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Employers redesigning roles in response to pandemic

Nearly a third of employers are currently redesigning job roles in response to the coronavirus pandemic as they look to build more agile, adaptable workforces moving forward, according to new research from international recruitment consultancy Robert Half UK.

The survey, which highlighted the skills and competencies most in-demand as managers seek to get back on their feet and take advantage of new growth opportunities, found that 29% of businesses are rescoping roles to assist with post-lockdown recovery.

The top two in-demand skills were focused around IT security (32%) and IT management (30%), while financial management (25%) and business planning and analysis (21%) were also key.

Business management skills were being prioritised by employers as they looked to develop resilience in the case of a second wave and support new business strategies, Robert Half said.

HR, talent acquisition and office support roles have also increased in importance due to the support they provide companies going through business and digital transformations and guiding predominantly remote workforces through new processes and functions.

The research also found that despite an increased focus on tech capabilities for specific roles, 41% of executives believe that soft skills will be essential for dealing with the continued uncertainty associated with COVID-19.

The top in-demand soft skills include creative thinking (38%) and agility (36%), while effective communication (35%), strong leadership (33%) and strategic thinking (29%) were also highly sought after.

Speaking to HR Magazine, Matt Weston, managing director at Robert Half, said: “Robert Half expects that as businesses continue to adapt to the ‘new normal’, they will focus on building out the capacity of their HR teams to support with redeveloped policies, procedures and expectations in the post-lockdown workplace.

“With COVID-19 impacting the skills needed from admin and HR professionals, Robert Half expects businesses to be looking for candidates who possess adaptable soft skills with talent acquisition manager, HR manager and HR business partner roles being amongst those in highest demand.”

A significant proportion of businesses are also looking to increase their digital capabilities post-lockdown, the research found.

Forty-one per cent of c-suite respondents said they were fast-tracking digital transformation efforts over the remainder of the year while 32% will be prioritising their e-commerce strategy.

Robert Half said it has seen a surge in demand for technology roles, including network architects and developers, as many companies upgrade or expand their IT infrastructure and online revenue capabilities in response to shifting consumer demands and remote working.

Robert Half surveyed 1,502 executive level respondents from five countries during July 2020, including 301 in the UK.