March 12, 2021

One Year In: Recruiting and Hiring During a Pandemic

Paula Santonocito Headshot
Paula Santonocito
March 12, 2021

It has been one year since many businesses, including Appcast, first closed their offices and transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic.

March 13 – Friday the 13th, ironically – was the day the workplace, and the employment marketplace, changed.

But, as with so many situations, what began as dramatic change, quickly became a new normal.

What the data shows

In fact, from a recruiting and hiring standpoint, the new normal doesn’t appear to be much different from the old normal. Overall, the numbers on an annual basis are fairly consistent.

Consider a comparison of the Appcast 2021 Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Report to the 2020 report. In 2021, Appcast looked at 2020 job ad data and found that there were 125 million clicks and 7 million applies. Contrast this with the 2020 report, when we looked at 2019 job ad data and found 139 million clicks and 7 million applies.

This snapshot suggests that companies continued to post job ads in an effort to fill open positions, while people continued to search and apply for jobs. And all this occurred during a period of upset and ongoing uncertainty.

Of course, this take on stability is only the bird’s-eye view. At ground level, there were shifts in the types of jobs hiring organizations were looking to fill.

For example, demand for workers in Transportation increased in 2020, because of more online shopping. Similarly, demand for frontline Healthcare workers increased, due to need.

At the same time, pandemic-related concerns kept some would-be candidates for these and other jobs on the sidelines.

Where people work

The past year is notable for many employment-related changes, including the frequently cited “shift to remote work.”

But how widespread is the trend, really?

In 2020, Appcast looked at remote job ads, defined as job ads that included “work from home,” “WFH,” “virtual” or “remote,” pre-COVID (January 1 – March 31, 2020) compared to mid-pandemic (April 1 – September 30, 2020). While there was an increase of 38%, the needle didn’t move that much. Pre-COVID, the percentage of total remote job ads was 2.20%; mid-pandemic, that number was still only 3.00%.

What’s more, it’s difficult to know how many jobs will be remote long-term, and how many are remote for now. This remains a question from an analysis standpoint. It’s also a question with which some hiring organizations are grappling.

Still, since so many people currently work remotely, why isn’t the number higher?

Many jobs simply cannot be performed remotely. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 55% of U.S. employment is in occupations where remote work is not feasible. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business arrived at a different number; it finds 63% of jobs aren’t conducive to remote work. Either way, it’s a majority of jobs.

Appcast provides additional insight into remote work during the pandemic, and offers tips for identifying which jobs align with remote work, as well as how to attract and screen remote candidates now and in the future, in the whitepaper Appcast Futurecast: Recruiting and Hiring Workers for Remote Jobs.

And speaking of the future, Appcast will continue to rely on data to help employers and others understand the impact of external events on recruiting and hiring. Because hey, we’ve found it’s better than a crystal ball.

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