The State of Online Recruiting 2021: Top 5 Survey Findings

  By Jason Hayes  |    Thursday August 26, 2021

Category: Expert Advice, Recruiting

With ongoing unemployment, remote work, and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, recruiters and job seekers continue to navigate an ever-evolving labor market. What challenges are both parties experiencing in their search for one another? Which digital tools and online resources are candidates and employers relying on to find jobs and connect with new hires, respectively? And, what trends are on the horizon for the recruitment space?

For answers to these questions and more, iHire conducted its third annual State of Online Recruiting survey, which generated responses from a total of 6,370 U.S. employers and job seekers across 57 industries. Survey results are found in the newly published 2021 State of Online Recruiting Report, but I’ve highlighted the top five findings for EMInfo’s readers:

77.0% of employers anticipate a talent shortage in the coming year. Even with the 5.4% unemployment rate (meaning plenty of potential candidates), recruiters are bracing for scarce qualified applicants. In addition, 73.9% of employers surveyed cited “too few qualified candidates” among their most significant challenges when recruiting through a job board or online talent community. 

66.6% of employers increased their hiring volume within the past year. Hiring is back in full swing – 86.2% of recruiters said they are currently hiring (as of June and July of 2021). For the most part, respondents seemed optimistic about “what’s next” for recruiting, with just 18.3% expressing concern about economic uncertainty and 20.6% anticipating limited hiring budgets within the next 12 months.

58.9% of recruiters have become more reliant on job boards. Since June of 2020, companies have expanded their use of job boards and online talent communities. In addition, 73.0% said they do “most” or “all” of their recruiting through these platforms. On the flip side, 68.5% of candidates surveyed said they go to job boards first when they need to find work immediately (above social media, search engines, professional associations, and company websites, among others). 

48.8% of job seekers are frustrated by a lack of response from employers after applying. “Ghosting” has long been a concern for both job seekers and employers, and survey results indicate that poor communication between the two sides of the recruiting equation continues. Likewise, 46.8% of employers said not hearing back from candidates after reaching out was a chief recruiting concern in 2021. 

25.5% of employers expect candidates to remain interested in remote work in the coming year. This statistic may be skewed by the fact that respondents spanned industries, including those in which remote work is not a viable option (like construction, retail, and culinary). But at the same time, job seeker responses suggest no shortage of interest and opportunities: Just 16.5% are struggling to find remote work in their online job search, and only 19.2% foresee difficulty finding remote work in the upcoming year. 

These are just a few of the intriguing data points detailed in iHire’s 2021 State of Online Recruiting Report. Although it’s impossible to know what the next few months will bring to the staffing realm, it looks as if finding qualified candidates will be the most single-most pressing recruitment challenge. For more advice on overcoming this challenge and additional survey insights, you can download the full report: 



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