It’s a new year, and with a new year comes the need for new hires. Sure, things are a bit different (thanks to 2020), but this year will likely bring even more change. With many industries still in a flux and others operating in completely new ways, organizations must rethink the way they will buildout their teams moving forward. Here are five points to consider when developing your 2021 hiring strategy.

1. Today’s talent pool is extremely talented

By April 2020, 20.5 million Americans had lost their jobs. Unemployment reached levels unseen since the Great Depression. Entire industries faltered, cutting loose exceptionally talented employees because there was no other choice.

A lot of these same people turned to freelancing (more on this later). As a result, they’re still out there, ready and willing to help your company achieve its 2021 goals.

For hiring managers, this acts as a double-edged sword. Finding exceptional employees won’t be a problem. Choosing which ones to hire may present the bigger issue. It’ll be like every season finale ever of Top Chef. Y’know, 3-4 culinary artists who pretty much all deserve to wear the crown, but alas, only one gets to walk away with the riches.

Whatever your process, there’s no doubt that any job posting will be met with a diverse pool of expert-level applicants.

2. There’s a huge demand for skilled freelancers

Forbes reported in June that freelancers should expect to remain in high demand in 2021. Throughout the bulk of 2020, creative and technology professionals proved to be vital resources for many companies. They helped enhance online offerings, improve customer experiences, implement AI and automation, and completely retool content strategies.

This year will be no different. In fact, freelancers might even watch their demand increase as more companies shift to remote and/or hybrid work models, as well as evaluate opportunities for outsourcing work.

Hiring managers need to understand the current freelancing landscape and the costs associated with top talent. To help, we’ve put together our annual salary guide that breaks down creative, marketing, and technology professionals’ salary ranges based on their education, experience, and individual skillsets.

3. Remote and/or hybrid models are the new 8-5

2020 forever altered how and where we work. Yes, some companies effectively used remote models pre-pandemic, but never before have entire industries been forced to shift operations in such dramatic fashion.

And guess what? It works.

We like our traditions. There’s no replacing the proverbial water cooler talk that sparks innovative ideas in the workplace, but we’ve also long been victim to hesitation born from tradition. Work from home? Impossible! How will anyone be productive?

Cut to almost a year’s worth of a pandemic, where there’s simply been no choice but to work from home. People are productive. Many companies have raced back to the drawing board with a new set of dry erase markers. The question: How can we keep this going?

According to a new study by Mursion and Future Workplace, virtual reality skills training is poised for explosive growth. They report that by by 2022, more than 72 percent of learning and development leaders across industries will have tried VR for soft skills training at their organization.

This technology could have a major effect on the way companies evaluate, onboard and train employees in a remote/hybrid world.

4. Adapt now, but plan for the future

We’ve had to adapt aplenty over the last ten months. Now is the time to multi-task: adaptation that plans for the future.

In today’s remote work environment, candidates who rise to the top will demonstrate strong communication skills, understanding of technology and a flexible approach to their work. Those hiring managers who can identify these traits are sure to make the best impact hires for their organizations.

And once the hire is made, it becomes crucial to showcase your company culture and make sure your new employee feels connected to your team to ensure their satisfaction and long-term success.

5. The rush to hire talent started yesterday

Given high demand, remote possibilities, and the level of exceptional talent, there’s much competition…and not just between applicants. We’re talking competition between companies.

Every single company wants top talent, and the rush to find these pros started yesterday. Today’s most successful hiring managers are quick working, flexible, and goal-oriented.

They understand their industry. Perhaps they’ve lifted geographic requirements and opened the door to a whole new world of talent. Many are using AI and machine learning to streamline the hiring process and eliminate personal bias. 

Make sure you (and/or your team) have the tools you need to compete in today’s global marketplace to ensure success for your organization.


As purveyors of top talent in the creative, marketing, and technology industries, Onward Search is positioned to help you jumpstart your hiring efforts in 2021. Please contact our team today to get started.

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