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After the confines, challenges, and changes the pandemic brought to 2020, it seemed there was nowhere else to go but up, and apparently, at least in the job market, it has. While there has been lingering uncertainty and a fluctuating job market, the 2021 hiring outlook is positive, according to Monster’s report “The Future of Work, 2021 Global Outlook.”

“I fundamentally believe that we will be in a better position this year, especially in the second half of 2021,” said Scott Gutz, Monster CEO, in the report, “We should expect more jobs and more candidates participating, and a lot more activity overall.”

Companies will also be hiring (47%) to replace or backfill staff and 35% plan to hire for new positions. Not only is the outlook positive, so is the attitude: Nine of 10 recruiters said they’re confident they can find the right candidate.

Upskilling, an important factor in the tech industry, is viewed slightly differently between employer and candidate; 62% of employers said they should be responsible and 48% of candidates, ultimately, “most likely to say, we’re in this together.” Tech is also an industry with specific skills in demand (25%).

Tech recruiters are most likely (12%) to use social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter). The most effective online job board tools are resume search tools (40%).

But they are still cautious. Employers identified three of their top challenges: Finding candidates with the right candidate—a serious issue in the tech industry; dealing with the work/life balance expectation (new policies include remote flexibility and reduced workplace footprint); and virtual recruiting (seven of 10 companies are doing virtual interviews and onboarding), but 25% of global respondents still struggle and stated concerns about getting a true feel for culture and value alignment when meeting online—this has been a particularly concerning point for small and medium-sized companies.

“I predict that despite virtual and flexible work options continuing, we will also see a gradual return to an in-person work environment,” Gutz said.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The report also found that social responsibility takes on a greater meaning and candidates are likely to research how a company handled their employees during the pandemic.

Employees said there are three policy changes they want: Flexible work schedules, salary protection, and health policies/protocols. Candidates and recruiters are in line with the following that workers have described as a want, and companies have been able to change: Salary protection, communication transparency, and career development.

The pandemic contributed to the impact of work on the mental health of employees, and 46% of respondents said they experienced no health impact, and another 46% said they developed job-related anxiety and/or depression. Work-related health issues include: Loneliness, imposter syndrome (false belief you are undeserving of accolades), suicidal thoughts, physical illness, and increased alcohol use. Globally, women experience the physical and emotional toll of work more than men. US women experience a higher rate of depression and loneliness, while US men experience higher rates of physical illness, as well as alcohol use.

There’s also clearly work to be done surrounding diversity and inclusion efforts. The US was ranked close to the bottom (30%), and lacking in D&I strategies (compared to France at 45% and Italy at 43%). The report found that more than one in three employers said they don’t have a Diversity & Inclusion strategy in place.

If you’ve been flummoxed by a typically detailed job description, you’re not alone. One in five recruiters said that writing an honest job description and defining job roles is challenging.

The majority of respondents (71%) were internal recruiters, and 20% outsourced. Respondents were hiring for white-collar (46%), grey-collar (31%) and blue-collar (23%) jobs.

Of the industries, tech and manufacturing had the highest number of representatives (10% each). Tech is also the industry most likely to add net new jobs (49%) and “confidence is soaring” about the tech industry in general.

The tech industry is also at the top of the list for industries “on board with virtual recruiting,” with nearly half of North America (US, Canada) are predominantly virtual for recruiting.

As previously mentioned, determining candidate fit can be a challenge virtually, but the three top factors are in-person interview, resume, and prior work experience. The US, Canada, and Italy use virtual interviews the most.

Large businesses are more accepting of candidates living outside their geographic area, and 28% of tech cut virtual interviewees slack for not dressing professionally. Globally, 59% of employers use a resume to demonstrate a candidate’s skill, but candidates want to show their values more than their skills (39% vs. 36%).

Recruiters and job seekers do agree that they want a resume to convey more personality (55% of employers, 33% of candidates). The US is the country with the strongest alignment in a resume’s objectives with both groups ranking skills and personality as the top two factors a resume should demonstrate.

Alternate realities, telling lies: 66% of employers said candidates exaggerate their skill level on their resume, and 44% of employers say candidates “stretch the truth.”

Countries most likely to hold off hiring were the UK and Canada, although it should be noted that the UK was entering its second lockdown when the survey took place (October to November 2020).

The pandemic undeniably played a huge role in how significantly the workplace changed in 2020. Flexibility tops the list of policy changes caused by the pandemic and 42% of global employers began offering flexible work schedules.

Methodology: 3,100 recruiters were surveyed in the US, Canada, France, the UK, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden.