Is a Strong Labor Market Recovery Ahead? National Survey Reveals 2021 Hiring is Rebounding, but Employers Face Challenges Adapting to the New World of Work

New research shows 72% of employers redeployed up to half of their workforce due to the impact of COVID-19, yet 20% have not ramped up digital transformation

HOLMDEL, N.J. [Feb. 3, 2021] – More than 90% of employers report they are hiring for new roles this year, as they continue to respond, recover, and readapt in the new world of work. The overwhelming majority (97%) of employers are planning to invest in technology expansion to accommodate virtual hiring needs and reach evolving talent acquisition goals.

A strong economic rebound is underway, but some employers are struggling to keep up, according to the data released today in the 2021 Workforce Report by iCIMS, the leading talent cloud company.

The 2021 Workforce Report highlights how businesses are responding to remote work and virtual hiring, accelerating digital transformation initiatives, enhancing team collaboration, and focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. Top findings include:

The New World of Work in 2021

  • Hiring is rebounding. At the close of 2020, there were positive signs of a recovery, with overall job openings down just 3%, hires down 10%, and 91% of employers stating they are hiring for new roles this year.
  • Diverse workforces gain momentum, but HR leaders are concerned. Business leaders are reassessing their DEI initiatives. Diverse hiring activity led the rebound with women in underrepresented racial and ethnic groups making up the largest proportion of hires in 2020 at 30%, yet 84% of HR professionals are concerned that their organization’s current recruiting and hiring tools aren’t reaching diverse talent pools.
  • The workforce is shifting. The workforce composition continues to evolve, as 72% of employers have redeployed up to half of their employees, and nearly 60% plan to rely on contingent hires this year.

Trends Catalyzed by COVID-19

  • Remote work is here to stay. The pandemic created an increased opportunity for remote work. This trend is here to stay, with 50% of organizations loosening or removing location requirements for new roles and providing stipends for home office set-ups. Not surprisingly, nearly one in four applications submitted in 2020 came from an out-of-state applicant.
  • Hiring goes virtual. 80% of organizations expanded or accelerated digital transformation plans, with many upgrading their tech stack to accommodate virtual hiring. Interviews set up by chatbots more than tripled, and 2.7 million people used text messaging to apply to a job in 2020.
  • Collaboration is critical. Nearly 90% of organizations started using a new collaboration tool, like Microsoft Teams, to increase efficiency and communication between employees and better integrate tasks like hiring into their flow of work.

“The loss of jobs in 2020 was substantial, but we see many promising labor market trends in our platform as employers rebuild and transform the way we work,” said Steve Lucas, CEO of iCIMS. “The 2021 Workforce Report taps into emerging trends and provides business leaders with the data-fueled insights they need to inform smarter hiring and business decisions, spark innovation, develop a new standard for the workplace, and build a winning workforce for the future.”

The report brings together trends from the 332+ million global users of the iCIMS Talent Cloud with insights from a third-party survey of HR leaders to provide a comprehensive view of the labor market in 2020 and a forward-looking outlook. View the full report here.

To learn more about how these findings can drive business and hiring strategies, register for the free virtual roundtable discussion, moderated by Lydia Dishman, contributing reporter and editor at Fast Company.

About iCIMS

iCIMS is the talent cloud company that empowers organizations to attract, engage, hire, and advance the right talent that builds a diverse, winning workforce. iCIMS accelerates transformation for a community of approximately 4,500 customers, including nearly half of the Fortune 100, that employ more than 35 million people worldwide. For more information, visit www.icims.com.