2021 Career and Employment Trends


During Q1 in 2021, our colleagues at BOWEN noticed a shift in employment trends. The world is not going back to the way things were pre-pandemic. Employers are not only accepting the change to remote workforces, but they are also investing in technologies to give workers more flexibility.

The overall job market is recovering, with some industries seeing a significant increase in roles to fulfil the growing business needs. On the flip side, others were affected by a hiring freeze. “At BOWEN, we noticed an immediate impact on the number of Temporary and Permanent job orders we were receiving once COVID-19 hit, but it is great to see those roles now back on the rise,” says Debbie Wershler, President of BOWEN.   

According to Canadian HR Reporter, top industries looking to hire for existing and new positions are in healthcare (59 per cent), real estate (56 per cent), finance/banking (53 per cent) and technology (49 per cent). In contrast, leisure/hospitality (32 per cent), small to medium-size businesses (24 per cent) and retail (20 per cent) are the top industries anticipating a hiring freeze.

“While our oil and gas clients were certainly impacted in a negative way due to the rapid decline in prices coupled with COVID-19 last spring, we are seeing a steady increase in RFP activity and the return of workers who were previously on temporary lay-offs.  We are also seeing demand for Contingent Workforce Management services which allow organizations to focus on their core business activities while their contracted workers are managed by a vendor,” says Pat Kaiser, VP of Corporate Development at BOWEN.

In January, LinkedIn released its 2021 Jobs on the Rise report, which showcases employment shifts due to COVID-19. Since February of 2020, there has been a 440 per cent increase in remote job postings on LinkedIn.  Another report shows that diversity roles increased by 71 per cent over the last five years globally. The number of Head of Diversity roles have seen 107 per cent growth, Director of Diversity job titles have grown 75 per cent, while Chief Diversity Officer is close behind, at 68 per cent higher.

With many companies extending their work-from-home policies, remote workers are expected to show the ability to thrive and succeed in a remote environment. While hard skills can be developed and learned over time, soft skills are harder to teach. To land a remote job, candidates must focus on improving their soft skills.

“When we speak to our clients, they are looking for collaboration, interpersonal communication, time management and adaptability skills to build effective remote teams,” says Julian Hallett, Director of Corporate Development at BOWEN. “Self-motivation is also necessary for remote work. A high degree of autonomy allows workers to be proactive and accomplish goals on their own terms without being constantly monitored by managers.”

2020 has been a year of change. As we look ahead, employers will be adjusting to new trends affecting their businesses, and workers will be adding new skills or changing careers to stay relevant and qualify for in-demand jobs.