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Top 5 recruitment trends in 2021

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The global pandemic quickly forced the future of work into the present in 2020 with the widespread adoption of remote working and remote hiring. Hiring processes rapidly evolved and lots of companies turned to recruitment professionals to find the niche talent they needed fast, for example, employment law and data protection experts.

In this article, we look forward to 2021 and the talent acquisition and recruitment trends we've noticed emerging. If you're interested in learning more get in touch and one of our experts would be happy to advise.

5 Recruitment & talent acquisition trends 2021

1.  'Augmented Intelligence' rather than 'Artificial Intelligence'

AI, RPA, chatbots and text updates will be key for top recruiters to ensure high quality hires in 2021. For a deeper insight into data-driven recruitment processes and trends, I spoke to Cpl CIO James Louttit about the importance of “Augmented Intelligence rather than Artificial Intelligence” and key innovation themes for this year.

“We have implemented cutting edge search and match tools that help our consultants find candidates more effectively, but it is most effective when there is a partnership between the person and the technology rather than expecting the technology to do the job on its own. A great recruiter, with fantastic tech generating ideas and suggestions for them will do much better than either one on their own.

Automation is a big theme in Cpl. Many of our competitors in the recruitment industry runoff spreadsheets in their back-office, which can be prone to error and take a lot of time. We are constantly making improvements in process and technology that remove the need for manual data entry, check for quality and allow our team to focus on what they are good at – working closely with our clients and candidates.

Automation comes in many forms, from RPA, and good API integration, to simple things like validation, and good user design. We find that little improvements every week are much more effective than trying to do big projects to automate everything in one go. Some great tools that we use include Daxtra, Power BI and MyCpl, but it’s how these tools are embedded into our teams and processes that really counts.”

2. Employer branding and remote expectations

When talking to our recruiters about trends and job search tips for 2021 one of the main points, reiterated here by Karyn Glennon, was to "practice online interviewing as remote interviews will be the way forward for the foreseeable future.”

In 2020 across most industries the hiring and onboarding process went remote and for the most part it worked. Remote hiring has broadened the talent pool, and, in many cases, candidates are now more flexible with where they’ll interview for. Candidate expectationshave also changed with most applicants now expecting either full remote working into the future or a high level of flexibility.

To stay ahead and ensure a top-class candidate experience, in 2021 employers will need to invest in strong technology, slick onboarding processes, good employer branding and remote work policies.

3.  Meaningful initiatives to support an inclusive workplace

Over the past 5 years, there has been a 71% worldwide increase in Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) roles. The pandemic shows no signs of slowing the demand. Pressing D&I matters in 2020 included the concerning impact of Covid-19 on women and working parents alongside movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. These movements have evolved the way businesses and employees view diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Employees will no longer accept a footnote within a culture document. Instead, candidates and employees are yearning for integrated initiatives that make an impact, such as diverse hiring panels and senior-level buy-in.

Within our Cpl Executive Search recruitment team, we’ve also seen a promising increase in demand for female c-suite and senior executives as companies seek to diversify their leadership teams.

Overall companies need to invest in meaningful initiatives that give their people a sense of belonging and the flexibility to work and manage the day to day responsibilities, whatever they may be. Authenticity is vital and, in many cases, will impact whether a candidate applies for a role of not.

4. Maintaining team morale

In a recent Cpl survey, cultural alignment and good team morale were listed as the most effective way of retaining talent while figures show that companies who show kindness and compassion will retain employees longer.

This January An Post repeated their free postcards initiativeenabling people to stay connected. This was a great way to showcase the An Post brand in a meaningful way that benefits the brand, their culture and their customers. Acts of kindness like this were listed in one of our most in-demand employee benefits for 2021 and will be crucial to retaining talent this year.

Gestures don’t have to be large scale. Real empathy, small acts of kindness, compassion and real partnerships are what will make a difference to team morale in 2021.

5. A growing boom in contract recruitment

Contingent workforce solutions, such as contract and temp workers, enabled businesses in 2020 to ramp up in certain areas and meet increased demand. This was particularly apparent across technology, marketing, ­finance, sales, and pharma/life sciences.

For example, at the onset of the pandemic in March and the resulting shift to a remote workforce, there was a high demand for contingent infrastructure support. Flexible technical support was also essential as organisations quickly switched to online communication platforms. Contract employees also give employers more flexibility, essential in such uncertain times.

If you’re looking to hire in-demand contract talent in 2021 a smooth interview and clear post-Covid WFH policies are recommended.

Now more than ever employers are keen to find and keep the very best people who’ll make an impact. To attract these people employers now need a strong hiring strategy alongside a welcoming company culture and a promising, flexible working environment.

If you're thinking of hiring in 2021 or would like to discuss any of these trends in more detail please get in touch, are experts would be happy to advise.