June 2021 Hiring Outlook

The Demand For Skilled Talent

2021: A Year of Recovery and Rebuilding

Companies expect to hire this year, yet staffing challenges persist. Remote and hybrid work is the new normal, and many workers are considering relocation. The Demand For Skilled Talent offers insight into how staffing and management strategies are changing in 2021.

Staffing Remains a Challenge

Hiring Trends and Top Positions

The Rise of the ‘Anywhere Workforce’

Relocation on the Mind

5 Ways to Support Staff

Bureau of Labor Statistics Snapshot

Unemployment Rate (May 2021): 5.8%

Job Openings (April 2021): 9.3 million*

Employee Voluntary Quit Level (April 2021): 4.0 million*

*Preliminary and seasonally adjusted

Employers’ Business Confidence Levels

Percentage of business leaders who are only somewhat confident or not confident that their teams can take on strategic projects right now:

48%

Percentage of business leaders who are only somewhat confident or not confident that their teams can take on unexpected projects right now:

55%

Employers’ Hiring and Pay Increase Plans

Employers Hiring 51%

of hiring leaders plan to add new positions in 2021.

Employers Hiring 42%

plan to only fill vacated positions or bring back furloughed employees.

Employers Hiring 43%

of companies that suspended salary increases last year because of the pandemic expect to reinstate them during the first six months of this year.

Staffing Remains a Challenge

95% of business leaders say it’s very or somewhat challenging for their company to find skilled professionals.

Leaders’ Responses by Profession

 

See trends for each area of business.

Top Positions

Percentages reflect Q1 2021 unemployment rates*

0.5%

Loan officers

1.0%

Financial analysts

2.6%

Accountants and auditors

2.6%

Financial managers

3.2%

Compliance officers

3.8%

Billing clerks

4.9%

Bookkeepers

Additional positions in demand:

  • Accounts receivable/accounts payable specialists
  • Controllers
  • Payroll managers

Hiring Trends

42% of CFOs said they are hiring for new positions; 49% said they are hiring only for vacated roles or bringing back furloughed employees.

86% are concerned about losing top accounting and finance performers to other job opportunities in the next 12 months.

CFOs plan to develop current accounting and finance teams in the coming year, with a focus on:

  • Upskilling (i.e., expanding capabilities of employees within their current role): 34%
  • Reskilling to meet current business demands: 26%

*Current Population Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2, 2021. Percentages reflect unemployment rates for select positions that are near or below the national unemployment rate at the end of Q1 2021.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 1,000 CFOs in the U.S.

Top Positions

Percentages reflect Q1 2021 unemployment rates*

2.0%

File clerks

4.9%

Executive assistants

3.9%

HR assistants

4.8%

Administrative assistants

5.5%

Office clerks

Additional positions in demand:

  • Claims processors
  • Call center representatives
  • Customer service managers
  • HR benefits specialists/coordinators
  • Patient services representatives
  • Receptionists

Hiring Trends

54% of senior managers in administrative support said their company has hired new employees remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

37% said their company had shortened the administrative support hiring process in the last year.

38% said adapting to a fully-remote hiring process is their greatest staffing-related challenge right now.

*Current Population Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2, 2021. Percentages reflect unemployment rates for select positions that are near or below the national unemployment rate at the end of Q1 2021.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 70 senior managers with hiring responsibilities working in administrative support in the U.S.

Top Positions

Percentages reflect Q1 2021 unemployment rates*

0.6%

Network and computer systems administrators

1.0%

Network/cloud architects

1.5%

Software developers

2.1%

Database administrators and architects

2.9%

Help desk and desktop support professionals

2.9%

Systems analysts

3.0%

Computer and information systems managers

3.5%

Computer programmers

Additional positions in demand:

  • Business intelligence analysts
  • Security professionals (cloud, data, information, network, systems)
  • Web and mobile developers

Hiring Trends

54% of IT leaders said they are hiring for new positions; 40% said they are hiring only for vacated roles or bringing back furloughed employees.

73% said they plan to increase the number of interim, project-based or contract IT employees on their staff.

91% are concerned with losing top IT employees to other job opportunities in the next 12 months.

*Current Population Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2, 2021. Percentages reflect unemployment rates for select positions that are near or below the national unemployment rate at the end of Q1 2021.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 2,800 IT senior managers with hiring responsibilities in the U.S.

Top Positions

Percentages reflect Q1 2021 unemployment rates*

1.8%

Technical writers

3.0%

Market research analysts and marketing specialists

4.3%

Advertising managers

4.5%

Editors

5.3%

Web and digital designers

Additional positions in demand:

  • Content strategists
  • Copywriters
  • Data analysts
  • Digital marketing managers
  • Graphic designers
  • User experience(UX) and user interface(UI) designers

Hiring Trends

52% of creative and marketing leaders said they are hiring for new positions; 41% said they are hiring only for vacated roles or bringing back furloughed employees.

70% said they plan to increase the number of freelance, interim or contract professionals on their staff.

92% are concerned with losing top creative and marketing employees to other job opportunities in the next 12 months.

*Current Population Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2, 2021. Percentages reflect unemployment rates for select positions that are near or below the national unemployment rate at the end of Q1 2021.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 200 creative and marketing managers with hiring responsibilities in the U.S.

Top Positions

Percentages reflect Q1 2021 unemployment rates*

1.5%

Attorneys/lawyers

1.5%

Midlevel associates

Additional positions in demand:

  • Compliance analysts
  • Contract administrators
  • Data privacy specialists
  • Legal secretaries
  • Litigation support/eDiscovery managers
  • Paralegals/legal assistants

Hiring Trends

57% of lawyers said their law firms or companies are hiring for new positions; 37% said they are hiring only for vacated roles or bringing back furloughed employees.

54% of open positions, on average, will be filled on an interim, project or consulting basis. 

86% said they are concerned with losing top legal performers to other job opportunities in the next 12 months.

*Current Population Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2, 2021. Percentages reflect unemployment rates for select positions that are near or below the national unemployment rate at the end of Q1 2021.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 200 lawyers with hiring responsibilities in the U.S.

Top Positions

Percentages reflect Q1 2021 unemployment rates*

2.7%

Insurance verification/authorization clerks

2.7%

Claims examiners/analysts

2.9%

Medical records specialists

Hiring Trends

26% of managers in the healthcare industry said that hiring skilled professionals is their greatest staffing challenge.

70% said they expect their professional development budget will increase this year.

*Current Population Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2, 2021. Percentages reflect unemployment rates for select positions that are near or below the national unemployment rate at the end of Q1 2021.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 260 managers with hiring responsibilities in the healthcare industry in the U.S.

44% of government senior managers said they started expanding their hiring searches geographically in the last year.

57% said they lost good employees in 2020 due to compensation concerns.

Senior managers in government reported spending 31% of their time coaching or supervising underperformers.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 180 senior managers with hiring responsibilities in government in the U.S.

The Rise of the ‘Anywhere Workforce’

Remote work is here to stay. Many employers plan to adopt a hybrid workforce, where some employees will work remotely and others will work in the office. Managers also weigh in on the top advantages and challenges of this dual approach.

Biggest Benefits of Hybrid Work Teams

34%

Retention of key employees due to more flexibility/work-life balance

21%

Business continuity/productivity

16%

Reduction in office/real estate costs

Biggest Challenges of Hybrid Work Teams

25%

Sustaining team engagement/productivity

15%

Transitioning company culture to a hybrid environment

15%

Keeping up with HR trends/compliance

Multiple responses were permitted. Top responses are shown.

Managers are looking ahead to the workforce of the future and the skills they need their teams to develop, but employees are feeling weary in the interim.

Employer Perspectives

Companies’ View of the New Normal Following the Pandemic

46%

of senior managers expect a hybrid of a remote and in-office workforce.

34%

anticipate a fully remote workforce.

20%

foresee an in-office workforce.

Skills Employers Want to Help Workers Improve in the Next 12 Months

38%

Functional, job-specific skills

33%

Soft skills

29%

Technology skills

Worker Sentiments

How Employees Are Feeling During the Pandemic

34%

of employees are more burned out today than a year ago.

38%

suffer from video call fatigue.

40%

want to emphasize personal life over their job moving forward.

Remote Work Rolls into Weekends

68%

of professionals who transitioned to a remote setup said they work on weekends.

77%

of working parents put in weekend hours versus 59% of those workers without children.

45%

often log more than eight hours of work a day.

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Relocation on the Mind

It’s no surprise that remote work has led some employees to consider relocating to less expensive cities. But does it pay to relocate?

Workers Open to Relocating if Allowed Long-Term Remote Work

51%

of employees would consider relocating to a different city.

37%

say the primary reason they would relocate is a change of scenery or lifestyle.

75%

are not willing to take a pay cut if they relocate.

Companies Support Relocation for Employees Working Remotely

50%

of companies allow temporary relocation.

38%

allow permanent relocation.

11%

do not allow relocation.

Businesses to Adjust Salaries for Employees Who Permanently Relocate

74%

of companies will base the salary of an employee who relocates to a different cost-of-living city on their original office location.

23%

will base salary on the market the employee lives in and works from — even if that means a pay cut.

3%

are not sure if or how they would adjust salaries for employees who relocate.

5 Ways to Support Staff

Operating a business with fewer resources and more demands puts pressure on existing staff. Here are tips for managers to help employees rise to the challenge.

1. Promote virtual training and learning.

There are many affordable online professional development options even if budgets are leaner.

2. Enhance work-life balance.

Adopt flexible policies or windowed work to improve work-life balance and boost staff morale.

3. Foster well-being and mental health.

Communicate with team members 2-3 times more often to gauge their feelings and offer wellness resources or counseling help lines.

4. Take interest in employees’ career goals.

Show what career-path options are available to team members to help keep them more engaged, productive and loyal.

5. Give employees workload relief.

Even if hiring new staff is not an option right now, take some of the pressure off employees by bringing in skilled temporary professionals.

Sources:

Employment Situation Summary — May 2021, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, June 4, 2021

Job Openings and Labor Turnover — April 2021, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, June 8, 2021

Robert Half survey of more than 1,000 CFOs in the U.S., December 2020

Robert Half survey of more than 2,800 IT senior managers with hiring responsibilities in the U.S., December 2020

Robert Half survey of more than 200 creative and marketing managers with hiring responsibilities in the U.S., December 2020

Robert Half survey of more than 200 lawyers with hiring responsibilities in the U.S., December 2020

Robert Half survey of more 2,800 senior managers, including more than 1,000 HR managers in the U.S., December 2020

Robert Half survey of more than 2,800 workers 18 years of age or older in the U.S., July-August 2020 and October-November 2020 and more than 1,000 workers in the U.S., May 2020