The Future of Recruiting & Hiring: 5 Trends to Watch

How are businesses adapting and embracing new practices to attract new talent as a result of the pandemic

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The latest CIPD and the Adecco Group research shows that whilst 33% of employers surveyed expect to make job cuts, 49% of organisations expect to take on new recruits. As a result of the pandemic it has required many organisations to adapt and embrace new practices to attract new talent into their business. Below are five trends that have emerged a a result of changes within the job market.

Despite pandemic companies are still hiring

One of the most profound realities of the pandemic is how differently organisations are being impacted. Sectors such as the hospitality and transportation sectors have seen their business plans massively disrupted. Others, like online retailers and IT platforms, have seen huge, urgent growth well beyond anything they could have anticipated.

This has forced some organisations to restructure and cut costs, while others are expanding. That contrast has created some significant divides in talent strategies.

Some employers that have had to lay off or furlough employees still need to hire for existing and new essential positions. But concern about the future has made these employers incredibly cautious in their hiring decisions. This has resulted in increasing levels of approval before offers are made or the indefinite deferral of hiring decisions altogether.

At the other end of the talent equation, you have organisations facing huge increases in demand for their goods and services, which is in turn triggering a need for more talent. The demands are growing so quickly, these employers are finding that recruitment and hiring processes that used to take months need to be completed in weeks. 

A third group of businesses are those where there is just enough uncertainty that full-time hires are risky, but enough positive signals and confidence to justify some hiring. These organisations are increasingly relying on contract workers to plug urgent gaps while they watch to see how pandemic conditions evolve.

Competition for top talent and the best jobs remains fierce

 It’s become clear that the dynamic employment market that exists has done nothing to change some of the basic rules of the talent management game. In fact, top talent and good jobs remain in high demand. This is going to put pressure on employers to quickly identify preferred candidates and get them offers. Employers who hesitate will find they are too late to land the best candidates.

However, the sheer number of people looking for work right now has put enormous pressure on employers in the form of unprecedented responses to job postings. It is now not unusual for employers to receive on average 300-400 CVs per application.

This flood of applicants, many of them unqualified, is frustrating for both employers and the best candidates. For employers, it’s the burden of sorting through mountains of CVs; for candidates, it’s the stress of waiting to hear if they have been shortlisted.

Re-inventing recruitment and hiring in the age of COVID-19

 By now, most organisations have adjusted to performing essential business practices in a virtual environment. Lock down restrictions have varied in different geographical areas which has had an impact on talent acquisition resulting in recruitment, hiring and onboarding now largely being done online.

The companies finding success in this new virtual talent market fall into two categories: those that had very strong hiring and onboarding practices before the pandemic; and those forced to quickly adapt and enhance their pre-pandemic processes.

Companies that relied on less-structured programmes, where a stroll around the office to meet key personnel was the core of the onboarding experience, are finding that it’s been a frantic struggle to develop the platform and programming needed to support onboarding in a virtual environment.

How the pandemic has exposed weak or non-existent succession planning 

 Just as is the case with onboarding, organisations that largely failed to do any comprehensive succession planning before COVID-19 are finding they are really at a disadvantage now, when early retirements and churn in the C-suite is at an all-time high.

The pandemic has convinced many senior leaders to rethink their careers and many are opting to stand down and expedite retirement plans. That has led to a spike in executive recruitment while also putting pressure on organisations to put planning in place for the replacement of key leaders or run the risk of vulnerable gaps in the leadership team and a significant loss of knowledge from departing employees.

As companies look to transform their business in order to keep up with the ever-changing world, the demand for leaders who possess the capabilities to lead that transformation will be critical.

New emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion has employers scrambling

 Organisations are not just facing the need for urgent, transformative change on the pandemic front. At the same time, there are increasing demands for employers to become more inclusive and diverse in their hiring and business practices.

LinkedIn research has shown a 58% increase in D&I roles over the last 5 years with 20% of these at a leadership level. The D&I hiring trend we see now can be divided into two streams. There are organisations that did not have a senior D&I leader in place that are scrambling to fill a new position. And then there are those that previously had a chief D&I leader in place but are now looking for a new perspective and approach to show greater progress.

This crisis has presented opportunities to those who adapt

The pandemic has caused a profound shake-up in how businesses operate, their workforces, the skills they need, and their approach to recruitment and hiring. And while organisations continue to evolve in response to the “new normal” and reimagine their future, recruiting and hiring remain a constant, top-of-mind concern for companies of all sizes and industries. It’s imperative that their approach to recruiting and hiring evolves as well. 

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