Tags: industry insights, blog

​Across the UK, 2021 has seen businesses begin to reopen their doors. Through our latest Salary & Benefits Guide, we discovered 97% of companies are confident in the recovery of their sector. There are even signs of growth as 53% expect to grow their headcount this year and 61% are actively recruiting for new employees.

Through conversations with thousands of employers and employees, we discovered which industries are seeing the most growth.


Throughout 2020, the healthcare sector began massive recruitment drives to help combat COVID-19. 84% of managers admit they are struggling against a skills shortage and as demand outweighed the supply, retired professionals and those who left the industry found themselves being called upon again.

Chris Pritchard, Director of Health & Social Care at Search, commented on the rapid growth saying:

“The sector reflects the demands of a growing and ageing population, evolving to improve services to marginalised people in society, including mental health. There have been staff shortages in the last decade, but more people are choosing a career within the industry. This is partly due to its resilience to economic factors, but also the spotlight shone on it during the pandemic.”

Even after the COVID-19 crisis, the healthcare sector needs to grow substantially to meet new demands. Before the pandemic, it was estimated the NHS alone could face a workforce gap of nearly 250,000 by 2030. However, the last year saw a 32% rise in nursing course applications which should begin to bridge the skills gap.


Throughout 2020, 70% of businesses either found themselves slowing down or ceasing operations completely. Despite this period of hibernation, the industry is now seeing rapid growth as work recommences and sites reopen.

We spoke to Adam Brown, Associate Director at Search Construction, to discover how the sector has seen such growth:

“Confidence has increased this year, and as restrictions have relaxed we’ve seen the industry grow rapidly. This is influenced by key infrastructure projects around the country; HS2, highway projects, and then the backlog of work which from last year that companies are looking to try and catch up on.”

While the construction industry is not typically known for working from home, it’s reaping the benefits to support its growth. By allowing office-based jobs to work remotely, companies are broadening their talent pool and looking further afield for talent. This allows the sector to grow as new opportunities are opened for companies and engineers across the country.

Accountancy & Finance

The accountancy and finance sector has invested the most into digital transformation as the unique 2020 conditions led to an overhaul of traditional systems. With new tech implemented to facilitate remote working, jobs that weren’t previously prevalent quickly became a necessity.

COVID-19 also saw the meteoric rise of digital payments. With lockdowns keeping people at home and those venturing to shops taking a cashless approach to payment, digital banking channels saw an unprecedented surge of traffic. Businesses who hadn’t already embraced digital finance suddenly found themselves needing to invest heavily and bring in employees with tech backgrounds.

When discussing Accountancy & Finance’s substantial growth and optimism, Stuart Ferneaux, Search’s Head of UK Corporate Accounts for Professional Services said:

“In today's digital world, finance is even more central to the strategy of a business. Organisations are not only looking to accommodate working from home but also how they can increase efficiencies. This dynamic against a backdrop of counter-offers and a general reluctance from candidates to enter the job market has meant the accountancy and finance sector will only continue to grow.”

With an abundance of personal data at stake, the accountancy & finance sector is hyper-vigilant when it comes to data security. However, the past year has accelerated the need for digitisation and as the industry continues to advance, it’s only creating more opportunities.

Customer Support

Customer support played a key role in keeping things running smoothly as businesses were forced to temporarily close their doors. Alongside established businesses, emerging sectors suddenly found themselves needing call and contact centres to maintain relationships with their client base.

Kirsty Atherton, Search’s Senior Divisional Manager of Call & Contact Centre and Office Services, discussed the reasons behind this sector’s growth:

“With face-to-face communication removed, companies quickly adapted technology, transitioning to a remote method of communication. During this time, customers have gained new skills and confidences across different technology channels. This has driven the popularity of online shopping and in a lot of cases has become the preferred method of purchasing essential and non-essential goods.”

This sector also saw substantial growth through the public sector. The quick implementation of NHS Track & Trace required plenty of customer support professionals to ensure it supported the public with an extraordinary challenge. 2021 also saw the latest census, a UK-wide operation that required a recruitment drive to fill thousands of roles.

This growth of this industry was accelerated by the challenges faced over the past years, with many companies having to implement change almost overnight. However, the introduction of remote working can only help support the sector’s growth with 78% of people ready to accept a fully remote role. For many companies, this figure can help bridge the skills gaps that 78% of managers admit is a problem they’re facing.

Alongside the fastest growing industries, we’ve also taken a look at the most in-demand job roles, skills and benefits. To find more insights about your industry, download our 2021 Salary & Benefits Guide today.