Employers who report a skills shortage in their industries need to be more flexible and put less value in university degrees, says new research. 

The report, commissioned by recruiters Reed, said its research reflects an increasing awareness of transferable skills and an appetite for reskilling among jobseekers. 

It also found more than half of employers (60%) are receiving more applications from candidates who have come from different industries. 

The news comes after Reed reported jobseekers bought 140,000 courses in the first half of November. This is a 786 percent rise year-on-year, as workers look for new opportunities to boost their personal development. 

Reed also found most (72%) employers are optimistic about 2022, despite a rise in COVID-19 cases.

However, it says that despite the wider range of talent available to businesses, some employers remain rigid about their expectations of applicants. 

More than half (60%) of hiring decision-makers still believe it is important for applicants to have a university education – this, it says, shrinks the talent pool of recruitment.

The report says because of the labour shortages in most sectors, in part due to the Great Resignation, employers need to be more flexible about their expectations.

However, it found that soft skills are being increasingly valued by employers, with teamwork and interpersonal skills high on the list, as a result of the shift to remote working. 

I also says to solve existing labour shortages, employers may also need to improve their overall job offering. 

In a recent Reed whitepaper, Navigating the ’Great Resignation’: what workers want, which surveyed over 2,000 full or part-time employed workers, Reed.co.uk found that 41 percent of people are actively looking for a new job, with salary (39%), flexible working (31%) and more perks and benefits (29%) being the main motivating factors. 

Meanwhile, despite the pandemic, most employers are optimistic about 2022 and more than two thirds told Reed 2021 business revenues had recovered to equal to or in excess of pre-pandemic levels.

Around half plan to hire more staff in 2022.

This is particularly true for businesses based in London where – despite the challenges the capital has faced during the pandemic – over a third of businesses (34%) have exceeded their pre-pandemic revenue. 

Reed.co.uk also reports that for the first time in its history, it had over 300,000 jobs available for the entirety of November.

The jobs boom looks set to continue into next year, with nearly half of businesses (49%) saying they were either very likely or likely to hire more people in 2022 than in 2021, and 82% felt optimistic that labour shortages would improve in 2022.

Commenting on the research, James Reed, chairman of REED, says: “Our research and jobs data indicate that most businesses have recovered from the economic shock of the pandemic and are looking to expand next year – this should be music to the ears of jobseekers. This is the best time in fifty years to look for a new job and I urge anyone thinking of seeking a change to take advantage of this very unique situation.”

He also said: “It’s encouraging to see that many workers are already learning new skills to improve their career opportunities. However, employers should be more flexible when it comes to hiring, by looking at workers who haven’t got qualifications but who are willing to learn and have useful transferable skills for a modern working environment. By sticking to a rigid, old-fashioned approach to recruiting, you could be discarding talent that could help fuel your growth plans in 2022.”