Recruitment industry ‘megatrends’, UK confidence levels and AI

October 4th, 2017 | Industry News

Adecco, the world’s largest staffing organisation, has identified a number of ‘megatrends’ influencing the nature of recruitment in recent years. None of them will surprise the well-informed recruitment consultant or HR manager, but when aggregated together they reveal a substantial change in the nature of recruitment. The mega-trends are:

  • Businesses favouring flexible workforces in an increasingly fast changing environment
  • An ageing global workforce
  • More people freelancing
  • The need for lifelong learning in the workplace
  • The opportunities presented by automation.

Foremost amongst the opportunities is the role that online recruitment software can play in improving acquisition and retention of highly mobile workers. As employment fluidity increases and portfolio careers become the norm, employment software that can effectively track qualified candidates and funnel them into, and out of, applicant tracking systems is a vital necessity to stay on top of employment demands. Unwieldy databases that require intensive manual updating and are difficult to search do not meet the needs of a candidate pool and client base relying on evidence of lifelong learning and swift updating – not just of candidate profiles – but also of employer requirements.

UK confidence levels fall

A survey by the UK based Recruitment and Employment Confederation reveals that British employers are less willing to hire and invest than ever before. While 29% of firms said they had higher confidence in hiring, 20% were less confident than before and general confidence in the economy is at its lowest since the survey began in June 2016. The Chief Executive said that, ‘…this drop in employer confidence should raise a red flag.’ Shortages in the construction and healthcare sectors are the most acute and 40% of employers say they have no spare capacity. A result of this employment uncertainty is that recruitment software solutions have to be sensitive to the needs of employers whose own certainties are low and who feel the need to be doubly sure about the need for recruitment and the calibre of the employee before committing to even a temporary contract.

When will AI be hiring people?

The answer is probably, not any time soon. Despite massive enthusiasm in the recruitment industry for Artificial Intelligence and its role in talent acquisition, it’s still in the realm of pipe dreams, like Amazon sending your order by drone or driverless cars delivering your pizza. Why? For two main reasons:

  1. An effective recruitment platform already automates a large part of the recruitment process – the part that doesn’t require human intervention
  2. Recruitment is a people process, and the human to human communication that ensures a ‘good fit’ between candidate and client requires intuition as much as anything else.

So where might AI fit in? Alongside cloud recruitment software, specifically for screening large numbers of advert responses to find the appropriate candidates and through offering the ability to crunch large amounts of data to be predictive about when organisations might need more staff or to identify whether there are times of year when employees start to get itchy feet and might leave their employer with a talent gap.