6 Top Hiring Trends for 2021

December 9, 2020
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Author: Glenn Hunter

A more robust job market is ahead for 2021, once COVID-19 vaccines begin rolling out. This new confidence will result in improved revenue outlooks, prompting organizations to hire to support their growth plans.

Some talent acquisition professionals may struggle to find enough talent, which others will be inundated with applicants.

But talent acquisition professionals will face their own special challenges next year, depending on the roles they’re trying to fill. Here are six hiring trends recruiters will need to pay attention to in 2021.

1. Cities and industries that were most severely impacted by the pandemic will see some of 2021’s biggest hiring volumes. Assuming the widespread distribution of vaccines and an economy that continues to recover, industries including Trade, Transportation and Utilities and Leisure and Hospitality in cities such as Orlando, Las Vegas and Los Angeles will likely see some of the largest hiring volumes in 2021. Sectors like housing are already holding their own in those cities. Available vaccines could speed up the recovery of businesses in hospitality and recreation because consumers may feel safer gathering in large groups again. Recruiters and hiring managers should expect a flood of resumes, as a surplus of unemployed candidates vie for the open positions.

2. Hiring will increase in roles, industries and locations that have been less affected by the pandemic, too. In industries such as Financial Activities and Professional and Business Services in cities like Phoenix, Atlanta and Dallas, tight labor markets mean the supply of available talent will continue to be constrained. So, the key to effective hiring under these conditions will be poaching employees away from their current jobs. Any lingering uncertainty in the market, however, could make that more difficult. Ways to overcome the challenge include searching strategically for “passive” candidates, revisiting the role’s salary requirements, tapping candidates from other industries and considering remote work where suitable.

3. Employees and job seekers will expect some level of remote work. One big lesson from the pandemic is that many employees don’t need to be physically present in the office to do their work. In July, Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom said 42% of the U.S. labor force was working from home full-time, accounting for a whopping two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. A number of companies plan to make work from home (WFH) permanent, including Twitter, Facebook and Tata Consulting Services. They understand the advantages of WFH – lower real estate costs, the ability to hire globally – just as employees see the benefits of fewer commutes and a better work/life balance. One big caveat: organizations will need to ensure that employees working from home stay creative, productive and connected to the company culture. Appointing a Chief Remote Officer could help.

4. Virtual interviews will remain part of the hiring process. Social-distancing measures to prevent the coronavirus have normalized virtual interviews via the likes of Skype or Zoom. And virtual interviewing is apt to remain a staple of the recruitment process in some form even after the pandemic ends. These interviews save organizations time and money and allow them to tap a wider pool of candidates, well outside their physical locations. Recruiters looking to improve their virtual interviewing skills should be transparent with job candidates about the process, flexible about scheduling the interviews and consistent with their questions. Talent acquisition pros should also screen applicants via teleconference for their adaptability in a remote-work environment.

5. Most employers will continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion. 2020 drove home the importance of diversity inside and outside the workplace, and workplace diversity and inclusion will remain a key focus for organizations in 2021 as well. Studies done by McKinsey and BCG have found that more diverse companies lead to higher financial returns and new product development. But achieving diversity – whether by race, gender, age or socioeconomic background – is often easier said than done. While talent acquisition pros may target more racially diverse candidate pools or spotlight diversity programs on their websites, their efforts will be more challenging when recruiting in areas that are not racially diverse. Identifying more diverse cities can be easier with a software tool like LaborIQ® by ThinkWhy that can show you a city’s demographics, along with other useful factors about talent supply. It may be worth considering hiring remote workers or offering relocation assistance to new hires to increase diversity.

6. Improving the candidate experience will matter more than ever. With a more competitive — but still volatile — job market likely to create anxiety among many prospective hires, it will be critical for talent acquisition pros to make the hiring process timely, efficient and above all positive next year. Poor experiences – from overly complex applications and disrespectful interviewers to a meager salary or benefits package – will not only turn off applicants but tarnish the organization’s brand, marring its ability to recruit top talent in the future. To ensure the candidate experience is always positive, recruiters should provide clear and concise job descriptions, tell the candidate what to expect in interviews, extend offers in a timely manner and communicate with applicants every step of the way.

LaborIQ by ThinkWhy continuously forecasts and reports labor data at all levels, measuring impact to cities, industries, occupations and business across the U.S.