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20 New Recruiting Trends: 2021/2022 Hiring Data, Statistics & Predictions

by Arthur Zuckerman

The year 2020 marks the start of a new decade. This means that we have a new set of recruiting trends, predictions, and challenges to look forward to. It also means that we don’t have just this year to observe and analyze recruiting trends, but the whole decade ahead of us. The trends that will emerge in the next few years are bound to affect both hiring professionals and jobseekers. 

This year happens to be extra unique as the COVID-19 pandemic had governments enforce strict community quarantine guidelines. These lockdowns had many businesses temporarily halt operations or adopt modern techniques to remain functional. In more ways than one, the global health crisis has been affecting the HR and recruiting industry.

Aside from this pressing issue, there are also those other inevitable predictions that resulted from last year’s hiring trends. Modern hiring tech is also expected to affect the industry. In this post, we’ll take a look at the top recruiting trends for 2020-2021.

Recruitment has undoubtedly undergone significant changes and improvements over the last decade. For one, experts have wholly embraced the gift of technology, which expanded their candidate and hire sources. As recruitment slowly veers away from traditional talent acquisition methods–think phone screenings and paper resumes–modern methods have taken the spotlight. Recruiters have started to explore social recruiting, in addition to sourcing candidates through online job boards.

Social Recruitment By the Numbers

Source: LinkedIn

Created by

Since social media isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon, social recruitment is expected to continue to play a crucial role in the industry. Furthermore, 2019 also showed that the majority of candidates are passive job seekers. For recruiters, this means that they need to brew creative tricks to find and attract top talent who are probably just waiting for the right opportunity to knock on their doors.

Source: LinkedIn

These are just some of the prominent trends from the past years that set the stage for recruitment this year and decade. Now, let’s take a look at the top recruiting trends that we will likely see more of in 2020-2021.

1. More Remote Work and Distributed Teams

Remote work-related predictions have always been included in the last few years’ HR trends and predictions. True enough, as of 2018, at least 40% more US companies have allowed some form of remote work compared to five years prior. Around 4.3 million US workers also work remotely, with 99% of employees hoping to keep on working remotely for the rest of their careers.

But as 2020 welcomed us with a pandemic that’s yet to be contained, remote work became the “new normal” for many organizations and teams. Employers are taking measures to ensure the safety of their people. Even major companies such as Microsoft, Hitachi, and Chevron have asked their employees, such as personal assistants, to work remotely.

As for recruiters, they will have to adjust to this new normal. And as more organizations and employees will now have a taste of how it’s like to go remote, most are likely to retain the setup or continue to offer work flexibility. As a result, recruiters who are working for organizations that will adopt the remote work setup need to apply recruitment strategies specifically geared toward telecommuting.

Source: Buffer

2. Hiring Pauses and Delays

While some companies adopt and transition to remote work amidst the global health crisis, some organizations freeze hiring activities altogether. Companies that have temporarily paused recruitment practices include the German airline Lufthansa, holiday company TUI, and logistics company SingPost.

Halting recruitment and hiring is understandable if not necessary. However, since nobody knows yet when the coronavirus crisis will come to an end, it’s uncertain when companies can safely and practically resume hiring. While the pause in hiring can help ensure everyone’s safety, it may have adverse effects on businesses, which worries employees as well. In fact, the business outlook from employees in COVID-affected areas is taking a downward trend.

Furthermore, the shrinking economy and other existing recruitment issues may also contribute to hiring pauses and delays. Companies may have to decrease recruitment budgets, so recruiters will have to adjust recruitment strategies to get good results on a smaller budget.

3. Increased Use of Online Communication Tools

Meanwhile, for companies that choose to continue hiring, online communication tools will prove most vital. Companies can halt in-person interviews and instead take them online through video conferencing apps as a precaution against the pandemic. Facebook and Amazon are just some of the huge companies that are known to start conducting most of their upcoming interviews through video conferencing.

With this in mind, both recruiters and job seekers should prepare for the new measures by learning more about online communication tools such as utilizing recruiting text messaging and proper video conferencing etiquette. These preparations will also come handy should companies continue to adopt remote work where online communication is of prime importance.

Source: LinkedIn

4. Withdrawal From Traditional Requirements

Tech giants Apple, Google, and Netflix do not require their employees to have four-year college degrees. Even Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk also said that a college diploma is not a requirement for a job in his company. With these huge enterprises leading the way, more companies are bound to withdraw from rigid hiring requirements. 

From this year onward, we will likely see more organizations overlook college degrees. This way, they will have a bigger candidate pool and reduce biases caused by degrees, honors, and university names. As many of today’s tech professionals don’t have a formal degree, with over 65% of developers claiming to be self-taught, recruiters can open up their candidate funnel if they are not restrained by traditional educational attainment-related requirements.

5. Increased Focus on Specialization

Now, although recruitment may do away with rigid hiring requirements such as having a four-year college degree, it does not necessarily mean recruiters will become lax in terms of technical qualifications. On the contrary, recruiting is seen to become even more specialized.

Recruiting is slowly but surely moving toward the direction of becoming an exact science. Recruiters are now expected to perform the technical role of facilitating the entire hiring funnel. A good idea is always for recruiters to consider hiring guides. For example, recruiters looking for technical employees, for example, can take into consideration a freelance developer hiring guide to find out more about the specific tasks and requirements regarding this job.

More prominent companies with multiple departments and moving parts are now taking this direction, allowing them to find and hire the perfect candidate for specific technical positions. Some companies, particularly smaller ones, still have centralized recruitment operations. However, this generalized approach often results in poor outcomes in various areas, from sourcing to hiring.

6. AI and Predictive Analysis

Over 80% of companies today already use artificial intelligence (AI) in HR in one form or another. This year and for the rest of the 2020s, more companies are expected to leverage AI in various HR processes.

With the help of AI, the traditional hiring process will get upgraded through the application of smart recruiting practices. Companies and job listings will become more discoverable to potential candidates. Meanwhile, on the recruiter’s end, the recruiting process will be more efficient as tasks such as applicant tracking and email communication can already be automated using applicant tracking systems.

AI-powered chatbots will also become commonplace as companies begin to use them for the first phases of applicant screening before scheduling candidates for person-to-person interviews. AI recruiting tools will streamline the process for

Furthermore, organizations now move from traditional descriptive analytics to predictive people analytics. By maximizing previous and current metrics, they can predict upcoming trends that they can utilize to improve HR and recruitment operations. At least 70% of companies believe that people analytics plays a vital role in the way they understand their organization.

How Companies Utilize AI for HR

How Companies Utilize AI for HR
Use chatbots for looking up information such as company policy and benefits: 56

Use chatbots for looking up information such as company policy and benefits

How Companies Utilize AI for HR
Use AI to identify the best candidates based on public data: 44

Use AI to identify the best candidates based on public data

How Companies Utilize AI for HR
Use AI to give employees learning and training recommendations: 43

Use AI to give employees learning and training recommendations

How Companies Utilize AI for HR
Use chatbots to engage candidates during recruitment: 41

Use chatbots to engage candidates during recruitment

How Companies Utilize AI for HR
Use AI for screening and assessing candidates during recruitment: 40

Use AI for screening and assessing candidates during recruitment


Source: SHRM

Created by

7. Utilization of Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Still somewhat related to AI, natural language processing (NLP) will prove to bring about key improvements in sourcing, screening, and assessing candidates.

Even in this modern age, manual sorting through hundreds of resumes remains as one of the most time-consuming recruitment tasks. With NLP, recruiters can quickly identify top candidates. NLP can also be combined with voice recognition technology to facilitate faster review and analysis of job interviews. It can also improve chatbots by providing candidates with personalized responses.

8. Company Culture Takes the Spotlight

With various challenges facing recruitment today, recruiters need to look beyond the usual factors that attract candidates. According to a survey of 1,000 employees and more than 5,500 senior managers conducted by Robert Half International, 35% of workers would refuse a job offer if the company culture does not meet their expectations even if the role is a perfect match. More than 90% of the managers surveyed also believe that a candidate’s fit with their company culture is as important as skills and experience.

With this in mind, recruiters are challenged to strike the perfect balance to ensure that company culture will fit the Baby Boomers, GenXers, Millennials, and GenZers alike.

How Important Is Company Culture?

Source: Robert Half International

Created by

9. Mobile and Social Media Continue to Play a Vital Role

With mobile beating desktop in terms of market share by about 10%, it’s not difficult to see that most of today’s top candidates will come from mobile traffic. One might hastily assume that the majority of these mobile job seekers will come from the Millennial and Gen Z demographic. But, what’s surprising is that according to a Glassdoor research, 55% of jobs searched through mobile devices came from GenXers. This goes without saying that it’s not just entry-level jobs that are being searched through mobile. This trend also dictates that recruiters need to adjust the way they create job listings and ads to ensure that they are mobile-friendly.

Furthermore, recruiters should also go where the candidates are. Where is that? Social media! The interest in social recruiting grows by the day, and recruiters can maximize its potential by building a presence and becoming accessible on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, besides LinkedIn, of course.

10. Internal Recruitment Will Be Commonplace

As recruitment and hiring become affected by the new normal, many organizations might opt to fill vacant or new positions through internal recruitment. Internal recruiting is one of the best ways to discover your current talent pool. 

Through internal recruitment, organizations can close job openings more quickly as there will be fewer factors to look at. Recruiters will no longer need to delve deeper into an existing employee’s soft skills and cultural match, as these would have already been observed and evaluated by managers and colleagues. Internal recruitment is also more cost-efficient in general. As 83% of HR professionals reported experiencing difficulty in finding suitable external candidates in the past years, hiring internally can prove to be an immediate and practical solution.

11. Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

Simply put, diversity means building a team composed of people with different kinds and levels of talent, capabilities, gender, religion, and age, among other distinguishing factors. Establishing diversity in the workplace has already been proven beneficial. The benefits include having different perspectives on a particular subject or project, enhanced team creativity, faster problem-solving, and better employee engagement. 

Diversity and inclusion need to go hand-in-hand as organizations cannot establish diversity without being inclusive. Similarly, they cannot claim to be inclusive if they do not embrace diversity. More companies now realize this. In a 2019 Glassdoor survey, it was found that 77% of US employees believe that their organization employs a diverse workforce. However, 55% think that their companies should do more in the area of diversity and inclusion, while 64% observe that their employers are already investing in the said aspect.

As the benefits of having a diverse workforce become more apparent, recruiters need to eliminate bias as much as possible to ensure that they are not confined to traditional requirements and restrictions.

Furthermore, to respond to the need for diversity, we might also see a rise in staffing agencies that specialize in niche candidates to ensure that the underrepresented demographics are now given equal employment opportunities.

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in the US Workplace

Source: Glassdoor

Created by

12. Focus on Retention

Turnover is costly. When an employee resigns, the employer needs to pay exit costs and benefits. Then, the company needs to invest in recruiting and training a new employee. With health and economic crises affecting practically every industry, many organizations can’t afford to lose vital employees.

Because of this, modern-day recruiters are expected to design strategies with retention in mind. This is also where establishing a strong employer brand comes handy. Having a good company reputation increases your chance of recruiting candidates that are looking for long-term employment.

Biggest Costs of Employee Turnover

Biggest Costs of Employee Turnover
Project and service delays: 24.5

Project and service delays

Biggest Costs of Employee Turnover
Productivity loss: 21.1

Productivity loss

Biggest Costs of Employee Turnover
Replacement recruitment and onboarding: 17.2

Replacement recruitment and onboarding

Biggest Costs of Employee Turnover
Hurting company and team morale: 15.6

Hurting company and team morale

Biggest Costs of Employee Turnover
Stress on the affected team: 10.6

Stress on the affected team

Biggest Costs of Employee Turnover
Settlement of legal and HR issues: 9.1

Settlement of legal and HR issues

Biggest Costs of Employee Turnover
Others: 1.8



Source: Harver

Created by

13. Gen Z in the Workplace

GenZers are the new kids on the block. People included in this generation are those born between 1997 and 2012. New graduates, professionals, and young adults who were born from 1997 to 2002 have started to join the workforce, and recruiters must brace themselves as this generation is bound to bring drastic changes to the workplace.

Born and raised in a highly digitized and connected environment, GenZers are expected to share a fresh set of expectations, preferences, and behaviors. More than any generation, they cherish having the perfect balance between life and work. They also look for the same balance between technology and human touch. 

Gen Z’s digital knowledge is unrivaled, and these young workers’ qualifications match the modern workplace’s requirements. Recruiters can attract this new breed of employees by offering perks that favor work-life balance and career advancement.

14. Candidate Experience Will Be Prioritized

Employee satisfaction has been of prime importance for many organizations. When employees are satisfied, they are more productive, and they stay longer. Now, we will see satisfaction prioritized right at the very start, during recruitment.

As the competition for high-quality candidates become tighter because of the skills gap, recruiters must do everything in their power to find the right candidate, assess them thoroughly, and make them want to accept a job offer. Aside from offering irresistible perks, the establishment of a remarkable candidate experience will also help seal the deal. 

By combining tech and human touch, recruiters can create a recruitment experience that will effectively represent their organization’s technical and human resource capabilities.

15. Hiring for Soft Skills

With the skills gap hounding the recruitment industry, skills may just prove to be the future’s currency. Experts expect that the current skills deficit will grow to as much as 29 million by 2030. Most of these lacking skills are soft skills.

At least two-thirds of jobs heavily rely on soft skills such as communication and empathy. As a result, recruiters are inclined to hire for soft skills to lessen the gap. Now more than ever, soft skills will be considered as important as technical or hard skills. Although organizations have also recruited for soft skills before, they may adopt new recruitment strategies that are based on a number of converging factors. These include flexible and highly dynamic working conditions.

According to LinkedIn, these are the top 5 most in-demand soft skills in 2020 and beyond:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional intelligence

16. The Rise of Acqui-hires

Among the most valuable assets of a business is its people. Although it does not appear in the income and profit sheets, the quality of employees also represents the company’s value. With so many things happening that affect every industry, it’s not impossible that some companies may decide to acquire other businesses because of their people. Doing so may help them quickly lessen the skills gap in their own organization and fill positions with experienced and trained workers.

In the case of acqui-hires, recruiters need to cleverly strategize to avoid culture clash and confusion. Organizations should consider dedicating a multidisciplinary team to handle the transition and integration.

Source: Statista

17. Professionally Designed Assessments

Although the resume is still the primary source of basic candidate information, recruiters are always expected to look beyond it. After all, a resume is simply a list of things that the candidate wants the employer to know about them. Even if it gives recruiters an idea of the applicant’s work and educational background, a resume does not accurately represent the candidate’s soft and hard skills.

This is where skills and personality assessments come in. In hindsight, writing a good resume can be essential to boost your selection chances. Additionally, to ensure that you’re able to effectively convey your personality and skills through your resume, you need to have a proper understanding of practical and effective resume writing techniques. However, for assessments to be effective, they must be designed by industry professionals. For best results, assessment tests should be done by a third-party to prevent biases. Recruiters are likely to work closely with test design professionals to ensure the accuracy and reliability of hiring assessments.

18. Investing in Upskilling

Let’s go back to the skills gap. This gap resulted from companies having more open job positions than the available skilled and competent candidates. A survey by CareerBuilder found that about 60% of employers in the US have job openings that are left vacant for 12 weeks or longer. This can cost them at least $800,000 a year. Furthermore, 55% of employers have experienced negative outcomes in relation to extended vacancies.

Naturally, filling these positions is the greatest challenge for recruiters. But aside from actively searching externally for candidates, employers can instead invest in the upskilling of current employees to meet the requirements of certain positions. They can now adopt this strategy in conjunction with internal recruitment.

The Negative Effects of Extended Vacancies in Companies

The Negative Effects of Extended Vacancies in Companies
Productivity loss: 45

Productivity loss

The Negative Effects of Extended Vacancies in Companies
Higher employee turnover: 40

Higher employee turnover

The Negative Effects of Extended Vacancies in Companies
Lower morale: 39

Lower morale

The Negative Effects of Extended Vacancies in Companies
Lower quality work: 37

Lower quality work

The Negative Effects of Extended Vacancies in Companies
Inability to grow business: 29

Inability to grow business

The Negative Effects of Extended Vacancies in Companies
Revenue loss: 26

Revenue loss


Source: CareerBuilder

Created by

19. Holistic Health Benefits

Now more than ever, many of us realized the magnitude of the cliche, health is wealth. Besides the ongoing pandemic, there are other reasons why holistic employee health benefits attract candidates. Companies with good health benefits packages leave a good impression on employees.

Holistic health benefits address all health concerns, including both mind and body wellness aspects. Companies that take responsibility for their people’s health will garner a return on their investment in the form of improved employee recruitment, productivity, and retention.

20. Millennial Leaders

Having been in the workforce for over a decade, Millennials are more than ready to take on leadership roles. Millennial leaders now take the stage with new management tricks up their sleeves as many Baby Boomers enter retirement.

True enough, this new breed of leaders is the perfect fit for today’s management requirements. Millennials have sufficient technical knowledge and experience, but they also exhibit a practical understanding of how to do things manually. Interestingly, while 91% of Millennials say they are seeking leadership roles, 83% of them prefer working in companies that have fewer managerial layers. Unsurprisingly, these new leaders are also disinterested in following their predecessors’ leadership footsteps.

Now, the challenge of attracting these Millennial leaders are up to recruiters. The bottom line, employers need to come up with exciting recruitment and employee retention strategies that will meet both parties’ expectations and needs.

How Are These Trends Shaping Recruitment in 2020-2021?

As always, economic issues affect companies and organizations in practically every aspect. But aside from these conventional challenges, this year welcomed us with a pandemic that not only compounded existing issues but also brought along new ones.

Recruitment is among the vital forces that enable companies to remain in business and expand despite the current obstacles. And with the way things are going, recruiters and recruitment marketers are inclined, if not forced, to come up with creative ways to recruit while working on a limited budget and restricted movement.

Fortunately, social recruiting is becoming more popular. Recruiters can take advantage of these free media to find and connect with candidates, as well as learn more about them. Meanwhile, organizations with more resources at their disposal are at an advantage, as they can maximize modern HR and recruitment technology. These include AI, NLP, ATS, predictive analysis, HR systems, and online communication tools.

Furthermore, businesses and recruiters can also benefit from internal recruiting, especially now that cultural match is prioritized and person-to-person, in-office interactions are discouraged. Internal recruitment allows organizations to fill urgent positions without putting anyone’s safety at risk. This strategy will also prove more effective and beneficial if implemented together with upskilling.

Recruiters of the 2020s need to remain multi-faceted as well. They must balance interaction and meeting the expectations of the different generations composing today’s workforce. On the upside, although Baby Boomers, Millennials, and GenZers bring different skills to the table, they all look for work-life balance, workplace satisfaction, and holistic health benefits. This could make planning employee benefits easier for recruiters.

Gearing Up for the Challenging Yet Exciting Years Ahead

There’s no denying that this year is a challenging one. It’s even highly possible that the effect of this year’s ordeals will carry into 2021 and beyond. But if you look at it from a different perspective, the challenges bring about exciting changes that will truly stir the ingenuity of recruitment professionals all over the globe.

Right now, we are facing what’s considered the worst global crisis since World War II. However, companies can minimize disruption by adopting modern and innovative techniques in different business aspects, including recruitment. It will also help to keep communication lines open, both for existing employees and potential candidates, so they will know of any changes that will affect their work and applications.


  1. List of HR Statistics That Have Changed The Way We Recruit
  2. The Ultimate List of Remote Work Statistics – 2020 Edition
  3. State Of Remote Work 2019 (Buffer)
  4. Oracle, Apple, Google, and Amazon are among the largest global companies who have restricted travel or asked their employees to work remotely as a precaution against the novel coronavirus. Here’s the full list.
  5. How COVID-19 is impacting job seekers and hiring managers
  6. Culture at the top: 6 recruitment trends for 2020 and beyond
  7. Global Recruiting Trends for 2017
  8. 2020 Recruiting Trends
  9. Over 65 percent of new developers are self-taught. I’m surprised it’s not 100 percent
  10. Top 5 Trends In Recruitment And Hiring for 2020
  11. Employers Embrace Artificial Intelligence for HR
  12. 7 Recruitment trends for 2020
  13. 10 Trends That Will Shape Recruitment in 2020
  14. How Important is Corporate Culture for Employee Recruiting?
  15. Desktop vs Mobile vs Tablet Market Share Worldwide – April 2020
  16. The Rise of Mobile Devices in Job Search
  17. The Skills Gap 2019
  18. Top 5 Recruitment Trends for 2020
  19. ILO: COVID-19 causes devastating losses in working hours and employment
  20. Top 10 Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace [INFOGRAPHIC INCLUDED]
  21. Diversity & Inclusion Study 2019
  22. 11 Top Recruiting Trends To Watch Out For 2020
  23. How Generation Z Will Transform the Future Workplace
  24. The Most In-Demand Hard and Soft Skills of 2020
  25. Number of merger and acquisition deals in the United States from November 2019 to January 2020, by industry
  26. 10 HR Trends to Watch Out For in 2020
  27. Upskilling: Why It Might Be The Most Important Word In The Legal Lexicon
  28. Four Ways Millennials Are Transforming Leadership

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