5 things people want from a new job in 2021

Much has been written about the changing norms to work and career building in the wake of COVID-19. Suffice to say, as we move towards full reopening, our wonderful talent pool in the UK has a new set of challenges and expectations to meet, and as employers and recruiters we need to be prepared to meet them.

The Millennial and Gen Z workforce have not had it easy: economic scarring is less of a hypothetical and more of a lived experience for millions who have joined the workforce since 2009 and will continue to join the workforce for the next few years – and this has coloured how young people are approaching job seeking in the coming months and years.

It’s wise to remember not all job seekers are under 35 – many millions face changing career paths over the coming decade and the WEF have stipulated the enormous challenge ahead of major economies to reskill workers in every age group across the globe to meet the needs of a more sustainable future.

Your people are your future. Workplaces are amalgams of your people, your leadership, and your purpose and vision. For all the changing norms to work and the culture of work – remote work forces, tech-focused solutions to new issues, health and safety, Brexit – you will still be expected to create productive, fun, immersive workplaces where people can become the best versions of themselves, while serving your business vision.


We have compiled the top 5 things your candidates are going to want this year, to better help you visualise the changing nature of work and career mapping.


Diversity & Inclusion

  • In the wake of the renewed global BLM movement in 2020, employers across the country are finally taking a long, hard look at their D&I systems and re-evaluating them. Candidates will not be afraid to call out your business practice around D&I – and for good reason. A diverse and inclusive workforce is, by almost every factor, better for business. This is without mentioning the social and cultural responsibility you have to build inclusive hiring practice and help those most underrepresented in our societies.



  • From Seaspiracy, to David Attenborough, to the movement to ban plastic straws and more, the last few years have seen real, effective change at the personal level in regards to a better and more sustainable living practice.


  • Now, employers in every sector have to be seen to be taking control of that too. Remote working is good for the environment. We’ve written extensively about remote working in another piece, but suffice to say it is wholly beneficial to lowering our carbon footprints. Communication to your candidates about how you are meeting the dual challenges of a carbon neutral economy and helping your community through advocacy, charity or volunteering are highly recommended.



Social Hiring

  • Where does a candidate go to research your company ahead of application, or pre-interview? Straight to the internet. Your company “front door” is now very much online, and social media has become not only a great talent pipeline for engaged workers, but the way your candidates will dig into your brand, what you do, how you work and your company purpose.


  • Branding yourself as a company of repute and one that engages their own staff and recognises your working culture is essential in building a social hiring programme. Remember the most effective and trusted talent channels to source staff is via referrals and your own staff’s network – engage with that network online and your talent will come to you. If they see their own values aligned with yours; like your work; and understand you’re an approachable, social company with a human face behind the brand, they will seek you out.


Better mental health awareness and support

  • Burnout is on the rise. Workers have had to deal with extended periods of furlough, mass redundancies, working from home while home tutoring and more. All while facing an uncertain future. Employers will be expected to take ownership of their workplace wellbeing processes above and beyond annual reviews and Xmas bonus schemes. Performance management needs an overhaul.


  • Employers will be expected to factor in continual feedback, regular one to ones, bespoke working arrangements and in almost every factor of seniority will be expected to do more to support staff. There is an expanding industry of workplace wellbeing companies designed to help you build a working culture of health, support and happiness. Consider it mental health insurance to help prepare you for any future issues.



Future-proof Learning & Development

  • Your staff want to learn. No one wants to become obsolete, and your business health will rely on agile, multi-skilled workers able to meet the challenges of our communal future.


  • Whether it’s full spectrum reskilling, or a more nuanced approach to upskilling certain parts of your business, your employees are capable of giving you more if you give them a chance to show it. There is a good reason why “agility” is one of the most in-demand candidate skills this year, and a repurposed L&D scheme will give your staff the tools to help your company remain productive and grow.
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