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6 Trends Affecting Employee Headcount Forecasting

With unemployment rates at historic lows (some states breaking 50-year records), the job market is highly competitive. Higher than anticipated retirement rates, the shift to remote work and dissatisfaction with the job market by most post-Boomers have made hiring even more challenging, and employee headcount forecasting is becoming more difficult as well.

See 5 Factors Affecting Employee Headcount So You Can Plan Like a Pro


Organizations across industry sectors are competing fiercely for available talent, often struggling to fill roles from limited talent pools holding a small number of candidates with the skills needed for their company. 


Employers’ changing needs for specialized skills, a rise in the demand for soft skills, and technological advancements mean that job responsibilities are shifting. This makes finding the right person for each job even harder. Nearly a third of employers responding to one survey agreed that the skills gap is increasing, and 87% of employers report they are having trouble finding qualified talent as a result.


Attrition is also high, Gartner predicts a 20% rise in attrition by EOY 2022. Higher employee turnover increases recruitment demands while simultaneously making it difficult to achieve success with headcount forecasting. 

6 Trends Affecting Employee Headcount Forecasting

HR professionals must evaluate whether their current workforce is prepared going forward. Asking the following questions can help organizations determine where they are now, so they can better predict what their needs will be in the future.


  • Is there a current surplus of employees to meet company needs, or a deficit?
  • Are employee qualifications sufficient to meet current and future company needs?
  • Is there a strategy in place for maintaining or scaling the workforce?
  • What skills gaps are present or anticipated at this time?


Employee headcount forecasting and planning can help answer these questions and other staffing concerns. However, it’s critical to take current trends into account when developing an employee headcount strategy.


See 5 Reasons Why Organizations Need Employee Headcount Planning and Forecasting


Trend #1 Affecting Employee Headcount Forecasting: Remote Hiring

Remote hiring is making it easier for many companies to fill job openings that were difficult to hire for in the past due to geographic restrictions. With the door open to remote hires, the talent pool is significantly increased. 


While initially many companies hesitated to allow employees to work remotely, the tide has changed. In fact, 73% of employers in a PwC study said remote work has been a successful shift for their companies. 


Even if an all-remote workforce isn’t a possibility, offering employees a hybrid option can reduce attrition by up to 35%, making it easier to complete employee headcount forecasting that isn’t rendered inaccurate by employee churn.

Trend #2 Affecting Employee Headcount Forecasting: Flexible Work

Another trend is flexible work, which allows employees to develop or have input into their own work schedule. Americans value flexibility as much as a 10% pay raise, making this a valuable bargaining chip for recruiters to put on the table.


Flexible work can mean having a range of hours that mark start and end times, the choice to work four days a week instead of five, or even a straight productivity model that allows employees to complete tasks on their own schedule as long as deadlines and production needs are met.


Allowing flexible work can also reduce the impact quit rates have on headcount forecasting. According to an SHRM survey, 80% of employees say they are more likely to remain loyal to an employer who allows them flexibility. 


Take this Remote Work Quiz to See How Your Company Scores


Trend #3 Affecting Employee Headcount Forecasting: Employers of Record

More than simply a staffing agency, an employer of record is capable of managing hiring compliance as well as payroll and benefits processes across a range of states, countries, or provinces. This aids in streamlining recruitment and helping companies easily recruit outside of their geographic area. 


This can make it easier to manage employee headcount forecasting and planning by freeing up more time to spend on workforce analysis and management as well as retention analytics instead of the time-consuming tasks associated with compliance and accounting. 

Trend #4 Affecting Employee Headcount Forecasting: Company Culture Shifts

While many companies focused on culture fit for decades, the current trend is culture add, which brings new diversity to the workforce. Focusing on culture add enables companies to broaden their talent pool and discover new candidate quality indicators instead of hiring from the same tiny pool.


Companies with a reputation for positive company culture find it easier to attract and keep top talent, and the associated reduction in attrition makes headcount forecasting easier to manage. It’s also a terrific way to improve retention and encourage employees to plan for a career within the organization.


See 4 Reasons to Choose ‘Cuture Add’ over ‘Culture Fit’


Trend #5 Affecting Employee Headcount Forecasting: Learning and Development

Learning and Development (L&D) is a game changer when it comes to retaining employees and stabilizing headcount. Companies that provide employee training and career path development create employee engagement that results in long-term retention.


Provide ways for employees to upskill, cross-skill, and access leadership training, and then promote from within. This helps to future-proof your workforce and keep valuable talent and knowledge inside the company where it belongs, instead of leaving it for a competitor.


See 5 Training and Development Opportunities that will Encourage Employees to Stay Long-Term


Trend #6 Affecting Employee Headcount Forecasting: Ready-to-Work Talent Pipelines

Being able to complete employee headcount forecasting accurately is a big part of avoiding skills gaps, slack in production or service, and other issues, but the current talent landscape can be extremely unpredictable and employee churn is still a major concern. 


Having a ready-to-work talent pipeline can keep organizations from hitting a wall with their employee headcount planning. It’s a way to hire quickly and confidently when recruitment becomes an urgent priority and employee headcount numbers aren’t adding up.


Tools like Crosschq Recruit give businesses access to highly qualified, pre-screened candidates who are ready to start as soon as possible, shortening time to hire and improving quality of hire while solving headcount issues.  


Get Your Free Quality of Hire ScoreCard 


These trends affecting employee headcount forecasting can be leveraged and challenges combated by adopting techniques and technologies that improve talent retention and deliver solutions for speed of hire and quality of hire.


For more information on how Crosschq can help your organization stay on top of trends affecting recruitment and headcount planning, contact our talent intelligence team for a free demonstration of our entire suite of products today.

Heather Miller

by Heather Miller

Staff Writer

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