2021 Hiring Trends for Tech Job Seekers

hiring trends job seekers tech industry 2021

It’s no secret that the pandemic has sent the economy into a tailspin. Home and office have become one, with millions of folks still working out of their houses as the pandemic rages on.

Others haven’t been so lucky. The pandemic has caused job loss in the tens of millions, leaving many out of work and wondering what’s to come.

For those who haven’t successfully found new employment, it’s important to note that the aftermath of COVID-19 — and other notable events from 2020 — are shaping the job market and hiring trends for the new year and beyond. 

2021: A strong year for tech

Despite the current state of the world and the economy, there’s reason to be excited about tech.

Every industry took a hit as the world sheltered in place throughout Spring and early Summer of 2020, but tech remained resilient during stay-at-home orders, netting one of the smallest job loss totals across industries.

job loss by industry coronavirus pandemic

With a vaccine on the horizon, there’s a light at the end of the proverbial pandemic tunnel. But as our lives have adjusted to the new normal that COVID has created for us, new innovations and ways of life are creating exciting opportunities for those already in or looking to work in tech.

New innovations = jobs.

While recruiting came to a screeching halt for many industries, others had to quickly ramp up firepower in the midst of global shutdowns. Medtech, naturally, is one such example of a vertical that did more hiring than firing, and it will likely continue to trend that way through the vaccine rollout.

E-commerce is another example of an industry that had to quickly adapt and create new innovations which, in turn, created more jobs. In fact, the pandemic accelerated consumer shift to online retail by five years, calling on more tech professionals than ever to create seamless e-shopping experiences, build websites, and audit the customer journey. Hiring trends are dictated by this type of growth.

ecommerce growth 2014 to 2023 statista

Diversity.

Diversity and inclusion continue to be hot-button topics in the tech community, but the social justice movements of 2020 brought even more discrepancy to light across all industries.

As a result, companies began sharing their commitments to combating racial bias in their own hiring practices. This lead to a spike in diversity hires shortly following summer protests.

diversity inclusion hiring practices black lives matter protests george floyd death

For tech specifically, combating racial hiring bias starts with education. App Academy just received $500,000 to help underrepresented populations in tech get the education they need to learn coding and find employment.

Hiring Trends to Note for Tech Job Seekers in 2021

When you follow a year like 2020, things are apt to change. While the pandemic played a large hand in refreshing hiring practices, many are the result of a changing tech landscape.

If you’re seeking work in the new year (really, for the next few years), here are some trends to be mindful of as you’re sending in applications.

Remote work.

Don’t expect to be heading back into the office anytime soon — especially at tech-based companies. With most folks acclimated to a life of working from home, some of the biggest companies in the world have changed their remote work policy, allowing it for good. This includes Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Square, Salesforce, Spotify, and Amazon, among others. Smaller organizations are following suit.

While the pandemic abruptly shut corporate offices and forced employees to take their work home, a majority would prefer to remain working remotely (or, at the very least, have the option to do so) and employers are taking note:

Three in five U.S. workers who have been doing their jobs from home during the coronavirus pandemic would prefer to continue to work remotely as much as possible, once public health restrictions are lifted. In contrast, 41% would prefer to return to their workplace or office to work, as they did before the crisis. (Gallup)

Diversity and inclusion.

We know now that the protests from the summer put a lot of pressure on companies to unveil their plans to increase diverse hires, but what does this mean for job seekers?

Diversity hiring trends are now more of a priority than ever, and companies are setting direct quotas in an attempt to meet those goals. Not only will this practice paint them in a more positive light, a study conducted by McKinsey showed that companies with more inclusivity in their staff and on their executive board performed (financially) better than those without.

Specifically, in tech, marginalized groups such as women, people of color, and other underrepresented populations will continue to have more opportunities. That’s not to say that you can skate by without reputable skills, though; doing your research, asking pointed questions, and finding companies that align with your values is still as important as it ever was.

Automated recruiting.

No hiring manager can keep up with an influx of applications, which is why more companies are turning to automated recruiting practices and softwares to weed out less desirable candidates. But this process of automation doesn’t end at the application:

Job seekers can also expect to see more automation in the interview process. “Companies are increasingly using pre-recorded interviews to screen candidates,” [Bavol] says. “Some are even developing AI to review those interviews, listening for keywords and watching facial expressions. That level of technology is the infancy stage but it’s coming.” (The Muse)

It’s important to remember that while artificial intelligence software is helpful, it’s not a replacement for proper hiring practices. To ensure your application gets in front of an actual human, The Muse recommends that you tailor your resume with specific skills and key terms then follow up with a personal touch.

Abnormal hiring patterns.

In previous years, the hiring trend was a spike early in the year and again in the fall. The pandemic, however, has changed things, particularly for businesses that can’t adapt to COVID regulations. Expect hiring peaks and pits to coincide those of the economy, the vaccine rollout, and other aspects that are directly affected by the pandemic.

In those aforementioned industries like healthcare and e-commerce, however, hiring is likely to remain steady throughout the year as the pandemic continues to dictate stay-at-home orders and shopping habits.

Stronger branding.

As the job market reboots, companies will need to place an emphasis on branding themselves to stand out to applicants just as much as applicants need to brand themselves to stick out to hiring managers.

Luckily, job seekers can start this process immediately by creating a strong presence on sites like LinkedIn. Sharing content regularly, updating your profile, and interacting with others in your field will get you in front of folks and ultimately help you curate your personal brand. You can give recruiters and HR pros a taste of who you are before they even speak to you, helping your chances of getting hired.

Career changes.

2020 was an eye-opening year for many. Whether they lost a job or stayed in one that continues to be unfulfilling, folks have come to the realization that stability and longevity are important factors when determining a career.

In 2021, there’s no guarantee that some industries will bounce back soon, if ever. Job seekers are now trying to develop new skills, learn new trades, or are even considering going back to school for higher degrees to make them competitive in the workplace. We’ve learned, in tech specifically, that more traditional schooling doesn’t always guarantee better job placement.

In fact, bootcamps and other tech trade schools continue to be the fastest, most effective track for quickly entering the tech community and finding employment. Knowing key programming languages and processes sets students up for jobs in any number of roles, many that are higher paying than the jobs they left behind. Career Karma breaks down what these job titles are and their median salary in 2021:

best tech job titles 2021 median salary

Conclusion

Unless you have a time machine and can see ahead to the future (in which case, we have questions), nobody can truly predict what the hiring trends for 2021 will look like for job seekers and employers alike.

If you are looking to change careers and software engineering is piquing your interest, consider one of our immersive bootcamps. In either four or six months, you’ll be equipped with a wealth of programming knowledge and ready to apply for any number of job titles. To support your search, our career coaches work with graduates one-on-one and are equipped to help you stand out from the pool. 

Pandemic challenges aside, the future of tech looks bright. It’s a good time to check it out.

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Written by Courtney Grace

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