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Optimism for Digital Learning Professionals

For those of you working within Learning & Development, who have recently been made redundant, and for those who are struggling to find work during this tough climate - it must feel like optimism is in short supply. 

We completely understand

As recruiters in Digital Learning, we’ve seen first-hand the effects of the lockdown and subsequent economic downturn on recruitment in the sector, and yet, we remain entirely confident for the future prospects of the industry.

In any significant economic downturn, permanent recruitment is instantly hit and (usually) takes a long time to recover. It tends to be interim hiring that shows the first signs of recovery as businesses begin to regain confidence.

In early March, at Instinct, we saw this routine play out first-hand. Interview processes ‘on hold’ and ‘recruitment freezes’ implemented within the majority of our clients, regardless of the sector they operate within. Then suddenly, some light began to shine at the end of the tunnel.

Woman in white t-shirt looking happily at her laptop

Things are looking up

Over the past month alone, we’ve seen a huge increase in the demand for permanent Digital Learning specialists, whilst Interim recruitment has remained buoyant (despite everything).

In June 2020, Instinct saw an increase of 170% in new L&D roles to that of May 2020 

This spike in new roles has lead to fantastic recent successes amongst our candidates; proving that life-changing roles can be secured, even during such difficult times.

This is part of an overall trend of what appears to be a slow but steady recovery in hiring*, but the recovery in Digital Learning will be both quicker and more pronounced.

Linked-in jobs data 08/07/20


Because despite the economic turmoil, Digital Learning is now more relevant than ever. One Senior Learning Consultant summarised that his organisation has undergone a more significant digital transformation in the past six weeks than in the past six years. Go figure.

Face-to-face training cannot physically happen currently at scale and when it can, much of the workforce will be more dispersed than ever before, making it much less practical (enter Distance Learning)

A woman sat on the floor using her laptop with a cup of coffee next to her

Granted, industries disproportionately affected by COVID-19 (Travel/ Tourism, Hospitality, Retail, etc) have made redundancies en masse - their L&D teams included in the casualties.  Therefore, we are seeing lots of competition for every new role in the sector and this may continue for some time. 

The overall trend, however, looks to be one where Digital Learning becomes front and centre of organisational L&D and this could well lead to a skills shortage in the future.

We’re already seeing this in the Higher Education sector; less directly exposed to the business economy and with budgets working independently of this, activity in Instinct’s Higher Education sector is at an all-time high as Universities seek to digitise courses as soon as possible. 

Initially, much of the job creation has been focussed on hands-on work, largely around design and development activities. A number of senior figures we’ve spoken to are predicting that after this phase, organisations will look at their longer-term Digital Learning strategies, creating a demand for Consultative/Managerial level roles.

A man using his laptop at his home office whilst drinking a coffee

It may take a little more time to see a full recovery, but the Digital Learning industry has significant tailwinds to ensure that this will happen quickly.

Reach out to us for help

If you’re in the sector and are looking for a new position, please visit our live jobs page.

Alternatively, you can contact me, Andrew Welsh, directly via LinkedIn or email:, and I'll put you in touch with the consultant that best specialises within your requirements.