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What employers and candidates prioritise in 2021

At the heart of recruitment success is a happy employer and employee. That is why it is important to keep in mind what matters to both as you work on your recruitment strategy. Here is an overview of what employers and candidates prioritize at this time. 

What are employers’ priorities?

It has been shown that employers have prioritized the following this year

  • Improving the quality of hire. This refers to how well the person you are hiring is fit for the position, team and long term goals of the business. Given that hiring the right person will not only save costs but will lead to productivity and growth, it is no wonder that employers are prioritizing this in 2021. 


  • Increasing retention rate. Keeping the right person for the job is as important as getting them in the first place. With increasing opportunities for candidates to access job ads and change work without moving or making too many sacrifices, employee retention is and should be a key priority.  


  • Improving time to hire. Time is of the essence when hiring someone especially for SMEs. Each day a position is left unfilled is a loss in invested resources and potential earnings. Precious time and energy that will be spent on interviewing candidates needs to be planned wisely so as to get the most qualified person through the process and onto onboarding. If delayed long, candidates on the final round may change their minds or go to another offer which would mean starting the process all over again. 


  • Growing their talent pipeline. Talent isn’t as readily available when employers need it the most. It takes time and resources to find the right person at the right time. This is why growing a talent pool or network from which employers can more easily approach potential candidates is a priority. 


  • Diversity hiring. Inclusive recruitment has been a growing priority globally as social awareness has improved in the business world. Diversity is shown to improve growth, innovation, awareness and reputation. As the global talent pool has expanded and many candidates look into the businesses they are applying to, one of the things they will notice is how important diversity is to employers. This is why it has become crucial for employers to prioritize diversity hiring.

What are candidates’ priorities?

On the other side, this year some of candidates’ priorities are as follows

  • Healthcare and safety. Now that the pandemic is in its second year and still going, candidates have grown more concerned about their workplace safety and health care support. With COVID-19 reminding everyone that life is precious, employees and candidates are increasingly aiming for a better work life balance.


  • Flexible working hours. It is shown that candidates are willing to sacrifice larger pay for better working arrangements such as flexible hours. Being able to go about the needs of their personal lives while choosing a time where they can productively work has become a key priority for candidates this year. 


  • Meaningful work. Millenials and Gen Z are now more interested in meaningful work rather than a salary to simply fulfill financial needs. As the hierarchy of needs for work is shifted upwards, candidates are looking for work that will be more meaningful and a source of passion for their lives. 


  • Growth and development opportunities. Now more than ever, candidates and employees understand the need for growth in an ever changing world of technology and challenges. New digital skills are in demand and staying with the same skills set is barely an option. Due to this, candidates are looking for businesses that would help them grow professionally and personally. 


  • Diversity and inclusion. Finally, candidates are prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the businesses they apply to because it shows the level of awareness and type of values the company represents. 

A lot of both employers and candidates priorities overlap because an employee who is satisfied by their job will provide value for the business and is more likely to stay longer. Employers are also looking for the following soft skills in employees. 

Skills such as communication, time management, critical thinking, problem solving, initiative and teamwork are key to a successful business operation. Additional and more modern skills such as emotional intelligence, self awareness, digital literacy are also becoming something employers seek in candidates.  

Beyond this, employers want certain characteristics in their candidates and employees as part of a need for cultural fit and sharing of similar values. Traits such as honesty, loyalty, dependability, flexibility, self reliance, eagerness to learn, confidence, work ethic, determination, positivity and ambition are among those employers actively want in their hires.

On the other side of the equation, employees and candidates are looking for a great boss, trust and respect, appreciation and recognition, growth and career progression, a good cultural environment, sense of belongingness, clear communication, corporate social responsibility where the business stands for certain social values such as diversity and inclusion. 

Given the pandemic, the employee and employer relationship has been disrupted. New ways of communicating and meeting needs have become a necessity in the quickly changing environment of lockdowns and growing social movements. 

Being aware of these employer-employee dynamics and priorities can help guide everyone to a common direction. If you liked this article and would like more information or support feel free to contact us. AJ Connect is a UK based recruitment agency that works to find win-win matches between businesses and candidates. 







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