We’ve all been living in unpredictable times, where the working norm has changed almost beyond recognition over the last few years. The demands of 9-5, five days a week employment have changed.

Flexible working has changed, too, along with the attitudes of CEOs running their businesses and organisations. If you look closely enough, it’s all for the better!

From the news, we know organisations, senior leaders and managers, and HR decision-makers have to consider their employees’ needs more than ever since working from home became the default during the pandemic. Yet this has opened the doors to some much-improved ways of working, with bigger and better opportunities for career progression.

With a new business quarter, a new Prime Minister and a new cabinet making different decisions, their announcements will undoubtedly impact business and the labour market. Though unsatisfactory, energy-capping announcements should enable business owners to work out their previously postponed recruitment needs.

Turning challenges into opportunities

As recruitment and HR experts, we know there’s a shortage of real skills and labour and that everybody is trying to hire talent. As things pan out in government, we employers and recruiters need to consider how we attract the right people to our organisations. Meanwhile, you – the talent – are encouraged to step off the comfortable path of seeking those new opportunities. Be bolder – and take more control because it’s there for the taking.

What are the stats saying?

When people search for the term’ work progression’, the rate for those seeking new opportunities has increased by up to 200%. That’s a giant leap!

With the summer holidays ending, organisations and job seekers alike are gearing up for the Christmas period – and when the figures were rounded up in the last month, there were over 2 million job adverts, a new record for the UK. In one week alone, there were 269,000 job postings, and all regions in the UK recorded an increase in job ads. One of the hiring hotspots was the West Midlands, an encouraging result for one of the UK’s manufacturing heartlands.

Most occupations in the UK showed increases, and while some may not appear the most ‘exciting’, there was a notable increase in adverts for retail, exhaust and windscreen fitters, photographers and veterinary nurses – to name an eclectic few! While the hospitality industries continue to face enormous challenges, there’s proactive marketing to combat the skills shortage in this area. After all, people still want to go out for drinks and dinner.

Post-pandemic, we find the labour market is a wide-open space for opportunity – due to early retirements, the loss of access to open markets post-Brexit and graduates deciding to take a year off. There’s a fundamental shift in the way jobs and working patterns are perceived.

How can you – the employee – exploit these gaps?

People are much more discerning about what they expect from their careers. They want more choice and flexibility, not just a salary that reflects their skills and experience.

Seek, and ye shall find!

There may be a lot of doom and gloom about the recession – but there ARE jobs out there. Focus on those and block out the negative noise. If you get yourself organised, take the initiative and look at the right platforms while connecting with the right recruiters and potential employers, those opportunities will be much easier to find.

What do you do, and what are you looking for? Take the time to sit down and think. Mind-map your goals and have some fun! Here are some tips to get you started – whether you’re a grad seeking that first job, are looking to develop your skills, have been made redundant or are looking to change career altogether:

– Identify your career options – what do you love to do?

– Think about your working life – what do you want from it?

– Establish those career options by looking at your values, personal brand and skills through a simple self-assessment.

– Each time you list something – ask yourself why? And then why again – because as you drill deeper, you’ll identify more meaning to this task and your motives, finding where you want to be in your career and life.

– Start to make choices based on everything you’ve mapped out before.

– Set SMART goals – that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

– Start a plan and research who you’d like to work for. Finally, think about what you can offer that organisation.

Widen your horizons and ask the essential questions

Keep your goals in mind at every career stage – but enjoy it. Life is for living, not just planning and strategising! Start preparing for your next role early. Stay focused on your interests and keep going back to those SMART goals (if that works for you) – and only move on if it’s the right thing to do. Ask yourself:

– What would it take to tempt me away from my current employer? Is it financial – or flexible working and spending more time with your family?

– What would it take for me to stay with my current employer?

– Are my interests still the same, or have things changed?

– Am I actively building my network – and for the right reasons?

– Do I have good mentors or a coach to hold me accountable?

– Am I out of my comfort zone or staying safe?

– Do I need to consider pivoting my career if I can’t find the right opportunities?

– Will volunteering give me experience along my career path and test my skills?

– What about my personal brand? (It’s not as corporate as it sounds – this is about you and what you have to offer).

– When you land an interview, what questions could you be asking your potential new employer? This is your chance to get under their skin to find out more about them.

Don’t be afraid of success

Progressing in your career is ultimately about how you want to live your life. Everyone’s view of success will be different. You have every right and opportunity to progress, and while taking those first steps is daunting, your destiny is yours to take – wherever you are in your career. You can give your skills to any organisation. There is no right or wrong way to define success – you just need to be able to define it for yourself. 

How can we help you?

It’s our absolute passion to help people stretch their limitations and find the right path for their career – from year one to five and ten years or fifteen from now. With expertise in searching for your ideal job, preparing and writing your CV, building your personal brand, interview tips, full-time and temporary working, looking for talent and HR and training, we’d love to meet you.

If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of SMART goal setting, take a look at the link here: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm

Come and visit us at www.personnel-placements.co.uk and talk to us at www.personnel-placements.co.uk/contact/ to learn more about how we can help you build, grow and develop your skills for the future. For the skills you’ll need throughout your working life.