30 Need-to-Know HR Statistics and Trends for 2021

Updated on December 16, 2020

Overview: HR Statistics and Trends for 2020

  1. The 2020 median family income in the U.S. is $78,500.
  2. Experts project that U.S. unemployment will remain above 6% through the end of 2021.
  3. The average starting salary for college graduates is about $51,000.
  4. According to LinkedIn, only 30% of companies are able to fill a vacant role within 30 days.
  5. 43% of HR professionals cite the top reason they have difficulty finding the right employee as “competition from other employers.”
  6. 60% of job seekers have quit filling out an employment application due to its length or complexity. 
  7. 60% of employees have referred an acquaintance or friend to work at their company.
  8. 83% of candidates say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked.
  9. 53% of talent say the most important interview is with their prospective manager.
  10. 72% of hiring managers say they provide clear job descriptions while only 36% of candidates agree.
  11. 61% of new hires do not get any training on company culture.
  12. 55% of companies say they do not measure the effectiveness of onboarding programs.
  13. 71% of employees who went through an onboarding process had a clearer understanding of their role and felt better able to do their job.
  14. Almost 30% of new hires resign within the first three months of employment.
  15. 32% of workers would agree to a 10% reduction in salary if they cared about their job strongly enough.
  16. 90% of employees say they’re more likely to stay with an empathetic employer.
  17. 46% of employees feel supported in taking action when they notice an issue or opportunity within their company.
  18. 77% of employees are satisfied with their opportunities to use their expertise and capabilities.
  19. The top three contributors to burnout are unfair compensation, unreasonable workload, and too much overtime or after-hours work.
  20. 56% of employees say additional paid time off would make them more loyal to an organization.
  21. 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing their life between work and personal commitments.
  22. 89% of HR leaders agree that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins have a positive impact on their organizations.
  23. 90% of HR professionals believe diversity in leadership contributes to empathy in the workplace.
  24. 72% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of critical skills.
  25. 91% of CEOs believe empathy is directly linked to a company’s financial performance. 
  26. 88% of HR leaders say employee engagement is a strategic priority for their companies.
  27. The U.S. is projected to have 42 million self-employed workers by the end of 2020. 
  28. 64% of full-time workers want to take on side hustles to make extra money.
  29. 29% of the workforce participates in the gig economy as their primary job.
  30. 45% of employers worldwide say they have trouble filling open positions, making the alternative workforce their only viable option.

Human resources is an often underappreciated but essential component of any organization. After all, HR teams handle recruitment, hiring, employee engagement, payroll, office administration, legal issues, and a litany of other responsibilities that make workplaces thrive. From helping to get the right people on staff to creating a culture that excites people, business HR plays a crucial role in a company’s success.

That said, as employees and the world of business change, HR teams must be ready to adapt as well. Employees in different generations have different expectations, employees in distinct industries want specific support from leaders—the list of unique factors that HR teams work around is extensive and complex. There are, however, some overarching HR statistics and trends that all teams, regardless of industry or company size, should know about.

Here, we break down 30 of the top statistics that all HR professionals need to know.

General HR Trends

  • 1. The 2020 median household income in the United States is $78,500.

    That number is an almost 4% increase over 2019. When determining salaries for new positions, it’s important to compare them to similar rates in your industry and your market, but knowing the national median income is worthwhile too.[1]

  • 2. Experts project that U.S. unemployment will remain above 6% through the end of 2021.

    As of August 2020, the unemployment rate was a concerningly high 8.4% due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the national and global economies. While projections show that unemployment will drop, it will still be relatively high for the foreseeable future. For businesses, however, that means there is a bigger pool of talent to recruit from.[2][3]

  • 3. The average starting salary for college graduates is about $51,000.

    Comparatively, the average starting salary for high school graduates without a bachelor’s degree is just over $27,000. When recruiting new entrants to the workforce, make sure your entry-level salaries are competitive.[4][5]

  • 4. According to LinkedIn, only 30% of companies are able to fill a vacant role within 30 days.

    You would think that when companies post jobs, they’re interested in filling them quickly. But it’s not about filling the role, it’s about filling the role with the right person. The other 70% of companies take anywhere between one to four months to make a hire.[6]

Recruitment and Hiring Statistics

  • 5. 43% of HR professionals cite the top reason they have difficulty finding the right employee as “competition from other employers.”

    While companies generally move slow on hiring, the talent they’re recruiting will not. The top reason HR teams struggle to find the right people for jobs is simply because there is a lot of competition out there and talent is more likely to gravitate toward companies that work with them during the hiring process.[7]

  • 6. 60% of job seekers have quit filling out an employment application due to its length or complexity. 

    Think of it from the employee’s perspective: A person who is actively looking for a new opportunity is likely filling out dozens or even hundreds of applications on a week-to-week basis. An easier application will attract more people to your role.[8]

  • 7. 60% of employees have referred an acquaintance or friend to work at their company.

    Great people probably know other great people, right? Your company should incentivize referrals, either through a cash bonus for any hired referrals—or other perks, like an additional vacation day.[9]

  • 8. 83% of candidates say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked.

    Conversely, 87% say a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted.[10]

  • 9. 53% of talent say the most important interview is with their prospective manager.

    Speaking of interviews, most prospective employees consider their interview with their would-be direct manager the most important interview. This makes sense, right? They’ll spend most of their time working with that person.[10]

  • 10. 72% of hiring managers say they provide clear job descriptions while only 36% of candidates agree.

    Job descriptions are a key point of controversy between HR teams and prospective employees. There is a clear disconnect between the people writing the job descriptions and those reviewing them.[11]

Onboarding and Retention Statistics

  • 11. 61% of new hires do not get any training on company culture.

    Every company is different, and your company should strive to embrace a positive culture that is better than other companies’. If you’ve put the time into developing your company culture, be sure to introduce new employees to it.[12]

  • 12. 55% of companies say they do not measure the effectiveness of onboarding programs.

    Worse yet, many companies don’t measure how effective the onboarding measures they do have in place are. This limits accountability and prevents opportunities for improvement in the onboarding process. A simple survey can go a long way.[13]

  • 13. 71% of employees who went through an onboarding process had a clearer understanding of their role and felt better able to do their job.

    And if that weren’t persuasive enough, as this statistic shows—onboarding actually works. A clear majority of employees who go through an onboarding process say they benefit from it and are better able to succeed in their roles.[12]

  • 14. Almost 30% of new hires resign within the first three months of employment.

    The number of employees who resign in the first three months on the job is nothing to scoff at. Instituting a positive onboarding experience that integrates new employees into the company culture can help improve retention.[9]

  • 15. 32% of workers would agree to a 10% reduction in salary if they cared about their job strongly enough.

    In fact, company culture can go so far as actually making employees accept salary cuts. You shouldn’t actively be looking to cut employee salaries, but if the company hits tough times, employees who truly love where they work will accept pay cuts to stay on.[9]

  • 16. 90% of employees say they’re more likely to stay with an empathetic employer.

    Empathy in the workplace is a trending topic in the HR world. People want to work in empathetic workplaces that are understanding when unexpected life events happen and work to give to employees as much as they get from them.[13]

Employee Satisfaction and Engagement Statistics

  • 17. 46% of employees feel supported in taking action when they notice an issue or opportunity within their company.

    No, 46% is not a great number. As we just mentioned, employees want to work in empathetic environments and a major component of empathy is accountability and support.[14]

  • 18. 77% of employees are satisfied with their opportunities to use their expertise and capabilities.

    Employees are more engaged and enjoy their jobs more when they feel like they’re putting their expertise and abilities to good use.[14]

  • 19. The top three contributors to burnout are unfair compensation, unreasonable workload, and too much overtime or after-hours work.

    Recent research has found that 23% of employees feel burned out more often than not, a concerning phenomenon in our workforce. The top three contributors: unfair compensation at 41%, unreasonable workload at 32%, and too much overtime or after-hours work at 32%.[15][16]

  • 20. 56% of employees say additional paid time off would make them more loyal to an organization.

    People want work-life balance. Simply adding a week to your company’s vacation policy could contribute to a huge boost in employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.[17]

  • 21. 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing their life between work and personal commitments.

    While a slight majority of employees would stick with their employers for more vacation time, a strong majority expect employers to support a work-life balance.[18]

Leadership Statistics

  • 22. 89% of HR leaders agree that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins have a positive impact on their organizations.

    Improving communication between employees, managers, and leaders help organizations get the most out of everyone.[19]

  • 23. 90% of HR professionals believe diversity in leadership contributes to empathy in the workplace.

    Workplaces are slowly becoming more diverse but most HR leaders believe diversity in leadership positions helps promote empathy in the workplace, which leads to happier, more engaged employees.[13]

  • 24. 91% of CEOs believe empathy is directly linked to a company’s financial performance.

    Not only that, but the vast majority of CEOs believe that empathy is directly linked to financial performance. Ergo: Increase diversity, increase empathy, increase revenue.[13]

  • 25. 72% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of critical skills.

    Most CEOs feel that the critical skills they deem crucial for their companies are not as available as they’d like.[20]

  • 26. 88% of HR leaders say employee engagement is a strategic priority for their companies

    While HR leaders widely tend to say that their companies are focused on employee engagement, only 43% of people in non-HR roles say the same.[21]

The Gig Economy Statistics

  • 27. The U.S. is projected to have 42 million self-employed workers by the end of 2020.

    The gig economy is booming, with millions of people relying on short-term, contract, or alternative work to make ends meet. The numbers become even starker when you consider that an astonishing 40% of American workers are in non-full-time roles.[22][23]

  • 28. 64% of full-time workers want to take on side hustles to make extra money.

    While some people work in the gig economy out of pure necessity, a majority of full-time workers also choose to get involved to make some extra money.[22]

  • 29. 29% of the workforce participates in the gig economy as their primary job.

    Interest in the gig economy remains high, but only 29% of the total American workforce has an alternative work arrangement as their primary job.[24]

  • 30. 45% of employers worldwide say they have trouble filling open positions, making the alternative workforce their only viable option.

    Employers and individuals are at odds when it comes to the gig economy. While employees start side hustles because they aren’t making enough money, many employers feel they can only hire contract workers.[22]

The Bottom Line

The world of business is constantly changing and HR teams must be on the forefront of navigating those changes.

Between staying up to date on the gig economy, increasing diversity and empathy in the workplace, and improving employee engagement initiatives, HR teams have their work cut out for them in 2020 and beyond. That said, hopefully, these HR statistics and trends will help you find your way forward with confidence.

References

  1. https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/il20/Medians2020r.pdf
  2. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf
  3. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-forecast/economists-see-uneven-jobs-recovery-high-u-s-unemployment-through-2021-idUSKCN21S0BL
  4. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/compensation/pages/average-starting-salary-for-recent-college-grads.aspx
  5. https://www.asuprepdigital.org/high-school-graduates-earn-less-than-college-graduates/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20report%2C%20high,a%20median%20wage%20of%20%2427%2C708.
  6. https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions/resources/pdfs/linkedin-global-recruiting-trends-report.pdf
  7. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/SHRM%20Skills%20Gap%202019.pdf
  8. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/study-most-job-seekers-abandon-online-job-applications.aspx
  9. https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2018_Job_Seeker_Nation_Study.pdf
  10. https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/business/talent-solutions/global/en_us/c/pdfs/global-talent-trends-report.pdf
  11. https://www.allegisgroup.com/en/about/press/allegis-group-announces-findings-from-its-global-benchmark-study
  12. https://www.talentlms.com/blog/new-employee-onboarding-study/
  13. https://info.businessolver.com/empathy-2019-executive-summary
  14. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/2016-Employee-Job-Satisfaction-and-Engagement-Report.pdf
  15. https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/employee-engagement/news/employee-burnout-statistics-you-need-to-know
  16. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170109005377/en/Employee-Burnout-Crisis-Study-Reveals-Big-Workplace
  17. https://fierceinc.com/post-vacation-bliss
  18. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/two-thirds-of-american-workers-would-be-better-employees-if-they-got-more-sleep-according-to-glassdoor-survey-300542688.html
  19. https://www.globoforce.com/press-releases/globoforce-shrm-human/
  20. http://resources.glassdoor.com/rs/899-LOT-464/images/50hr-recruiting-and-statistics-2017.pdf
  21. https://research.g2.com/2019-employee-engagement
  22. https://www2.deloitte.com/ro/en/pages/human-capital/articles/2019-deloitte-global-human-capital-trends.html
  23. https://www.gao.gov/assets/670/669766.pdf
  24. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2018/08/31/57-million-u-s-workers-are-part-of-the-gig-economy/#492143ae7118
  25. https://baymard.com/checkout-usability
  26. https://adspark.ph/drive-conversion-through-effective-retargeting/
  27. https://www.statista.com/statistics/676385/preferred-payment-methods-of-online-shoppers-worldwide-by-region/
  28. https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2017/01/the-truth-about-online-consumers.pdf
  29. https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-service-stats
  30. https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/5-social-stats-for-online-storeowners/

Related Data & Statistics

Read more helpful business-related statistics and data:

https://www.fundera.com/blog/small-business-statistics

https://www.fundera.com/resources/freelancing-statistics

https://www.fundera.com/resources/outsourcing-statistics

https://www.fundera.com/resources/working-from-home-statistics

https://www.fundera.com/resources/small-business-cyber-security-statistics

Nick Perry
Contributing Writer at Fundera

Nick Perry

Nick Perry is a freelance writer based out of Boston. After working in Hollywood and Silicon Beach, he launched his own small business and frequently referenced Fundera’s resources. Now, he’s a contributing writer at Fundera. Nick has written extensively about small businesses, ecommerce, the restaurant industry, and entertainment. His work has appeared on Entrepreneur, Digital Trends, Toast’s On The Line, and more.

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