US: Job Insights for 2021

Third-party research sheds light on hiring trends for the first half of 2021.

To provide accurate and timely employment forecasts for business leaders, Express Employment Professionals International Headquarters commissions an ongoing Job Insights survey to track employment and hiring trends across a wide range of industries.

INSIGHT: Hiring Outlook for the First Half of 2021 Trends Upward
Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses around the world, there are encouraging signs that hiring trends are on an upward trajectory as more U.S. hiring decision-makers say they plan to increase their employee count in 2021, as compared to 2020. In fact, the percentage of hiring decision-makers who said they were decreasing their employee count dropped from 16% in the second half (July – December) of 2020 to 7% for the first half (January – June) of 2021.

According to hiring decision-makers, in the first half of 2021:

  • 46% plan to increase the number of employees at their company
  • 43% expect no change to the number of employees
  • 7% anticipate a decrease in employee count

INSIGHT: COVID-19 Has Made a Lasting Impact on the Hiring and Workplace Experience
Hiring experiences and future practices are changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with companies prioritizing soft skills more than ever before when considering applicants to hire. Additionally, keeping employees safe at work is a challenge that has prompted many companies to make changes to their work processes and physical spaces.

Fifty-one percent of U.S. hiring decision-makers have had open positions during the COVID-19 pandemic for which they’ve hired or are hiring.

  • 77% are willing to overlook long career gaps in resumes right now because of the pandemic’s impact on the applicant pool
  • 74% agree their company values soft skills more than ever when considering applicants to hire

INSIGHT: Companies Taking Action on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives
Businesses are making significant and meaningful strides in implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Although there is still much work to be done, according to the survey, more than 3 in 4 hiring decision-makers (78%) say their company has taken action on DEI.

The most common DEI initiatives cited in the survey include:

  • Providing training for employees (40%)
  • Offering safe methods for reporting discrimination and harassment complaints (31%)
  • Revising policies and procedures in regard to DEI (29%)
  • Changing recruitment and hiring practices (28%)

Download the full Job Insights report!

The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express between Nov. 16 and Dec. 7, 2020 among 1,002 U.S. hiring decision-makers (defined as adults ages 18+ in the US who are employed full-time or self-employed, work at companies with more than 1 employee, and have full/significant involvement in hiring decisions at their company). Data were weighted where necessary by company size to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

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