Business Transformation Recruiting Trends 2021

Business Transformation Recruiting Trends 2021
Posting date:22 Jan 2021

Covid-19, economic challenges, Brexit and technological acceleration all continue to disrupt the business landscape this year. 

Businesses must continue to remain adaptable to market / pandemic conditions and ‘pivot’ organisational structures to accommodate disruptive technology change – all whilst being highly responsive to demanding customers with continuously evolving consumer habits.

What is more, the unprecedented speed with which organisations have had to react to the Covid-19 pandemic, and its ensuing challenges, has triggered the acceleration of digital transformation projects and compounded the need for senior professionals who can facilitate transformative change, alongside the complexities of a remote working environment.

As such, we have seen organisations continue to review and adapt transformation programmes and projects, that were already underway pre-Covid-19, prioritising the move away from legacy systems and into the cloud, whilst increasingly building in Agile delivery mechanisms.

Overall budgets allocated to group-wide transformation have diminished, therefore Programme Directors have felt the pressure to produce several different plans to the board on how they can deliver programmes with smaller budgets. This has resulted in increased competition between programmes causing delays in approvals and increasing time to hire. 

Unsurprisingly, organisations will continue to look at organisational restructuring this year - to further drive process efficiencies and cost savings - rather than invest in large multi-million-pound technological ERP transformations.

Who’s hiring permanent & interim transformation professionals?

The majority of employers actively recruiting senior transformation professionals remain within the Financial Services, Pharmaceutical, Healthcare and Technology sectors. Well capitalized, forward looking businesses that are fortuitously placed to see the current instability as an opportunity to invest, grow and seize market share will continue to invest in transformation expertise this year. 

We have recently been working with several PE-backed organisations who have been through deals/integrations and require investment in Change Managers to create synergies across functional areas as well as lead on organisational restructuring.

On the whole, we have seen recruitment within the Retail sector limited to those with specialist Organisational Design and Development expertise - a result of drastic strategy and operating model change. However, those in better financial positions are seeking to bolster their digital capability and are pushing forward with their digital / omni-channel transformation. 

Transformation skills in demand 

Commercial Technology 

Organisations are increasingly investing in commercial and customer experience related programmes to ensure they retain but also attract new customers this year and beyond.

As such, we’ve seen demand for Portfolio and Project Managers who have worked across commercial technology such as ERP, online web applications, webinar platforms and CRM/marketing tools such as Salesforce. 


The focus for many organisations this year will be on the delivery of IT portfolios of work, projects including the migration of on-premises systems to the cloud. As we have transitioned to remote working, skills in cloud-based services such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure, have and will continue to be of critical importance.

The use of cloud systems looks set to remain prevalent even if we move back towards more of an office based working environment. Transformation professionals that have the skills to project manage the seamless deployment of cloud-based services will be required to ensure business continuity and productivity.

In fact, moving to the cloud is what constitutes ‘digital transformation’ for the majority of organisations, rather than trends such as machine learning or perhaps crypto. According to independent analyst Ben Evans,

“Only a quarter of large enterprise workflows have moved from the cloud at all so far – the rest are still ‘on prem’ in old systems and indeed mainframes…this really, is what I think digital transformation means.”


There is no question, that transformation initiatives will continue to be digitally focused this year however, project delivery is set to change to follow Agile, rather than the more traditional Waterfall methodologies.

As a result, employers will seek candidates with experience delivering projects according to Agile methodologies and will no doubt appoint roles such as Scrum Masters, Agile Business Analysts, Agile Project Managers and Product Owners.

Agile is an incredibly collaborative methodology, so employers will specifically be on the lookout for candidates who can; articulately talk through the lifecycle of a sprint or release, describe the pitfalls and challenges of the methodology as well as demonstrate empathy and appreciation of other roles within the team. 

Top 10 transformation jobs 2021

Here’s our list of the top ten senior transformation jobs, in demand, for 2021:

1. Business Analysts (System implementation/cloud migration, Agile methodology)

2. Project Manager (System implementation/cloud migration, Agile methodology)

3. Programme Managers 

4. IT Portfolio Managers 

5. Programme Directors / Heads of Transformation

6. Change Managers (System implementation)

7. PMO Managers (Agile & Waterfall)

8. Customer Journey (CX) Programme Managers / Project Managers

9. Scrum Masters

10. Product Owners

Candidate Expectations

When it comes to considering new opportunities, candidate expectations have shifted significantly over the last year. Candidates now expect employers to offer remote and flexible working practices - as standard. LinkedIn saw a 60% rise in users searching specifically for remote working opportunities between March and May 2020. Subsequently, employers don’t shortlist against a specific location but will now consider candidates from a wider pool of talent, from across the country.

Candidates’ appetites to work on either a contract, fixed term or permanent basis have also changed. Ongoing economic uncertainly now means more professionals are open to opportunities of any kind, often opting for the role with the most longevity and best job security.

How can we help?

If you are job searching in these difficult times, and potentially interviewing from home, there are lots of things we can help you with to prepare. We have plenty of career advice guides we can share with you. Everything from CV tips, to developing your personal online brand and video interviewing advice

If you would like any of our career advice guides, or want to discuss our current interim or permanent senior transformation opportunities with a recruiting expert, please do not hesitate to get in touch

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