Inflation will have a greater impact on the labour market than Covid this year, according to recruitment site Totaljobs.
Its Hiring Trends Index of more than 1,000 HR professionals found that 62% expect the rising cost of living to drive employment trends over the course of 2022. This compares to 45% thinking candidate shortages will drive the market, and 44% Covid cases or restrictions.
Just over a third (36%) of respondents said skills shortages would continue to affect their business, and 17% said it would be difficult to offer competitive salaries to attract talent.
Totaljobs also found that a fifth of employees plan to look for a job during the first quarter of this year, or are already looking.
Forty-two percent of workers are looking for a higher salary in their current job or a new one, and 71% are willing to change industries to bag their next big role.
Hiring gathered pace in the last three months of 2021, according to Totaljobs, with 78% of businesses taking on new recruits. Almost four in 10 (38%) increased hiring during that time frame, with medical and health, transport and logistics, or legal the biggest recruiters.
Faced with upward pressure on salaries, 69% of businesses decided to increase their focus on staff wellbeing in 2021. More than a third (36%) plan to increase this further over the course of 2022.
CEO Jon Wilson said the overriding trend was that candidates felt the job market has swung in their favour.
“For many, this shift in dynamics is a prompt to take the leap and change careers,” he said. “For recruiters, considering the importance of transferable skills and using contextual recruitment techniques has never been more important to find and attract the best talent.”
Organisations need to prioritise retention in the current market, he added. “Factors influencing this may include improvements to work-life balance, as well as employers putting more emphasis on the mental wellbeing of staff since the start of the pandemic.
“A significant 69% of employers heightened their focus on health and wellbeing last year, and over a third plan to invest further in this in 2022, which will help staff feel valued.”