Skip to main content
Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

Recruiters can play a key role in facilitating the transition to the new world of work

Business advice

This article was originally written as the special feature in the April 2021 edition of Report on Jobs.


After a challenging start to the year, we have seen signs that the economy is well-positioned to recover from the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic. However, there is still a long way to go until we adjust to the new normal.

The labour market has remained remarkably resilient in the first quarter of 2021, emphasising its importance to economic recovery. New data from the REC’s JobsOutlook shows that employers’ confidence to make new hires and invest in their business rose to net: +13 in the last quarter, despite the widespread pessimism about the wider economic outlook. In February alone, sentiment surged to net: +29, as businesses start to gear up for re-opening when restrictions ease in early April. With the vaccine rollout well on the way and a clear path for easing the restrictions laid out by the government, businesses are now looking to bring in new staff as the economy continues to gradually open up. These are all positive signs, indicating that the labour market has weathered the latest national lockdown better than many had feared at the beginning of year. 

The latest labour market figures from the ONS also suggest that the economy is well-positioned to bounce back in the coming months. The number of employees on company payrolls increased marginally into February 2021, and the headline employment and unemployment rates have been relatively stable. Furthermore, the quarter-on-quarter growth in temporary employment shows the fluid demand for staff during this latest lockdown, and how important these roles are for businesses be able to respond to these unprecedented times. 

The REC’s latest Jobs Recovery Tracker saw 146,000 new job adverts being posted in the third week of March. This came on the back of a further 179,000 in the previous week, the two highest weekly figures since March 2020. Further to this, there has been a higher proportion of temporary job postings in the recent weeks. In mid-March 2021, temporary roles represented 16.3% of all active job adverts, in comparison to 15.1% in the beginning of July and 14.0% a year earlier when the pandemic struck. 

Temporary workers have been instrumental to keeping businesses afloat as they continue to navigate the uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic. They will also be vital to the more responsive labour market that will emerge in a post-pandemic Britain. The pandemic has raised many questions about new ways of working and recruiters can be a key player by leveraging their knowledge and expertise to help everyone to adapt more smoothly to the challenges of the new world of work.