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More than 50 per cent of companies to hire staff

Louise Langridge, APAC Regional Managing Director at Morgan McKinley: "We have still seen increased demand and an upwards pressure in salaries in a number of key areas."

Morgan McKinley

A survey by global professional recruitment firm Morgan McKinley reveals 51 per cent of companies believe they will hire workers in 2021.

In positive news after the coronavirus pandemic wrecked millions of people’s jobs, the survey by Morgan McKinley found positive sentiment among employers.

“2020 brought unprecedented levels of change to the global workforce and saw the biggest shift in the nature of work that we have experienced since the industrial revolution,” said Louise Langridge, APAC Regional Managing Director at Morgan McKinley.

“The pace of change in the way we work, as well as how and where we work, has been faster than anyone could have predicted just 12 months ago. Organisations and individuals have embraced flexible working across Australia, and this is set to continue throughout 2021.

“Although salaries remained static in a number of areas in the face of economic uncertainty, we have still seen increased demand and an upwards pressure in salaries in a number of key areas such as technology, risk and regulation and data analytics. In order to react to market changes, organisations will need to hire new skill sets in 2021.”

Morgan McKinley included the ‘2021 World of Work’ survey in its new-look interactive Salary Guide Calculator for 2021. The survey received over 6,000 responses from employers and employees, representing a range of industries in Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, and the UK.

Key findings:

New skills and upskilling

  • 51 per cent of companies believe that they will need to hire for new skill sets throughout 2021, in order to appropriately react to market changes.
  • Most professionals appear eager to increase their employment value, with 77 per cent planning to upskill in their area of expertise.
  • In order to adapt and be agile in the current markets, companies and professionals alike know that new skills and upskilling will be key to staying competitive.


  • Hiring contractors was important in 2020 to help with business adaptability, and it looks set to continue with a sizable 28 per cent of employers anticipating hiring more contract professionals in 2021.
  • 27 per cent of employees see themselves making the shift from a permanent job to more flexible employment as a contractor in the coming year.
  • We can see from this alignment in 2021 that employers and employees are adapting and continuing to be agile to the big market changes happening in the world at the moment – flexible working options are key to this.

Hiring plans

  • Almost half of global businesses are confident that their organisation will return to normal levels of hiring in 2021.
  • Professionals seem to be less optimistic about the resurgence of the recruitment market, with 32 per cent believing that hiring will return to pre-COVID-19 levels in the coming 12 months.
  • Despite the pandemic, almost half of businesses are planning on returning to normal hiring levels in 2021. Companies have adapted to current market circumstances with changes like remote working, as well as the need to continue with their business plans despite the turbulent market. Although only a third of employees felt the same way, there will clearly be job opportunities in 2021.
  • Pay rises

  • Over half of employers (51 per cent) feel confident that they will be in a position to offer pay rises in 2021.
  • Only 28 per cent of employees are optimistic about being offered an increased salary.
  • It will be important for companies to retain their talent in 2021 in order to have the capability to adapt to the current market and stay competitive. While employees may feel differently about the prospects of a pay rise, the stats show that there will be that opportunity from the employers’ perspective.

Remote working

  • The vast majority (89 per cent) of businesses envisage remote working to continue to some extent into the second half of 2021.
  • Professionals share this perception; 86 per cent of employees also think working from home will remain largely prominent.
  • It looks like remote working is here to stay in 2021, and employers and employees are aligned in their perspectives on this. The big question is whether companies will ever go back with an ‘office-space’ approach or is remote working here to stay permanently?

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