2020 wasn’t the year anybody expected it to be, changing how we live our lives, what our workplaces look like, and how companies are hiring. So while some of the current job trends are ones we’ve been moving towards for years, others are heavily influenced by the economic and cultural shifts of the past year.
With 2021 underway, employers must pay close attention to what job seekers expect and the rapidly changing hiring market in order to stay competitive this year. This requires not just keeping a close eye on the hiring market but also staying in tune with how companies are shifting their hiring needs and what candidates are looking for. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the five key job trends employers can expect in 2021 (you can check in on our 2020 list here).
Many businesses felt the pressure in 2020 to make their workforce more adaptable. As a result of COVID-19, retail workers moved to e-commerce fulfillment jobs, front-of-house workers in restaurants shifted to delivery, and companies everywhere were forced to change strategies rapidly as consumer behaviors changed.
In 2021, companies will continue the trend towards more adaptability. This includes leveraging scalable temporary workforces to fill in gaps without increasing overhead costs and training workers on multiple parts of the business to ensure the workforce can shift quickly as needs change.
One pain point we hear repeatedly from employers is about the accessibility, importance, and centralization of data. Especially for employers who work with multiple temporary staffing firms, there is often little or no workforce data available to help make decisions and keep tabs on productivity outputs. The time for that type of operation is in the past.
Human resources and operations teams are desperate to keep up and need comprehensive workforce data in order to optimize daily performance and make data-driven decisions for the future. Efficiency and workforce data go hand-in-hand, and those who aren’t looking to drive better results through data-driven decision-making are going to miss out on large potential benefits.
Last year, we talked about classification as a “cat and mouse game” between gig companies looking to lower overhead costs at the expense of workers and regulators looking to protect rightful employees. This year, that game has escalated. While workers won a number of lawsuits in 2020 - including high-profile cases in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania - California’s Prop 22 in November was a big blow to workers, essentially creating a new classification for gig app employees.
Though Prop 22 was a clear win for gig companies looking to escape the boundaries of minimum wage, overtime, and W-2 protections, there is a bright light on the horizon for many gig workers. The pandemic demonstrated many of the perils of gig work, including the lack of unemployment benefits and stability, and those lessons will not be easily forgotten.
Workers crave diverse and inclusive workplaces - 86% of job candidates say that diversity, equity, and inclusion are important to them at work. From a workplace culture perspective, employers need to put thought and effort into how they build more inclusive practices and workplace culture. In hiring, we believe this will place even more emphasis on eliminating unconscious biases in the hiring process and using AI and skills-based evaluation to fill important roles.
Leaning on AI to evaluate candidates is one of the only ways to truly remove all biases from hiring and evaluate candidates impartially. We’ve seen great results from our machine learning matching algorithm, which is reliably better than human hiring managers at matching workers with jobs. Technology is key to driving more inclusive hiring practices and eliminating the biases humans struggle to ignore.
Every single workplace was forced to adapt to new COVID-19 precautions last year. For offices, it was the switch to work from home. For essential workplaces, the onus was on companies to create safe workplaces, enforce COVID-related restrictions, and provide the PPE and other resources workers needed to do their jobs during a global pandemic.
Essential workers - like warehouse workers and forklift operators - remain in-demand in today’s hiring market. The employers who provide the best and safest environments will be those rewarded with employee loyalty and retention. Workplace safety is no longer just about keeping up with OSHA requirements, it’s now top-of-mind for every candidate looking for a job.
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