Here are Kevin Wheeler’s top predictions for the trends and developments we’ll be seeing across the talent landscape in 2023.
#1. Hiring will remain robust
Talent remains constrained. Even with significant layoffs, firms still seek people with needed skills. Many laid-off workers are being picked up by smaller firms that could not compete with larger ones before our recession fears. Even the large firms that have announced layoffs will continue to add select talent, especially in cybersecurity, sales, product design, and artificial intelligence. In the United States, the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), passed in 2022, will significantly impact hiring. These will create jobs in construction, energy, and related fields. Asia seems strong economically, except for China, and firms moving from China and Taiwan are investing in South East Asia, which will increase hiring in that area. Europe has a growing people and talent shortage; without more aggressive immigration, talent will remain scarce and expensive. But, there will be more cautious hiring in soft-skill areas such as human resources, recruiting, and finance.
I am almost sure of this prediction – 95% probability.
#2. Marketing & branding will remain critical
Recruiting has relied on the corporate brand to attract candidates, but this is inadequate when there are talent shortages and heavy competition. Situations like this require a separate, focused marketing strategy and a solid recruitment brand. Career sites must be rewritten to attract and sell the work, not just list requirements and duties. There needs to be more imagery and video to meet the expectations of younger candidates. Chatbots may be another tool that can help answer questions and overcome candidates’ concerns. Recruiting functions may hire marketing staff, partner with an established marketing firm, or work with their internal marketing group to develop focused marketing materials and strategies.
I give this an 80% probability.
#3. Remote work will decline for many and grow for others
We are maturing in understanding how to use remote workers and the value of face-to-face contact. There are many benefits of remote work, including flexibility, more productive time, family time, and less time wasted in chit-chat and meetings. At least 16 countries have announced special nomad work visas for people who want to live and work in another country without tax penalties. While the number of people who will take advantage of this is relatively small, many are highly sought-after experts requiring firms who want to use their expertise to expand their search capabilities and develop HR policies for paying them.
On the other hand, these are the disadvantages as well. Less time with other people lessens the intangible connections we develop with co-workers. We learn less about each other and share less knowledge. Isolation can cause loneliness and depression. Remote work seems best suited to those who need little face-to-face contact and whose work can be done with little interaction with others. And working remotely makes it very hard for a new employee to learn the culture and how work gets done.
I predict that more and more workers will return to the office, many on hybrid work schedules, and only a small number will be completely remote. As of this writing, only about 16% of all firms are completely remote, and I believe this number will remain the same.
I give this prediction a 90% probability.
#4. Fewer Recruiters
There will be a need for recruiters, as always, but perhaps fewer, and those remaining will use automated tools. Tech firms spent the pandemic years adding staff at record numbers. This was partly because of increased demand for products and services from people working remotely and partly because of the talent shortage. Firms “stocked up” on talent in fear that the competition would. With inflation, interest rate increases, and fear of a recession, firms are shedding some of their talent. Recruiters have been disproportionally affected and have been the first to be laid off.
This is, to some degree, self-inflicted. Recruiting unnecessarily remains a very inefficient process. Recruiters are traditionalists and have resisted using the tools that could have helped them source, communicate, screen, assess, and schedule candidates. For example, screening tools can eliminate the need for telephone screens or contact with a potential candidate. Scheduling tools can set up interviews with no human intervention. And sourcing tools can accelerate finding good candidates. Many other tools can augment what a recruiter does and free them to do more value-added work, such as communicating with finalist candidates and working with hiring managers.
The recruiters who will remain and thrive will be the ones who can use these tools effectively and develop new strategies for attracting and engaging with both candidates and hiring managers. I hope this is more than a dream.
I give it a 60% probability.
#5. An Expanded Workforce Ecosystem
We will see more diverse people being hired this year. Historically almost all hires were permanent and were placed in specific jobs. This year we see this erode and more people hired as contractors, part-time workers, or consultants. Rather than hire a permanent expert, we will see a continuing movement towards hiring for specific skills to solve problems or add capability to a project. Firms will focus on reskilling and upskilling current workers. The ecosystem will include more older workers who do not want to return to full-time work and more use of strategic partnerships between RPOs. Apprenticeships and internships will expand as firms seek to build needed talent. And more firms will lower job requirements and lessen the need for a college degree.
I give this a 75% probability.
#6. Generative AI
Generative AI will be a hot topic throughout the year. There will be many experiments on how to use ChatGPT-3 and soon -4 and other similar tools. Jasper may be the best choice for generating meaningful text, but it is expensive, and competition is fierce. Will these bots write job descriptions? Or perhaps marketing copy for specific positions? Will they be used as a chatbot? Or will they do all of these? There are many questions; at best, 2023 will be a year of experimentation.
Right now, these tools are primitive, and while they may be useful as a template for human editing, their text is unoriginal and boring. Open AI will cause us to rethink what creative/human skills a person provides that are superior to those of AI.
I give the expansion and use of Open AI tools in recruiting a 50% probability.
#7. The use of analytics will continue to grow
Recruiters and hiring managers can now make better decisions about candidates because of the data and analytics they can tap into. Data can reveal hiring trends and patterns that are hard to see. It can provide more in-depth data about candidates and analyze the work of current employees to determine which skills are most critical. Analyzing data can also help determine which sourcing channels work best and analyze candidate feedback to improve career sites.
Last year I gave analytics only a 25% chance of growth for small firms and 50% for large firms. I maintain this rating for 2023 in the hope that we will see some progress.
Overall, I see a year of significant change in recruiting. It will become a smaller, more technically savvy, and more productive function than it has been for the past decade. Here’s to 2023!
This article originally appeared in the Future of Talent Newsletter and has been republished here with permission.
Want to hear more from Kevin Wheeler about what we can expect in 2023? Tune into our free webinar at 10:30am AEDT on Tuesday 31st January to hear Kevin deliver his Fearless Forecast. Register Now.
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