< Go back to skills hub

Freshminds is often at the forefront of connecting exceptional talent with world-leading businesses. Because of this, we forge strong partnerships with our candidates and ensure we stay informed about evolving industry trends to support their journey. 

Our focus extends beyond the traditional narratives surrounding the future of work. In an era dominated by discussions of cost-cutting measures, growing functional demands, and industry shifts, the perspective of job seekers is often overlooked. We believe it's important to bridge this gap.

Spotlighting analytical and consulting roles, we explore how the candidate process is shapeshifting in 2024 and how you can master it.

What do the statistics say? 

2023 turned out to be an incredibly gruelling year for business, with many sectors, including tech and consulting, spending the year firefighting with talent. 

Large-scale redundancies became normalised in the headlines, and while we don’t anticipate the same intensity this year, some companies are still trying to reduce their headcounts. 

Just last week, Google’s Chief Executive, Sundar Pichai, wrote this about the organisation’s redundancies, “These role eliminations are not at the scale of last year’s reductions, and will not touch every team…but I know it’s very difficult to see colleagues and teams impacted.”

With tightening budgets and global economic uncertainty, hiring managers are choosing employees much more carefully than they were two years ago - during the post-Covid recruitment swell (this can be seen below). 

Data from the Vacancy Survey from the Office of National Statistics shows the level of job vacancies began to dip in early 2022 and has fallen since. Despite this, available roles in the UK are still higher than post-pandemic levels, which should offer a level of comfort for job seekers. 

Additionally, reshuffling talent isn’t necessarily bad news for everybody. As Pichai mentions above, you may find that your expertise or functional knowledge becomes more important for a business’s long-term strategy. 

In 2023’s Future of Jobs report, the report speculated that certain roles such as Digital Transformation Specialists, Digital Marketing and Strategy Specialists, and E-Commerce Specialists would face greater demand in the next few years -  offering a degree of protection for those who could harness these capabilities. 

Of course, a career isn’t just about predicting what is and isn’t going to be in demand, everyone should have the opportunity to grow in a field that they’re passionate about. To do this, you often have to take a more proactive approach to job searching so that you can find the best security and most rewarding opportunities. 

How to stand out in 2024

Over the last year or so, the job market has become increasingly competitive. And as a candidate, this means working smarter to land your ideal role. 

If you aren’t fixed or passionate about a particular industry, keeping an eye on sectors performing well can be a good way to secure a role more quickly. According to Forbes, industries like healthcare, industrials, travel, and Edtech will experience a degree of growth this year.  

At Freshminds, we keep a close pulse of the shifts in recruitment - understanding what businesses want in terms of talent and expertise is our job.

This puts us in a great position to analyse trends and offer insights for 2024.

1) Data reigns king

One change we’ve noticed over the years is an increased need for data and analytical talent.   We mention the growing desire for AI knowledge below, but strong analytical skills have become increasingly important for our clients. 

We can see this through our own data. The graph below shows the increase of the word “data” in our job descriptions - it indicates a sizable shift from 13% in 2021 to 48% in 2023.

This supports the notion that many businesses have been on a path of digital transformation post-Covid. 

Many organisations are drowning in data - unable to differentiate between what’s interesting and what’s important. Because of this, they need smart employees who can dig through the data excess to help them spot pain points and areas of growth potential. 

These types of roles aren’t exclusive to one title, but Analysts are particularly sought-after, with Transformation Managers needed to deliver on the strategy and vision front. 

We anticipate this need to continue in the future. 

2) Make networking an opportunity  

Hunting for a job is much more than completing an application form and updating your CV. Nowadays, cultivating connections is pivotal in advancing your career and unlocking the “hidden” job market. 

It may be a frustrating truth that so many roles are filled through connections rather than ability, but human nature is difficult to argue with. Rather than viewing this social law as a problem (and arguably it is), trying to improve your own connections allows you to compete.

Establishing professional connections has many more benefits than meets the eye - it can help you foster collaboration, open doors to new business prospects, enhance confidence and communication skills, and contribute significantly to career progression. 

"You can make a much longer-lasting impression by having face-to-face meetings with colleagues, peers, and clients. Propose lunch or a coffee, and you will likely be at the front of each other’s minds when a future opportunity for collaboration arises.Sarah Collier, Freshminds Consultant 

In our interconnected world, numerous avenues exist to expand your network, spanning diverse facets of life, such as:

  • Networking events

  • Online platforms like LinkedIn

  • Workplaces

  • Conferences

  • Volunteer opportunities

But it's no secret that networking can be difficult - especially if you have little patience for small talk, don't have the time to devote to it, or it may simply not be accessible for you to meet in person.  

You can think of networking as a skill that can be developed - the best way to learn is to do it. Like many other things, the quality of your connections is often more important than the quantity. 

3) Harnessing AI in your skillset

The first and foremost principle for any modern candidate is to embrace lifelong learning. The pace of technological advancement and industry changes demands a continuous commitment to acquiring new knowledge and skills. This involves being proactive in seeking out learning opportunities, whether through online courses, workshops, or industry conferences.

Over the last year, generative AI has been particularly pervasive in the workplace, from the consulting sector, where Deloitte has built an AI chatbot for its employees, to SaaS organisations building B2B AI products and training.

According to a survey by PwC, 63% of business executives believe that AI will have a significant impact on their industry.

Learning about artificial intelligence (AI) is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, AI is impacting how we work and live - sectorally and function-wide.

Familiarity with AI concepts is essential for informed decision-making, whether in business strategy, public policy, or personal use. You may find that these technological advancements affect your role more than others; for instance, Analysts may use an in-house generative learning machine to help them interpret patterns or anomalies in a dataset. 

For candidates, even those not directly responsible for using this tech, understanding how AI functions is becoming a valuable skill set to show off. 

4) Showcasing empathy

Empathy is a skill not to be underestimated in the workplace. Its significance is multifaceted - strong empaths can navigate complex social situations, aiming for resolution rather than conflict. As Fastcompanycomments, 

These individuals can lower the stress level of any workplace, adding a significant measure of understanding among staff who observe and look to emulate their behaviors.

Unsurprisingly, this is a desirable trait for employers. However, showcasing it during a job search can be difficult but not impossible.

When constructing your CV and cover letter, you can do this by highlighting relevant soft skills like collaboration, teamwork, and an enjoyment of learning from others. But better yet, it's great to demonstrate through action, for instance, you could talk about how you've supported the in-house fundraising team or where you’ve improved the process of a social enterprise.

During interviews, demonstrating empathy can showcase your interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, making you a more appealing candidate. 

Overall, incorporating empathy into your job search, where you can, will help you build meaningful connections and present yourself as a well-rounded and considerate professional.

5) Smart job searching

In 2024, there are more ways than ever to find a job online. LinkedIn job boards, forums, social media recruiters, and freelance platforms are just a few options. While having such a broad reach is great, it can make finding suitable jobs more strenuous and time-consuming - where do you begin?

There are clever ways to reduce this admin by effectively utilising job search platforms. 

  1. Set up tailored job alerts on sites suited to your role preferences and explore advanced search options to refine results. For instance, on the Freshminds site, you can sign up for job alert emails, meaning you don't have to search for relevant roles every day or week; they simply land in your inbox. 

  1. Explore non-generalist job boards; finding recruiters that specifically hire for your sector or function means you'll not only be working with people who have access to companies that you'd like to work for but can support your journey from CV edits to interview advice.

  1. Follow companies of interest to receive updates on job postings and company news; this could be on socials, emails or another channel. 

Utilising these tactics means you are in a better position to find the right role, and you'll be first in line to apply. 

Looking for a new role right now?

Freshminds specialises in connecting our expert network of analysts, strategists, and consultants with ambitious companies around the globe. Find our latest opportunities here.

This site is not supported by Internet Explorer. Please use Chrome, Firefox, Safari or another browser to fully view and utilise.