2020 recruitment: the future is here

In the world of recruitment, the past two years have seen a challenging economic and technological landscape, dominated by artificial intelligence, employee satisfaction, and increased competition.

Back in 2018, we looked at some of the trends facing employers in the year ahead, but how have things panned out?

The softer side

‘What everyone wants, but no one knows how to find’: That’s how LinkedIn’s recent Global Talent Trends report summed up soft skills in the year ahead. AI has continued to transform recruitment but soft skills remain crucial.

The report found that 80% of employers said soft skills are increasingly important to company success. We’re with them – particularly when it comes to more senior and highly specialised roles.

Yet only 41% of employers say they have a formal process to measure soft skills. Even with an experienced internal recruiter – a priceless asset for any organisation – it can be a struggle to screen soft skills for certain types of roles. This is largely, as we highlighted back in 2018, because the candidates who will fit these roles are not actively job seeking and reaching them requires time, resource and relationship building.

An employee focus

We also talked about the importance of the employee experience for business success. Datis’ 2019 State of Workforce Management survey found that 97% of CEOs believe their organisations are now making a conscious effort to engage employees, and 90% believe their employees are emotionally invested in their work. However, their views were found to be more positive and ‘idealistic’ than HR, finance and operations executives which suggests there is still more work to be done.

The report found that, overall, only 40% of executives feel they are able to attract top talent and only half have an efficient recruitment or smooth onboarding process. It also suggested there’s a need for ‘strategies, systems, and processes to address this trend.’

As we’ve said before, every touchpoint in the recruitment process is a vital step towards creating an engaged, productive workforce. Being mindful of this is one of the things that has enabled us to recruit successfully when organisations have not been able to directly and through their own means.

Openness to learning

The trend towards a continuous learning approach has also continued, but there is also growing awareness about the benefits of learning in more senior roles.  Deloitte’s most recent Global Human Capital Trends survey found 86% of respondents believed they must reinvent their ability to learn and 80% believe leaders need to be developed differently, around a human focus.

If suggestions that we might soon see reverse-recruitment marketplaces prove correct, this type of learning would be extremely important from a recruitment perspective.   

Becoming more flexible

A report by the CIPD last year highlighted that progress on implementing flexible arrangements over the last 15 years has been almost non-existent. They found that while in the UK, 80% of UK employers had a flexible working arrangement in place, only 59% had taken it up.

Back in 2018, we highlighted the growth in the number of employees demanding flexible working options and outlined some of the many benefits of flexible working: improved productivity, better working relations, reduced overheads – not to mention better recruitment options. So you might have expected the number of flexible working opportunities to have grown since then.

Unfortunately, our experience leads us to conclude they haven’t. There seems to be a reluctance on the part of some employers to break the 9-5 tradition, and it’s one that will cost them.

Flexjobs’ most recent survey found that 80% of employees would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. They actually found that people who work remotely are increasing the amount of time they spend doing so, and recognised that offering flexible work options would help employers attract ‘well-educated professionals with solid experience’.

LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report also found that there has been a 78% increase in job posts mentioning ‘workplace flexibility’. We can only hope it’s a sign of things to come rather than just a case of paying lip service.

The AI takeover

In our previous article, we talked about the potential of AI to reduce bias in the selection process, speed up CV screening and reduce the administrative burden on HR. But we also stressed the importance of maintaining a human element in the recruitment process.

Sadly, many recruitment agencies have given digital technology too much prominence in the search and selection process. Candidates tell us that they’re fed up of being ignored or simply emailed, and have been unable to get the help or support they need from an agency – until they found us. 

On the other side of the coin, 89% of talent professionals and hiring managers feel that ‘bad hires’ typically have poor soft skills. We find this is usually down to a reliance on digital recruitment methods. AI has its place in the recruitment process, but personal connections are worth far more.

At Sitka, our experience has shown that for certain roles, the only way to navigate the challenges facing recruiters in 2020 is the same now as it was in 2018: to work with a dedicated recruitment partner who has the time and skill to carry out a more thorough recruitment process.

If you have a role that could benefit from this approach, please get in touch.

To find out how we can work with you, please drop us a line