By Sandra Innes

"New year, new career" – this phrase will take on a whole new meaning in 2021.

The past year has altered the face of business almost entirely. The skills that companies are looking for are quite different from those required at the beginning of 2020. As the world of work has moved further online, with a greater technology focus, businesses are keen to attract employees who can easily fit in with core skills: critical thinking, resilience, curiosity, flexibility, adaptability, dedication, collaboration, leadership, and thriving in a virtual environment.

Some predictions for the top jobs in demand for 2021 include hybrid roles – as companies start to regain their footing, budgets will be tight, therefore we’ll see more organisations combining roles and, of course, the skills and experiences required. Digital marketing specialists, data analysts, accountants, HR professionals, operations managers, IT professionals, engineers and science-related roles, healthcare and service industries all feature at the top of the list as well.

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But what are the candidates looking for? With home working the new norm for many, candidates will be looking for roles offering this as standard. Technology will need to be in place to support remote working, and with managers now used to leading teams in different locations, we’ll see an increase in people from all over the UK working for companies with offices in completely different cities. That’s great for the employer as it widens the potential candidate pool, and great for the employee as work/life balance features highly on the must-have list for candidates.

New employees will be looking for organisations they can trust and that have treated their employees fairly throughout the last challenging year. In 2020, the focus was on values-based recruitment, where the onus is on the candidate to display required behaviours. Well, the tables have turned – candidates are now using organisational values to determine the best fit for them.

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It’s not enough to simply state your company values on your website. You need to live, breathe and demonstrate them throughout the application process as people begin the recruitment journey with you.

For candidates, how do you secure your dream job? Soft skills are an essential element of what makes someone great in their role, especially with home working. The organisation needs to trust that you’re motivated, dedicated and disciplined in your own environment, so demonstrating these skills through your application, alongside your technical skills and experience, is paramount.

For businesses and candidates alike, 2021 will be about values: resilience, flexibility, adaptability and trust.

Sandra Innes is client relationship director with TMP Worldwide