CHIANGMAI. Thailand. January 30, 2020. A women holds New iPhone 11 Pro Max with LinkedIn application on the screen.LinkedIn is a photo-sharing app for smartphones.

A new year brings new hope for job market recovery. According to the 2021 Future of Recruiting Study from CareerArc, more than 75% of employers are optimistic that hiring demand will at least come close to its pre-pandemic state this year.

Job seekers are a bit less confident about the year ahead. Although more than half believe there will be more job growth under the Biden administration, 28% believe job growth will decline. The other 21% are predicting no significant gains or losses. 

Employers concerned about finding, retaining quality employees

Despite an overall positive outlook, challenges for employers remain. Nearly half of surveyed companies are worried about turnover — roughly four in 10 employers believe that 20% of their workers are looking to leave the company for new job opportunities. 

Other top concerns included finding qualified candidates (45%) and a low number of applicants (30%).

Job seekers looking for new opportunities with few availabilities

Almost 70% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 60 want a new job in 2021, and 65% said the pandemic’s impact is driving that decision.

But many expect the search to be difficult. The majority of job seekers (88%) are at least “somewhat concerned” about job availability in their field. About 30% are “very concerned,” and 68% blame COVID-19 for the lack of jobs.

Company reputation can make or break applicant interest

An employer’s reputation is becoming increasingly important to job seekers — 82% said they consider this before applying, an increase of 7% compared to 2015. For 53% of job seekers, a poor or declining brand and reputation was part of what prompted them to leave a previous employer, and it was the main reason for 20%. 

Job seekers listed several “deal breakers” when considering an open position, including: 

  • The company has a poor work-life balance (53%)
  • The position pays less than the applicant’s current job (50%)
  • There’s evidence of company instability and decreased profits (48%)
  • The workplace lacks flexibility in workplace and schedule (40%)
  • The organization is showing signs of poor company culture or morale (39%)

To determine whether any of their deal breakers exist, job seekers most commonly conduct company research on employer review sites (60%), social media sites (48%), and the company website or career site (42%). So it’s critical for companies to cultivate a positive presence online.

On the other hand, there are a few things job seekers said would make them more likely to apply for available jobs, including more details about the job (53%), stories or highlights from employees (31%), and messages of diversity, equity, and inclusion (24%).

Social media — the top resource for both seekers and recruiters

Most job seekers (86%) said they use social media to find, share, and apply for jobs, as well as to seek recommendations from their networks. Once they find something they’re interested in, Facebook seems to be the go-to site to learn more about the employer — 50% of job seekers use the site for this purpose. Employer reviews sites (45%) and LinkedIn (44%) are close seconds. 

Employers are regularly using social platforms, too. Almost 90% of employers said they use social platforms to publicize open positions. They also commonly share employee stories and company news and events. However, only 35% publish content about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Since more than 60% of job seekers look to social media comments to gather information on company diversity, this is an important improvement opportunity for employers this year.

Companies are continuing to improve their use of social media. Social media/social recruiting software tops the list of recruiter investment plans for 2021 — 41% put this on their list, well above ATS (28%) and career site (27%) investments. The hope is that social recruiting investments will help them:

  • Boost brand awareness (46%)
  • Reach passive candidates (46%)
  • Increase applicant quantity (45%)
  • Source for roles that are difficult to fill (36%)
  • Improve engagement with candidates (29%)

More than 90% of recruiters said they’re currently finding and recruiting candidates via social and professional networks. Other valuable resources included employee referrals (87%), job boards (82%), and advertising (72%). 

To learn more about the survey results, download the full report.