According to the latest “Future of Work 2021 Global Outlook” report by Monster, after analysing their findings from the vast amount of data gathered, they pinpointed the top three recruiting challenges identified by recruiters for 2021:
- Finding candidates with the right skills,
- Work/life balance expectation,
- Virtual recruiting
Challenge 1: Finding candidates with the right skills
So why is it difficult to find candidates with the right skills? The nature of work is rapidly changing due to emerging technologies and disruptive forces, such as AI, the gig economy etc. Whilst the exact effect of these and other changes remain unknown; one thing seems certain: the skills that employers value and rely upon are evolving. This results in employers struggling to hire appropriately trained talent, thus a “skills gap” has developed. In fact, 87% of recruiters say they find it difficult to fill positions as a result of the skills gap. This is particularly acute for sectors such as finance/banking 35%, real estate 26% and technology 23%. This problem needs to be addressed given that nearly 1/3 of employers agree that the skills gap has increased over the past year and will continue to widen.
What’s more, it is especially difficult to hire people who have the right skills at higher-level positions, in fact, when the older generations with the most experience leave a company, this position then has to be filled by new talent with the correct experience and professional level as their predecessor. On top of this, recruiters nowadays are more aware that a younger employee is more likely to leave the position sooner than their predecessor, given that the professionals 25-30 years ago tended to stay in one job for a lifetime whereas nowadays members of younger generations are less likely to seek a career with one company and are more likely to move around; a shift from the prior generation’s approach.
Challenge 2: Work/life balance expectation
The pandemic on top of the current rate of advancement of technology has changed the way we work and our work/life balance expectations. It is safe to say this change is not temporary and it is no secret that both recruiters and candidates have seen the success that working from home can bring. According to Jort Wassenaar, managing director, Monster Europe “now that the old argument against working from home – that productivity will drop – has been disproved, candidates and employees will expect a lot more flexibility.” Pandemic-fuelled policy changes are more inclined than ever to become the new normal; expectations such as remote flexibility, new health policies, and a reduced workplace footprint are likely here to stay. These employee expectations are going to be difficult to meet 100% of the time, therefore changes to policies and protocols will need to be weighed up and prioritised by recruiters.
Challenge 3: Virtual recruiting
With limited opportunities to meet with candidates face-to-face, 2020 saw an acceleration of virtual recruiting across the globe, and in the technology and business sectors. However, Monster found that more than a quarter of global respondents are still struggling with it. While it may offer a safe, and socially distant way of meeting with prospective hires; both recruiters and candidates (Gen Z in particular) are finding virtual recruiting a challenge for getting a true feel for culture and value alignment, and it is a particular hinderance for small and medium-sized businesses.
Advice for Employers:
1. What can recruiters do about the skills gap?
- Employer leadership is a key part of addressing this skills gap- they must provide opportunities for their employees to acquire the skills and knowledge that employers value. Fundamentally, recruiters must identify and signal the skills they need and communicate this to the active and passive talent.
- Recruiters should develop mechanisms to recruit, train, and retain employees. Effectively, recruiters need to develop and nurture talent pipelines.
- Strategic, forward-looking, proactive recruitment and hiring are important elements of developing a skilled workforce, but in 44% of small and medium sized firms, HR departments are primarily operational rather than strategic. Perhaps as a result, many of these firms lack a clear process for recruiting new employees; 59% wait until there is a specific position to be filled rather than drawing upon ongoing outreach efforts; this needs to be addressed and proactive initiatives to acquire talent need to be implemented. Catenon have been innovative with Talent Hackers which uses Data Intelligence to identify professionals in the IT Community, and is the first nodal distributed network platform for the search and recruitment of technology and digital professionals based on paid referrals.
- Upskilling and Investment in your workforce – Most employers and candidates say upskilling is a shared responsibility between company and worker – professionals need to take the time and effort to upskill themselves, but a lack of systematic, internal training programs can simultaneously make it difficult to develop talent internally, therefore, ongoing training and upskilling systems need to be put in place. According to Brookings, only 56% of companies currently implement this continuous training. Employers need to create a “learning culture,” offering opportunities for ongoing learning that extends beyond on-boarding or other isolated trainings specific to a particular task or technology – companies need to shift to a continuous-learning model—one that repeatedly enhances employees’ skills and makes formal training broadly available.
- Internal career advancement systems are needed for growth and progression of employees, so that employees have a goal to work towards.
- Other strategies include investing in talent planning through strategic HR initiatives, developing internal career ladders and internship programs, creating internal skills development programs, and building partnerships with educational institutions and others to act as a key lever in building a sustainable talent pipeline, such as local chambers of commerce, business associations and trade groups.
2. What can recruiters do about work/life balance ?
With employee mental welfare becoming increasingly important; prioritising workers’ work/life balance, not only makes them happier and more productive but can make your company well known or even renowned for looking after its employees. Improving your employer branding will consequently attract the top talent, which ultimately helps your company to hire and retain the best. Based on what candidates want and the policies that employers actually changed, companies have opportunities for improvement. Recruiters need to do everything they can to provide the best company culture for their employees to thrive in, below is a list of things that can be done in order to better work/life balance:
- Flexible work schedules
- Communication transparency
- Career development
- Salary protection
- Offer flexible and remote working
- Encourage managers to focus on productivity rather than hours
- Encourage breaks
- Regularly review workloads
- Lead by example
- Increase support for parents
- Offer health cash plans/policies/protocols
- Ask employees for feedback
- Acknowledge every employee is different
3. What can recruiters do to improve and embrace virtual recruiting?
The key to success for improving virtual recruiting is transparency. Recruiters need to be transparent in order to give a real feel of the company culture. It has also been identified that among the candidate communication tools – phone and email remain the most effective for recruiting, chosen by 71% and 62% of all global recruiters, respectively. Text Recruiting is big with finance/banking recruiters 30% blue-collar recruiters 20%. Social media recruiting is most used among tech recruiters 12% medium/large businesses 11% retail 10% and email rules for SMB 65%
All in all…
Successful recruiters will attack these challenges such as the skills gap, work/life balance and virtual recruiting head on; the sooner they start to make these changes to their recruitment model, the more prepared the company is going to be in order to thrive in the future.