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MUMBAI : Even as job cuts and a rising unemployment rate were recorded in 2020, a report said that this year looks promising on the hiring front as nearly 60% of the companies surveyed are looking to hire talent for new positions.

Recruitment managers are optimistic about returning to pre-pandemic hiring levels in 2021, and this outlook gains more credibility as nearly 60% of companies surveyed said they were looking to hire talent for new positions, according to the report by Mercer Mettl.

Mercer Mettl CEO Siddhartha Gupta said, "The hiring trends have witnessed a sea change in the past 14 months of the pandemic. This report will encourage industry leaders to consider innovative approaches to hiring in 2021 and beyond."

The report, titled 'The State of Talent Acquisition Report 2021', is based on a survey among C-suite executives and HR leaders of 500 companies across sectors, including education services, financial and business services, health and hospitality, IT, electrical, and electronics.

The survey was carried out between mid-March and mid-May.

The report's findings indicated that virtual hiring is the future of recruitment as nearly half of those surveyed said they took the digital route during the pandemic.

Around 81% of participating companies chose virtual platforms in some form to hire talent during the pandemic, it noted.

This switch from offline to online has benefitted companies as virtual hiring is a quick and cost-effective means of attracting the best talent globally, the report said.

The report further showed that companies are creating multiple new roles while reviving some dominant ones in this new environment.

About 53% of industry leaders are looking to hire candidates for product and technology-related roles, followed by operations (39.42%) and sales roles (39%), it said.

Data also suggested that equal employment opportunities are moving to the forefront in 2021, as companies shift towards a future-looking approach, which is essential to hiring a resilient workforce.

Practices such as diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are altering hiring processes as well, it stated.

Such outlook among companies is likely to nurture a feeling of belongingness and create a robust talent pipeline, which is critical for organisational growth, it added.

The report found that most companies across the spectrum have lengthy hiring cycles, which does not augur well in a highly competitive marketplace, that is hiring the right talent in a relatively shorter timeframe.

Just about 20% of companies reported a short hiring cycle, less than a month and 25% said they took beyond three months, the report said.

Over 35.92% of companies reported the lack of data-driven and tech-enabled hiring processes as a significant challenge to acquire talent, it added.

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