At the end of every year, recruitment teams worldwide plan their strategies for the next 12 months, addressing key areas like resolving issues with their hiring processes, revisiting language in their job descriptions, re-evaluating their talent management, reconsidering what a ‘qualified’ candidate looks like, and reassessing where and how they source top talent.
To address critical skills gaps, recruitment professionals need to stay on top of the hiring trends. The more willing they are to rethink traditional approaches and understand the current trends, the better placed they will be to take challenges head on, recruit the best talent, and stay competitive in 2022.
People Matters gathered insights from industry leaders on the recruitment and hiring trends that job seekers may find helpful and companies and hiring managers should look out for this year.
Specificity to be a key theme in hiring
The key theme for hiring in 2022 will be specificity, that is, hiring for specific roles, focusing on the right profile, and this will be done through the use of assessment tools, AI, and data analytics, says Siddhartha Gupta, CEO of online talent assessment company Mercer|Mettl.
“Recruiters will prioritise the ‘who to hire’ rather than ‘what to hire’. 2022 will be the year of data-driven recruitment,” he says.
In the past, the problem when it comes to hiring has always been that there is no synchronisation when it comes to aligning. Companies used to end up hiring ‘jack of all, master of none’ profiles. In addition, there were cases when a person was hired for a particular position, but ended up doing something else, and then got evaluated from a competency framework that was not applicable to their profile in the first place.
“In 2022, one needs to be specific in their approach. The ‘generalist’ hiring approach won’t work. Hence, basis AI, big-data-driven assessment tools... one needs to figure out about ‘who’ or ‘what is that right profile’ that is missing. Once that is done, based on data, you create a specific profile with absolute clarity on what is the mission of the role, what is the outcome expected, the competencies required, the assumed interests and needs for that role. And then you create a competency framework that is aligned with the ‘profile’. In a nutshell, it’s about mapping the entire journey of a role. Furthermore, this will also become essential to deal with attrition. You don’t want to end up in a hire-fire cycle as it is cost and time expensive,” says Gupta.
Need for a fresh look at employee value proposition
As people become more selective about their work priorities, needs, and conditions, the employer value proposition must change accordingly.
Raunak Bhandari, Regional Program Manager, Organisational Development – APAC - at Google, says that focus areas for companies would include updating brand research and outreach so companies can adapt policies, benefits, and messaging to the current market and prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in talent attraction and retention, since the pandemic disproportionately affects labour outcomes for minoritised groups.
The big question for 2022 is which DEI strategies adopted in 2021 (if any) will be most successful in increasing representation in big tech?
Numerical ‘goaling’ would not be enough, says Bhandari about trends that should be taken into consideration.
"Many companies without goals (Netflix) show strong DEI growth due to other institutional commitments. Flexible working arrangements will likely allow for increased hiring of minoritised groups. Tying executive pay to DEI performance has been adopted by Apple and other large non-tech companies (e.g., McDonald’s). This policy shows the most promise for making all leaders responsible for improving their organisation’s DEI,” he adds.
Need for tech innovation in recruitment
Bhandari says tech innovation for process improvements within recruiting remains one of the key themes that companies need to invest in. Whether it is tools for candidate management or AI-based sourcing platforms, companies need to harness technology to make smarter hiring decisions.
Going forward, employers won't hire candidates based on just their resumes and experience from the talent acquisition perspective. Instead, they will focus on relevant experience in the domain the employees are supposed to be working on with the new employer.
“If candidates are up for showcasing their skills on live case study/programming assignments, the recruitment process will be swift, as well as rewarding. It is also easier to coordinate, as the interviewees work remotely, in non-office hours, available with their personal coding environments,” says Piyush Raj Akhouri, Co-founder & Business Head, Bridgen Tech, a boutique staffing services provider with presence in West Europe, North America, and South-East Asia.
“At Tech Mahindra, we continue to focus on skill-based hiring, across emerging technologies including 5G, XDS, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Robotic Process Automation, Blockchain, Internet of Things, and Cyber Security. Additionally, hiring across all levels, especially at ‘the bottom of the pyramid’, to increase the tech quotient of the firm and keep our talent pool brimming with new-age technologies, has diversified our talent pool, and opened new doors of innovative thinking for us. In the year 2020-21, we had 25.5% of women in STEM-related positions,” says Harshvendra Soin, Global Chief People Officer & Head – Marketing, Tech Mahindra.
Digital-first business model has acted as a survival kit for enterprises during the pandemic. With organisations leveraging new-age technologies to address business challenges, hiring experts expect to see an increased demand for STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics) education & talent pool and future-ready employees who are adept in digital skills and new-age technologies.
Hybrid staffing in project teams
Another significant shift in the hiring trends that industry experts foresee is hybrid staffing in project teams. So far, companies used to outsource resources only when the skill-set needed was basic and required for a shorter duration specific to a project. “With everyone open to getting onboarded remotely, employers are now looking for subject-matter experts, who can onboard quickly, start delivery on the project without much external supervision or help, finish the task and move on to the next assignment. With the changing dynamics of the IT industry, remote working, freelancing, and temporary staffing will only grow in the coming years, which will benefit skilled and adaptable resources with better pay, challenging opportunities, and work-life balance,” says Akhouri.
Employees to have greater say in salary negotiations
The ‘Great Resignation’ has resulted in employees having the leverage in the employee-employer relationship for a change. The reason is that the demand-supply gap is tilted in favour of the employees. Demand for talent is high while supply is limited at a time when businesses are looking to resume their operations full-scale. As a result, employees have the leverage when it comes to negotiating for salary and benefits. Hence, they have no qualms about leaving a job without having one in hand, as seen in “the great resignation era”. Although, says Gupta of Mercer|Mettl, this trend is temporary and will even out.
“As a result, recruiters will need a rethink in their strategy to attract top talent. Therefore, we will see organisations focusing on developing bolder, meaningful ‘Employee Value Propositions’ such as transparent diversity, equity, and inclusion policies, implementing a listening culture based on employee feedback, etc,” he adds.
Attractive financial package won’t be enough
The pandemic has reinforced the adage that ‘health is wealth’. Therefore, Gupta says that an attractive pay package, while necessary, isn’t enough for an employee to choose or stick to an organisation.
Besides a good financial package, employees are now looking at "freedom", meaning, growth and culture, he notes.
Physical and mental health has become paramount for employees. For this, they now want a certain level of freedom and flexibility in terms of how, where, and when they work in order to achieve a better work-life balance. Also, workplaces aren’t just workplaces anymore. For some, they provide meaning to their lives, a purpose of sorts. “In addition, the quality of relationships with fellow colleagues and the senior leadership plays a key in defining an ‘employee experience’ along with mentorship,” says Gupta.
Employees also want clarity in terms of career growth. They want to see a clear path with regard to their role and an opportunity to expand their skill-sets. “Besides that, employees want decision-making at an organisational level to be done on the basis of their feedback. The aim is to have complete transparency and accountability at all levels with employee well-being at the forefront,” he adds.
Candidates expect location flexibility
There is evidence that a lack of hybrid, remote working may lead to attrition. Companies need to be well-positioned to engage these candidates seeking hybrid, flexible work options. Google’s Bhandari says the focus for companies will be on fostering collaboration and inclusion across employees in the office and those working remotely.
“2022 will see a continued transition to new ways of working across industries and the future of work will need to evolve beyond a ‘one size fits all' approach. The future of work will be about offering people a healthy balance between the flexibility they need and the in-person connection time that is vital to their development, to building strong teams, nurturing creativity, and to the success of client relationships. The safety and wellbeing of people, their continuous learning and development will remain key talent priorities for organisations,” says Lakshmi C, Managing Director and Lead for Human Resources, Accenture India.