TechRound has collected 2021 recruitment predictions from industry experts, with Kristine Angeltvedt stating that “2021 is the year of change for recruitment”.
Industry experts highlight what candidates, companies and recruiters will be looking for in 2021.
Many experts suggest more temporary roles through the year of 2021.
This time last year, recruitment looked completely different. COVID-19 and the movement for racial justice have changed recruitment practices. The pandemic resulted in people recruitmenting remote workers virtually, resulting in this becoming the new norm for many individuals around the world.
It is important to understand these changes and get ahead of what is coming in 2021 at such a volatile time. To allow for this, we spoke to 17 different industry experts to gather their predictions for the future of recruiting which might seem like an impossible task.
Our Panel of Experts:
- Joanne Caine – MD of Cathedral Appointments
- Patrick Lonergan – Director of Patrick Lonergan Recruitment
- Sam Franklin – CEO and Co-Founder of Otta
- Andrew Hunter – Co-Founder of Adzuna
- Sydney Samuels – CEO and Founder at Loop Not Luck
- Roann Etan – Head of People Team at Transputec
- Zoë Morris – President at Frank Recruitment Group
- Chris Reed – Head of Business Development at Protect Line
- Daljit Bamford – Chief Customer Officer at Tenth Revolution Group
- Kristine Angeltvedt – CEO and Co-Founder of Nixa.io
- Christian Gabriel – CEO and Founder at Capdesk
- Joshua Pines – Co-Founder of Sirenum
- Sam Hamrebtan – Head of Marketing, Digital & Creative Recruitment at Hatty Blue
- Dina Bayasanova, PhD. – Co-Founder and CEO of PitchMe
- Andrew Barnes – Managing Director and Co-Founder of 6Prog
- David Morel – CEO of Tiger Recruitment
- Sarah Hernon – Principal Consultant at Right Management
For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.
Joanne Caine – MD of Cathedral Appointments
More temporary roles
“There is still hesitation for employers to hire permanent members of staff this year. With the continued pressures created by the pandemic, business leaders won’t be comfortable putting all their eggs in one basket, but will still need help to get growth plans back on track. It is very likely that we will see an abundance of temporary roles advertised this year. But as the economy starts to repair, we may see these evolve into permanent positions.
IR35 is going to have a sizeable effect on contractor recruitment. Up until now, the responsibility for paying income tax has been on the individual contractor but as of 6th April 2021, the responsibility will come down to the employer.
Employers will determine whether each contractor falls outside of IR35 or inside. For those who fall outside of IR35, things carry on as usual, but it has been reported that this is unlikely to be the case for most contractors. According to research, only half of contractors will be willing to take up roles in companies where they are inside IR35. This is going to create huge skills shortages and may have a profound effect on the UK labour market in 2021 and beyond.
Tech specialists will be sought after
As remote working is set to continue, the need to keep technology up to date and working to its best is crucial. However, this is an area where many businesses currently have skills gaps. Companies will need to begin to hire in-house tech specialists on an unprecedented scale. However, employers will need to be mindful that, at this moment in time, in-house tech specialists are likely to be home based, therefore regional salary differences will be irrelevant and employers will have to pay the going rate.”
Patrick Lonergan – Director of Patrick Lonergan Recruitment
“Tech is one sector which has grown and will continue to boom in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Perhaps predictably, the intermittent closure of nonessential shops since March last year has had a huge impact on online shopping. People unable to peruse the high street have turned to the web for their retail therapy. Consequently, a big hike in ecommerce recruitment, already felt in 2020 is likely to continue well into the new year as businesses who previously relied solely on in-person footfall, look to develop online sales platforms.
Equally, we’re already seeing an uptake in recruitment software developers, IT administrators and helpdesk staff, digital marketers, data analysts and graphic designerswithin both established businesses and start-ups, looking for recruits at the front and back end. Although, again, a trend of recent years, this too appears to have been accelerated by the pandemic.
With vaccine roll-out underway, this is giving some employers more confidence in longer-term hiring and I expect demand for online retail to remain much higher than before the pandemic and boosting recruitment.”
Sam Franklin – CEO and Co-Founder of Otta
“First, the recruitment industry will be shaken up in 2021 – and for the better. Until recently, job seekers have had to endlessly trawl through vague or irrelevant listings. Many have even ghosted by prospective employers after spending hours of preparation for a job interview. It’s this outdated approach that is short-changing both job seekers and employers.
This year will be different, with job sites like Otta putting the job seeker first. They’ll provide the most relevant and personalised job recommendations at companies which offer rewards that go far beyond a title or salary.
Second, tech companies will have nowhere to hide when it comes to recruiting people. The tech company is constantly called out for its lack of diversity but the good news is we are starting to see progress. Many of the start-ups and scale-ups we work with have introduced a range of diversity and inclusion initiatives as part of their recruitment strategy.
Impala, for example, is offering higher referral payout for referrals from underrepresented backgrounds. It’s investing more time and resources into sourcing candidates from underrepresented backgrounds, plus it’s adjusting the minimum requirements and reviewing data beyond the CV to make sure no person is excluded.”
For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.
Andrew Hunter – Co-Founder of Adzuna
“We see three key themes uniting growth sectors for 2021: remote-based businesses, wellbeing and diversity, and emerging technologies.
First, the continued move online will drive further growth in the Logistics sector, with high demand for roles like delivery drivers and warehouse operatives, as well as an increased need for cyber-security specialists. This will also push up the importance of remote management tools and we expect Tech companies in this space to thrive.
Second, we’re seeing a larger focus on wellbeing and diversity within the workplace, complemented by the growing need to support the mental health of employees and the need to provide advice for those looking for work. And finally, Science and Tech will create new opportunities, including openings for Diagnostics & Vaccine Specialists as the vaccine is rolled out within the UK, as well as demand for RD&I experts working on technologies like electric cars.”
Sydney Samuels – CEO and Founder at Loop Not Luck
Organisations Proactively Engaging Diverse Talent
“In 2020, countless companies made various commitments to diversity in the wake of the #BLM protests and calls for increased action on diversity across the board. With COVID-19 forcing all talent acquisition and recruitment efforts to be online, the companies that follow through on these promises will need to take a proactive approach to engaging diverse talent and will be using diverse data-powered online recruitment platforms to do so.
Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Talent Acquisition process
The use of data and AI is becoming an invaluable part of the recruitment process. Whilst there will always be a human element to recruitment, the automation of repetitive processes and the data that is gathered on candidates pre-interview is only going to increase as companies look for ways to make the most informed decisions and improve the efficiency of the recruitment process.”
Roann Etan – Head of People Team at Transputec
“The Pandemic brought to the surface the inadequacies of work designs, focused on efficiency with rigid structures, out-dated workflows, role requirements and networks. To take on the challenges of the Post-COVID world, it will require us to continuously be adaptable given the fast changing and unpredictable world we live in.
The recruitment landscape will see more virtual interaction, creative and innovative schemes, upskilling programs and diversity and inclusion all at centre stage.
Virtual recruiting is here to stay. There will be more reliance on video interviewing, remote assessments and developing technology with a truly end to end virtual recruiting process with an enhanced user experience. This has the potential to truly transform the recruitment landscape as well as create a more immersive onboarding experience as more of us are working remotely.
Innovative schemes and upskilling talents. Good talent is still scarce and finding new and better ways of acquiring talent is high on the agenda. Using AI and machine learning enable us to better understand someone’s potential and uniqueness and focusing on transferable and soft skills continues to be an important consideration when seeking talents and meeting requirements now and the future.
Diversity and inclusion at centre stage. The demographics of people is a unique selling point and being genuinely inclusive requires will power because it requires constantly challenging inherent biases. What we know is that, remote and flexible working opens up wider opportunities in tech for all people regardless of their gender, disability, race, religion, age, culture, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.
We are social creatures and hardwired to seek connection so its important more than ever to create a healthy workplace culture and experience for our people and be part of a purposeful community.Diversity and inclusion are like ‘Ying and Yang’, one cannot exist without the other.”
For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.
Zoë Morris – President at Frank Recruitment Group
“Upskilling is going to be huge this year. No industry was left untouched by the events of 2020, but the pandemic certainly took a greater toll on certain sectors. Many people have had their career plans disrupted significantly. In this coming year, we’ll likely see a spike in people looking to cross-train into new fields and roles that are viewed as more secure.
Spaces like IT, and in particular specialisms like cloud computing and cybersecurity, are set to continue growing at a swift pace. These rapidly expanding sectors need new blood fast to sustain their growth. Since traditional training and education channels can’t turn out qualified professionals quickly enough to fill all these seats, more businesses are looking at internal upskilling and development programmes as a means of closing skills gaps and creating the talent they need.
This will present many great opportunities for people who may previously have believed they didn’t have the right background or hard knowledge to work in tech. Employers will be looking for people with the right soft skills and aptitudes; people they can train and shape. As recruiters, we’ll be keeping an eye out for candidates who are enthusiastic, driven, and eager to learn new things.”
Chris Reed – Head of Business Development at Protect Line
“We enter 2021 with a totally different outlook on recruitment. The game has changed, and recruiters now need to adapt to the new landscape.
Candidate numbers are surging. This has been caused by a combination of lockdowns, increased redundancies and less businesses hiring. The average recruiter will have less time to evaluate each CV as a result. We expect to see some candidates raising their game with higher quality CV’s. We also predict more employers will start to embrace ATS tools to help filter CV’s before they ever reach human eyes. Expect to see more recruiters embracing workflows and standardised rejection letters.
Many high street recruitment agencies still have many employees furloughed. Could this pave the way for larger in house recruitment teams? If so, this may be the start of a lower churn rate of staff with more emphasis placed on longevity.
In a world that has quickly adapted to Virtual Meetings we have to question the need for face to face interviews. There are time and cost savings to be had for employers and candidates. We predict that virtual interviews are here to stay. Maybe not as a total replacement but at least for the primary stages of the interview process.
Employers have been quick to deploy existing staff to remote working, but we’ve not yet seen a sizable increase in new remote openings. We predict to see more remote and part time positions opening up in 2021. As more employers adapt to our new working environment, we hope to see more opportunities for working parents and other underutilised candidate pools.”
Daljit Bamford – Chief Customer Officer at Tenth Revolution Group
“I think this year will see benefits really come to the fore as a way to attract staff. People have experienced the better work-life balance that comes with being based remotely and while we won’t always be working from our kitchen tables full-time, having the option of at least a hybrid approach will be attractive to the vast majority of people.
Offering remote work will also increase the catchment area that companies can hire from, as a longer commute is more tolerable if you only have to make it once or twice a week. With a bigger pool of applicants, you’re also likely to enjoy a wider range of potential hires – both in terms of quality and diversity. The actual investment this requires from a business is minimal, so it’s a change that will make a real difference to your hiring strategy and its success.
While 2020 may have been a hectic and disruptive year for most people, it’s also allowed them to take stock of what’s important to them. Yes, more money would be great, but actually enjoying our lives and the people around us is equally so.
In a year where many businesses will still be in survival mode or looking to kick-start again, it’s reassuring to know that they will still have access to some amazing talent by simply offering people a better way to integrate their personal and professional lives.”
Kristine Angeltvedt – CEO and Co-Founder of Nixa.io
“2021 is the year of change for recruitment. Remote working is now the norm, and will continue after the pandemic with more companies offering remote working or a hybrid form between office and home.
We will see our work/home life balance change as a result. Priorities will change from the number of hours someone spends in the office to what their output is, so employees will be judged on the quality of their work and the results they achieve.
Companies will no longer look to their immediate locality for candidates, widening their search to the country or even globally for the right person. Opening up business up to global talent will see a rise in international providers that can provide HR services such as payroll, tax and compliance across boarders on a country-by-country basis.
Integrating tech in recruitment to better access and assess candidates will become the new norm and HR managers will use recruitment platforms to hire faster and better, saving potentially thousands of pounds in mis-hires. Replacing humans with tech can reduce biases, resulting in better matches between jobs and candidates. AI and machine learning are able to predict the probability rate of a candidate’s likelihood to thrive and perform in a role.
Just imagine yourself if a badly designed resume lands in your inbox, you’re immediately going to think they aren’t great candidates because of the way it looks. Their experience could be fantastic however, and using technology will help us get past our subconscious biases. HR tech and recruitment platforms will reduce overall hiring costs too.”
Christian Gabriel – CEO and Founder at Capdesk
“2021 will be the year that employee equity becomes an essential part of startups’ recruitment strategies.
A generous equity offering draws talent to startups like moths to a flame, fanned by a series of lucrative IPOs in 2020 – particularly news of The Hut Group’s 78 newly minted employee millionaires. Despite this, employee equity schemes aren’t entirely commonplace. That’s all set to change in 2021: when we surveyed startup employees and founders last year, we found that four in five believe equity schemes should be a legal right.
Throughout the pandemic, employee equity proved to be an invaluable tool for retaining talent. As redundancies rose and salaries crashed, plenty of bosses were smart enough to offset pay cuts by introducing or increasing share option schemes.
Since the arrival of Covid-19, we found 42% of founders have offered equity options in place of salary increases and a third used equity to convince staff to stay.
Bosses believe equity motivates employees, boosts performance and is simply the right thing to do. If there’s one positive outcome from this challenging year, it’s the shift towards distributing business wealth with more of those responsible for creating it.
As more founders understand the business advantage, and job-hunters get creative with compensation negotiations, we’re going to see employee equity move from being a ‘perk’ to a ‘must-have’ for attracting talent.
When 80% of workers would prefer to work for a business that offers an employee equity share scheme, and 79% would work harder for a company that does, surely no smart business leader would deny them!”
Joshua Pines – Co-Founder of Sirenum
“The most recent National Office of Statistics report revealed that the number of temporary employees in the UK had increased by 2.4%. A change no doubt impacted by the pandemic, however it’s worth noting that this isn’t the only driver of change in the workforce market and I believe that in 2021 there will be a greater emphasis on hiring shift and temporary workers in line with the growing gig economy and the increasing reliance on ecommerce.
Yet it’s important to note that shift and temporary workers can also be found in other sectors such as in teaching and in healthcare and with the pandemic far from over, there’s still an additional need to hire more nurses and doctors too.
Managing these workers, particularly at scale, will however require embracing technology that can sensitively handle employee data and ensure workers can be scheduled in real-time, as well as manage payroll and other HR functions. This will also have an impact on staffing firms who will need to demonstrate that they can fill vacancies with the right candidate quickly to create a competitive point of differentiation in today’s competitive and fast-paced workforce landscape.”
Sam Hamrebtan – Head of Marketing, Digital & Creative Recruitment at Hatty Blue
“I do believe that 2021 will be a brighter picture for recruitment; but what candidates expect will have changed. As an employer, expect more questions around wellbeing, work-life balance and what you offer to support your staff’s mental health.
Also – expect candidates to be more honest about their mental health; with such a huge focus in the media around how we’re fareing mentally over the past year, candidates are keen to make sure they are joining employers that are ‘mind-kind’.
Also, I believe that, hopefully by Summer/Autumn when people are allowed back in non-essential office spaces, there will be a revival of people enjoying working flexibly from the office. I still think people will want 1-2 days at home per week; but Zoom fatigue, lack of routine and the blurring of work and home-life will see people stepping back into office spaces with renewed excitement for collaboration.
Lastly, as employers have had to trust employees evermore to manage their own time and workloads, it’s likely we’ll see more value driven appraisals of work. In practice; this may mean shorter working days and weeks for people who are able to manage their time effectively; perhaps heralding the true beginning of the much mused 4 day work week.”
Dina Bayasanova, PhD. – Co-Founder and CEO of PitchMe
“The pandemic has accelerated the use of technology in hiring and this will continue moving forward. Remote recruiting and hiring is here to stay.
By adopting HR technology such as pre-hire assessments and virtual interviewing technology, which supports fast and objective hiring decisions, companies will continue to be able to drastically reduce logistical constraints, shorten the time-to-hire cycle and keep both employees and candidates safe.
In 2021 and beyond, both SMBs and larger organisations will maintain 100% virtual hiring processes, as technology allows them to make smarter hiring decisions in a way that in-person interviews cannot compete with. Completely virtual hiring processes will continue due to the efficiency, effectiveness and fairness afforded by the technology.
We will also see recruiters increasingly looking to fill both fully remote and hybrid working roles, wherein the working week is split between home and the office. Recruiting virtually for remote roles is popular with candidates and beneficial for recruiters and employers because it results in a more diverse workforce and enables employers to bring in domain expertise without regard for geography.
Recruiters will also start evaluating a broader skill set in candidates. The pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of soft skills such as adaptability, problem-solving, effective communication, and collaboration. Digital skills are also in demand and will become essential over the next decade. Recruiters will need to prep their candidates on how to demonstrate these skills and encourage clients to look at a range of skills when it comes to talent rather than just direct experience and qualifications.
Finally, larger businesses will increasingly invest in internal training and development, making fewer but smarter recruitment decisions and building on existing talent more.”
Andrew Barnes – Managing Director and Co-Founder of 6Prog
“We have seen a very busy January and expect this to continue for many reasons.
- Local need. There are businesses who have had to let staff go in 2020 and they will be looking to take a risk averse approach to growth as the economy bounces back in the UK. This will mean growth in schedules of work which are specific and time boxed.
- Global change. There is a move to remote and independent working that has been rising consistently for a number of years. This is marked as Industry 4.0 or the Future of Work. We have seen this exacerbated by 2020 proving that a number of jobs can be undertaken without sitting in offices.
- Lifestyle. In conjunction with the above we have missed out on socialising but have enjoyed the no commute freedom. This will and has started a catalyst of people considering what sort of a life they wish to have. The archetypal 35 year career is completely over though only a percentage of us have moved to task based work/ self-employment. We think that the pandemic will force people to think hard about how they wish to spend their working life.
- Cost. The obvious benefits of platforms like ours is that they are able to be leveraged to save time and money for both client and supplier. This means the shift to nomad working is in fact also a benefit for businesses with squeezed budgets.
- Fees – many of the new joiners to 6prog are starting on higher fee expectations than they were 3 years ago. Whether this confidence is borne out remains to be seen but it is certainly interesting to see the figures that small businesses are quoting as a starting rate.
- Skills – Businesses are reliant more and more on just in time and on demand. There is a lower expectation and lower funding for internal training so not the time to wait for internal staff to become competent in a new technology. As we have seen with all CAPEX [capital expenditure] (both in personal and in businesses life) the direction for 2021 will be ‘don’t buy when you can rent’. It gives less risk and often less cost and definitely raises flexibility. AND the suppliers prefer it!”
David Morel – CEO of Tiger Recruitment
Improving jobs market
“While 2020 has been a challenging year for the economy and jobs, the outlook for 2021 looks more positive.
Buoyed by the promise of the vaccine, many businesses are pressing ahead with their hiring plans this year – albeit tentatively. Despite hopes of some return to ‘normality’, employers are still waiting to hear when and how the current lockdown restrictions will be eased.
This uncertainty is driving demand for temporary skills as a way for businesses to access the talent they need without a long-term commitment, while muting new permanent briefs in January, which is traditionally our busiest time. However, while business is down on this time last year, we have seen an uplift in business month-on-month since the first lockdown. This is encouraging and a positive step towards jobs recovery in 2021.
Movement and new employee expectations
We’re expecting quite a lot of movement in the jobs market this year. Even people who are currently in work are reassessing their careers and looking for new opportunities. According to our research, as many as four in 10 employees are planning to leave their role. The pandemic has changed their priorities and they’re now looking for different things in a role; financial and job security are key, closely followed by a healthy work/life balance, including flexible working.
People have seen that a new way of working is possible and they’re reluctant to give that up – yet just over a fifth say their employer has made permanent changes to its remote working policy in light of Covid-19. This year, employers who don’t provide the flexibility people want may find themselves as a serious disadvantage, unable to attract and retain the talent they need for recovery.
New hybrid ways of recruiting
As for how recruitment will happen, employers have adapted well to interviewing candidates over video call and onboarding new hires remotely – and they’ll continue doing both in 2021.
However, as businesses return to some form of office working, it’s likely that recruitment will become as ‘hybrid’ as work itself. Employers will continue to hire remotely for efficiency reasons, particularly for early-stage interviews, but they’ll reinstate face-to-face interviews as a vital part of the final decision-making process. As effective as digital tools are, meeting a candidate in person is often the best way for both parties to confirm that the ‘fit’ is right.”
Sarah Hernon – Principal Consultant at Right Management
“With companies continuing to keep a close eye on their expenditure this year, it is likely that many will prioritise investing in their own workforce before hiring from outside. Businesses can make this successful by upskilling and reskilling their existing workforce, which encourages the professional development of their workers by offering them training and expanding the nature of their responsibilities.
Companies that do hire externally in 2021 will need to be more creative than ever before, particularly those hiring graduate talent. Typically, recruiting university graduates has been a process involving very little technology – i.e. going to freshers or university careers fairs or hosting students on placements. However, with many companies now operating remotely and many workplaces placing an increasing focus on digital – HR teams will have to ensure they have the right tools and equipment in place to regularly hire and bring on board new talent virtually.”