As we bring 2021 to a close, after another year in a chaotic labor market and working to keep up with rapidly changing federal and state guidelines around returning to work, we’re taking a look at what the much more naive versions of ourselves thought would happen this year. Turns out, a lot of us were spot on!
Many of the predictions made by recruiters in Talroo’s 2020 survey have come true, from the acceleration of technology for remote work and in recruitment, to the challenge of finding qualified candidates across most industries. In this post, we’ll cover some of the most impactful trends in recruiting that we’ve faced in 2021 and what to focus on as we move into 2022.
2021 Recruitment by the Numbers
According to Jobvite’s 2021 Recruiter Nation Report, agility comes out on top as the “new essential ingredient” for successful recruiting. Because of the rapid shifting we all did in early 2020, we’ve all become more adaptable to trends in the labor market. According to the report findings, 78% of recruiters’ priorities have shifted and 40% said recruiting budgets have increased. Organizations are responding to these challenges by automating more processes to quickly get talent through the door and embracing initiatives that align with candidates’ values and priorities.
On the flip side, organizations who didn’t move as quickly or that failed to adapt are facing the nearly insurmountable challenge of restructuring an employer brand while hiring in an extremely narrow talent marketplace. The key to getting through these specific obstacles? Listen to your candidates, applicants and employees (even the ones you lost).
In Talroo’s The State of Job Seekers in 2022: A 360° View of the Expectation Gap, highlights some enlightening numbers from job seekers:
- Although 62% say higher pay would increase their likelihood of accepting a job, 53% say flexibility is a top deciding factor.
- Almost 20% have someone at home, such as a child, that is affecting their job search. Millennials are the most likely to be affected by this.
- About 80% are more likely to apply for a job when salary information is present.
- 75% are interested in attending a hiring event to find a job.
- More than half had their opinions about work significantly altered during the pandemic.
Additionally, communication and cultural disconnects in the hiring process can hamper your ability to attract and engage candidates. Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation Report says that 60% of recruiters surveyed believe organizations will lose high-quality employees if they do not transition to remote-first working while 40% said candidates have turned down an interview or job offer due to a lack of diversity in an organization.
How have these changes affected TA teams and what will they mean for your recruiting efforts going into the new year?
Top Recruiting Trends Across Industries Going into 2022
As the pandemic continues to drag on, and new variants are identified, there is still a lot of uncertainty around the economy and the labor market. What we do have, however, is a lot of information from both employees and employers about what employees across industries expect and how organizations can deliver on those expectations.
Here, we’ll focus on the trends that are important for talent acquisition leaders to consider when planning and kicking off recruiting strategy going into 2022.
1. Proactive recruiting and agile hiring practices
Reducing time-to-hire is one of the most difficult tasks for employers. In our current market, it’s nearly impossible, emphasis on “nearly.” One way recruiters can succeed is by investing in proactive recruiting. Streamline processes through tech like AI, giving recruiters autonomy to make quick decisions, and focus your team on the high-touch tasks that help you build your talent pools.
2. Technology acceleration
The pandemic didn’t invent remote work technology; it simply accelerated what had been happening slowly over the past decade or so. As more people are comfortable with video conferencing, online chats in Slack or Teams, and asynchronous work, we must adapt our recruiting to accommodate the job seeker of 2022.
For example, in Talroo’s State of the Job Seeker Report, every recruiting respondent said they hosted some type of online hiring event in the past 12 months. In each case, about half of the respondents hosted an online open house (55%), an online hiring event (49%), or an online webinar (49%) for job seekers. Online events are more common, they cost less, they can include candidates that are located geographically anywhere, and job seekers are comfortable attending them.
3. Pay and salary
According to the State of the Job Seeker Report, pay is still the biggest factor for job seekers, with 62% of them saying higher pay would increase their likelihood of accepting a job. According to Jobvite’s report, 73% of surveyed recruiters report at least a moderate increase in negotiating for higher salaries among candidates and current employees — up more than 20 percentage points since 2020. However, in Talroo’s report, flexibility (53%), growth opportunities (50%), and better benefits (42%) are other top deciding factors.
And it’s not just about higher pay, it’s also about transparency. Talroo’s survey discovered that salary information is immensely important to job seekers, with 80% being more likely to apply when it’s present in a job listing. Recruiters should include payment information in their job title or description to see higher application numbers.
4. Flexible staffing
As part of business recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting market uncertainty, many employers are using or evaluating flexible staffing options, such as gig workers, contractors and staffing agencies. Flexible staffing (also known as contingent hiring) enables a business to rapidly scale up or down in response to demand. If you’re not using on-demand talent platforms to fill open roles, then you’re competing with them.
This also means that employers will need to be more flexible to accommodate an independent contract-minded workforce. This doesn’t just mean shift work; it also means committing to employee autonomy and allowing workers to schedule work time around what has become their new normal, effectively offering similar perks as on-demand talent platforms.
5. Upskilling your current workforce
Internal hires have always been vital to organizational success, but never more so than now. There’s a widening skills gap and a shrinking labor force; investing in your current employees’ career development isn’t just a “nice to have” for your employer brand; it means that you’ll have the skilled workers you need to fill higher level and highly skilled positions as soon as they are open. Formal apprenticeship and mentor programs can support company forecasting for talent acquisition and improve retention for both new hires and existing employees who want to grow within your organization.
These are just the top highlighted trends that stand out across industries from the past year. Technology, flexibility, proactive recruiting, and upskilling your current workforce are not new; but they have significantly sped up and increased in importance as a result of a global pandemic.
Some industries were impacted in different ways during the pandemic. Roles that cannot be remote, like food service and retail, have also changed significantly with new technology (like online ordering and fulfillment, or automation in manufacturing), the need for flexibility (for shift work and scheduling), and pay scale (hourly wages have increased significantly for entry level roles). These essential workers were put in the spotlight at the height of the pandemic and many companies struggled to retain even minimum staffing numbers.
In the next section of this post, we’ll discuss the top trends for recruiting essential workers going into 2022.
Top Trends for Recruiting Essential Workers Going into 2022
Essential workers — workers who work in sectors such as fulfillment and distribution, logistics, healthcare, restaurants, groceries, manufacturing, customer and financial services, and more — are some of the most challenging roles to fill, especially this last year.
Talroo’s Eight Trends for Hiring Essential Workers in 2022 Report highlights what appears to be a disconnect between employees and employers in two main areas:
- Essential workers are neither mentally or physically ready to hit the ground running with many organizations simply not having enough staff.
- Employers are trying to recruit using traditional incentives without fully understanding what is really important to employees in the post-COVID-19 era.
According to McKinsey, more than 15 million people have left their jobs since April 2021, disrupting many businesses, with another 40% of employees saying that they are at least somewhat likely to leave their job in the next three-to-six months. This report also found that the top three factors employees gave as reasons for leaving their jobs were that they didn’t feel valued by their organizations (54%), or their managers (53%), or because they didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work (51%). According to McKinsey, “Employees were far more likely to prioritize relational factors, whereas employers were more likely to focus on transactional ones.”
With that being said, here are the top trends for recruiting essential workers in 2022:
6. Empathy training for managers and company leadership
There’s a lot of talk about “keeping the human in human resources.” but the importance of empathy can be summed up in one word: Trust. If your team doesn’t trust company leadership, they are not leading. While many people in leadership roles have a natural inclination towards empathy, others may benefit from training in emotional intelligence. Company leadership must be able to recognize that they are not the experts in all things, be willing to learn, adapt, change their course, change their minds, and connect on an intellectual and emotional level with their employees.
A recent Fortune article (“Empathetic leadership can be learned. Which is good news for bosses – and employees”) highlights the effectiveness of empathy training. “What the pandemic did was make everybody realize we were all in the same storm, but our boats were quite different,” says Zoetis CEO Kristin Peck. “We had to become very clear about the importance of listening to people, and understanding their needs, and being flexible.” The same storm, different boat metaphor can be simplified in empathy training by asking your company leaders to go into the field, or on the retail floor, or to the grocery aisles, and experience what essential workers have experienced throughout the pandemic.
7. Flexible scheduling for essential workers
Marketplaces, such as MarketerHire, Toptal, HonorTech and SnagAJob are all helping workers control their schedules and shifts at multiple companies. Can your company compete with them?
Oftentimes, schedules for hourly workers can be the reason they seek work elsewhere. In order to recruit essential workers, flexibility in scheduling should be front and center of your recruitment marketing strategy. Consider that many hourly workers are caring for children (whose school or daycare may or may not be open), other relatives, or working other jobs to make ends meet. Offering a higher hourly rate isn’t going to solve this equation, but setting up the technology you need to offer flexibility can.
8. Focus on mental wellness
This doesn’t just mean offering an EAP or access to online counseling. This means that managers are trained to support their teams in such a way that avoids burnout and stress, and the company supports these managers by giving them the autonomy to expand staffing numbers as needed, offering “mental health PTO,” and understanding what working in an environment in which employees are exposed to a very real public health risk is like (see item #6).
The cost to the company for more staff and days off will be higher, but it won’t be as high as the cost of losing qualified employees and replacing them.
9. What can be remote should stay remote
One thing we embraced from 2020 is the technology that allows employers to offer online application processes, video interviewing, and online onboarding that enable fast, effective hiring. Virtual recruiting has allowed industries like restaurants and retail to move in-person processes, like pre-employment testing and assessment, online.
These industries also lend themselves to on-the-spot hiring during virtual job fairs and hiring events. If you can hold virtual interviews and online job fairs at the height of COVID, continuing to do so can minimize risk and improve the candidate experience.
10. Technology, specifically around data, can support hiring essential workers
Technological innovations can not only help recruiters connect in more personalized ways with candidates, it can also support all of the trends we mentioned here. In order to reduce burnout, you need enough staff coverage. In order to give employees mental health days off, you need additional staff. In order to offer flexible scheduling, you need enough staff to cover all shifts.
The data we used to spend hours combing through can be at our fingertips in real-time, and we don’t have to be large multinational companies to get our hands on it. Targeted online advertisements that reach candidates at scale, identifying the best applicant-to-interview ratios, identifying what channels are working the best for outreach, customization and technology, will all be vital when it comes to boosting essential worker recruitment levels in 2022.