HRE’s Number of the Day: hiring optimism

A new report finds that a vast majority of employers plan to hire in 2021 and that tech is primed to play a big role.
By: | February 4, 2021 • 2 min read


91% Percentage of employers surveyed who plan to hire for new roles this year

After a year in which some employers had to turn to furloughs and layoffs to contend with the challenges of the pandemic, there are signs of recovery. According to a new report from iCIMS, 91% of employers surveyed plan to hire for new roles in 2021.

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The 2021 Workforce Report from the enterprise recruiting software company explored the changes to the labor market last year and what they say about the future of talent acquisition. The report is based on data from the iCIMS Talent Cloud as well as a survey of 500 U.S. HR professionals conducted at the end of last year.

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In addition to the hiring optimism, iCIMS found that, at the end of 2020, job openings were down only 3% and hires down 10%, year over year. Plus, job applications were up 13%.

In particular, job openings are on the rise in healthcare. Comparing data from January of this year to January 2020, iCIMS reported a more than 25% growth in openings among health diagnosing and treating practitioners. There was a 23% jump in openings for nursing, psychiatric and home health aides and a nearly 21% increase among health technologists and technicians. Computer occupations saw a modest 9.5% increase in job openings, while retails sales openings saw a smaller 3.4% boost.

What it means for HR leaders

The shift to remote and hybrid work over the last year has opened the door to larger candidate pools, says Joe Essenfeld, vice president of strategy at iCIMS. That can give employers looking to hire this year access to the best talent worldwide.

“Now that employers can remove zip code filters,” he says, “they can access more diverse candidate pools with the right fit and most applicable skills for the job.”

While the high volume of applicants can seem like a boon for companies that are hiring, it does come with challenges.

See also: 5 steps to check if your remote hiring system is ready for 2021

According to the report’s authors, the volume may be too high for employers to “give the same level of consideration to every candidate that they gave pre-pandemic. This reality is compounded by hopeful job seekers applying to as many jobs as possible to increase their chance of being hired.”

However, finding the right talent is essential for recovery as businesses strategize for a post-pandemic world.

Essenfeld says intuitive, high-tech talent acquisition solutions can make the difference for employers looking to secure candidates who are the right fit in today’s environment.

“AI, combined with fewer workers’ location requirements, reduces unconscious bias while automatically serving up skilled and capable candidates for open roles,” he says.

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iCIMS also has seen an increased reliance on texting solutions and AI-powered conversational chatbots for recruiting. Last year, for instance, iCIMS software saw more than 2.7 million people using text messaging to apply for jobs, while the number of interviews set up by chatbots increased more than threefold.

“These technologies are crucial in helping employers build pipelines at scale and make quality hires to build their winning workforce,” Essenfeld says.

Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.