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2021 Hiring is Up and Running!

It is hard to believe that we have entered the third month of this new year. We are just now passing the ONE YEAR mark since the great COVID-19 worldwide roadblock to business and progress.

Remember how worried we were last year? We especially worried about the economy, our jobs, our families and our co-workers.

Entire cities shut down. Many businesses laid off large numbers of employees. Many businesses shut down. Most businesses pulled back and guarded their resources.

Hiring was the last thing on the minds of most business leaders in March and April of 2020. We did not know what was ahead. Talks of another Great Depression ran rampant. Fear was strong.

A year later, looking back — yes, we have suffered much. People have lost friends and loved ones to the virus. Many businesses closed and will not re-open. Work has drastically changed, and life has changed. Large numbers are still unemployed.

On the brighter side, however, most of the predictions of doom and gloom have not come true. While certainly lethal, the virus is not as bad as most feared, compared to some epidemics in our history. Scientists have developed effective vaccines in record time, and tens of millions have already received them. The stock market dipped but has recovered all of that dip and in the past few months has hit new record highs.

And — companies are hiring. States are opening up. People are cautiously beginning to travel again. Sports are already hoping and planning for “normal seasons” before 2021 is finished. Businesses are coming back — in fact, many of them even thrived in spite of the “new normals” of the virtual office environment, remote training, and socially distanced customer relations.

We found out we are amazingly adaptable.

Enthusiasm is running very high. In fact, even before the better news of March 2021 and the much-improved case numbers we are seeing, business optimism was bubbling. I attended a webinar hosted by at the end of January and heard some startling statistics from their collected survey responses. The webinar was entitled The Future of Work — 2021 Global Outlook.

Even at the beginning of the year, the survey had discovered:

  • 82% planned to hire in 2021 (this was in January).
  • 47% planned to replace/backfill staff.
  • 35% would be hiring for new positions.
  • 49% of white-collar recruiters planned to hire to replace jobs lost.
  • Global confidence in finding the right candidate was down from 95% in 2019 to 93%.
  • “Confidence is “soaring” in three industries especially:
    1. Tech
    2. Finance / Banking
    3. Large Companies
  • In the US, 57% of recruiters say they are “very confident.”

The survey reported many highly interesting findings, but the most intriguing to me were the findings on what the respondents saw as needed policy changes for recruiting in this new era.

Remote Flexibility Needed Along With More Training

Not surprisingly, “remote flexibility” was the biggest need in the White-Collar market, at 47%
Training staff and skills training was the biggest policy change need in the Grey-Collar market. Also, large companies saw these changes as much more pressing than did small companies.

On the downside, 46% of respondents reported job-related anxiety or depression due to the crisis. Loneliness, “imposter syndrome,” suicidal thoughts, physical illness and increased alcohol use were noted as more significant problems than usual.

For recruiters, as might be expected, there have been big changes.

70% of companies now say that their recruiting and onboarding is at least half virtual. (Especially true in the Tech and Business / Finance industries).

Top in-demand skills are also different.

In the three large sectors of Technology, Finance/Banking, and Healthcare, the top-rated skills needed were:

  1. IT skills (25%)
  2. Communication Skills (24%)
  3. Innovation and Creativity (19%)

Beyond the rebound issues in the economy, other issues that were already in the spotlight are heightened as well. Scott Gutz, CEO of Monster, summarized it like this: “We’re fully aware of the challenges the talent acquisition industry faces, including the broadening skills gap, the pandemic’s impact on our mental health, and the need for more diverse workplaces…”

You can find a good summary of Monster’s survey here:

You can download the full 45-page PDF of the report here:

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