HR Answers: Recruiting and Hiring Most Challenging Issue in 2021

searching crowd of diverse people with magnifying glass for job candidate
By XpertHR

2 minutes

Other challenges for human resources this year include COVID-19, diversity and inclusion and paid leave.

Recruiting and hiring is HR professionals’ top concern for next year, according to 563 U.S. employers responding to XpertHR’s Survey of HR Challenges for 2021.

The survey asked participating organizations to rate how challenging 12 major workplace issues might be in 2021 and found that over six in 10 (66%) said recruiting and hiring will be either “somewhat” or “very” challenging, followed by workforce planning (59%) and workplace health/safety/security (55%).

HR Issues for 2021
HR Issues for 2021

Indeed, the survey found that roughly one-half (48%) of responding employers expect to increase their workforce next year, further emphasizing the importance of recruiting and hiring in the year ahead. Only 10% of organizations predict they will have to eliminate positions, while 30% anticipate no change in staff size. (Twelve percent were not sure.)

“After COVID-19 rocked the economy in 2020, employers won’t want to miss out on any potential recovery in 2021, especially if a vaccine is successful in containing the virus,” says Andrew Hellwege, surveys editor for XpertHR, “and recruiting and hiring efforts will be key for attracting talent and ramping up operations.”

Expected Change in Size of Organization’s Workforce in 2021
Expected Change in Size of Organization’s Workforce in 2021

Additionally, given the widespread social justice protests in the summer of 2020, this survey set out to determine what measures employers are planning for next year, if any, to increase diversity and inclusion at their organizations. Among the nine options provided, communications to the workforce about diversity and inclusion was the top choice (cited by 52% of employers), with employee surveys (45%), unconscious bias training (39%), and analysis of recruiting and hiring practices (39%) rounding out the top four options. (Respondents could choose more than one measure.)

“The message of this year’s protests against systemic racism is clear—that the status quo is unacceptable,” says Hellwege. “Employers should consider assessing their policies to ensure their workplace promotes diversity and inclusion.”

XpertHR’s Survey of HR Challenges for 2021 was conducted from September 15, 2020, to October 2, 2020, and published on November 11, 2020. The survey includes the responses from 563 US employers of various industries and workforce sizes. The total estimated number of employees of responding organizations is 950,696. The survey report explores several challenges for HR in the year ahead such as COVID-19, diversity and inclusion, recruiting and hiring, and paid leave. Get the report here.

XpertHR has been providing HR solutions since 2002, empowering organizations across the globe to build successful workforces and create a purposeful workplace for all. The platform delivers expert insight, trusted resources, data analysis and practical tools to help achieve greater efficiency, reduce risk and increase employee engagement. XpertHR is developing smarter data analysis tools and cutting-edge technology to support future demands on HR in an increasingly digital world. To learn more visit

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