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Future Hiring Projections

November 5, 2020

By Sheila Hoover, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

We are all aware of how COVID-19 has impacted hiring within our business since March 2020.  A majority of businesses froze or slowed their hiring amid furloughs and layoffs.  Now that we are at the end of 2020, what trends are we expecting in 2021?

Criteria, a talent acquisition assessment company, surveyed over 400 hiring professionals from across all industries to learn more about how they attract, hire, and retain their teams as we progress through 2020 into 2021.

By the time this survey was conducted in August of 2020, organizations had settled into a new normal amid the shockwaves of the pandemic.  Organizations were asked how many people they hired in the last 12 months compared to how many people they plan to hire in the next 12 months. The data showed an anticipated hiring increase of 1.4% more employees in the next 12 months. While this is a low number, it is growth, suggesting that organizations are cautiously investing in hiring again.

Criteria broke down this potential growth by industry, proving a closer look for hiring professionals. Unsurprisingly, the tech industry projected the highest growth, anticipating a need to hire 64% more people in the next 12 months. Finance, staffing, and health followed with 22%, 19% and 13% respectively.  Unfortunately, several industries projected negative growth, including retail (-12%), hospitality (-8%), education (-16%), and construction (-30%).

Hiring seems to be less challenging now, than it was last year.  Finding high quality job candidates continues to be the most challenging task in 2020 at 68%, but it has dropped over last year.  It’s also the area that organizations are planning to invest in the most. Almost 40% intend to increase budget in talent acquisition. 

Diversity continues to be a priority for most organizations. The Criteria survey data shows 32% of hiring professionals say increasing diversity in the workplace is a top priority; 46% say it is somewhat of a priority; and just 22% say it is not a priority.  From the data, an interesting pattern emerged. The larger the organization, the more they prioritize increasing diversity in hiring. Over half (52%) of organizations with 2500+ employees view diversity as a top priority.  Businesses with less than 20 people were the least likely to list diversity as a top priority, at 23%.  This does make sense, larger organizations have more resources to devote towards increasing diversity in the workplace, as well as more data to track progress towards those goals.  It is clear that some of the less resource-heavy initiatives, such as job descriptions or proactive sourcing, are widely used because they are more accessible to businesses of all sizes. Bigger initiatives such as D&I teams and blind hiring are used less often due to the challenges of implementing these initiatives.

On average, hiring professionals don’t think that COVID-19 will continue to make things harder for them. 58% of the participants think that COVID-19 will make it easier to hire remote workers, while 34% think it will make it easier to find good talent, and 33% think it will be easier to hire college students or

recent graduates. This shows a shift in the balance of hiring, with more candidates actively seeking employment versus more organizations searching for new employees.

Hiring professionals are feeling confident about their hiring process this year when compared to 2019. When Criteria asked how confident they are in their current hiring process, 42% of hiring professionals said very confident. This is up 26% from 2019. It’s hard to say where the renewed confidence comes from, but it echoes the rest of the results across this report.  On average, hiring professionals are finding hiring to be less challenging, resulting in higher confidence overall.

Hiring professionals are optimistic about the future. The majority (66%) of hiring professionals feel positive about the future health of their organizations. Just 6% feel negative about the future, while 20% feel neutral, and 9% are unsure. Despite the many challenges that 2020 has presented, the results suggest that organizations may feel the worst is over and that 2021 may bring a return to a “new normal.”

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