The Financial Year Perspective

The 2021 financial year is bound to become more competitive as three out of four working Indian professionals are likely to consider changing their job or actively look for a new role in the next 12 months. This is according to LinkedIn Job Seeker research conducted in Jan 2021.

While the Indian economy took a heavy beating in 2020, it is expected to make a slow recovery during financial year 21-22. Which means that there would be more employment opportunities this year. With opportunities there also comes a few challenges. Before proceeding to understand these challenges and problems, here is something we need to comprehend. Though the vaccines are available, the Covid-19 pandemic is yet to come under control.

Let’s get to the various perspectives and their challenges faced in 2021.


The Job seekers Perspective

Jobseekers have a huge sense of insecurity during the pandemic and the fear of lockdown looms over every major city in India as the virus is reaching new heights. Let us get to know the challenges the job seekers may face this year.

1. Pandemic Insecurity

Lesser number of people are applying to job opportunities where a physical presence is required such as hospitality, health care workers, Media and Entertainment, manufacturing & production industries. Jobseekers are opting for jobs where there is lesser risk of exposure to crowds and are preferring more of WFH jobs which is creating a huge rift between demand and supply.
Many job seekers are seeking a permanent Work from Home job opportunity. Also, a study has shown the threats to job security has led to depression & decrease in cognitive function to those with higher levels of perceived job security had lower depression and better cognitive function.

2. More emphasis to Productivity & Performance Driven Hires

Job seekers with average performance or bad performance are finding it tough to get suitable jobs.
Organizations are keen to hire high performers and are laying off non-performers. Some organisations give an overall target and along with that target the work is broken down to tasks and activities. Job seekers need to showcase their skills more than ever before to compete and get selected in the right job opportunity. Every company is looking for high performance-oriented employee which is a challenge in the current scenario.

3. Finding a job with Work-Life Balance

WFH, WFA, Workcations are the new buzzwords in Recruitment. Some organisations have become permanently work from home while some are following a hybrid system of having non-essential workers completing most of their work virtually. A recent study states that the more hours an individual works from home, the less productive they become. Those who worked full time (8 hours/day) at home are 70% less productive than those who do not work from home. What we see happening is that people working from home are putting in a greater number of hours compared to those working at office. The shift of working at a fixed time to working “Anytime” and working “All the Time” has taken a toll on Employees. With Family members staying at home and schools being closed, the domestic disturbances too are adding to the loss of productivity. Jobseekers are now looking for opportunities which provide good work life Balance.

4. Multiple interview Rounds – Remote Hiring is the new norm

With Recruitment & Hiring Becoming remote & virtual; will require more documentation in process. The interviews are virtually recorded, it mostly involves an online test and some tasks too. The challenge is to pass the various rounds of interviews. Applying to jobs is easy but getting through all rounds successfully can be a real challenge.

5. Finding the right organisation which offers great Perks & Benefits

Good news for Tech job seekers is that there is a huge demand for niche skillsets. Companies are wooing candidates with attractive salary packages and good perks & benefits.  Perks and benefits such as:

  • Various insurances – Health, Life and Family group insurance.
  • Perks like – Laptop, Mobile, Phone connection,
  • Food Vouchers & Shopping coupons.
  • Work from Home Option
  • Extended Maternity / Paternity Leaves
  • Employee Stock options
  • Certification & Training Programs
  • Joining Bonuses
  • Additional Incentives

The challenge is to identify the right organisation that provides all of these benefits.

6. There will be more contract or GIG job opportunities compared to permanent roles

There would be more opportunities in Contract roles compared to permanent roles. Gig Workers are in huge demand and people looking for permanent jobs will find it a lot more difficult to get full time opportunities. It is a boon and curse at the same time as a job seeker can work on multiple projects as a gig worker but at the same time the jobseeker does not have a permanent or steady income. Now let’s look at the Employers or Recruiters Perspective of challenges that they may face in 2021.

The Recruiters / Employers Perspective

While India is struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic, Recruiting & Hiring is every HR professional’s top concern in 2021. Hiring is a top priority for most companies in 2021. It is a priority because of the variety of unique challenges that the employers are facing because of the pandemic. But it’s not a simple decision to invest in hiring amid the uncertainty & unpredictable nature of COVID, there is an increasing focus on employer branding through digital channels as organisations want to connect with candidates. Adoption of assessment & video interview products such as DigiHyre is happening rapidly, since conducting a high volume of in-person interviews are not possible.

Within talent acquisition, attracting top talent in 2021 is seen as the most difficult issue to navigate, followed by ensuring candidates feel safe to work onsite, hiring a diverse workforce, managing virtual recruiting, and onboarding practices, and dealing with a high volume of applicants is a task by itself.

A few of the challenges experienced by Employers in 2021 are:

Finding Purple Squirrels is the biggest Challenge

Purple squirrel is a term used by employment recruiters to describe a job candidate with precisely the right education, set of experience, and range of qualifications that perfectly fits a job’s requirements. The implication is that over-specification of the requirements makes a perfect candidate as hard to find as a purple squirrel. Companies come up with various combination of skillsets which are difficult to find in one individual leading to the job being vacant most of the time.

2. Offer Rejections by Candidates are at an all-time high.

If you have been reading the papers you would know that Offer Rejection by job seekers is upto 50%. Employers are releasing offers with 100 % hikes and still they are struggling to have people onboard them. Money, or rather compensation, has been a deciding factor, and techies are clearly taking full advantage of the situation.

Why is it happening now?
Demand for niche tech talent is high and the availability of these niche talent looking out for jobs is at an all-time low. Source

3. Failing to create a good Candidate Interview Experience & Journey

With Hiring going virtual, physical meet and greets are a big no-no. Candidates do not get to feel the real work environment or get to interact with members of the prospective organisation. Companies are finding a big challenge in giving a good candidate Experience to the jobseekers.

Adoption of creating online content such as:


  1. Virtual Walk Thru
  2. Online meet and greets
  3. Company Profiles & Company Videos
  4. Recruitment Process Automation

4. Lack of Budget for Talent Acquisition & Hiring

The pandemic has created a lack of fiscal budgets to acquire talent for few organisations. Let alone hiring people, companies are not able to retain existing talent. Budget constraints add a lot of challenge in hiring the right talent. No candidate would like to join at the same salary as their previous job or with a minimal hike.

5. Lengthy Interview processes has candidate drop offs

Face to face interviews wouldn’t take much time and employers could schedule multiple candidates in a day. With interviews going virtual the speed of interviewing is faster but at the same time the number of interview stages has increased. Since the Recruitment team is not meeting face to face, many interview stages are added to double sure that they are hiring the right fit talent. But what the Organizations don’t realise is that may candidates drop off due to too many lengthy interviews. Getting candidates to take up interviews has also become a big challenge in 2021.

6. Retention strategies prevent candidates to look out for opportunities

Companies are retaining their talent by salary hikes and providing perks & benefits. Good talent is retained by the employers thus creating a shortage of supply of tech talent in the market to acquire.  Countering the counteroffer is an even bigger challenge in 2021.

7. Offer Shopping By candidates is the new Norm

There are candidates in the market who are holding at least 2 offers if not more in hand but are still searching for better offers comparing it to which the candidate had got earlier. Offer shopping has become quite common and has been a huge challenge for Recruiter to onboard candidates.

8. Ageing of Positions due to Wait and Watch approach

There is also a segment of passive job seekers who are willing to wait for a longer period of time till they get an offer that they can’t refuse. This creates Ageing in hiring time and a huge lag in the interviewing process. Feedback does not reach on time which too leads to candidate drops offs.

Recruitment is always evolving and most of the challenges remain to this day due to the mindset of the Employers and jobseekers. Adoption of innovative ideas and improving the process is the key to overcome these challenges.

Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.

Marc Benioff

Founder, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce