The last few years have been testing as the massive hit of COVID-19 initiated a chain reaction of challenges across industries. Inflation reached record highs, the demand-supply balance went into turmoil, and economic headwinds made the already tight market even more unpredictable. The wrath of the Market Gods fell upon both – the employees and the employers, and eventually on the bridge connecting the two – the recruitment and staffing industry. Safe to say, it’s tough to be a staffing leader today amidst the current market conditions!
Despite the economies exhibiting signs of improvement, the demand for staffing and workforce solutions remains weak. On top of that, labor shortage still prevails as the primary concern, and the great resignation- which has now turned to Quite Quitting – has further created huge turnovers and recruitment challenges for organizations across industries. Given the weak demand and changing expectations of the employees, what does the future of talent acquisition look like?
Here are some sneak peeks.
- Employee preferences and the nature of opportunities are changing
Employee preferences have changed, and they emphasize flexibility more than stability. For instance, employees of all age groups today are leaving their full-time jobs to pursue interim or contract-based work. As per a Korn Ferry report, RPO trends 2023, the number of global interim workers may grow to 78 million in 2023 (from about 43 million in 2018). While 21% of the interim workers cited flexibility as the reason for a change to contract-based work from full-time, 26% acknowledged the move to take a break from the traditional corporate lifestyle.
The respective trend has not gone unnoticed as organizations plan to increase the use of contract workers in the coming years. Many employers will look at interim executives and professionals to meet scaling workforce needs. This presents a massive opportunity for the staffing industry to capitalize on!
Another significant change in view is that employees are moving around the organization but not out of the organization. They signal an internal mobility trend as they migrate to other functional areas within their current organizations. The scenario can help companies motivate top talent, develop more diverse pipelines, and fill open roles to meet critical needs amid stalled hiring. Organizations can invest in internal mobility, talent analytics, and workforce planning for futureproofing their businesses.
- Learning and development for retention and bridging skill gaps
Today, employees look forward to more personal and professional development opportunities as a crucial factor when working for or joining an organization. As per a report by Lorman, 70% of employees are likely to leave their current jobs to join an organization known for investing in employee development and learning. Interestingly, it adds that 87% of millennials believe that learning and development in the workplace is important. Another research suggests that 81% of the UK workforce believes learning and acquiring new knowledge or skills to be important or very important.
Be it different geographical locations or age groups, ensuring learning and development opportunities can help you retain your existing employees, acquire new talent, and bridge the skill gap within your organization, is key. But unfortunately, things don’t look in their best shape today. Many organizations today are not equipped to provide the appropriate learning and development opportunities that an employee demands.
As per the LinkedIn Workplace report, merely 29% of employees feel “very satisfied” with the current career advancement opportunities available within their organization. In countries like the UK, where the labor market is grappling with labor and skill shortages, 65% of employees are looking for a job change due to a lack of personal development opportunities. Skill-building and development can help bridge the talent gap. Unfortunately, HR and L&D managers are unable to address the issue of development opportunities, and a change of approach is needed.
- Increasing the applicability of AI to augment recruitment
AI-backed predictive analytics can help audit employee skillsets, shortlist internal candidates, fill difficult-to-fill roles, and create personalized career pathways based on goals and interest areas. From enhancing communication with recruitment platforms to ensuring better engagement with candidates and making data-driven decisions.
As per Gartner, HR and recruiting leaders are actively determining areas where AI can be applicable and which use cases make sense for organizations. A survey by professional staffing firm Robert Half states that 41% of US workers believe generative AI to have a “positive impact” on their careers. Moreover, about 63% of technology professionals and 54% of HR professionals said generative AI will create more demand for their skills.
Moreover, generative AI will make reskilling a norm. While many view it as a threat, in my opinion, it is essential for the workforce of tomorrow. As per an IBM survey, business leaders say that AI and automation implementation over the next three years will require almost 40% of their workforce to reskill, especially for entry-level jobs. This translates to over 1.4 billion people in the global workforce requiring upskilling.
- The future of talent acquisition demands honesty
Here is a fascinating insight from a survey by ResumeBuilder.com. 36% of hiring managers lie to job candidates. 75% lie during interviews, 52% lie in job descriptions, and 24% lie in the offer letter. Moreover, 40% said they did so about the role’s responsibilities, 39% about growth opportunities at the company, 38% about career development opportunities, and others lied about the company culture, benefits, and company commitment to social issues.
This culture of lying must end for the eventual betterment of the future of talent acquisition. Lying to candidates undermines an organization’s integrity and can prove acute for business. While it deceives the candidate into making an ill-informed choice, it also demotivates them to work in the organization of the goals. Honesty upholds an organization’s reputation and is critical for cultivating success eventually.
In my opinion, change governs the future of talent acquisition today. HR leaders must treat talent acquisition as a more strategic function. They must innovate in their retention approaches and provide personal development opportunities to retain and attract top talent. Moreover, we need to up our game by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence. AI is more likely to augment jobs than destroy them, and we should be ready. AI is leading us to a new reality, and we must adapt soon!
OPINION PIECE: Sanjeev Tirath, Co-founder & CEO of Pyramid Consulting, Inc.