Sophisticated Talent Attraction for the 21st Century

It is fair to say that the US jobs market is under as much scrutiny today as it has been over the past decade. With data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealing that fewer new jobs were created in February than expected, there is growing speculation that the market is beginning to decelerate. We are also seeing disparity in recent projections regarding the future dominance, or not, of the “gig economy.” However, my view on the contingent/liquid workforce model is that the question of
“is it or isn’t it growing?” is, quite frankly, irrelevant. It is here, and it is changing how businesses interact with and engage with talent, and it will continue to affect your business in the foreseeable future.

To me, the crux of much of the news agenda around the talent challenges across the US is centered on one key aspect: The labor markets have been evolving at such a rapid pace that we’re now falling into a misplaced sense of panic when the data doesn’t tell us what we expected in terms of never-ending growth.

But, while the number of new jobs has dipped, other statistics paint a much rosier picture.

For example, further data from the BLS highlighted that non-farm payrolls across January and December were 12,000 higher than previously reported. The unemployment rate also fell to 3.8% in February – dropping faster than expected. When we look closer at the details, the picture isn’t perhaps as “dire” as we may lead ourselves to believe. What it does suggest, however, is that attracting the right talent is becoming increasingly difficult as the number of active candidates continues to drop. For organizations with growth plans on the horizon, implementing sophisticated talent attraction solutions in this economy is crucial. And it’s here where technology and automation can get a company off the bench and on to the field.

PREMIUM CONTENT: April 2019 US Jobs Report

Utilizing HR Tech

Just as technology has completely revolutionized the world we live and work in, it also has enormous potential to elevate the HR function and support organizations in the global hunt for talent. In fact, the growth in popularity of a “consumerized” recruitment experience that has the candidate experience at its heart demonstrates the need to tap into technology to automate and digitalize talent acquisition. This sentiment has undoubtedly been driven by the rise of the liquid workforce in recent years. Data from the BLS suggests that around 40% of Americans are “gig-workers” (freelance, contract, contingent or part-time workers), a figure that I expect to increase.

As our talent marketcontinues to evolve, we’re shifting away from the use of traditional talent engagement models and moving towards a much more fluid workforce.  Flexibility, personalization and quality of engagement have emerged as the deciding factors in attracting high performers. And as the pace of change across our economy continues to pick up speed, employers are now faced with engaging with what I would call the ‘talent cloud’ – a liquid but lucid curated supply of potential workers that businesses can pull resources from as and when demand dictates.

This complex talent landscape will naturally be difficult to navigate. And while there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all solution that we can put on the table, there’s something we can all agree on: the staffing model as it stands is ‘broken’. The age-old MSP model that has served us so well is slowly making way for more agile, elegant direct sourcing models, with technology enabling the way for many early adopters.

Shaping future-proof Talent Acquisition solutions: finding the balance

While the potential of 21st century technology is awe-inspiring, and it undoubtedly has a huge role to play in the evolution of corporate talent solutions in the immediate future, we can’t stray too far from the path when engaging with talent. Technology has been put on a pedestal as the “end all, be all” for creating total talent solutions: it’s all going to be made more efficient, and handled end-to-end, by bots, AI and other new digital platforms.

But fair warning, tech alone is not the solution: successful total talent solutions in the business world will be realized by increasing the import, and value, of people’s connections to the companies with whom they choose to engage for work.  If, as alluded to earlier, businesses are increasingly facing a harder to reach audience of prospective workers, then personalization and human connectivity will be key.  And as far as I’m aware, no algorithm has yet cracked the code for people engagement. So, here is my parting shot: as you look to develop more sophisticated and engaging talent attraction solutions for the 21st century, leverage tech to support your growth plans, but remember to see it for what it is: an enabler of people — not necessarily their replacement.

Michael Wachholz

Michael Wachholz
Michael Wachholz is president of the Americas and the global head of contingent workforce solutions, Alexander Mann Solutions. He joins Alexander Mann Solutions with extensive industry knowledge and global expertise in talent acquisition and CWS.

Michael Wachholz

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