The Scoop: Recruitment Trends & Industry Insights | February 2021

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Here is your February guide to the latest trends impacting the world of work. Every month, we provide perspective on the biggest news affecting the industry and explain what to expect as new trends continue to emerge.

Location, Location, Location: Employers Need to Rethink The “Where” of Job Visibility to Fully Capitalize on the Talent Marketplace

If you’ve been following along as economists survey the shifting sands of the labor market for signs that “normal” is right around the next corner, you may have heard the term K-shaped recovery. Unlike more traditional models, the health crisis has created an uneven economic recovery in part based on type of work and ability to do that work remotely.

There has been a lot of discussion focused on the potential impact on applicant quality should volume increase, but much less has been discussed about the need to develop proactive recruitment strategies for a talent market fractured along more lines (e.g., sector and occupation and location) than previously contended with.

Economists said Columbus, Ohio, and other Midwest cities that are faring relatively well benefited from a diverse economy that includes a larger-than-average concentration of white-collar workers who could shift to remote work during the pandemic. They also have less reliance on tourism compared with other large metro areas, relatively low population densities, and their overall COVID-19 caseloads haven’t been as severe as some hardest-hit parts of the country.

Today, many employers have decided on a remote hybrid model, not fully factoring remote talent attraction into their strategies. Contending with the complexity of the talent market may mean more emphasis placed on remote hiring as a key strategic element of recruitment strategies, with greater focus on regional targeting.

Read more: [The Wall Street Journal]

Beyond remote workers, growth in the e-commerce and the housing sectors has resulted in a strong rebound for residential construction, package delivery and warehousing jobs. However, companies in these sectors are challenged with finding enough workers to meet the demand. 

New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose in mid-February, an indication that the talent market hasn’t quite leveled-out and that there is a potential supply of talent to meet the current demand in key sectors.

The subreddit R/Unemployment has become a vital source of information for people who are out of work and trying to navigate the unemployment insurance system. 

Posts reveal the challenge state by state, but also highlight a greater issue of how companies and unemployed workers discover each other.

R/Unemployment isn’t the only place people turn to for help online. There are additional state-specific unemployment subreddits as well as dozens of Facebook groups dedicated to navigating the unemployment system. Tapping into these communities could present an opportunity for employers to better understand the unemployed talent landscape and position job opportunities.  

Read more: [The New York Times]

To Improve the Diversity of Their Talent Pools, Employers Must Start Sourcing for Talent Where the Talent Lives

A recent study aimed at understanding why after many years of effort corporations still struggle to meet their goals of developing a diverse workforce, highlights how the concentration of the Black labor force by geography, industry and occupation creates challenges and mismatches.

The analysis found that the regions poised for job growth by 2030 (such as Provo, Utah) have a smaller population of Black workers. Conversely, an overwhelming percentage of the Black labor force is located in the South.


As companies continue to assess the location of and need for physical offices, coupled with how best to source a diverse candidate pool, location will become a critical strategic component to equity and talent attraction. 

Read More: [McKinsey & Company]

Google is once again in the news for firing another researcher on their ethical AI team. As highlighted in the section “Employees’ Lived Experiences Within Your Company Could Impact Your DEI Recruiting Efforts” in last month’s edition of The Scoop, the experiences and challenges with DEI inside organizations may reshape public opinion of the employer brand. The visibility of these revelations may also lead to unique opportunities to source highly sought-after talent. 

Over the past year, greater attention has been paid to the progress of DEI efforts in the workplace and the elevated attrition rates of people of color. Understanding where a talent competitor’s DEI efforts may be lacking, could provide insight into how best to position your DEI employee value proposition.

Move Over “Visual Learners”: From Podcasts to Wearable Ear Technology, Audio is Taking Over the Market

Commutes to and from work are still below pre-pandemic levels, but the podcasts market has continued to grow, with over 900,000 new podcasts started in 2020 alone. The growth will undoubtedly lead to more marketing opportunities for brands via podcast guesting, and for audio-focused companies, an increase in M&A. 

iHeart Media recently acquired Triton Digital, an audio ad technology that can dynamically insert ads tailored to the individual listener. Access to data on shows, ad purchases and ad programming bolsters the company’s ability to align with customer marketing strategies. 

“We will have the only complete ad technology stack for all forms of audio, so broadcast, streaming, podcasts, voice audio content experiences. That puts iHeart in a position literally to serve the audio advertising needs of every customer possible, and not just the sort of enterprise class customer that you think of when you think of the big agencies, but all the way down through to the long tail of small businesses and people who were using self-service platforms to buy video and display and social from the likes of Facebook and Google.”

Read more: [The Verge]

Aligned with the growth in podcasting, the earphone market has also experienced exponential growth over the last year, with companies developing devices with smart technology, such as voice assistants. A research team is exploring the wearables market with a greater focus on the information generated from your head – listening, speaking, eating, facial emotions, etc. – to power “earable” computing, and potentially push the boundaries of augmented reality.

How about audible augmented reality? Augmented reality is currently best known for overlaying computer-generated objects on top of the real world…using signal processing technology to map certain sounds onto your landscape, so that navigating your way through an airport, a museum, or any other public space could involve walking toward a voice that says, “follow me,” which seems to be coming from the direction you need to head in. This spatial augmentation could also help improve large virtual meetings, with each person’s voice mapped to a specific location, making it easier to immediately tell who is speaking.

Read more: [Digital Trends]

As employees continue to feel the fatiguing effects of more screen time, and as companies continue to explore augmented technology for off-site training programs, the future may be smaller and more accessible than eyewear.


  • If you’ve been out to a restaurant over this last year, you may have noticed that the humble QR Code has made a resurgence. Once a novel alternative to physical brochures at hiring events, as these codes become more commonplace, they may hold the key to delivering unique experiences to candidates or future employees – imagine an onboarding package with a QR Code sticker on a laptop that reveals a personalized video from a future colleague.
    Read more: [Fortune]

About Jahkedda Akbar Mitchell

Jahkedda has many years of experience providing strategic guidance, data, and insights on job-seeker trends in support of Radancy and its clients. She has also worked in-house on the candidate attraction team for a large fortune 500 company. Jahkedda has a passion for psychology and storytelling; understanding why we do what we do and how to change behaviors...only using her powers for good. Jahkedda is a member of Radancy Labs: a design thinking focused innovation lab.

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