Looking at what is to come in the recruitment space over the next year may seem a little like trying to knit with fog after the unpredictable world of the last one. In reality, though, while the pandemic has made many business areas harder to predict, for recruitment, it has clarified direction in some areas. The needs of employers are, as always, at the core of what we do, and because the effects of Covid on the workplace happened very early on, we have probably adjusted as well, if not better, than many sectors. So, before we go into the more defined areas, I want to take a moment to just reflect on how the recruitment world has responded to the past year. Despite all the trials, tribulations, and uncertainty, as an industry, we pulled through, and we did more than survive; we thrived and rose to the challenge. That is worth a moment of well-earned reflection on the astonishing resilience we have all shown.
So, what do we see as the trends for 2022?
Employer branding will be more important than ever
Without a doubt, employer branding has been one of the most important focus areas for the last few years. Skills and candidate shortages have meant that employers really needed to ensure that they were attracting the right people. There is no reason to believe that this is going to change in the coming year. According to LinkedIn, around 75% of job seekers are looking at the employer value proposition before applying. As GenZ matures, the importance candidates place on branding in their pre-application research is only going to grow. The increase in the academia surrounding the growth of employer branding shows just how important this area is.
Artificial Intelligence, HR automation and data crunching
Although it feels like something so uniquely human as careers and employment would make a strange bedfellow for technology, there is a clear move towards automation and the use of AI.
- Human Resources Automation may not have quite the Sci-Fi shine of Artificial Intelligence, but right now, it has far more real-world application. The move towards automating HR functions such as payroll, employability checking, timekeeping, attendance, holiday allocations, variable hours, and so on means that HR professionals can focus on more tactical development, innovative projects and working with recruitment professionals to ensure consistent candidate supply.
- Data-driven recruitment is almost certainly going to be a factor from small insights through to large scale impact on recruiting trends. The recruitment process, whether at a national (and increasingly international) scale or at the specific employer level, is a goldmine of data. This is information that can be used at a local level to statistically demonstrate the most successful recruitment techniques through to analysis of big data to predict national trends. Watch out for the sudden increase in the use of data analysis to help refine recruitment processes next year.
- Artificial intelligence continues to develop and is gradually becoming part of almost every business sector. The question raised by the proliferation of AI development is not ‘if’ it will be used but ‘how’ it will be used. As AI becomes a part of the recruitment process, we can expect it to take on roles such as defining the parameters for suitable applicants and deciding which candidates to approve for consideration. Integration with the first two points above will make it a formidable ally in finding the right candidates and keeping them.
Retention and in-house development will be primary drivers
As we continue to look for new ways to bridge the skills gap, more importance is going to be placed on reducing the churn of employees and developing teams internally to meet the challenges to come. Both these areas start with good recruitment built on a strategic partnership.
The professional (and human) face of recruitment will be everywhere
What we mean by this is that as automation rises, the importance of the human touch will also increase. For recruitment, this will mean leveraging the opportunities for the employers and their recruitment partners to build relationships with candidates. Social media, the use of video, work from home contract policies and a thousand other options are available to increase the human element. We see this as a focus area for 2022 because, in the end, this is a people business and to lose the human touch means to lose the advantage provided by the technology.
So, looking forward then, I think we can see another exciting and occasionally challenging year, but, as I said in the opening paragraph, we are more than capable of adapting and growing. Here at Bespoke, we are not just ready for the coming year; we are looking forward to it. We are excited about the potential it will bring and ready to make the most of it on behalf of our clients.