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Four Key Takeaways from LinkedIn’s Future of Talent 2021

Internal mobility, upskilling, and data-led hiring become workforce priorities and the future of hiring in India for 2021, says a new LinkedIn study.


There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and interact. It required employees to adopt different working arrangements and use new technology with minimal warning, and this has presented HR teams with a new set of challenges, especially when it comes to hiring and retaining the workforce in the new normal.

LinkedIn has launched a new report ‘Future of Talent 2021’ highlighting the evolving role of HR in India, and how talent is hired, engaged with, and developed in the new business environment. According to the report, upskilling will be core to the talent strategy, and trends such as internal mobility, data-led hiring decisions, and improving employee experience will be in focus for employers in 2021.

 Internal shifts within companies

In 2020, the rate of attrition increased 1.5 times in India as employees battled long shifts while working remotely. As signals of a second wave accentuate India’s remote working needs, the report shows that HR will play an even bigger role in determining the future of talent as 9 in 10 companies agree that HR will now play a key role in helping organizations streamline their business, shape their strategy, and hire more efficiently, even beyond COVID-19.


The pandemic has introduced significant internal shifts within companies. This, coupled with India’s historically competitive talent market, is fueling the rise of internal mobility across companies today. According to LinkedIn’s Future of Talent report, more than 9 in 10 (93%) companies in India are looking to fill open roles internally in the post-covid era.

Diving deeper into the reasons for this surge in internal hiring, the report shows that 7 in 10 companies in India hire internally to gain an insider’s perspective or a sense of progress. The report also states that when hiring internally, the top 3 skills that companies in India look for are good communication, problem solving skills, and time management.

To keep pace with today’s rapidly digitizing business needs, companies are also keen to upgrade the capabilities of their workforce. Taking cue, 95% of companies in India have dedicated L&D programs to help employees learn new skills and prepare for the future, according to the Future of Talent 2021 report.

While skills take the center stage, many companies in India are also leaning on data analytics to tap into relevant talent pools when hiring today. LinkedIn’s research shows that 91% companies in India use data to make informed talent-hiring decisions while 53% frequently use data to map skills with open position requirements. To make remote hiring even more efficient, 9 in 10 companies are also merging roles to reduce talent acquisition costs today.

“As remote work continues to disrupt the way we work, HR will play a greater role in helping companies absorb new hiring trends to build the future of talent,” says Ruchee Anand, Director – Talent and Learning Solutions, India at LinkedIn.

“In 2021, India will see more companies merge roles, upskill their employees, and hire internally to maximize business growth without expanding operational costs. Data-led hiring practices will also play a critical role in helping companies engage with their employees, attract the right talent, and hire more effectively in 2021. It’s evident that companies today are realizing that businesses succeed when their people succeed,” she explains.

Top skills for HR professionals during COVID-19

  1. Good communication skills
  2. HRIS Knowledge
  3. Time Management
  4. Teamwork & collaboration skills
  5. Ability to empathize with staff
Top skills looked in employees while hiring internally

  1. Good communications skills
  2. Problem solving skills
  3. Time Management
  4. Strategic Thinker
  5. Leadership skills

CXOs to put ‘employee first’ in 2021

cloudAs remote work becomes a continuing workforce trend, HR professionals are encouraging companies to prioritize employee experience and keep their remote staff engaged today. In fact, more than 8 in 10 (85%) companies in India are already holding more engagement activities to keep employees inspired and connected with their teams despite working in isolation.

The report also shows that companies in India are significantly more open to hiring remote staff when compared to other APAC countries. Given India’s greater preference for remote staff, more than 9 in 10 (94%) companies are building a good employer brand by having an active social media presence, and sharing more about their vision and focus on innovation. In fact, 4 in 5 (80%) companies have already experienced an increased pool of qualified candidates because of their efforts in employer branding.

Here are a some key takeaways from the report

  1. The role and responsibilities of HR will expand
    The role of HR has always been critical to an organisation’s success. However, in the last year, the pandemic has caused a shift in many organisations. HR teams have had to adjust to reduced hiring budgets, flexible working arrangements and new working processes to ensure employees collaborate and communicate. Therefore the skills required of a modern-day HR professional, along with HR’s scope and responsibilities within an organisation has also evolved.
  2. Organisations are more open to hiring internally and willing to allow more employees to work remotely
    In the last year, organisations have adapted to the new world of work. Amidst budget cuts, and role hybridization, hiring internally has received greater attention. Our findings also reveal that in one way or another, remote work is here to stay. While these changes are a positive step towards ensuring an organisation can remain agile no matter the circumstance, they are not without challenges.3. In the future, organisations will focus more on gender equality in the workplace, hiring for skills and employee development
    The study findings spotlight how candidates are being hired — especially with regards to maintaining gender diversity and equality in organisations, as well as placing importance on skills over traditional qualifications or experience. To hire the talent they need, organisations will use data and analytics to simplify the matching process of candidates.4. Employer branding and employee engagement will play a bigger role in attracting and retaining talent
    In the race to attract talent, and retain the best and brightest, employer branding and employee engagement are the other important pieces of the puzzle. Our findings suggest that a strong employer brand can positively impact business and the majority of companies are making a concerted effort to create an environment where employees can thrive so their business can continue to grow.

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