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It’s a candidate’s world: Here’s what 2017 holds for talent acquisition

2016 was a year of great change; in the talent acquisition industry this was no different and the impact of these changes will continue to have an impact on the sector in the New Year. 

The gig economy, big data and the importance of company culture will all remain key topics for 2017; however, we will also see some newer trends, such as ‘the Vagabond HQ and employee’ gaining steam. There is a common theme that ties all of these trends together - the ubiquitous presence of technology in the talent world. Based on insights from Futurestep’s recruitment experts around the world, here is what we predict 2017 will hold:

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As many as 4.63 million - or one in seven - of the UK’s workforce are now contingent workers, or independent contractors, according to a report by IPSE. They turn over an estimated £109bn a year.

There are two driving forces for the rise of this trend; what is now being called ‘the gig economy’: employers and employees. 

Employees are demanding a new way to work; they want diversity and flexibility in their roles, and the opportunity to showcase their unique skill sets. On the other hand, many organisations have undertaken a shift in strategy from ‘I need to hire a person’ to ‘I need to complete a task.’ 

This contingent workforce should be seen as a complementary addition to the traditional full-time workforce; undoubtedly if it is to work, we must ensure both sets of workers are treated equally, which starts with pay. Cost saving should never be the main reason to ramp up the number of independent contractors. Instead, they should be valued for the unique skills they bring to the table. Corporations need to actively drive the change that enables cultural and organisational integration of this highly relevant workforce.

Pack your bags: The vagabond HQ and employee

It’s all about location. As the war on talent is raging on, organisations are becoming more willing to take bold action in moving company headquarters – or significant facilities – closer to sources of much-needed talent. 

The city of Dallas, for instance, has seen a significant rise in corporate relocation due to its sophisticated highway system, favourable tax base and specialised talent. The likes of Toyota, JP Morgan Chase and coffee giant Farmer Brothers have all expressed plans to grow their presence in the area. 

Meanwhile here in the UK, healthcare organisations have been active in recruiting candidates from overseas. Around one in five nurses recruited in England 2015/16 were non-British EU nationals. On the other hand, in the technology sector, 72 per cent of UK professionals would consider an international move, with 23 per cent stating they are actively looking to make an international move. 

With industries such as the automotive industry becoming even more technology-focused, this is a trend that will not subside anytime soon. The need for talent will continue to see employers searching beyond their local talent pool to find people with the right skills.

Evolve with the times: The changing roles of the vital many

The move to more highly specialised, on-the-job training, to support workers changing remit, will continue in 2017.

Technology has impacted the face of the ‘vital many’ – large groups of employees who traditionally carried out manual or redundant tasks.  With the automation of work processes, workers across the board must ensure they evolve too, learning the new skills that will drive their future. 

However, this doesn’t mean that technology, rather than people, will be the key driver of change for the future of work. Human capital represents to the global economy a potential value of $1.2 quadrillion, 2.33 times that of physical capital, which includes tangible assets like technology, real estate, and inventory, which represented a value of $521 trillion Technology, automisation and constantly learning artificial intelligence will have a massive impact on work and how we define work. But the drive for innovation and learning in humans is equally strong and I see both complementing each other rather than competing for at least the next 5-15 years. 

Swipe left, swipe right: Social media and recruiting

The concept of social recruitment is certainly not new but it will reach new heights in 2017. Rather than simply relying on traditional job boards, talent acquisition experts are increasingly looking for alternative ways to source and secure talent. Mobile apps or social platforms like Twitter, or even Tinder will take a huge leap in the New Year to redefine candidate search.

A variety of new services in different parts of the globe enable recruiters to combine social, geo-targeting and mobile technology. For example, once a job advertisement has been posted on the mobile application, notifications can be pushed to everyone with the app in a 50-mile radius. Recipients can then react instantly with a push of an ‘apply’ or ‘ignore’ button.  

A logical side effect of social recruitment usage and geo-targeting will be the decline of traditional job boards, something we expect to see continue in 2017. We can already see this in other regions. In APAC, predominantly in China recruiting IS mobile & social recruiting. 

Seeing into the future: Data that matters long after hire

Once upon a time, performance metrics in the recruiting world have primarily focused around the hiring process itself, i.e. how long does it take to find a suitable candidate and how costly will this be?

But efficiency and cost-savings no longer suffice to measure success. Longer-term metrics such as performance metrics, how long a person stays in a role, or the number of promotions within that role now come into play.

Significant enhancements in candidate assessments allow for a better picture of how a person fits into an organisation. Whereas skills and competencies still matter and always will, they are no longer the only components. Personality traits and motivation have become equally important and sophisticated algorithms have led to great strides in assessment here. We will see more of these in the future, in the form of psychometric tests or behavioural-based interview guides for example.

Jan Mueller, Managing Director EMEA Talent Acquisition Solutions, Futurestep
Image source: Shutterstock/Kirill Wright

Jan Mueller
Jan Mueller is Managing Director EMEA Talent Acquisition Solutions at Futurestep. He has over 18 years’ experience in international recruiting.