2021 in summary

2021 is a year where the recruitment industry sees a slow recovery from the challenges of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. As we recover, recruiters have been forced to evaluate the challenges which have been faced and innovate their practises in light of emerging hiring trends.

As can be seen, the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 left businesses crippled as a majority of industries closed down almost completely. This directly affected the recruitment market as companies had to retrench workers and halt hiring. Not only that, the Covid-19 pandemic also shaped how workers view their employment.

In 2021, businesses learned to adapt to ensure continued productivity. In the previous year, the entire workforce was forced to work completely remotely. As we headed into 2021, vaccination was accelerated to ensure that people are protected to return to a semblance of normalcy. However, the vaccination only served to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 virus. Some companies in 2021 returned to fully working in the office, whilst other companies chose to maintain remote working or a hybrid work model.

With that, more and more candidates in the job market placed great importance on the ability to work remotely or in a hybrid arrangement. While it began as an initial safety measure to ensure the collective health of the workforce, hybrid work models are quickly becoming a default across many industries. Besides that, recruiters are now choosing to maintain the hiring process virtually instead of the traditional face-to-face process.

Not only that, employees have begun reimagining their ideal workplace, thus driving 2021 to a more candidate-driven market. With this in consideration, companies have been forced to reshape their employer brand, taking into account a more human experience in hiring to appeal to the candidate market. This comes in the form of the initial recruitment process up to the onboarding process of a successful candidate. As the candidate recruitment process becomes more human, companies start to see positive feedback during the hiring process as candidates become more inclined to accept an offer and companies earn an attracting factor of top talent, which sets the organisation apart from other competitors.

Besides the hiring process, companies are placing deeper emphasis on their employees’ experiences in the workplace. Traditional work benefits are no longer enough, as candidates seek companies with a healthy workplace environment and healthy work cultures. Companies are employing a more human experience in the workplace and work processes to ensure that employees are engaged which will result in greater workplace fulfilment and productivity. From managers creating more opportunities for engagement with their employees to bridging the divide that comes with virtual working, these shifts improve team connection and builds trust and communication.

Furthermore, companies in 2021 who are not in the market to hire may look inwards to develop employees into taking up more responsibilities which require different skill sets. This sees an increase in internal hiring and promotion, and increased opportunities for existing employees to develop their skills. This indirectly boosts retention rates in the company and creates loyalty.

As we head into 2022, companies should consider the trends of 2021 and the best practises to be used when in the market to hire. Undoubtedly, the Covid-19 pandemic has shaped recruitment and companies must be ready to rethink strategies in order to attract talent and retain their existing employees.



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FirstWorks Group is a Recruitment Agency in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that specialises in matching the best people with the best companies.

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