by Charlotte Gurney
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a seismic impact on the Information Technology and Engineering & Manufacturing sectors, shifting obstacles and outcomes, as well as the opportunities for recruitment. Now, with vaccination programmes starting to take effect globally and lockdowns lifted in the UK there is the opportunity to reevaluate the hiring landscape in a post-pandemic world - and all the potential opportunities and challenges that could bring.
How were these two sectors impacted?
1. Engineering & Manufacturing. The pandemic hit many areas of manufacturing, with business activity dropping especially in fields such as durable goods. However, the manufacture of food and medical supplies was a boom area for engineers during the past year or so and energy has also remained a strong performer. The construction sector was another part of the economy that was hit hard, despite government attempts to keep sites open for as long as possible. However, engineers working in the construction sector are now witnessing recovery, with measures in place to ensure work can continue safely and contingencies for future lockdowns in place.
2. Information Technology. There’s no doubt that the Information Technology sector came under intense pressure during the pandemic as mass lockdowns all over the world meant that there was a spike in the Information Technology resources needed to help companies continue to function with staff working from home. Technology has also been a vital component in innovation, whether that relates to finding new opportunities for businesses to reach consumers through food delivery, connecting remote workers in greater collaboration or supporting development of vaccines and health programmes. This has been a year in which Information Technology has moved to the top of the agenda as a key investment priority going forward.
What’s changed in recruitment terms?
The rise of more remote recruitment. This is a general trend for organizations and especially those where there has been pressure to continue to hire even during lockdowns. Robust virtual recruitment processes enable engineers and Information Technology specialists to find exciting opportunities and give businesses the resources they need to be more agile and responsive no matter what comes next.
The need to respond to spikes. During the heat of the pandemic this is something that affected Information Technology recruitment more but today, as construction projects are green lit and more manufacturing comes back online it’s a necessity for engineering recruitment too. Disruption and inconsistencies require a much more flexible approach to recruitment that allows a business to act swiftly to fill key skills gaps and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
More international hiring. As many organizations have now transitioned to remote work for the foreseeable future, we are already seeing an increase in international hires. Now that geography isn’t an issue for many roles, businesses have a much broader candidate pool to choose from, and individuals many more employer options.
A focus on innovation. Increasingly, innovation has proved to be the solution to many of the challenges posed by the pandemic and this is creating a new approach to recruitment across both Information Technology and Engineering & Manufacturing. From engineers with the skills to drive renewable energy projects forward to Information Technology professionals who can help businesses optimize AI and machine learning, innovation skills top the ‘want’ list.
In a post-pandemic world, Engineering & Manufacturing and Information Technology recruitment look busier and more future-focused than ever.
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