1. People First

Perhaps a surprising view coming from people with a focus on technology - 'People First'.  However not every technical advance consists of steps forward.  We think that the mood currently, is for a kind of retrenchment away from a technology centric view.  We put on record our opinion in mid-2017 that AI was over hyped and that practical delivery was far behind the hype of; machine-driven AI robots about to take over, being peddled by the media.  We think our view has been supported here at the start of 2019.  People are now more aware that AI is not a magic bullet and it will take a bit more time till we may be ruled by the robots...
The GDPR in 2018 also changed perceptions.  There were also it seems many more press reports in 2018 of data misuse too.  We certainly detect that there is now much more active concern over usage of data and how it is managed than there was.  Whilst the GDPR was a European initiative, its reach has been global.  Candidate rights and privacy are much more front of mind for many clients this year.

We think that whilst the GDPR has established the benchmark in “data” terms.  But that there is more debate due to come; round how data should be used.  We are thinking here, in terms of how decisions are made.  You can buy recruitment systems that use algorithms to, in effect, make decisions round which candidates go forward. In these systems the systems make advancement or hiring decisions.  We think this capability, whilst initially seeming perhaps attractive in terms of lessening time and labour in sifting CV's, has overreached itself.  We certainly detect, there is a now much greater understanding of the limitations and dangers in AI/algorithms.  HR and recruiting professionals now have a much more realistic view of what they actually can, or cannot, do. For those HR people we deal with and come across; whilst they want automation, they also want human control and accountability.  These days we all know that this is what candidates expect.  They expect a human to make the final decision, to reject or move them forward.  It's fine to have systems and data supporting that decision.  But, they don't want it all done completely automatically by machine.  

2.  One-size fits all?

We detect that in many workplaces the paradigm is moving away from the single model of full-time workers or employees.  In many, it's still true that the mindset is still to hire an FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) and to talk in terms of headcount and employee diversity etc.  However, more and more, we are seeing workplaces move to what is sometimes referred to as a "worker ecosystem".  This is labour force that encompasses greater proportions of; part-timers, contractors, gig-workers, remote workers and outsourced staffing providers.  The ecosystem workforce also in many areas now relies more on contingent labour.  Indeed by way of example many now have programmes to hire back in older workers who may have originally left their workforce on a contingent basis.  It's a much more heterogeneous model than the largely FTE based one we had.

This creates both challenges and opportunities in hiring terms.  As an example, traditional job boards are very focussed on full or part-time employee positions, as are most recruitment agents.  Looking beyond this means working with other means of attracting and processing candidates.  Recruitment systems now have to be able to be fit for purpose; in managing applications, and referrals for e.g. short-term gig-economy type positions as well as for full-time employees.  Both sourcing and decision processes becomes much more varied as a result.

We see this trend continuing in 2019. If it ever really was a "one-size fits world" - it's not now.

3.  A more creative approach

Following the above two points, suggesting that there is more focus on people, rather than automating recruitment and that the market for labour is much more varied; we are seeing an increasing appetite to more creative approaches in attracting and engaging labour.  Traditional search will only go so far.  We are seeing a much greater emphasis on internal mobility within organisations - i.e. a greater focus on the internal job market within an organisation.  It's not now simply about screening for the right qualifications.  After-all, graduates are everywhere now.  A number of organisations we deal with, for example, now do intelligence and/or numerical/verbal reasoning tests on graduates arguing a degree does not provide sufficient reassurance of basic skills and ability.

We have seen organisations use their experience with contingent hires as a means of trialling potential employees.  Some now see this as a channel into their more regular workforce employees. It's similar with the growth in taking on Interns. Getting some hands-on experience of graduates through an Internship shows better how they might contribute and is seen to lessen the risks in hiring them as full-time employees.

4. Growth of Contingent Workers

We see this a big growth area in the next few years.  More and more organisations and realising the benefits of having a more flexible workforce.  Its not just about as an alternative to FTE employees either.  Organisations are becoming both more project focussed and more complex.  There is a general appreciation that there needs to be greater scope in terms of skills and experience to manage a more complex workload.  We are seeing some clients now recruit for projects as much as they do for regular positions.

Legislation has in our view not really kept up with this growth.  Contingent labour was not always treated as well as perhaps it should have been.  However we believe this will change with more guidelines and legal protections coming in for contingent type labour.  The current legal framework still is very focussed on FTE employment.  But we think the tide a definitely turning and we can expect to see more provisions coming in to address contingent working. Organisations are also making the effort to make themselves attractive to contingent labour.

So the are the major 4 trends we are seeing across our markets currently with respect to the world of recruiting.  Some have been around a while but we list them as we see them as very much in the ascendant.  Lastly we hope 2019 bring you every success in your business.