According to Our Data, Hiring Professionals Are Optimistic About 2021

As we leave behind one of the most tumultuous years in recent memory, what’s in store for the new year?

The hiring landscape has undergone some dramatic changes in 2020. A sudden increase in unemployment at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a shift in the balance of hiring. With more job seekers on the market, the “candidate-driven market” that we had all become accustomed to was shattered. As a result, data from our own assessment platform demonstrated that the number of applicants per job opening doubled on average.

Aside from the changes in the supply and demand of the workforce, hiring professionals had to adapt and reinvent a hiring process that was largely remote. From our 2020 Hiring Benchmark Report based on a survey of over 400 hiring professionals, we found that the usage of video interviews went up 159% this year. This is unsurprising considering that 69% of the respondents said they had to transition to remote work at some point in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

And with events that catalyzed the global conversation around race, diversity, and equity, more organizations turned their focus towards workplace diversity. 78% of organizations said that increasing diversity in the workplace was a priority for their organization.

To say that a lot happened in 2020 would be an understatement. But what lies ahead for 2021? In our survey, we asked hiring professionals what their outlook was for 2021, and here’s what we found:

Future Outlook

The results were overwhelmingly positive. 66% of the respondents said they have a positive outlook and that they expect growth for their organization. 20% were neutral, or expected things to say the same. Just 6% had a negative outlook and expected a decline for their organization. And 9% were unsure at the time. (Our survey was taken in August of 2020, long before any announcements of approved vaccines.)

Initially, this result surprised us at Criteria. Amidst a difficult year, we expected more pessimism, frustration, or anxiety about the future. But the results are a resounding confirmation of the resilience of organizations and the abilities of hiring professionals to adapt and thrive even in times of difficulty.

We share this optimism for the new year. 2020 was a great challenge but it also helped organizations explore some of the deeper questions around workplace diversity, remote work, and even the nature in which organizations operate on a fundamental level. We predict this will only strengthen organizations in the coming year. And with that, we say goodbye to 2020 and wish everyone a very much deserved happy New Year!