2021 Employment Outlook: Hiring Challenges

2021 Employment Outlook:  Hiring Challenges

If you have ever worked in recruiting, there is always that question in the back of your mind when you look at rising unemployment numbers, where are all the people who need jobs, because I have them? There is often a disconnect in the labor market between the types of jobs available and the types of jobs candidates are applying for. The pandemic has exacerbated this disconnect on many layers, with unemployment numbers still high but employers in certain sectors struggling to find employees.


This is a devastating number.  As we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic crisis, employers are facing many issues when it comes to their workforce. For some, the surprising question is why they cannot seem to fill job vacancies? Depending on the industry, the answer may be different and complicated.

There are certain industries that have continued to thrive during this crisis and are hiring, healthcare, frontline grocery store jobs, warehouse jobs and factory jobs. These employers are struggling to fill the positions, even when offering higher than average pay. These positions come with increased risk to the virus, which has many applicants holding off, at least for now. These are also mostly face to face jobs, with increased risk, and also increased challenges when it comes to logistics with so many children still not back in school. Also, there is the idea that there is a potential light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines and infections and hospitalizations showing declines, people are deciding to wait it out, and see how the conditions change. Remote jobs, while desired are certainly harder to come by and require a specific set of skills.

The burden for these employers is not only finding viable employees but creating a workspace that candidates perceive to be safe and that the employer has taken steps toward the well-being of their staff to date. This will translate into certain policies says the Future of Work study (https://media.newjobs.com/cms/content30/images/Future-of-Work_2021-Global-Outlook.report.pdf)

  • Flexibility in Work Schedules
  • Salary Protection
  • Health Policies and Protocols

The good news, and there is some, is that most predict an increase in hiring for 2021, Monster’s 2021 Global Outlook study show 82% of employers will be hiring in 2021.  An online study from XpertHR asked over 500 employers what their top concerns were for 2021 and overwhelmingly the response was hiring and recruiting. The study showed that employers were not looking to just fill jobs lost during the pandemic but about half had plans to expand their workforce.

Like in all areas of our lives, there is still a long road back, but there are positive indicators in the market for employment. This time period is unique in that it has been a hit to the labor supply not solely the demand for labor. Many indicators ranging from vaccine role out, our ability to contain the virus, workplace logistics, to policy and politics will impact our road back.

As for us here at McHenry, we are optimistic. We have had a front row seat watching so many of our clients support their client base. We have also seen an uptick in our recruiting practice and have been successful matching our client’s hiring needs with talent. Stay safe.



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