SmartRecruiters Releases 2021 State of Internal Recruiting Report

Global research report highlights renewed focus on talent mobility initiatives; survey of enterprise talent leaders suggests internal recruiting to emerge as top source of hire as talent market tightens

San Francisco, CA – June 16 – SmartRecruiters has released its first-ever State of Internal Recruiting Report, the company announced today. With many employers struggling to recruit and retain talent as post-pandemic hiring continues to accelerate, this landmark study suggests companies are increasingly extending their talent acquisition strategies to include current employees. 

While internal mobility has long been the top-performing source of hire, the latest SmartRecruiters research shows that many enterprise employers still face significant challenges when it comes to successfully implementing and scaling internal recruiting programs.

“The pandemic has completely changed how companies need to think about hiring,” said Jerome Ternyck, founder and CEO of SmartRecruiters. “Employers are finally starting to realize that it’s increasingly likely that their next hire is actually already working for them. Our data highlights the huge impact internal mobility has on Hiring Success. If you can’t provide your best people with meaningful career opportunities, then your competitors will.”

The 2021 State of Internal Recruiting Report combines extensive research and expert analysis along with insights from hundreds of enterprise talent acquisition leaders from all over the world to identify the most significant trends and emerging best practices in internal recruiting and talent mobility today. 

Based on SmartRecruiters’ market research and industry analysis, here are some of the key findings and top takeaways from the report:

  • Most companies haven’t developed an internal recruiting strategy. Despite the increasingly competitive market for top talent, over 2 in 5 respondents have yet to develop or implement a formal internal recruiting strategy. While most employers plan on increasing their talent acquisition budgets in 2021, the survey suggested that less than 10% of all companies had allocated any dedicated recruiting resources or spend at all, and less than 2% plan to increase talent mobility spend within their global recruiting organizations in the next 12 months.
  • Internal recruiting and retention are two sides of the same coin.  75% of employees who receive promotions will stay with the company for at least three years, SmartRecruiters research suggests, as do 62% of workers who made lateral moves. Simply switching or altering employee roles or responsibilities, even without a raise or change in title, increases the likelihood of retaining high potential workers and top performers by over 20%. 
  • The business case for internal recruiting is clear. While less than 5% of all recruiting dollars are spent on internal recruiting, mobility counts for around 40% of all hires made. Additionally, companies save $6,000-per-hire on average when filling a job with an existing employee versus recruiting an external candidate.

“Data shows that if you post a job, there’s around a 1 in 200 chance that you’re going to hire an external applicant,” said Matt Charney, Director of Customer Experience and Thought Leadership at SmartRecruiters. “For existing employees, that number is around 1 in 5, despite the fact most employers we surveyed responded that they do nothing to recruit internal talent. There is a critical opportunity for employers where even doing the smallest of things will make a huge impact not just in hiring, but across the employee lifecycle, too.”

For more information and to download SmartRecruiters’ 2021 State of Internal Mobility Report, please visit

About SmartRecruiters

SmartRecruiters enables Hiring Without Boundaries™ by freeing talent acquisition teams from legacy applicant tracking software. SmartRecruiters' next-generation platform serves as the hiring operating system for 4,000 customers like Bosch, LinkedIn, Skechers, and Visa. Companies with business-critical hiring needs turn to SmartRecruiters for best-of-breed functionality, world-class support, and a robust ecosystem of third-party applications and service providers.

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