What’s in store for the Aberdeen job market in 2021?
By Andrew McLeod FCCA, Head of Resourcing at Hutcheon Mearns
It is easy to forget that amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that Brexit has now taken place, and the UK has now legally left the European Union, signalling the end of the transition period. Within Aberdeen, we have seen the local jobs market impacted by the current situation, magnified by a depressed oil price which has seen year on year recruitment in the city reduce as much as 50%. However, we are yet to see or factor in what, if any, further compound effect Brexit will have.
With an eleventh-hour agreement reached between the UK and the EU on trade, this seems to have appeased several major businesses that had explored exiting the UK should such an agreement not be reached. Hopefully, this will offer some increased assurance and stability around future opportunities and prospects within the UK and Scotland as companies now commit for the long term.
We have seen somewhat of a mini resurgence in Aberdeen’s job market, which began towards the end of 2020, which continued into the start of 2021. Despite the increase in Covid-19 restrictions, we are now witnessing a greater acceptance of the current climate and a growing appetite to recruit key finance roles.
The forced move to home working has been accepted by businesses globally which can open up opportunities for both companies to expand and for individuals to work for employers who are not based in their home city. In the last six months, we ‘ve seen several instances where clients from out with Aberdeen have come to us to fill finance vacancies that can be undertaken remotely.
Aberdeen as a market has shown time and time again over the years that despite periods of disruption, low oil price and economic and political challenges, it continues to show its resilience and ingenuity to overcome such hurdles to bounce back. As a result of the world having felt so repressed and shutdown, it is only natural to think that when the world begins to open up again, there will be a flurry of activity.
The primary industry in Aberdeen is oil and gas, which has HSE at the forefront. And where Covid-19 has been extremely challenging for the sector, they have been in a position to respond well.
A changing landscape
The current energy transition could lead to an increase in movement in the energy job market. And as several new opportunities will arise out of this transition, there is still likely to be a local impact from post-Brexit & Covid-19.
There will be different short-term challenges to overcome in other prevalent sectors, such as hospitality and fishing. Increased costs associated with import and export will bring an additional administrative burden.
If the last 12 months have taught us anything as a population, we shouldn’t take “normality” for granted and that life is for living. Therefore, I would envisage that there will be a surge in individuals who have hunkered down and battened down the hatches over the last 12 to 18 months to start considering their future and what is truly important to them. Essential factors include remuneration, work/life balance, and employment location, which will lead to the recruitment market opening up and a drive in activity.
With opportunities opening up globally for employees looking for increased flexibility in their approach to work, we believe the skills and talents of the Aberdeen marketplace will be sought after. And whilst there will be challenges in the road ahead, we should remain optimistic for the Granite City’s future.
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