Emerging Recruiting Markets in 2021

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that life will never be the same. The entire human population had to shift and learn to adapt to life in the wake of COVID-19. Some industries were mostly unaffected, some were almost wiped out entirely, and still others grew to new heights as we begrudgingly welcomed our “new normal.” As we look toward the bright future that is 2021, we are projecting the following industries and specialty areas to become emerging recruiting markets for recruiters and staffing professionals.

Home is the New Office

Telehealth is on the rise. Remote learning has increased by leaps and bounds. Office parks everywhere sit empty as their former residents work from their kitchen tables or home offices. With the surge of remote working taking place across all industries, the need for tech positions has increased exponentially. Unlike with complete automation, human error continues to require other humans to correct them.

More people are also working with their home computers, leaving their companies’ information less secure as it would be in the office. Because of this, cybersecurity professionals are increasingly in demand. The importance of cybersecurity is underscored by the cost of a breach, with IBM estimating the average cost of a data breach in the United States at $7.35 million. Despite an increasing need for cybersecurity positions, estimates by Cybersecurity Ventures indicate there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021.

In emerging recruiting markets such as tech and cybersecurity, it’s becoming hard to find skilled individuals with experience. In response, recruiters have started to look beyond the limitations of their industry to find talented candidates—which has resulted in a shift from experience-based hiring to hiring based on transferable skills. Instead of looking for relevant previous work experience, recruiters will increasingly focus on transferable skills like problem-solving and communication to help expand their talent pool. 

It’s a Wonderful, Long Life

As baby boomers reach retirement age, the proportion of the global population in need of some form of medical or social care will increase. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, there will be 2.1 billion people over the age of 60 globally. Though they will be healthier on average than their predecessors, we must prepare for a rather high demand for geriatric care.

Technology will help caregivers meet the needs of aging individuals by giving them increased independence, but nothing can replace human touch. These bodies are declining in mobility, speech and cognition, and the demand for personal and home-health aides will continue to increase to support these seniors. The same goes for physicians, nurse practitioners, physical therapists and other medical experts as well. There is only so much that technology can replace.

The Future is Green

Speaking of longer lives, the cannabis industry will continue to increase for years to come. Currently, fifteen states and the District of Columbia have completely legalized marajuana usage, and twelve additional states have decriminalized it. 

People’s perceptions of the cannabis industry are evolving thanks to a greater degree of research and available information. In fact, a recent study suggests two-thirds of Americans welcome the legalization of the plant.  New Frontier Data, a cannabis research group, suggests the industry could grow roughly 14 percent by 2025 with sales reaching as high as $30 billion. We’re not talking about back alley transactions and creepy dealers anymore, people. 

Even though the public option is shifting, there’s still a stigma on the industry as a whole, making it potentially difficult for those with the necessary skills to shift into it. Positions of all tiers will need to be filled, not just budtenders and harvesters. Like any other reputable industry, they will need web designers, accountants, security guards and C-suite members. 

As the industry booms, we won’t just be looking at uber-professionals to run grow rooms and dispensaries. Just like family farmers are the best producers of their family’s crops, recruiters should be looking at potential marajuana users or aficionados who have extensive knowledge on the subject for these positions as well as those with advanced degrees.

Top emerging roles in the field include consultants, extraction technicians, grow masters and edibles chefs, and these don’t come cheap. Consultants combine their expertise in state and local cannabis regulations with their background as lawyers or accountants to earn six figures. Both extraction technicians and grow masters may have advanced degrees in areas like horticulture, botany or chemistry, and these positions have high risks of injury which adds to their higher salary. 

A Need for Nimbleness

We’ve talked before about the expected shift in demand for certain existing job markets. Just as stores and restaurants had to stop and rethink their service options to maximize profits, so will some recruiters need to be flexible enough to make placements in emerging recruiting markets possibly outside their niche, wherever talent is needed.

Perhaps a candidate’s background could be better utilized outside their current industry. I worked customer service a number of years before pivoting into the call center industry, and knowing how to work with people face to face made the transition to faceless customers easier. Little did I know, my transition into marketing would be easier because of those faceless interactions too. 

Steve Finkel recently shared his thoughts on recruiting in a downturn, “Do some research and expand into the new field to which your candidates have led you.” Think about it this way: your previously “hot new” market is likely to come back eventually and, when it does, you will be well-positioned with a broadened client base.


Make sure your best foot is out there for potential clients to stumble upon while searching for a recruiting partner online. The best way to do that is by working closely with our team at Recruiters Websites for a modern and professional website that showcases your skills and expertise. Contact us to find out more.

Sam Prost

Sam Prost is a digital content writer with five years of experience who uses her upbeat and creative energy to write fresh, fun and custom content for our clients.

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