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Here’s what hiring in 2022 is expected to look like

Human resource executives should expect to have a busy 2022 when it comes to hiring new talent, according to a new survey.

The State of U.S. Hiring Survey from talent and consulting firm Robert Half polled 2,300 senior managers and found that 65% anticipate adding new, permanent positions in the first half of this year, up 14 percentage points from six months ago; another 33% expect to fill vacant positions.

In particular, the survey found that managers in administrative and customer support (72%) and marketing (69%) departments have the greatest hiring needs. In addition, contract hiring could also experience a boom, as 71% of senior managers expect to bring in more contract professionals in 2022. Marketing and technology departments (78% each) are most likely to increase the number of contract workers they use.

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When it comes to attracting this talent, employers are using several strategies, most commonly increasing starting salaries and offering remote options. More than 40% are providing signing bonuses and giving additional paid time off, while nearly one-third are loosening requirements for education, skills or experience.

“Today’s professionals have more career options and negotiating power than ever,” says Paul McDonald, Robert Half senior executive director. “In order to land the best talent, employers must move quickly, create a positive candidate experience—from the initial contact to the job offer—and provide competitive salaries and flexible work options.”

See also: Why HR leaders are unprepared for the talent marketplace revolution

Along those lines, McDonald says, the survey also found that adopting a “remote-first” approach can give employers a leg up when competing for top talent: In fact, previous Robert Half research revealed more than half of professionals (54%) are interested in pursuing fully remote positions.

This shift means HR needs to be ready to lead the talent transformation, which will be the focus of a keynote session at the upcoming HR Tech Virtual, a free, online event held March 1-4. General Motors’ Kyle Lagunas will explore how HR can take its leadership to the next level for the new world of work, while also highlighting the latest tech solutions enabling HR to embrace the changes needed to meet evolving employee expectations, such as remote work.

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The good news is the new survey found many employers already recognize the benefits of the remote transformation—from a bigger talent pool to more compensation flexibility to a quicker hiring process. But, that’s not to say hiring remote talent is always seamless. When asked about obstacles to such hiring, respondents most commonly cited challenges assessing candidates’ skills through virtual interviews; developing compensation packages for candidates outside of the company’s city or state; and scheduling virtual interviews across time zones. Once remote employees join, survey participants acknowledged building engagement and connection can be more difficult, as can providing training and offering adequate technology.

“The first days on a job are always a bit overwhelming, and even more so in a virtual environment,” says Lynne Smith, Robert Half senior vice president of global human resources. “An effective remote onboarding process requires significant time and focus to plan and execute, but pays off when done right.”

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Tom Starner
Tom Starner is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia who has been covering the human resource space and all of its component processes for over two decades. He can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.