Since the start of 2020, we’ve spoken to over 1,500 clients, contractors and niche recruitment consultants to learn more about how they have been impacted as a result of the pandemic.

This report outlines findings from our most recent data. Gathered from a sample of over 550 candidates and clients across multiple STEM markets, it explores how demand for specialist STEM skills is set to change as we move into 2021.

Read the full report here.


The past 12 months have been anything but ordinary. Businesses, economies, people – we’ve all faced widespread disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. For organisations, the health crisis and associated lockdowns have meant responding, reprioritising, and reimagining ways of working; all at breakneck speed.

The world has been battling a serious STEM skills shortage for years. In the UK alone, it’s thought to cost businesses £1.5 billion a year, and this has only been exacerbated by Covid-19. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) industries have been at the centre of the global response, whether that’s through tech-enabled remote working, vaccine development, or continuing to fight climate change in the midst of the pandemic.

We recently reached out to candidates and clients across multiple STEM markets to explore how this is impacting the demand for talent in the new normal.

The workforce of the future is set to be more flexible and resilient

People and tech have been dubbed as the most critical components of Covid-19 recovery. So, it’s hardly surprising that 86% of businesses are actively investing in these areas to ensure ongoing resilience post-pandemic.

We expect the demand for adaptable talent to remain high throughout 2021. According to our global client base, 45% said they needed people with a blend of specialist expertise and soft skills to hit the ground running.

While the health crisis may have forced organisations to ramp up the adoption of remote and flexible working, both our clients and candidates agreed that the switch to remote working is here to stay.

Digital transformation is accelerating

Half of our clients said that the transition to a remote setting, including people management, onboarding, and team building, has been the biggest challenge caused by Covid-19. 

And the increased reliance on technology is why IT has been one of the most resilient areas in terms of skills demand. This acceleration of digital transformation is predicted to continue as businesses shift their focus towards growth and innovation.

Demand for STEM talent STILL exceeds supply

As economies begin to recover, we believe there is still pent-up demand for specialist expertise to be released – and this may increase competition for the best talent even further.

Interestingly, although 79% of our clients say it’s difficult to find the right candidates, with the right skills, in the right location, the large-scale adoption of remote working means geography is less of a barrier. In fact, 56% of the candidates we spoke to are looking for jobs in more locations.

Businesses have the opportunity to access untapped STEM talent from a wider range of geographies and skillsets than ever before - a game-changer in this competitive hiring landscape.