The latest news and advice from our recruitment experts.
A couple of reports over recent weeks out of the US have caught our eye – most notably because they point to a series of challenges with the recruitment market and mean that hiring managers and HR experts are now on the hunt for creative solutions.
And because QJumpers is now expanding our operation into the US, we’re looking both at different ways we can bring our unique brand to the new market and at lessons we can learn. QJumpers general manager, Simon Oldham, has just returned from a two-week research trip to the US where he met the head of HR at none other than NASA, which had posted a job ad for would-be astronauts. The fact that they received more than 18,000 applications for their 8 to 14 positions shows exactly how a fantastic employment brand can cut through the most competitive of recruitment markets.
A report from Bloomberg detailed a substantial leap in unemployment benefits claims, from 13,000 to 260,000, in the week of October 14 from a four-decade low the previous week. But because most of these additional claims were attributed to Hurricane Matthew’s devastating effect on the south-eastern states, most commentators saw it as a blip in the context of the lowest number of jobless claims since 2000 and new claims staying below 300,000 for the past 85 weeks – the longest run since 1970.
Another stat from a global report by ManpowerGroup shows US employers are experiencing serious challenges searching for talent in a time of hiring difficulties, with “hiring difficulties” up from 32% in 2015 to 45% this year – the largest leap among all counties surveyed. Throughout QJumpers’ US research trip, Simon said he experienced first-hand the challenges that recruitment teams are facing, “Businesses are putting nearly all of their focus onto employment engagement, retention and rewards strategies as opposed to attracting new staff. They have virtually given up being able to replace skilled staff. It is incredible.”
When you look at these two figures together and the observations from QJumpers, it’s clear that the US has a very competitive recruitment market right now and businesses are having to work harder than ever in their talent search efforts.
So how are these companies facing up to the challenges? Here are some themes we’ve seen emerge from conferences and research from the US in recent months:
October’s HR Technology conference in Chicago saw the release of the Sierra-Cedar 2016-17 HR Systems Survey that described how US businesses are increasingly looking to technology to provide the backbone for their recruitment strategy:
42% of organizations plan to increase their spending on HR technology
20% expect to change one of their major systems in the next year
20% plan to focus on improvements in recruiting process improvements
The conference also heard reasons why so many people are looking to technology to keep their recruitment strategy on track in such a rapidly changing world:
More and more successful businesses are reliant on digital networks to deliver disruptive and innovative solutions meaning that those businesses’ HR strategies rely on both recruiting the right people and operating in a smooth technologically-driven network.
The mix of intuitive technology and the growth of employee data has led to businesses becoming more “humanized”. This means the technology has to be geared towards keeping dashboards more easily understandable and internal networks more streamlined through business verticals so that management is more transparent and employees and job applicants are given greater sources for feedback.
The growth of data is driving technological advancements towards finding accurate predictive recruitment models – especially given the move towards more flexible, less centralized workplaces.
Because companies’ recruitment technology offers one of the most readily accessible avenues for people to experience your brand, HR is tending to work more and more closely with Marketing departments to monitor how career website pages can be optimized and to use tools to ensure applicants are getting the best brand experience.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s has just released its strategic enforcement plan outlining where it’s putting its focus over the next five years – and technology is right in its sights.
One of the new areas the EEOC is looking is whether the rise in the use of big data, algorithms and metrics allows companies to develop recruitment and hiring strategies that discriminate against applicants because of race, ethnicity, age, disability or religion. At the HR Southwest conference in Dallas, USA, Simon heard how the implications of EEO and discrimination laws are impacting on businesses and recruiting. Any business that has 15 employees or more is required by law to report on the background of all applicants and the makeup of those that they hire. A business is now required to have a workforce demographic which matches the community of where it is based and employers need to be able to report on this.
By highlighting bias in the recruitment industry, what the EEOC has done is focus on how technology can benefit businesses by allowing them to filter out conscious or unconscious bias by individual hiring or HR managers.
This is best accomplished by having a system that matches candidates to roles according to their skill-sets and allows recruiters to avoid making decisions based on their preconceptions or feelings. When properly used, skills-based screening systems, then allow more suitable applicants through to interview.
LinkedIn’s annual trends forecast of The Top Skills That Can Get You Hired in 2017 has just been released and has once again pointed to the bright and beautiful world of technology as key to being hired in the US.
Their top-three skills were unchanged from last year – Cloud and Distributed Computing; Statistical Analysis and Data Mining; and Mobile Development – while the rest of the top-10 had simply shuffled around: Storage Systems and Management; User Interface Design; Network and Information Security; Middleware and Integration Software; Web Architecture and Development Framework; Algorithm Design and Java Development.
In other words – there is one area to invest in if you’re thinking about upskilling: the latest IT trends.
Interestingly, though, HR expert and blogger Steve Boese offered a slight reality check by pointing out that although the supply and demand of these innovative areas of IT mean these skill-sets are certainly “hot” – they still make up only a small sector (around 2.9%) of the US jobs market.
Steve’s gentle reminder is that the vast majority of people require very different skills to carry out the vast majority of the work still out there.
“Sure, it is trendy to think that the LinkedIn skills represent the future of work, and perhaps they probably do, and I would encourage anyone, especially younger folks to think about pursuing them, but these skills don't really represent the 'present' of work, not in a substantial way anyway,” he said.
For more information onhow QJumpers can provide innovative solutions for your business recruitment strategy, contact us on 0800 758673,firstname.lastname@example.org via our website.
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