Increased stress, prioritising diversity & inclusion: New report shows state of HR industry a year on from COVID

Increased stress, prioritising diversity and inclusion: New report shows state of HR industry a year on from COVID


Digital Recruiting Company HireVue has published a new study on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australia’s hiring industry, which has been impacted by numerous lockdowns and travel restrictions since 2020.

Last March, the human resources (HR) industry had to adapt to numerous changes in the job market as unemployment rates skyrocketed and remote working became the new norm.

A year later, hiring leaders are on the lookout for new and innovative ways to improve the hiring process and experience for both hiring teams and candidates.

HireVue surveyed 1,100 leaders from the HR industry across Australia, the US and the UK in the first quarter of 2021, asking them what worked in 2020 and what their plans are for the future.

Key findings

100 per cent of respondents listed diversity and inclusion (DEI) as “extremely relevant” or “very relevant” to them. Two-thirds of HR leaders in Australia are making DEI an immediate or short-term priority in their hiring approaches.

59 per cent of businesses are expanding their recruiting networks to find candidates from non-traditional places, 58 per cent are partnering with organisations to connect with underrepresented professionals, and 55 per cent are recruiting from universities with diverse student bodies.

Certain segments of the workforce have been disproportionately impacted in the past 12 months, with 59 per cent of women in the workforce saying the stress of their jobs has increased since the pandemic compared to men (49 per cent).

Graduates are among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with only 13 per cent of hiring managers looking to fill entry-level roles and internships in contrast to senior management positions (38 per cent). 

54 per cent of HR leaders have made the switch to video interviews to speed up the recruitment process, while 45 per cent opt for a combination of in-person and virtual interviews. 

More than 60 per cent of Australia’s hiring managers plan to automate parts of the hiring process to save time and improve efficiencies. A fifth seek to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the next 6 to 12 months. 

Recruitment leaders are seeking out the speed and simplicity that will empower them to create an improved candidate experience with a greater focus on DEI and technological trends, including virtual interviews and conversational AI.

Related: Let’s Talk: Automation – To be or not to be for your business?

“We’ve heard a lot about how the pandemic impacted certain segments of the workforce more-so than others but this data truly showcases that women suffered more than men and that graduates are likely to still struggle in the coming months,” Tom Cornell, the APAC Head of Assessments at HireVue, said.

“However, we believe that the HR industry’s determination to build back stronger and make use of automation will open up more positive opportunities for Australians and that the focus on diversity and inclusion will lead to a more equal workforce.”

Moving forward, hiring leaders want to spend less time on scheduling and more time on candidate engagement. This means more streamlined communication between recruiters, hiring teams, and candidates as well as faster turnaround time for new hires.

“Video interviews enable our senior leaders to review candidates asynchronously, without having to actually join every single interview. This saves a lot of valuable time,” Head of Talent Acquisition at Foxtel Karina Vanderwerf said.

“Additionally, automation throughout the entire hiring process enables us to deliver a personalised experience to candidates efficiently and at scale.”

Related: The Aussie startup shaking up job search with video and AI

With safety measures still firmly in place, organisations are expected to keep up with technological trends and remote work solutions in a bid to streamline recruitment and encourage greater diversity within organisations.


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