I’ve been in the recruiting and staffing industry for more than 20 years. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the industry changes – good and bad – first hand. For instance, the days of placing newspaper ads for open positions are long gone.
And, as we venture into the next decade, the industry continues to evolve. What are the hot topics of 2020? I believe they are the following (in no particular order):
- Automation and upskilling. While there is a genuine concern from many workers that a robot will replace them, that is not going to be reality. I believe that because companies will continue to invest in technology to automate tasks, this will instead create opportunities for upskilling. Employers that are smart will place an emphasis on career growth for not only recruiting the best talent but retaining them as well.
- Flexibility. Workplace flexibility is becoming more and more prevalent across organizations. As more companies highlight their flexibility in recruiting efforts, it forces other organizations to follow suit or risk losing talented employees. The demand for flexibility also continues to grow. A study from ManpowerGroup Solutions revealed that nearly 40 percent of job candidates worldwide said schedule flexibility is one of their top three factors in career decisions. And, in most cases, offering flexibility doesn’t cost the company a dime.
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning. Being in tech recruiting, we have our finger on the pulse of technology trends. And one of the biggest ones is AI. As a result, more companies will adopt or test out machine learning and AI to beef up their hiring strategies in 2020. By leveraging AI, companies can supplement and enhance recruiting efforts, such as using automated meeting schedulers, customer support chat bots and tools that can help identify and hire talent.
- Consumer-level candidate experience. What does every candidate have in common? They – like you and me – are consumers. And with a myriad of consumer apps and websites designed to maximize user experience, candidates have come to expect that consumer-level interaction when searching for a job as well. The hiring journey experience you create should convince candidates to become employees. But, the technology should never replace the role of the recruiter and hiring manager in the process. The candidate experience should always include personal touchpoints as well.
- Texting. Like being a consumer, almost all of us are texters. We are glued to our smartphones most of the time. So, it’s only logical that texting would be part of the recruiter/candidate communication experience. This form of communication in the hiring process will only continue to grow in 2020.
- Employer branding. In a time when there’s a talent shortage in some fields, the name of the game is differentiation. Employers must set themselves apart from the competition to attract candidates. And to do this, you need to have a strong value proposition by having a clear employer brand. Candidates aren’t just focusing on salary, benefits and perks when looking at prospective companies. They also want culture, values and ethics alignment. Companies with great employer brands receive 50 percent more qualified applicants and see a 50 percent reduction in cost-per-hire, according to LinkedIn research.
- Soft skills. We are in the middle of a skills shortage that’s predicted to grow to 29 million skills in deficit by 2030. The bulk of these missing skills will be soft skills, with two-thirds of jobs created between now and then expected to be strongly reliant on these types of skills. As a result, recruiters are focusing more on soft skills such as communication, empathy and the ability to adapt to change. People with these soft skills are more likely to upskill or move within a company, instead of out.
It’s an exciting time to be in the recruiting/staffing industry. Many of the trends revolve around technology. My advice is: embrace it, test it out and see what works for you. I’m a firm believer in the importance of the personal experience in recruiting, too. Keep your recruiters at center stage and pepper in the technology where appropriate.