Key HR statistics for 2021

La pandémie de Covid-19 est désormais derrière nous, mais elle a transformé en profondeur l’organisation des entreprises et les aspirations des salariés. La fonction RH a été et reste fortement sollicitée pour répondre à ces bouleversements.

Key HR statistics for 2021

The pandemic has allowed many companies to take stock of their operations. Since the economy and business had slowed down, some organizations took the opportunity to analyze in detail their performance levels and goals.

The shaken-up habits of teams, both organizational and personal, have brought out many questions, analyses, and data.

This data now reflects trends and concerns that need to be addressed at both the organizational and HR levels.

Several reports and surveys, presented below, provide valuable insights into several key themes, such as:

  • Work and its recent transformations
  • HR priorities and objectives
  • Recruitment and talent acquisition
  • HR and HRIS technologies


Social ties, the shift to remote and digital work, new processes and means of communication and collaboration: the health crisis has brought a veritable storm to organizations.

Before the crisis, only 6% of companies were prepared to deal with unlikely, high-impact events, a figure that has nearly tripled (17%) since the beginning of the health crisis, as presented in the 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey.

2020 also allowed us to witness the adoption of telecommuting on a large scale.

Whether telecommuting is here to stay or not, it continues to be a focus.

Many corporate executive circles are still thinking about the best ways to make it sustainable in 2021:

According to the survey, these would be:

  • Introducing digital collaboration platforms (39%)
  • Allowing for personal choice in determining how work gets done (36%)
  • Establishing new scheduling and meeting norms (31%)
What are the most important factors in making remote/virtual work sustainable / Deloitte


To remain in business, some organizations had to reprioritize and adapt their product and service offerings.

These new priorities have prompted organizations to review their operations in-depth, as shown in the Deloitte 2021 survey.

According to the survey, "Building an organizational culture that celebrates growth, adaptability, and resilience" is now the most important action to take to transform work (45%).

This is closely followed by "Building workforce capability through upskilling, reskilling and mobility" (41%) and "Implementing new technologies" (35%).

Finally, further down the rankings are "Establishing new work practices, policies, and incentives" (31%), "Restructuring the organization to support new work outcomes" (22%) and "Building portfolios of humans and machines working together" (16%).

/ Deloitte

These priorities are also reflected in human resources management.

According to the 800 Human Resources Directors (HRDs) who took the Gartner 2021 HR Priorities  survey, the most important HR issues to focus on in 2021 are:

  • Building critical skills and competencies (68%)
  • Organizational design and change management (46%)
  • Current and future leadership bench (44%)
  • The future of work (32%)
  • The employee experience (28%)
Top 3 Priorities for HR Leaders in 2021 / Gartner


After last year's layoffs, staff cuts, and dramatic changes in unemployment rates, 2021 will (normally!) be a year of economic recovery and new hires.

This is a finding shared by the HR Challenges for 2021: XpertHR Survey Report, for which the main challenges in terms of Human Resources are indeed recruitment and hiring (for 66% of respondents) and workforce (59%).

But recruiting in telecommuting times also means a more difficult onboarding process, an affected sense of belonging to a team, and a lower level of employee loyalty and retention.

This explains why 83% of employers surveyed consider attracting talent to be a huge challenge this year.

61% also find it difficult to ensure that candidates feel safe enough to come to the office.

According to respondents, various government measures (lockdowns, curfews, etc.) also have a significant impact on team planning.

Robert Half Canada's 2020 Salary Guide focused on the major hiring changes companies made because of the pandemic.

According to respondents, the top three adaptations are:

  • Conducting remote interviews and onboarding (50%)
  • Shortening the hiring process (33%)
  • Advertising fully remote jobs (32%)

The management of new talent attraction and hiring processes is also changing.

According to a French study (Baromètre des DRH 2021), conducted in partnership between ABV Group, Willis Towers Watson and HR&M, new technologies are becoming increasingly important in recruiting new talent.

More traditional ways of recruiting or collaborating, such as outsourcing or using freelancers, are becoming less important.

Baromètre des DRH 2021 / ABV Group, Willis Towers Watson, RH&M

Finally, we could not talk about recruitment without mentioning the importance of a good employer brand.

An aspect that is sometimes still too neglected by organizations. Yet, as BANG MARKETING reminds us, candidates pay particular attention to it:

  • 84% of candidates say that an employer's reputation influences their decision
  • 55% of people abandon the application process if they see negative comments
  • Twice as many resumes are received for a position in a company with a strong employer brand


2020 has seen an acceleration in companies' digital transformation projects.

For many companies, automating HR tasks and processes has helped counteract the effects of the crisis. By focusing on higher value-added tasks, HR teams are more efficient.

A transformation that still has a long way to go. PwC's Human Resources Technology Survey, 2020 reveals that the top priorities for HR technology by 2022 will be:

  • 49% - Talent acquisition tools
  • 48% - Employee experience
  • 46% - Skills mapping and career pathing
  • 45% - Intelligent recruiting
  • 45% - Intelligent automation or process automation
  • 37% - Business insights
  • 36% - Tailored learning journeys

New technologies, such as those dedicated to recruiting new talent or automating processes, are increasingly becoming used in organizations.

Human Resources Management Information Systems (HRIS) are becoming more and more prevalent in the market.

According to Software Path's 2020 HRIS Software Report, the main reasons for implementing HRIS software are:

  • To increase efficiency (26.2%)
  • To have greater functionality (21.7%)
  • To support the company’s growth (16.4%)
  • To consolidate disparate systems (14%)
Reasons for implementing HRIS / Software Path

For its part, Deloitte reveals that 10% of companies spend 10% of their budget on new technologies.

Also, 54% of companies plan to increase their technology budget, while 6% plan to reduce it (Unleash).


The past year has brought major changes in all areas of society, but the impact on business has been far-reaching.

The rise of the digitalization trend in HR services and the crying need to support recruitment and improve the employee experience are good examples of this.