US: Job Insights for the Second 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 Second Half of 2021 Trends Upward
As the economy moves past challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. hiring decision-makers are becoming more positive about the future of the workforce, with the most common feelings attributed to hiring in 2021 being hopeful (44%), optimistic (42%), and confident (41%). According to hiring decision-makers, in the second half of 2021:

  • 55% plan to increase the number of employees at their company
  • 38% expect no change to the number of employees
  • 4% anticipate a decrease in employee count

INSIGHT: Challenges Arise as Businesses Enter Post-Pandemic Jobs Market
While hiring remains a focus for companies, new challenges come to light caused by changes during the pandemic. More than 4 in 5 U.S. hiring decision-makers (82%) expect to face hiring challenges this year. 2 in 5 hiring decisions-makers (40%) say their company currently has open positions that they cannot fill.

Some of the most prevalent hiring challenges include:

  • Increased competition in the job market (30%)
  • Talent pool not meeting hiring needs (28%)
  • Difficulty assessing candidates’ skills during hiring (25%)

INSIGHT: Remote Work Is the “Next Normal”
Beginning in March 2020, businesses were forced to adapt to social distancing and shutdown mandates as 55% of hiring managers hired and onboarded new employees remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as restrictions lift, most businesses believe remote work is here to stay in the “next normal.”

While 49% of businesses that will allow for remote work plan to allow all existing employees the opportunity to work remotely, a slight majority (51%) plan to use criteria in determining which employees can work from home, including:

  • Job responsibilities and whether or not some job functions must be completed in a physical workspace (67%)
  • Successful goal completion as measured by key performance indicators (47%)
  • Job title/level (44%)
  • Geographical location and proximity to office (36%)
  • Length of employment (32%)

The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express between March 23 and April 12, 2021, among 1,001 U.S. hiring decision-makers (defined as adults ages 18+ in the U.S. 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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