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2021 Trends: What will the employment and job market look like?

2021 Trends: What will the employment and job market look like?

January 20, 2021

We all know by now that we find ourselves in unprecedented times. With Covid-19 completely changing the way in which we work and job hunt, what trends can we expect to see more of in 2021?

If you’re like us, it can start to feel like any trend prediction from 2020 onwards may be completely altered as our situation continues to change. However, there are some clear indicators of employment trends here to stay.


What we learned from 2020.

From 2020, we clearly saw the need to prioritise the candidate journey. Today’s candidates want to feel part of the process, to be kept updated, in the loop and given feedback at every opportunity.

We saw that the recruitment process can be virtualised. We can implement more video interviewing techniques to allow the candidate to showcase their skills outside of their CV. Or simply that the process could move beyond a paper CV.

Driven by the need to socially distance, we saw a huge technological leap in HR Tech and Application Tracking Systems.

With the world turning online to socialise, we saw how the demand for Corporate Social Responsibility grew. We relied on social honesty, authenticity and integrity through the virtual world. Employer Branding had to represent real life to shine out in a competitive crowd.

So, what are the hiring trends predicted for 2021?

Given the changing situation we find ourselves in, it can appear challenging to predict what the future looks like. Nonetheless, we learnt some key trends in 2020 that will keep pushing forward in 2021 regardless of the working situation we find ourselves in.

Digital and Virtual Growth

The candidate journey has seen a lot of spotlight over the course of 2020. Candidates became vocal on social media about their experiences with delayed responses from hiring managers. Some never even receiving responses or feedback!

Implementing virtual interviews and remote onboarding began to allow hiring managers to focus on improving the candidate journey. In 2021, the demand for improved HR technologies will begin to prioritise the candidate experience. Over 58% say they plan to use Technology and Automation to grow their business in 2021. Powering your digital recruitment strategy.

How we engage with our candidates will become a real differentiator in separating top employers from other organisations competing for the same talent.

Employer Branding and Corporate Social Responsibility

With social distancing removing the human touch, we have started to see more emphasis on employers creating a social presence to represent their company culture, ethics and values. Employer Branding is taking centre stage.

Employers will be compelled to take meaningful stands on social issues in 2021. Over the next 10 years, 1.3 billion Gen Z candidates will enter the global workforce. This generation has grown up with a continual digital counterpart to real life. Making the digital world completely interlinked. Gen Z are a generation that defines being together as either FaceTiming or being in the same room. This makes digital transparency a hot topic. Candidates want honesty. And honesty creates attraction, retention and repeat engagement.

Alongside honesty, candidates want accountability. 83% of Gen Z candidates said that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important when choosing an employer. Corporate Social Responsibility is a paramount factor for Gen Z’s when deciding on new employment. It’s not an exercise of ticking a box anymore: it’s taken seriously.

Revenue Growth

According to a recent survey carried out by TrackerRMS, we can expect to start to see revenue growth. Over 70% of recruitment related businesses are expecting revenue to grow by more than 25% in 2021. And if recruitment is growing, companies are hiring.

Flexible Working

A huge on-going discussion is whether flexible working options will forever change. Making the traditional 9-5 office environment a thing of the past. The demand is clearly there from the candidate side with 70% feeling that they are as or more productive working remotely.

As we have all had to adapt to trying times, wellbeing and mental health has become a huge topic throughout 2020. The decrease of human interaction from remote working can take its toll as well as many re-evaluating how they have previously spent too much time at the office. It’s clear 2020 has made most of us thrive to find that perfect work/life balance resulting in more demand for a flexible working arrangement.

As flexible working is an attractive asset to candidates, we predict that in 2021 many organisations will look to create permanent flexible working arrangements.

Retention Strategies

Many organisations had the opportunity to prioritise the training and upskilling of their staff throughout 2020. In addition, many candidates/employees took the extra time at home to undertake new courses or enhance their existing skills. Both began making companies re-evaluate training opportunities and the upskilling of their staff. With lockdown 3.0 in effect, we can clearly see opportunities to enhance training and skillsets as a definite continued trend for 2021.

Remote working may well assist in employee retention naturally – with staff being able to work from wherever they feel most comfortable. Again, emphasising the probability that most companies will look to opt for permanent flexible working arrangements.

Make way for the Freelancers

Due to the fluctuations in business needs, 2020 saw many companies utilising freelancers. Given the uncertainty and continual fluctuation of the economy, we can see many more opportunities open up for freelancers.

To allow businesses to fluctuate in the turbulent market, flexible contracts and temporary positions are likely to increase throughout 2021. 67% of firms agreed that temporary workers allowed them to fill gaps needed within the business and retain permanent employees.

The demand for temporary workers and freelancers is likely to continue as companies begin to build themselves back up, providing them with an immediate workforce ready to tackle the future.

So, what does this mean for you?

2021 is likely to keep us on our toes. Whether you’re actively looking for employment opportunities or recruiting for your team, we feel its important to keep up on current trends within the employment market.

For clients, be cautious and confident in your Corporate Social Responsibility. Investigate processes that can benefit your virtual growth. Look into permanent flexible working programmes. Put the candidate at the heart of your recruitment process. Engage, respond and update.

For candidates actively looking for employment opportunities, investigate temporary openings. Temping can be a great way to further your skills sets, expand your CV and open the doors for numerous organisations. Get comfortable with digital recruiting. Research video interview prep. Learn the process of interviewing and onboarding virtually. Stay positive, the market is changing.

With the recruitment landscape changing here at CMD, we have been working and providing dedicated consultative support to our clients throughout this difficult and unprecedented Covid-19 period.

By illustrating and understanding the current market, we are confident we’re in a strong position to support your business; whether you need assistance with your overwhelming ad response, support with gaining a better understanding of your market during these times or whether you need a clear and concise insight in how your business can move forward with your recruitment requirements.

For more information on how we can help, get in touch with our expert team today.

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