“If 2020 was a _________”


You’ve seen those memes…”If 2020 was a ____________” accompanied by a shocking, unexpected image of, — you name it — a slide, a scented candle, a pinata, even a foot?


Don’t Google that last one – I’m not kidding.

I was oddly drawn-in by Criteria’s recently-released 2020 Hiring Benchmark Report: The State of Hiring in a Year of Crisis. Have you read it?

I’ll boil it down:

The criteria team set out to collect data about how organizations are responding to one of the most tumultuous years in recent memory. COVID-19 (increased unemployment and shift to remote work), Black Lives Matter (pivot to prioritize commitment to D&I), not to dismiss subsequent mayhem: De-Fund the Police, Presidential Election angst, wildfires, hurricanes, chemical explosions, locust and murder hornet invasions and other-quite-possibly-personal-to-you losses that make 2020 a year that cuts deep. Perhaps very deep.

For the first time in 7 months, the word “positive” actually made me feel hopeful. This report spotlights some collective perspective: positive growth, positive impression, positive about the future. MORE, please!

It’s worth a scan: From the economic and health impact, to the need to transition to remote work, amidst juggling the psychological impact of the current environment, we’re making do. Doing well, it seems, even. Am I positive? No (in both senses), but I appreciated a real-time, data-sound look at how we are forging ahead:


Key Insights From the Report


1.  Nothing has shaped 2020 more than COVID-19.

As a result of the global pandemic, 69% of hiring professionals said their organization transitioned to remote work in some capacity; 51% reduced hiring; 36% froze hiring, and 30% had to lay off or furlough employees.

2. Growth is slow but positive.

Overall, hiring professionals predict that their hiring volume will increase by 1.4% in the next 12 months, but this varied widely by industry. The Technology industry, for example, expected to hire 64% more people in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, HR spending isn’t budging, with respondents predicting an increase of 0.6% over the next 12 months.

3. Hiring is less challenging than it was before.

Across the board, hiring professionals feel that hiring isn’t as challenging as it was last year. 54% even said that COVID-19 has made it easier to hire remote employees.

4. Remote work has made a positive impression.

Of those organizations that did transition to remote work, 54% view remote work more positively now; 42% say their view is unchanged, and just 4% view remote work more negatively.

5. Diversity is a priority for most organizations.

34% of hiring professionals say that increasing diversity in the workplace is a “top priority.” 46% say it’s “somewhat of a priority” and just 22% say it’s “not a priority.”

6. Hiring professionals are overwhelmingly optimistic about the future.

Not only has hiring become less challenging, but hiring professionals have also become more confident in their hiring processes. And when looking towards 2021, the majority (66%) of hiring professionals feel positive about the future health of their organizations. Just 6% feel negative about the future, while 20% feel neutral and 9% are unsure.


Criteria Corp. “2020 Hiring Benchmark Report”. Criteriacorp.com, 2020, https://go.criteriacorp.com/LP_Survey-Report-2020-Website.html. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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Keegan Ocepek

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