4 in 5 UK businesses are confident about their growth prospects for H1 2021

Four in five UK businesses (78%) are ‘somewhat to very confident’ about their growth prospects for the first half of 2021, according to the latest C-suite research from specialist recruiter Robert Half UK [1].

The research, collected across six key international markets, found that growth sentiment is highest in Brazil (88%), followed by France and the UK (78%), Australia (77%), Germany (72%), and Belgium (69%).

Perhaps surprisingly given the impact of COVID-19 at present, the general economic climate (36%) and expanding business opportunities (34%) were cited amongst the top influences on 2021 growth prospects, in addition to the pace of digitisation and adoption of new technologies (30%).

Hiring trends in 2021

While continued pandemic-induced market turbulence sees two thirds (66%) of international businesses planning to maintain headcounts[2] (compared to 76% in the UK) in H1, almost a quarter of those surveyed (23%) will be expanding their workforces and actively adding new positions.

Only 8% of companies intend to freeze headcounts entirely and an even smaller proportion (3%) plan on reducing workforce numbers during the first half of 2021. 

With this in mind, the top five sectors currently driving demand for talent in the UK according to Robert Half include:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Logistics
  3. Pharmaceuticals
  4. Financial Services
  5. IT Services

The top priority hires for the first half of 2021, across the technology sector, finance & accounting and general office roles, are:

For CIOs/CTOs                                              For CFOs                                         For General Hiring Managers
Cloud EngineersFinancial AnalystsSales
Network/Systems ManagersFinancial PlannersCustomer Service
Analytics & Security SpecialistsAccounts ManagersE-Commerce/Digital Marketing Specialists
DevOps ManagersRisk/Compliance RolesCommunications (internal & external)
Database AdministratorsTax ManagersBusiness Managers

Commenting, Matt Weston, Managing Director of Robert Half, said: “Our latest employment market data suggests a mixed commercial picture at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic cycle. The global shift to remote and hybrid working, as well as the pivot towards online and e-commerce revenue generation and data-driven operational and planning processes, are all influencing the hiring intentions and priorities that Robert Half is seeing at the start of the New Year.

“Early indications are that 2021 is going to be a year of recovery and rebuilding for both companies and individual workers alike. As such, business agility, adaptability, risk management and forward planning propensities continue to be top priorities for many companies. These same attributes are also likely to be hallmarks of the evolving future of work in the longer term.

“During what remains a volatile business environment in which change remains the only constant, many companies are struggling to find the talent they need to support new business priorities sparked by the pandemic. Professionals with in-demand skills know they still have options and employers must offer competitive salaries and benefits to retain key personnel, as well as attract and secure top candidates during this calendar year – and beyond.”

Author: Editorial Team

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