In order to compensate for the loss of 2020, many organisations have put in place a plan to increase their sales activities. E-commerce activities are accelerating and this will have a positive impact on the demand for sales, customer service and logistics specialists in 2021.

We asked Asia Skifati, Senior Manager at staffing specialist Walters People, what business support professionals can expect and what will happen to salaries in the coming year.

What has been the impact of Covid-19 on the recruitment market?

Asia: "In recent months, recruitment procedures have slowed down or even stopped. Face-to-face interviews have been cancelled and replaced by video interviews. Some organisations have carried out all recruitment processes remotely, others preferred to do the last interview round face-to-face. Initially, candidates started to actively look for new opportunities, but due to the uncertainty of the market, they became more precautions to change jobs. Recently, we are seeing candidates who have been made redundant or laid off and are actively looking for a new job."

What will be the major trends in 2021 for business support professionals?

"Video interviews will certainly continue, especially for the first rounds of interviews. Working from home has proven to be very effective in recent months and we believe that people will continue to work partially from home in 2021 as well. But the transition to the new world of work also means that new rules will have to be implemented in the organisation. In order to do this, we expect the demand for human resources professionals to increase further in the coming months."

On the jobseekers' side, we see that job location becomes less important, especially when home-based work is allowed and a training and digital onboarding programme is put in place by the organisation.

What will organisations be looking for in 2021 when recruiting new talent?

"The demand for human resources, customer service and logistics professionals will remain the strongest in the coming year. Digitisation processes will accelerate further. E-commerce activities will increase as well and stimulate the demand for professionals in this field. In order to compensate for the loss of 2020, many organisations will focus particularly on their sales activities in 2021, which will lead to an increased demand for sales professionals."

What advice would you give to recruitment managers who want to recruit and retain employees in 2021? 

"Recruitment processes should be kept short and efficient. To retain talent, organisations should continue to invest in training and development opportunities for their staff. Webinars and online training sessions have proven to be very effective in recent months, and have given employees a sense of engagement and team play. Being away from their colleagues has made many people think about their careers and possible internal career changes.

As an employer, it is important to listen to people's concerns and development opportunities. By doing this and demonstrating it to future employees as well, organisations will be able to attract new talent and successfully progress."

Will there be salary increases in 2021 for business support professionals?

"I don't expect any major changes in salaries in 2021, except for senior professionals who tick all the boxes in terms of skills, availability and required background. However, I think that employers will focus more on providing other benefits to support working from home, training opportunities and information sessions on how to manage the new way of working, how to maintain a healthy work-life balance while working from home, and so on."

Want to know more about the latest labour market trends for business support professionals?

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