Employment Market Trends for 2021

The last few months have taken the professional world by storm, uprooting our sense of normalcy and forcing us to adapt to the seemingly daily changes brought on by the outbreak of COVID-19. The trends that have accompanied these unparalleled shifts have been borne out of necessity as we navigate our way through unprecedented times.

However, what will happen once the virus subsides? The prospect of the employment market returning to ‘normal’ is unlikely, so it is essential that the staffing and recruiting community start to think about the new employment market trends that could define 2021 and beyond. Keeping eyes and ears open to the current situation and anticipating how business operations may unfold in the months and years to come can help make the transition that much smoother.

Here are some of the employment trends the staffing and recruiting world may see in 2021.

Remote & Flexible Options

Perhaps the biggest trend to come out of the COVID-19 era is the influx of remote and flexible work, and the realization that many jobs simply do not need to be performed in a dedicated formal workplace (ever) or during a standardized workweek. Employees in a variety of industries have been working from their homes with little to no disruption to productivity or profitability, igniting the conversation of ‘do we really need to go back?’

In the same vein as employees continuing to work remotely, many remote hiring practices such as video conferencing are becoming industry standard, and will likely remain that way even after they are no longer necessary for health and safety reasons. Every stage of the hiring process has been influenced by virtual technology, from the interview stage to day-to-day office operations.

Remote practices have a number of benefits, such as being a more accommodating option for workers with children and workers with disabilities, as well as making connecting with colleagues in different locations much easier. In addition, for companies hard hit by widespread lockdowns, forgoing rent costs is a welcome adaptation. Given these circumstances, it’s more than likely that these trends will stick around for the long haul.

International Competition

The pandemic has demonstrated that many roles can be conducted just as productively from home or from a remote location. If this remains the case, the competition for jobs will no longer be confined to those living within a reasonable distance to the office in question. If the job can be done from a distance with no loss in productivity or collaboration, candidates from all over the world could technically be considered as long as they meet the job requirements.

This is an exciting possibility for job seekers but could also change the role and scope of staffing and recruiting professionals in a major way. If recruiters begin working on a more international scale, professional networks will see significant expansion, connecting people from different locations in meaningful ways. Sometimes the best person for the job doesn’t live down the street, so an emphasis put on finding remote workers could mean finding better and more qualified candidate matches. If you’re accustomed to including zip code when sourcing via your applicant tracking software, it may be time to expand your radius!

Changes to Traditional Job Roles

The traditional understanding of many roles will also be reimagined as a result of unrest and experimentation during these uncertain times. For example, the notion of middle management has been a topic of debate over the past few months, to the point where some firms have suggested this kind of role is no longer necessary. Removing this tier could unhinge the traditional power model of many companies and make upward mobility somewhat more difficult.

Another concern is the fact that businesses reeling from financial struggles have been forced to cut staff members, giving more responsibilities to fewer workers. While done out of necessity now, it is fathomable that these restructures could end up being a more efficient and cost-effective option, and roles could change permanently moving forward.

These shifts could mean that candidates may require different training than before to qualify for newly developed roles, and competition for these positions could be even more fierce. The trends of job seekers taking the time for professional development and training during quarantine in order to make themselves more competitive could end up proving to be very beneficial.

Changes to Traditional Industry Hiring

The last few months have made certain industries rethink their traditional models because of the hardships brought on by COVID-19.

The outbreak has arguably been the hardest on healthcare professionals, who have not only been working throughout a global pandemic but have been risking their lives to do so. The outbreak of COVID-19 has further exacerbated a global healthcare worker shortage, and as a result, the face of healthcare recruiting could be changed significantly over the next few years – or maybe permanently.

Some experts have been suggesting that many American healthcare workers, mainly physicians, could be calling it quits once the pandemic subsides, leaving huge gaps to fill in the primary care model. In Canada, a similar shortage has also been worsened by the virus. In order to bridge these gaps, temporary workers may need to be brought on. Either that, or there needs to be more of an incentive for individuals to enter the healthcare field full-time – either way, healthcare recruiters have some challenging times ahead of them, and if not already doing so, may want to expand their efforts into the temporary recruiting market.

According to Gartner, 32% of companies have been hiring contingent workers instead of full-time employees as a cost saving measure. One industry which has begun to see some significant changes to their hiring structures is the hospitality industry.

Typically a field that employs permanent, full-time workers, the hospitality industry has obviously been underutilized this year due to safety concerns, various travel restrictions and general lack of disposable income. For this reason, temporary workers have been brought in, at least for the time being. However, depending on how long it takes for the industry to recover, this could become common practice and many recruiters are shifting gears to accommodate.

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that virtually anything is possible. The next several months and years will more than likely see an influx of change and innovation, with new business models and ideas cropping up, and it is in everyone’s best interest to adapt to these trends rather than resist them.

Mindscope is always eager to contribute to the staffing and recruiting conversation and provide our customers with innovative solutions that let them take on any hurdles that may come their way. Our brand new UI/UX is here – contact us today to book your free demo.

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