Top 10 Trends from 2022  

Top 10 Trends from 2022  

What a crazy year 2022 was. Just when we all thought the world was getting back to normal, 2022 had other plans.

But amongst the cost-of-living crisis, strikes and mega colds some really great things have happened last year.

The Elizabeth Line proved worth the wait, the UK took second(!) place in Eurovision, The Lionesses brought it home, and the Commonwealth games shined a spotlight on Birmingham.

Across the Transport & Infrastructure Sectors we have really noticed a shift in focus and priorities this year. Here are our top 10 trends from 2022…

1. A focus on Social Value

In terms of rising demand for roles, more and more we are seeing an emphasis on social value. Companies are becoming increasingly aware of this driven by client bid assessment criteria and the positive impact on employer brand and are bringing in people to tackle this.

2. Energy Sector Activity

The Energy sector is having its moment. Over the past year we have seen a significant increase in activity both in terms of traditional networks and connections and developing future energy solutions.

With the increase in renewable sources there has been demand for the contractors needed to connect them to the grid. But also, we have seen a huge shift towards developing new technologies such as hydrogen, biomethane and carbon capture meaning that across the board asset owners, consultancies and contractors have been busy investing in what the future looks like for this sector.

3. International Markets

Companies from overseas have really ramped up recruiting from the UK again following a complete standstill due to the pandemic.

The most recruitment activity we have noted over the past year has been from Canada, Saudi Arabia and Australia looking to bring Brits overseas.

4. Transport Operators

There is still relatively little movement happening in the transport operator space due to the continued hiatus on franchise/concession bidding. Due to the high levels of uncertainty across the sector, we are seeing people staying put or moving into other sectors

5. Collaboration

More and more client organisations are committing to adopting the Project 13 principals of collaborative enterprise working. This has meant that across the supply chain companies are looking for candidates with experience of collaborative alliances and frameworks.

Projects such as Sizewell C and the HS2 Rail Systems alliance contracts will drive this further in 2023.

6. Direct Procurement for Customers

In the water sector, United Utilities have launched the first competitive tendering process for their Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme using the Direct Procurement for Customers (DPC) model.

I would expect we will see more projects across the water sector adopting the DPC method of financing large projects in 2023.

7. Early Retirements    

There are a combination of factors that have influenced some people to take early retirement.

Firstly, a significant proportion of experienced professionals within the market have built up a very sizeable pension and have the financial independence to retire early if they wish. House prices for this demographic have soared since they started on the property ladder. And, of course, COVID-19 really altered people’s outlook and approach to their work and has made some think hard about whether they wish to continue working.      

8. Diversity

There is a continued push across Transport & Infrastructure to recruit diverse leaders. There is a long way to go for companies to ensure they have the right policies, culture and systems in place to attract and retain diverse candidates, but the positive is that there are lots of opportunities at the moment for diverse candidates to progress quickly in their careers.

9. Salary Inflation

Salaries across all levels are increasing. Perhaps not as fast as inflation but we are experiencing a candidate led market demanding higher salaries. Firms will need to remain competitive in the new year in order to attract the best talent.

10. Big Data

In the consultancy market we are seeing a sharp rise in competition for candidates with big data experience. The widening digital skills gap means that consultancies are in a race to snap up big data professionals with machine learning, AI, and NLP skills. There is a huge challenge to compete with other sectors for this talent.

What trends have you noticed from 2022 and what are your predictions for the year ahead?

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director