From education to employment

Navigating the ’Great Resignation’: Over half of employers are receiving more applications from career changers

60% of employers are receiving more applications from those who have reskilled or come from different industries, at the same time, over half (55%) are reporting labour shortages

New research commissioned by, one of the UK’s leading jobs and careers sites, found that over half of employers (60%) are receiving more applications from candidates who have come from different industries.

Canvassing over 250 hiring decision-makers across the UK, the research reflects an increasing awareness of transferable skills and an appetite for reskilling among jobseekers. The news comes after reported 140,000 courses were purchased in the first half of November – a 786% rise year-on-year – as workers reevaluate their skillset in light of the pandemic and look to identify new opportunities for personal development.

Despite the wider range of talent available to businesses, some employers remain rigid about their expectations of applicants. Over half (60%) of hiring decision-makers still believe it is important for applicants to have a university education, shrinking the potential talent pool from which they can recruit.

Hiring managers within the Construction and Technology sectors – who report more labour shortages than those from any other industries in the survey – are also the most likely to believe a university education is important for candidates. Whereas employers in ‘Real estate’ (17%) and ‘Creative industries’ (33%) placed the least importance on applicants having a university education.

Alongside a university education, the research also finds that employers increasingly value soft skills, such as teamwork and interpersonal skills, as a result of the shift to remote working. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of hiring decision-makers agree.

While a university education and soft skills are desirable for a candidate, some employers may need to become more flexible about their expectations, especially as over half (55%) of the businesses surveyed report labour shortages in their sector.

To solve existing labour shortages, employers may also need to improve their overall job offering. In a recent whitepaper, Navigating the ’Great Resignation’: what workers want, which surveyed over 2,000 full or part-time employed workers, found that 41% of people are actively looking for a new job, with salary (39%), flexible working (31%) and more perks and benefits (29%) being the main motivating factors.

Commenting on the research, Simon Wingate, Managing Director of, says:

‘In 2021, the UK economy started its long road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Shops and restaurants reopened, we pulled ourselves out of a recession and now we are in the middle of a jobs boom where there are more opportunities than ever. If businesses are to find the candidates to sustain the economic recovery and workers are to find new opportunities in alternative sectors, then both will need to find creative solutions to improve their recruitment prospects.

“It’s encouraging to see that many workers are already learning new skills to improve their career opportunities. However, employers should be more flexible when it comes to hiring, by looking at workers who haven’t got qualifications but who are willing to learn and have useful transferable skills for a modern working environment. By sticking to a rigid, old-fashioned approach to recruiting, you could be discarding talent that could help fuel your growth plans in 2022.”

Methodology: Online survey conducted by Atomik Research among 251 respondents from the UK – all Hiring Decision Makers who were Senior Managers and above within their companies. The research fieldwork took place on 1st – 2nd December 2021. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides by the MRS code of conduct. 

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