Libby McCaughey
4 months ago by Libby McCaughey

UK employers are optimistic about hiring in 2022, despite the Omicron variant

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Despite a rise in COVID-19 cases post-Christmas, most businesses are feeling optimistic about 2022, according to our latest research.

In recent research conducted by, who surveyed 251 hiring managers and decision-makers, over three-quarters of employers (72%) felt optimistic about hiring in 2022 and are confident about a strong economic recovery. This sentiment was especially evident amongst larger companies with between 250 – 999 employees and London-based businesses. *


Business (and recruitment) returning to pre-pandemic levels

This is promising news for a recruitment sector that in recent months has been bracing itself for the potential impact of the ‘Great Resignation’. As Omicron cases continue to surge, there have been recent reports that business leaders fear that staff shortages and a lack of suitable applicants to fill key positions will affect their economic return (1).

Despite this, 82% of our respondents said that they felt confident that the current labour shortages would improve in 2022, with 49% of people saying that they were very likely or likely to hire more people next year than in 2021.

In terms of economic recovery, 67% of people said that their business revenue had recovered this year to be equivalent to or more than pre-pandemic levels. These statistics are not surprising when we look at the number of new vacancies which have increased by 18% month-on-month. This echoes the December Employment in the UK report published by the Office of National Statistics which estimates that the UK employment rate is at 75.5% despite the end of furlough (2).

Now is a good time for job seekers who are thinking of changing careers as data shows that this boom will continue well into the new year.

What does this mean for employers?

With no clear indication of whether more restrictions will be introduced, there is still a level of uncertainty in the market. However, the experience learned over the past two years has shown that UK businesses can be incredibly resilient in the face of adversity, and our research further demonstrates this optimism for those within the hiring sector.


Candidate experience matters

More vacancies will mean that job seekers will be stretched for choice in the new year. However, businesses are in a stronger position to onboard and train staff remotely than before the pandemic and our November Job Market Review showed that more businesses are focusing on improving their offerings. Lessons learnt from the past two years can be applied moving forwards and businesses should invest time into improving their candidate experience to give jobseekers a positive experience while remaining competitive.


Prepare for longer-term working from home practices

We still don’t know how long we will be expected to work from home. Employers will need to make sure that they are equipped to recruit and onboard new starters remotely in 2022. The recruitment market is extremely competitive right now and companies will also need to adapt their hiring strategies to become attractive to employees who will be working from home for the unforeseeable future.


Invest in upskilling and training

The labour shortage has meant that employers are struggling to fill vital roles. To tackle this labour shortage, employers will need to identify the technical skills needed for their roles and assess whether they can train and upskill employees with transferable skills for key positions. Resources and the ability to provide training, plus willingness for candidates to learn will need to be taken into consideration when making hiring decisions.


*Online survey conducted by Atomik Research among 251 respondents from the UK – all Hiring Decision Makers who were Senior Managers and above within their companies. The research fieldwork took place on 1st – 2nd December 2021. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides by the MRS code.