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UK employers 'more optimistic' than employees about 2021

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Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·2-min read
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Employers' optimism going into 2021 should boost employees' confidence, expert says. (Hunters Race/Unsplash)
Employers' optimism going into 2021 should boost employees' confidence, experts say. Photo: Hunters Race/Unsplash

UK employers are “confident” about hiring, activity and pay in 2021 — but employees don't share that optimism, research suggests.

Over half (53%) of bosses expect their firm's activity to increase over the next 12 months, according to a survey of 1,087 employers and employees by Morgan McKinley.

However, just a quarter of workers think hiring will return to pre-pandemic levels in the same period, the survey found.

Similarly, almost half (49%) of employers said they feel confident they will be in a position to offer pay rises in 2021 — but just a fifth (22%) of workers are “optimistic” about being offered an increased salary.

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“This optimism about a hiring resurgence from over half of employers is promising to see and should instil confidence in jobseekers that there are opportunities out there,” said David Leithead, chief operations officer of Morgan McKinley UK.

“Those companies who think they won't be hiring in 2021 could have a tougher year ahead of them than even they expect, because their number one priority right now should be looking at their talent.

“Competition for talent, and the wage inflation that goes with it, will be as hot as ever — maybe even hotter — as we come out of COVID-19.

“This means those companies trying to focus only on retention will face a battle with the companies who are going into the hiring market with a positive story.”

READ MORE: The sectors creating jobs in 2020 despite the economic crisis

The research also found a need for new skill sets in 2021. Half of employers said they are looking to hire people with specific skill sets, “to react to market changes and adapt to the changing environment.”

Meanwhile, two thirds (68%) of employees plan to upskill in their area of expertise.

Leithead said: “Any organisation or any good leader must have talent acquisition and talent management at the top of their strategic priority list — whether that’s hiring new skill sets externally or retaining existing team members by offering professional development opportunities.

“We know talented people will always be in demand, regardless of whether a company is trying to recover from a crisis or maximise their performance.”

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