Monster survey finds 46% of big companies more open to hiring remote workers

Employers say the skills gap is worse than it was a year ago and that workers are equally responsible for upskilling.

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Candidates with some high school (41%) or who graduated high school (37%) are more likely to feel upskilling should be done by employers than those with college or advanced degrees (50% of whom say it should be shared), according to a new survey from Monster.

Image: Future of Work 2021 from Monster

Monster's Future of Work report finds that the pandemic has made employers more open to hiring remote workers and changed ideas about what is acceptable work history. The survey of recruiters and workers found that companies have changed policies because of the pandemic but not always in ways that employees want. This outlook for the year offers a snapshot of company actions and worker attitudes about hiring and remote versus in-person work.

Monster CEO Scott Gutz said in the executive summary of the 2021 Global Outlook report that he expects a gradual return to in-person work in the second half of 2021.

"Employers have got to start thinking about how to get people comfortable interacting with each other once again, with a focus on health and safety," he said in the report.

Jort Wassenaar, managing director of Monster Europe, also said in the report that corporate social responsibility will continue to be important to job candidates. 

"Candidates will be looking to see how a company treated their employees during the pandemic, and how they are contributing to society," he said in the report. "It's more important than ever that companies have a clear and compelling story to tell candidates." 

SEE: 82% of US employers are planning to hire in 2021 (TechRepublic)

The overall hiring outlook is promising with 82% of employers planning to hire new staff this year. Forty-seven percent plan to replace positions that were cut or unfilled and 35% plan to hire for new positions. Healthcare, finance and banking, and real estate are the most likely to backfill jobs. On the downside, small and midsize businesses, retail, and hospitality companies are most likely to anticipate a hiring freeze. The UK and Canada are most likely to hold off on hiring. England was starting its second lockdown when this survey was conducted.

The survey also asked about the skills gap with a third of respondents indicating the gap has increased compared to a year ago. Most employers and candidates agree that upskilling is a shared responsibility, although characteristics such as dependability and teamwork are still some of the most desired skills. 

Here is a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected workplace policies and hiring practices in the short term and the long run. 

Measuring the impact of the pandemic

Most companies had to revise operating policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that started in March 2020. Forty-two percent of global employers began offering flexible work schedules. Employers reported making these changes in these areas as well:

  • Health policies and protocols: 40%
  • Training staff/skills training: 31%
  • Increased security: 29%
  • Team collaboration: 27%
  • Reducing workplace footprint: 22%

The survey found that company size influenced the types of policy change that was enacted with large firms most likely to offer remote flexility, employee assistance programs, and reducing office hours while medium-sized companies were more likely to offer salary production and paid family leave. SMBs were most likely to have no policy changes.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

A disconnect between policy changes employees want and what companies are actually offering showed up in the survey results. Workers want these changes:

  • Flexible work schedules
  • Salary protection
  • Health policies and protocols

The Monster report recommends that employers consider improving communication transparency and offering more career development opportunities in addition providing salary protection to address this disconnect.

The survey also asked about mental health concerns. Among employees, 46% said they have felt job-related anxiety and depression. Other health issues included loneliness, imposter syndrome, suicidal thoughts, physical illness, and increased alcohol use. Women were more likely to report physical and emotional toll of remote work than men and reported higher rates of anxiety, depression, headaches, and loneliness.

Adapting the recruiting process

Employers report that they are concerned about how the recruiting process has adapted to the  world of remote work. Only 37% of respondents said that HR and talent acquisition experts responded well to the pandemic.  

Seventy percent of survey respondents said that at least half of the recruiting and onboard process is virtual, with 10% stating the process is fully virtual. Companies in Canada, the US, and Italy are the most likely to use a virtual process along with tech and business firms. 

The pandemic also has influenced the rules around acceptable work history. The survey found that job hopping and resume gaps are not dealbreakers in the hiring process. Also, 46% of large companies are more open to hiring people who don't live in a city where a physical office is located. When selecting a candidate, employers look for interview presence, work experience, and cultural fit. The Monster Future of Work survey also asked about preferred qualification by industry and found these top priorities in these industries:

  • Healthcare: Interview presence, work experience, and degree
  • Manufacturing: Experience with technology
  • Finance/banking: Leadership, college degree, and social media

Sixty-six percent of employers believe that candidates exaggerate their experience levels on resumes, according to the survey. 

Survey methodology

Monster partnered with an independent research firm to conduct a survey of 3,100 recruiters/those involved in talent acquisition, HR, and/or the recruitment industry in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Sweden.

Monster partnered with Randstad's bi-annual Workmonitor survey and an independent research

firm to field a 10-minute survey globally in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Sweden that included 7,200 people. This survey was conducted Sept 26 to Oct 23, 2020. 

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