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Jobs outlook

George Zitko, pictured, of fire and security recruitment consultants Zitko writes:

In January I reported that the main challenges for senior leaders, business owners and HR professionals in 2021 would include the change in workforce design, flexible working arrangements, strategic workforce planning, diversity and inclusion, and talent shortages in critical skill sets. The latest IHS Markit review from KMPG and REC shows that permanent placements are rising sharply, new vacancies have been opened at the fastest pace since August 2018 and the candidate market is one of the toughest for years.

In a candidate market as stagnant as this, those challenges have become even more acute, particularly those around workforce planning, talent shortages and, for our industry, diversity and inclusion. In the last six weeks we have spoken to numerous companies who are looking to expand their workforce, both in the short term, either through replacement hires or growth, but more importantly over the course of the next 12 months on the back of strong market confidence in the fire and security industry. All of these companies are similarly as focused on diversity and inclusion, but by looking to tackle that problem alone, it is not possible to come up with a solution.

The technical fire and security industry is simply not diverse enough. For example, a recent review of our applications showed a two per cent application rate from female engineers for engineering roles.

So how can we tackle the problem? By first of all looking within and creating a structure and framework of support and success, we can then start to tap into the varied and diverse pools of talent that exist outside of our industry. By then combining that support framework with a structured training programme, that talent then has the highest possible chance of success. By changing our tone, our attitude, our routes to market and some simple processes, the fire and security industry can make huge strides in attracting a variety of people from more backgrounds.

We are about to start a number of projects in partnership with employers that combine planning, DNI, strategy and talent shortages in a complete 12 to 24 month solution that we believe can have transformational success for those companies. If you wish to find out more, please get in touch.

Elsewhere, jobs are booming, in particular across Europe. UK-based companies are delivering complex, varied integration projects across the whole of the continent giving engineers more than ever the opportunity to experience and work in different cultures and environments. Due to these factors, despite candidates being reluctant to pursue new roles amid fears over job security, it has never been a better time to do so in the fire and security industry. As we proved last year with our covid survey, the fire and security industry is as safe as it has ever been.


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