Looking back on 2021, another eventful year in the fashion and recruitment industry

There’s no doubt that 2021 has been a year of ups and downs; and one dominated by the ongoing pandemic. However, after a year of uncertainty, there has been much change and evolution in both the fashion industry, the recruitment market and the world we live in as a whole. We’re looking back at some of the standout moments from the past twelve months.

  • We lost one of the high street’s biggest hitters. None of us expected Topshop (and Arcadia) to shut down, so when the news hit the headlines, it came as a big surprise. Ultimately the lockdowns were the final nail in the coffin, however fortunately the company still exists under the ASOS umbrella, but without a physical store.
  • And one of the UK’s biggest department stores. Another great loss was Debenhams. With a presence in pretty much every city – and many towns – across the UK, the department store had been struggling in and out of administration for a number of years. It was set to be rescued by Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley, but once this deal fell through things once again fell into turmoil. Fortunately, at the eleventh hour the brand was bought by Boohoo, however the decision was made to shut their stores. Recently however, Boohoo opened a debenhams.com beauty store in Manchester’s Arndale centre. Could we see more?
  • The recruitment market boomed. Last year, at the start of the pandemic, the job market grounded to a halt. People lost job offers and recruitment processes were promptly halted as the uncertainty of this new situation put finances in question. Fortunately, towards the latter end of 2021, this completely turned on its head. It became a candidate’s market filled with prospective opportunity, as ‘The Great Resignation’ continued to thrive. More of this in 2022, please!
  • Stores reopened – and stayed open. On Monday April 12th, after four months, the high street opened its doors once again. Staff returned from furlough, excited to reconnect with people, and customers excitedly returned to their favourite stores, able to shop once again in person (and send back some very belated Christmas returns)! Despite the changing situation, one thing remained a constant, doors staying open, meaning people were able to actually do their 2021 festive shopping physically.
  • We returned to the office (for a while!) As we got towards summer, ended lockdown and cases finally began to decrease, employees were able to finally return to the office after a long hiatus. With many changing jobs during this time, this was the first chance to meet their coworkers, and get used to new surroundings. Whilst the guidance has now temporarily returned to working from home, we expect more office trips and team bonding in the year ahead.
  • Salaries increased. Another winner from the boom in the employment market? Salaries are finally on the rise (especially important as inflation is going up). To speak to the demand and need for fresh talent, companies are reconsidering how much they want to spend on their people – and understanding that in order to get the very best, they need to put their hands in their pockets. To another fruitful year of recruitment…