The Top 3 Recruitment Trends for 2021: CareerArc Releases New Data


Social recruiting, employer branding, and higher recruiting activity set to dominate hiring landscape in 2021

A new CareerArc studyOpens a new window reveals that 76% of the companies believe hiring demand may bounce back or even exceed pre-pandemic levels. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. unemployment rate reached a record high of 14.7% in April 2020 — the highest level recorded since BLS began collecting data in 1948 — which by the end of the year plummeted to 6.7%, a rate considerably higher than the pre-pandemic levels at 3.5%.

With a turbulent year behind us and 2021 just beginning, the study offers several meaningful insights into employers’ hiring outlook this year. With 61% of full-time employees seeking new jobs in 2021, over a third (39%) of employers believe that 1 in 5 of their employees is currently looking for jobs at other companies.

Also read: 21 HR Technology Trends for 2021 That Will Shape the Future of Work

Two out of three (67%) of all adults aged 18-60 years old are looking to find a new job in 2021, 65% of whom say COVID-19’s impact on their job or company played a part in their desire to switch jobs. The study also reports that nearly 9 out of 10 employees looking for a job switch are concerned about the lack of jobs in their field. 68% of these employees attribute the continued lack of jobs to COVID-19.

3 Emerging Trends in Recruitment in 2021

Employees and employers share anxiety about the elasticity and demand of the labor market. The study found that employers are equally anxious about retaining employees, finding qualified candidates, and improving diversity in an increasingly unstable economic environment.

Here’s a look at the top three hiring trends we could expect to see in 2021 as the economy recovers and job creation picks up pace:

#1 Employer Brand and Reputation To Become a Top Priority for Candidates

The study found that 82% of candidates polled considered their prospective employer’s reputation before applying to a job. This signifies a 7% increase over the past five years. Over half (53%) of job seekers cited poor or diminishing employer brand and reputation as one reason for leaving a previous job; 20% said it was the main reason they left.

Candidates also mention their increasing reliance on employer review platforms to inform their opinions on prospective employers. The top three dealbreakers that would dissuade candidates to apply for a job include:

    • Bad work-life balance
    • Lower pay than current salary
    • Business instability

Candidates also indicated that they would not apply to a company if it lacked a flexible workplace or schedule, and 39% would pass if it had poor company culture or morale.

Also read: Remote Work, Constant Communication, Employee Well-Being: Key Trends in the “Pulse of HR” Survey

#2 Social Will Be the Channel of Choice for Both Candidates and Recruiters

Social recruiting has emerged as a key channel for sourcing and recruiting. The trend is expected to continue into 2021, with 72% of employers using Facebook to attract and recruit talent. 96% of organizations use LinkedIn to recruit, the study found.

For employees, Facebook tops the list as the go-to site to research employer brand and reputation, followed by review sites like Glassdoor, then LinkedIn.

It is also interesting to note that 86% of the candidates surveyed said that they actively use social media in their job search. 90% of job seekers follow brands on social media, and 79% say they interact with brands on social media. The average job seeker gave their employers’ social media presence a 4.9 out of 10. Meanwhile, companies gave themselves a slightly higher score of 5.9 out of 10.

#3 Employers Expect Higher Hiring Activity in 2021

76% of employers are optimistic that hiring demand will approach, return to, or even surpass pre-pandemic levels.  Only 31% foresee below-average hiring demand in their industry.

Employers indicated that their recruitment investments for 2021 will be geared toward:

    • Social media/social recruiting software
    • ATS purchase, upgrade, expansion
    • Career site launch, update
    • Recruitment marketing/CRM
    • Sourcing products and platforms

Also read: HR Must Rearchitect Work as We Enter 2021: Deloitte’s 2021 Global Human Capital Trends

These trends are aligned with other predictions we have come across for 2021. While the broader outlook remains optimistic for hiring, organizations, particularly HR leaders, would need to address employee concerns around critical issues such as transparency, business performance, compensation and benefits, and performance management to instill trust. It would be interesting to see how these hiring trends impact larger HR trends, particularly as organizations strive to personalize remote employee employee experience in 2021.