Hiring Growth Is Slow but Differs by Industry, According to New Research

In our newly released Hiring Benchmark Report, we asked hiring professionals how many people they hired in the last 12 months, compared to how many people they plan to hire in the next 12 months. We like to ask this question because it helps us understand how hiring volume is changing from one year to the next. This year, our survey was conducted in August of 2020, so the respondents were well past the initial shockwave of COVID-19 but still fully immersed in a world of uncertainty.

What we found is that the overall projected hiring volume is relatively flat. In total, hiring professionals predict that their hiring volume will increase by 1.4% in the next 12 months. In other words, we can expect organizations to hire 1.4% more people in the next 12 months than they did in the last 12 months.

While 1.4% is certainly modest, it’s positive nevertheless, suggesting that organizations are finding ways to at least keep business running as usual.

Projected hiring growth varies widely by industry

From one industry to the next, however, the data painted a very different picture about how hiring volume would change in the next 12 months. Here’s what we found:


hiring growth by industry in 2020

Right off the bat, we can see that some industries project an increase in hiring volume while others projected a decrease. The Technology industry stands out above the rest: hiring professionals in this industry predict a need to hire an average of 64% more people in the next 12 months. When it comes to the tech industry, this result isn’t too surprising. After all, tech may have had the easiest time adapting to remote work when compared to every other industry.

But tech isn’t the only industry that expects to hire more people in the next 12 months. The Finance industry expects to hire 22% more people; Staffing/Recruiting firms expect to hire 19% more people; the Health industry expects to hire 13% more people; and the Manufacturing industry expects to hire 8% more people in the next 12 months.

On the other end of the spectrum, many industries are struggling a bit more with the pandemic, and are predicting their hiring volume will decrease in the next 12 months. Government/Public Sector expects to hire 5% less people, while Insurance and Transportation/Logistics both expect to hire 6% less. Hospitality and Retail, two industries that rely heavily on in-person business, expect to decrease by 8% and 12%, respectively.

The Professional Services industry anticipates hiring 12% less people; Education 16% less; Real Estate 24% less; and Construction 30% less.

What many of these harder hit industries have in common is a reliance on in-person business and physical interaction: industries such as construction, real estate, hospitality, and retail. In contrast, organizations that are heavily service-based, such as tech, finance, and staffing, seem to predict a faster recovery.

For more data on how hiring has changed in 2020, grab your copy of the 2020 Hiring Benchmark Report.