Get Ready for the Return of the Candidate-Driven Market

If you thought the candidate-driven market was a thing of the past, think again! As the vaccine slowly starts to lower COVID-19 rates and the economy begins to get back on track, hiring is also expected to pick back up, which means employers should start planning for the return of the candidate-driven market.


According to CareerArc’s “2021 Future of Recruiting Study,” 76% of companies believe 2021 hiring demand will approach, return to, or even exceed pre-pandemic levels. Half of American adults are just as optimistic: 51% believe job growth will increase under the Biden presidency, 28% say it will decrease under the new administration, and 21% predict a neutral impact.              

Hiring to Pick Up, But Expect Turnover to Increase

While employers remain positive about recovering labor demand, what they are most anxious about is turnover. The study revealed 61% of full-time employees in the United States are seeking new jobs in 2021. Talent retention is the top employer concern in 2021, and 39% of companies believe at least one in five in their workforce are currently looking for new jobs at other companies.

While the majority of adults hope to find new jobs this year, 88% of them are concerned about the lack of jobs in their field, two-thirds (68%) of whom attribute the lack of jobs to the continued impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

COVID-19 Shapes Employment Decisions Permanently

The CareerArc study also uncovered these additional findings:

Work/life balance is more important to jobseekers than pay and business stability. Over half (53%) of jobseekers say discovering evidence that a prospective employer would offer poor or less work/life balance would immediately dissuade them from applying to that company. Poor work/life balance tops the list of jobseeker deal breakers, ranking above other immediate turn-offs, including lower salary (50%) and a company’s decreasing profits and lack of stability (48%).

Jobseekers prize employer brand and culture when evaluating current and future opportunities. Despite facing and anticipating a tough labor market, jobseekers place positive employer brand, reputation, and culture high on their wish list when considering applying to, or staying at, a company.

Eighty-two percent consider employer brand and reputation before applying to a job—a 7% increase in the past 5 years. Over half (53%) of jobseekers cite poor or diminishing employer brand and reputation as one of the reasons for leaving a previous job; 20% say it was the main reason they left.

Social media has increased in importance and authority in today’s job search. According to the study, 61% of jobseekers say they increased their social media usage in 2020, nearly half (47%) of whom increased usage by at least 1 hour per day.

Additionally, 86% of jobseekers use social media in their job search and have viewed, searched for, applied to, and engaged with job- and employment-related social media content and/or reached out to contacts and recruiters about jobs on social media.

Social media and social recruiting software top the list of recruiting channels and technologies most used by employers. The study found that 92% of employers use social and professional networks to recruit talent. Social and professional networks even ranked above employer referrals (87%), job boards (82%), and job ads (72%). In addition, social media and/or social recruiting software top the list of increased and/or continued technology investments in 2021. In 2020, 35% of employers increased their social recruiting efforts.

Diversity hiring is a priority for employers and jobseekers alike. One in four jobseekers (26%) say that diversity, equity, and inclusion messages published by employers would make them more likely to apply to those companies.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of jobseekers say they check social media for employee and consumer comments about workforce diversity, or lack thereof, at a company. For employers, launching or expanding diversity hiring programs is among the top three hiring programs and initiatives in 2021.

The study polled 1,156 respondents comprising 667 American adults and 489 Human Resources and hiring professionals. To learn more about the study, click here.

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