Employers always need to know: How to find and recruit the most suitable personnel? Once hired, how to keep them motivated and productive? How to retain your best employees?

If you are in business and need help knowing how to answer these questions in the challenging environment of the pandemic, read on.

​Among HR professionals, 43% cite “competition from other employers” as the primary reason for difficulty hiring the right employees. ​

Only 36% of candidates say hiring managers clearly describe their jobs, despite the fact that 72% of hiring managers claim to.

Pandemic lockdowns have forced many businesses to operate online, creating a need for statistics on the impact of digitization on recruitment, staff productivity, and wellbeing. New analytics need to be developed to inform H.R. policy more accurately.

Statistics need to be collected on employee mental health and the effects of workplace hybridization and virtual employee engagement on productivity to design adaptive H.R. strategies better.

Data also needs to be collected on the effectiveness of new HR analytics tools and adaptive strategies such as Gamification.

The Digitalization Of Recruitment And Work

Staffing firms able to identify and place candidates for remote positions are more likely to succeed. Staffing firms knowing how to place candidates who can work unsupervised, communicate using technology, and be responsible for their work will be in demand.

Employment tests furnish recruiters with tools and candidate behavioral data to measure their suitability for a specific job and limit the chances of making a costly placement mistake.

Knowing more about the candidate’s likelihood of success in advance in a remote work environment increases the likelihood the placement will stick.

Jobvite Inc., an Indianapolis, Indiana software and recruiting corporation, compiled data from a survey concerning the latest H.R. recruitment concerns.

The following, in order, are the top 5 recruiting priorities in 2022:

  1. Improving the quality of hires
  2. Increasing employee retention rates
  3. Decrease hiring time
  4. Growing talent pipelines
  5. Diversity hiring

The challenge is to analyze the above top 5 priorities in the context of the digitization of work and recruitment, in terms of the challenges and opportunities presented by the statistics below, grouped under the following subheadings: 

1. Who Is Looking For A Job And Who Is Hiring?

From the following facts and figures, recruiters can form an idea of aggregate demand patterns and their impact on the labor market in particular industries:

  • The United States job market had significantly slowed down in 2020. This is partly due to the US-China trade rift in 2018 and was further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • U.S. unemployment rate reached a high of 14.7% in April 2020 (BLS, 2020) from a record low of 3.7% in October 2018
  • The top 5 industries having to downsize their workforce in the pandemic are: (1) Tourism & Travel, (2) Bars, Hotels & Restaurants, (3) Entertainment, (4) Conferences & Trade Shows, and (5) Manufacturers (TalentLyft, 2020)
  • The top 5 firms still hiring are Instacart, Amazon, Walmart, CVS Health, Dollar General (TalentLyft, 2020). As the pandemic began, employees were reluctant to change jobs resulting in a 47% drop in applications across all industries (TalentLyft, 2020)
  • 64.7% of I.T. professionals worry about being retrenched due to the pandemic (CV Library, 2020).
  • Working youth are most in danger of losing their jobs. The unemployment rate of youth ages 16-24 increased from 8.4% to 24.4% from spring 2019 to spring 2020 (EPI, 2020)
  • There were 7.2 million jobs available in the U.S., but only 6 million were hired as of July 2019 (BLS, 2021). However, with many businesses forced to close or downsize, U.S. unemployment stands at 10.13 million as of January 2021 (Statista, 2021).
  • 50% of firms have seen an increase in the number of candidates with a master’s degree for entry-level positions (ICMS, 2021).

2. Who Is In Demand?

From the following statistics, recruiters can form an idea of which skills are rare and in demand by many hiring firms:

  • Requirements for good conversational skills and enthusiasm have decreased by 20% of all recruiters (Jobvite, 2018). Meanwhile, 75% of businesses use behavioral interview questions to evaluate soft skills (Career Builder 2019). 89% of recruiting executives say bad hires often lack soft skills (LinkedIn, 2019).
  • 56% of U.S. firms will offer signing bonuses to new hires from business schools (GMAC, 2018).
  • 41% of firms say entry-level positions are the hardest to fill (Hireology, 2018).
  • 72% of employers are finding it hard to source skilled candidates (ManpowerGroup2018)
  • 87% of recruiters say a 4-year college degree makes an entry-level candidate competitive (ICMS, 2021).
  • 52% of employers say they are most interested in candidates with a STEM degree. (ICMS,2021). However, only 24% of college seniors will graduate with a degree in STEM (ICMS, 2021).

3. Global Online Recruitment And Work

The statistics below outline opportunities for U.S. firms that are offered in the global labor market, potentially accessible by online recruiting and work platforms. 

  • 80% of Millennials want to work abroad (Pwc, 2020)
  • 80% of the top 100 grossing recruitment agencies operate globally (Bullhorn, 2020).
  • In the E.U., unemployment is expected to rise to 8.6% in 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic (Statista, 2020)
  • 66% of recruitment professionals were predicted to view globalization as an opportunity by 2020 (Bullhorn, 2020), yet 40% of employers kept their recruitment processes in-house to save on costs (LinkedIn, 2019).
  • 41% of firms used mobility strategies in recruiting outside talent (Deloitte, 2017).
  • 35% of job seekers say they will refuse an offer if the employer does not offer a remote work option. (Career Builder, 2020). 23% of employees say they are willing to have their pay cut by 10% if it means they can work from home. (OWL Labs, 2020).

4. Hiring Difficulties

The following facts and figures outline the major hiring challenges faced by U.S. recruiters:

  • Thirty-six working days – The average time for a company to hire talent (SHRM, 2017).
  • 59% of candidates stopped applying due to issues or bugs on the website (ICIMS, 2017), and 75% of recruiters experienced candidates changing their minds (Jobvite, 2018).
  • 77% of recruiters hire candidates who at first didn’t appear to be fit (Jobvite Recruiter).
  • Talents are 4 times more likely to consider a company for a future opportunity when a company offers feedback (LinkedIn).
  • 52% of job hunters said a lack of response from employers is their biggest frustration (Websolutions, 2020).
  • 55% of companies who recruit continuously say it slashes their time-to-hire (Accurate).

5. Recruitment Channels

According to LinkedIn, the top source for quality hires are employee referrals, and Businesses can expand a talent pool ten times by recruiting through employee networks.

However, according to Infinity Social Media, only 29% of recruiters used social media to vet referrals.

This implies that, through more efficient use of H.R. analytics, employee networks on social media such as LinkedIn could be more effectively exploited.

6. Demographics And Diversity 

  • 77% of talent professionals reported that diversity will be a crucial factor in the future of recruiting. (LinkedIn, 2020)
  • 38% of recruitment managers say finding diverse candidates to interview is the biggest barrier to improving diversity (HireVue, 2019). With more remote work options offered, researchers say that this will help boost geographical diversity among applicants by 20%. (LinkedIn, 2020)
  • Today, Millennials already make up the largest age group in the U.S. workforce (Pew Research, 2018) and will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025 (MRI, 2017).
  • 40% of hiring decisions involve subconscious bias (HireVue, 2019).
  • 41% of companies have experienced a rise in the percentage of new hires that are minorities and women (HireVue, 2019).
  • 70% of firms have seen an improved likelihood of hiring African American candidates (HireVue, 2019)
  • The top reasons why firms focus on diversity: 78% to improve culture, 62% to improve company performance, 69% to better represent customers


According to the above-mentioned survey done by jobvite Inc, the number one priority for Recruiters in 2021 is to source and hire employees with the right skills. Below is an analysis of the preceding statistics which speak to this concern.

Unemployment dropped 11% between Oct 2018-Apr2020, while the pandemic shifted a large share of work onto online platforms. Recruiters had only 20 months to shift their recruiting strategy from a world of labor scarcity to surplus while having to adapt to a new online world.

In the 2018 world of labor scarcity, recruiters were less selective, leading 20% of them to ignore the conversational skills of recruits. 55% of Millennial recruiters forgave rude behavior from interviewees, leading to a soft skills shortage in 2019.

The pandemic caused 47% of employees to quit their new job applications, raising the shortage of available experienced and skilled workers, but plenty of unemployed less experienced youth.

Recruiters have changed their emphasis from hiring more business school graduates in 2018 to hiring more STEM graduates in 2021, of which it seems there will be an insufficient future supply.  This makes globally talent sourcing more important.

However, this emphasis on STEM may conflict with the equally urgent requirement for soft skills. A good compromise would be to shift emphasis onto STEAM.


The no1 HR challenge today is sourcing, recruiting, and retaining talent. 50% of employers do not use applicant tracking software (Accurate), while 79% of job seekers say they will most likely use online and social media in searching for jobs (Career Builder, 2018).

This implies that most recruiters haven’t sufficiently leveraged data available on social media.