, Chairman of REED

@ReedCoUK predicts year of movement in 2021 despite pandemic 

New research by REED has found that the majority of workers were not put off looking for jobs this year and remain optimistic about future prospects, despite the impact of the pandemic on the economy.

In a survey of 1,521 respondents, 59% said they continued to seek new opportunities, and this has lead James Reed, Chairman of REED, to predict that 2021 will be a year of positive movement in the UK labour market:

In defiance of the current economic gloom, 82% of jobseekers are feeling hopeful they will find a new job in 2021, including 52% who are feeling “very hopeful”. Many are willing to adapt to the changing jobs market, with over two thirds of workers (70%) saying they would take a pay cut or consider working in a different sector to secure a job and over half (53%) are willing to move to a different part of the country to find the right role. Additionally, the research found that almost a third (29%) are already actively looking for jobs in new sectors.

Women (75%) are more open to changing sector to secure a job compared to men (71%), as are older generations, with 45-54 year olds most likely to agree (76%). However, men (61%) are more likely than women (38%) to consider moving to a different part of the country to secure the right role, with younger generations agreeing - rising highest among 25-34 year olds (63%).

The research also shows that men are more optimistic about their job prospects in the new year, with 84% feeling hopeful compared to 82% of women. 35-44 year olds were most likely to share in this positive future outlook with 86% agreeing, falling among the oldest and youngest generations who were least hopeful – over 55s (78%) and 16-24 year olds (80%).

This optimism is the result of a recovering labour market, with over 169,000 new jobs being added onto reed.co.uk in November - the highest figure since before the pandemic in February. Job postings also increased by 15% between September and October, and in every region except Scotland, indicating a long-term nationwide recovery for the UK’s labour market.

People must continue to be versatile and enhance their prospects by upskilling and reskilling

The pandemic has sent shock waves through the UK economy this year. Sectors have been impacted to varying degrees, both positively and negatively, and large sections of the population have made the shift to working remotely. 2021 will be another significant year of change for many businesses and workers as the pandemic continues and the roll-out of the vaccine hopefully restores confidence.

Despite news of a second strain, I predict a year of movement next year. Lots of jobseekers are now looking for better opportunities and employers have a diverse and talented pool of people to choose from. We are seeing great dynamism, resilience and a willingness to adapt in the labour market and this makes me feel optimistic as we approach 2021.

Our recent job vacancy figures suggest there is reason to be cheerful. Despite the second national lockdown, vacancies in November continued to increase by 4% over October and we now have nearly 200,000 new jobs listed. To secure the best of these jobs, people must continue to be versatile and enhance their prospects by upskilling and/or reskilling. It’s encouraging to see so many people are willing to try new opportunities in other sectors and other regions.

James Reed, Chairman of REED

Methodology: REED surveyed 1,521 visitors to the reed.co.uk website for their opinions on the UK labour market in  December 2020.

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