22 December 2021

Happy Christmas! And the year that was

With Santa about to take a sneaky swig of your best whisky, and 2021 shortly to be labelled a has-been, it’s time to flick through the mustard yearbook, and take stock of what happened to a spinning job market.

The employment trends across all sectors this past year have taken an about-turn. Back in January we reported that the job market was awash with candidates, and competition was high. Most sectors are now faced with the opposite scenario.

As we emerged from lockdowns and social distancing, new business models and strategies combined to increase demand for skilled freelancers and candidates. And 2022 is set to continue this trend. This fast-moving world of new normals comes with an exciting spectrum of opportunities to take advantage of. But at the same time, any employer searching for a recruit with that must-have expertise is going to have to act more quickly, be flexible with their brief, and hone their interview process. And for anyone seeking to secure the very best people for their business, remote onboarding is a strategic necessity.

One of the biggest success stories of 2021 was seen in animation. Due to the lack of live action film shoots during the pandemic, companies turned increasingly to CG-focused studios for socials and commercials. Consequently, opportunities for freelancers in this area have never been greater. With the studios experiencing long delays during the lockdowns, they increasingly turned to freelancer talent to get their projects over the line. This surge in demand has driven up rates. In fact, the money is so good (£400 a day isn’t unreasonable), that many staffers in the visualisation sector are looking to go it alone.

‘Digital experience’ is becoming a catchphrase that’s being heard time and time again. Designers who’ve got it are the new market hipsters, and throughout 2021 they’ve been more in demand than ever. And with agencies and brands turning away from traditional ‘print’ graphic designers, it doesn’t look like it’s going to cool down in 2022 either.

Similarly, although events and exhibitions had a challenging early part of 2021, there was a successful transitioning to remote and online while lockdowns and distancing interfered with traditional gatherings. There’s also been a huge surge in the recruitment of account managers and directors in client services.

Another buzzword on most recruiters’ and candidates’ lips has been sustainability. It’s affecting every sector, and how! mustard has seen a massive increase in candidates wanting to work for purpose-led/sustainable brands rather than money-driven agencies. With COP26 in the headlines for much of November, sustainability and eco-awareness is clearly at the forefront of many job-seekers’ minds. So, if employers want to attract the best, then it’s time to jump on board. Critically, it’s not just about the job market, either – it’s also being scribbled on the top of clients’ lists of essentials.

Looking back on our own year here at mustard, we’ve welcomed a lot of trusted and valued talent into our own ranks. Our brilliant teams also did a great job raising money for men’s health in Movember – well done, guys.

Plus, there were also quite a few Bake Off wannabes who titillated our tastebuds in return for pledges to Children In Need. We kicked off 2021 with a Lockdown Breakfast Club, and just about managed to end the year with a Christmas party before the new Covid rules came in. In between, we launched our fantastic new meeting room space in Bristol’s iconic Christmas Steps. The year hasn’t been a whirlwind, it’s been a tornado. And we couldn’t have achieved what we have without our amazing team.

If you’re looking for a new role in the new year – or looking to fill a role – then we’re here to help, so get in touch.

In the meantime: Merry Christmas!

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