Cheat Codes for Hiring Market 2021: Forecasts for Employers This Year

29.01.2021 Anastasia Vivatenko

People were looking forward to the end of 2020 as some sort of a magical escape. The feeling of hope for a new reality starting January 1st was thick.

The vaccine is on its way, the general anxiety has somewhat subsided, and even Cyberpunk was finally released. Will 2021 be the year when all the crisis problems disappear from the radars of the hiring market? It’s too early to say, but something tells us it’s not the case.
So, new year — new trends. We analyzed the results of 2020, studied the situation and market sentiment, and identified 6 main points that companies should pay attention to in order to successfully compete for strong candidates.

Look around you, look beyond

A retrospective is an important part of planning and forecasting. We had an article explaining what 2020 brought to the hiring table. Before we move on with the forecasts for 2021, let’s recall what we’ve stopped at:

  • Candidates’ priorities have changed;

  • Lots of candidates moved to regions from big cities;

  • The balance of power between the companies on the market has changed;

  • Soft benefits are prevailing;

  • The number of available candidates is reducing.

For more details check out our article “Expectations VS Reality”. Now, let the forecasting begin.



Admit it: it’s never going to be the same after coronavirus. And since life is never going back to what it was, remote work also can’t be pushed back into the closet. All the companies simply had to go remote, and now many specialists prefer having an option to work from home to a full office position.


Remote work enters the legal field as an official form of employment and it means you’re not getting paid less or are treated less of a part of the team than an office worker. IT market is strongly against cutting rates or canceling benefit packages for remote workers. About 15% of our clients began to include electricity and Internet bills into the salary of remote employees, and this practice becomes more common.



The companies that are keen on keeping their positions in the market are going further by remoting the educational seminars, onboarding, and even team building. All stated is aimed to eliminate the difference between the office and remote workers in order to create a united working environment.

Many companies including Intella create hybrid offices where the tables are free. The workers who have to work from the office due to the specificity of their work or their own choice get their own stationary places. Other tables are free to take any time. Each table is equipped with necessities, and an employee can visit the office and take any place to work in comfort.


If we count out the companies where employees have to be at the office only (like banks, for example), then the hybrid office is an efficient median and a serious perk in the candidate’s eyes.



As 2020 has shown, sooner or later a company might face the peak hiring season, when there’s little time available yet lots of specialists required. For that matter, we recommend remembering about your own employees being your main resource and potential ace in the hole.


Talk to your employees and hold a regular assessment. Not so much for the new grades or raises but to know your workers better. In addition to the profession, they eventually have a hobby, and it’s not uncommon in the IT-sphere for these two categories to have the same nature. A tester may as well be interested in UX design, and a developer may be interested in architecture. Why not help them realize their interest for the benefit of the company?

EPAM, for example, is actively using internal education to transfer the employees across the branches inside the company. If a frontend developer is interested in Data Science, the company trains them and gradually inserts them into the data projects for practice. So, the company gets a trained specialist, and the employee doesn’t need to quit and start from scratch in another field of knowledge. 


Internal promotion is the fastest and cheapest way to close the vacancy. Perhaps, this decision won’t fully meet the requirements of the business but as a temporary solution in crisis, it works just fine.



During crisis times basic methods of motivation are not enough: one can’t hold a proper team building outside, and the Christmas bonus is too far in the future. After going through a crisis of employees’ motivation, employers began to think about how to involve and motivate the employees long term.


Scrum preachers will probably tell you it’s hard to take a month or two-long sprints: long term goals are harder to decompose into tasks and fit them in time limits to analyze later. Basically, a year bonus is sort of like a year-long sprint. It’s much harder to evaluate each employee’s impact, and working every day for some sort of long-promised bonus is much more demanding.


Companies initiate large projects on the involvement and motivation of the personnel. Some implementing partner management and a mastermind — group gatherings where employees help each other solve business tasks. Some choose gamification for the work process by bringing up the point system. One gets points for finishing the task, helping a colleague, or other routines, and then exchanges the points for a prize. Easy as an apple pie but the engagement in such companies gets up to 96%. The employees are more motivated to work and help each other when they know the reward won’t be lingering. They hold onto HR-brand and therefore are less mobile.


Many companies such as Yandex or Revolut offer their employees shares or options. Stocks motivate a worker since their personal interest depends on the common success of the company.



Those who enjoy economic strategies know — before taking any actions, you need to study the map and the enemy’s positions. The post-crisis period reminds of fighting windmills: everything has changed and no one knows what goes on. Companies either choose to leave things as they were, or change everything just in case.


The core thing to know in 2021 is where your competitors stand. Watch closely where your candidates go and why. Employees change jobs for various reasons, and therefore, the most unobvious projects from other industries can become your competitors for the desired specialists. Try to have a fairly clear hiring plan for the year and a couple of aces up your sleeve in case of force majeure. The ability to quickly mobilize is the critical factor for companies in a volatile hiring market.


To make sure you’re not waving your fists in the air, analyze your positions on the market. That’s where the statistics and analytics will come in handy. We in Intella love numbers. We chose to always rely on quantitative indicators when it comes to implementing innovations. This is justified: a strategy based on statistical data is easier to predict and tolerates the crisis situations better.



It’s surprising ‘mental health’ wasn’t mentioned among the top words of 2020. Social distancing, remote work, the general pressure of the current circumstances — these factors triggered so many hidden mental issues like anxiety or depressions, that the number of burnouts increased all over the world.

Communication agency Setters decided that having someone to speak to is vital. That’s why they paid for the psychological help hotline for their employees so that they can ask for professional help at any given point.


Simple yet important truth is — it’s bad for the employer when its employee burns out. In 2020 many companies realized it the hard way. So in 2021, the majority of companies are keen on mental health-oriented politics. Talk to your employees, remember that remote work doesn’t equal working 24/7. Implement mental health care in corporate culture. Companies like JetBrains prepare inner instructions and regulations to protect the workers from working extra hours, midnight calls, and other factors that lead to burnouts.


Nota Bene for 2021

Corona-crisis became a really huge upheaval since it caused changes in all spheres of life. Such changes don’t disappear without a trace all of a sudden but form a new reality to adapt to.


2021 will be the year of digital transformation for businesses and government corporations that haven’t accepted the digital revolution yet. This is a voluminous task that requires lots of resources while the market lacks them. It’s hard to create new candidates out of nowhere without the cheat codes. But what can be done is level up the HR-brand to win through fair competition and quality. The nota bene for 2021 is to become an appealing employer on the market — no less.



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