Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), a provider of research on staffing and workforce trends, has released its annual coverage on industry trends in a detailed Staffing Trends 2021 report that addresses the 10 trends most likely to impact the staffing market in the coming year.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic dominate staffing trends globally throughout the first half of 2021, it said, “with economies around the world continuing to navigate lockdowns, combat outbreaks and rollout vaccination programs in varying degrees.

“While recovery begins to gain a foothold in certain markets, and other markets experience more significant challenges, by mid-year a global economic recovery should become more established, though this is largely dependent on the efficacy of and efficiency with which vaccinations can be delivered on a worldwide scale.”

According to SIA, Asia-Pacific (APAC) staffing markets are expected to see the most acceleration in 2021.

Although improving global economies are on the horizon in the second half of 2021, it adds that a number of the workforce-related changes expedited by the pandemic are likely to have a more lasting impact, paving the way for a “new normal” in lieu of a return to previous norms across business and society.

“Remote work and flexible working models, which were being increasingly utilized prior to the pandemic, saw tremendous acceleration in 2020, setting the stage for more virtual, flexible and contingent work arrangements in post-pandemic labor markets. Automation has also soared, alongside rapid and ongoing digital transformation, displacing jobs in some instances and changing the shape of the market.

“Reskilling and training will see increased activity and investment to transition and equip the workforce for new jobs and types of work, and to address existing and emerging skills shortages, talent gaps and employability. Hiring practices will be impacted by trends around direct sourcing, total talent, staffing platform models and omni-channel staffing development.” 

With systemic racism and gender inequality receiving heightened and sustained awareness over the course of 2020, diversity & inclusion (D&I) will be a focus and an opportunity for many organizations in 2021.

“A momentous cultural shift and growing acknowledgment of the link between diversity and inclusion and strong business outcomes make D&I a top strategic concern as well as a major staffing trend, with contingent D&I expected to become a higher priority in 2021 among global HR and procurement professionals.”

“Pandemic aside, many of the trends we are highlighting this year are not new, but they have each been accelerated due to the influence of COVID-19,” said John Nurthen, executive director of global research with SIA.

“While the next six months will be extremely challenging, a number of important trends, if addressed in the right way, can prove to be highly beneficial to both the staffing industry and wider society.”

The report covers additional trends and in-depth insights, along with a current SWOT analysis for the industry. The full 20-page Staffing Trends 2021 report is available for the entire workforce solutions ecosystem as a Free Resource from SIA, which is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif.

Paul Barker