2021: The ‘Year of Movement’ for Jobseekers

  • 82% of jobseekers are hopeful they’ll land their dream job in 2021
  • Jobseekers are willing to sacrifice salary, sector and location for the right role
  • Two-thirds (66%) of jobseekers spent 2020 upskilling

According to research gathered among jobseekers on reed.co.uk*, there is overwhelming positivity with regards to their hopes for finding the perfect role in 2021. 

This article explores why this is the case and offers advice on how recruiters can adapt their practices to make the most of this renewed hope.


Renewed Optimism

Over eight in 10 (82%) UK jobseekers feel optimistic about their chances of finding their dream job this year – despite the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

This is echoed by the sentiment of Reed Group Chairman, James Reed, saying:

“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 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 enter 2021.”


A Recovering Jobs Market

Optimism may be influenced by the recent resurgence in vacancy numbers across many sectors.

Over 90,000 jobs went live on reed.co.uk during the first two weeks of the January 2021 lockdown (91,946 jobs in total) – this figure is 10% and 101% higher than the same period in the second and first lockdown, respectively.


Willing to Flex

Optimism also stems from the fact that jobseekers appear to be more adaptive and willing to be more flexible than ever before. 70% say they would consider a lower salary to land the right opportunity, the same amount of jobseekers would be open to changing the sector they work in and over half (52%) are willing to relocate. 

At the same time, two-thirds (66%) of jobseekers spent time in 2020 learning new skills, with the main ambition being to improve their career prospects in 2021.

With these new and interesting insights into jobseeker attitudes, what can recruiters and employers do to make the most of this renewed hope in the job market and find the right talent?

reed.co.uk’s tips for recruiting the best talent in 2021


  1. Focus on skills, not job titles

Given the findings of our research, it’ll be more important than ever in 2021 to look past job titles and instead focus on a candidate’s transferable skills and personal attributes – even if they don’t have the industry experience you’re hoping for. Don’t lose out on perfectly suitable talent based on their previous job titles alone.

Opt for open questions in interviews which encourage the candidate to reflect on how their experiences have shaped them as a professional. This will give you better insight into how they might approach the role with the skills and experience they have picked up in previous roles.


  1. Be location-agnostic

With more candidates than ever before willing to relocate, avoid being too specific with what location you put on your job ads or database search. Cast the net a little wider to avoid excluding potential candidates that may be looking beyond their own area in search of the perfect opportunity. The same holds true for vacancies that are open to remote workers, whereby distance shouldn’t be a factor in a candidate’s relevancy to the role.


  1. Know your employee value proposition

Jobseekers are willing to be more flexible, but they are also more mindful of their long term expectations of their employer. Have a clear idea of what your business offers as an employer, ensuring it’s relevant for the current climate and future-proofed against the uncertainties still ahead.

Make an effort to highlight the things which set your company apart as a great place to work, whether it be outlining your approach to employee wellbeing and mental health, your stance on flexible and remote working, or any benefits you believe your business is unique in offering.


  1. Be inclusive

Many recruiters still make the mistake of driving away perfect candidates due to innocent, yet potentially off-putting, wording in their job ads.

Our survey suggests that the youngest (aged 16-24) and oldest (aged 55+) jobseekers feel the most concerned when it comes to their career prospects, post-COVID-19. However, both of these groups could prove to be incredibly valuable for your business, due to their adaptability and willingness to learn or because of the extra knowledge and experience they can bring.

Terms such as ‘fresh candidates’ and ‘highly experienced’ can discourage jobseekers of all ages and may be unnecessary when it comes to filling your vacancies. Similarly, defining experience by “X number of years” turns away candidates who have the right skills and raw talent for the job, like top graduate talent or career switchers with incredible transferable skills.

Try adopting a slightly different mindset so you can hit the goal that matters most – finding the best talent. Read more on how to avoid discrimination in your job ads.


Want to learn more about this research? Grab a copy of the full white paper here.


*Survey conducted online among 1,500 registered jobseekers on reed.co.uk in December 2020.

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