Recruitment megatrends: Overcoming instability through insight

Succeeding through uncertainty has become a new imperative for UK businesses. In four short years, employers have navigated numerous seismic shifts — from Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis to the rise of AI and the race to net zero.

Given that politically it’s an election year, and economically we’re looking at a year of two halves, companies need resilient workforces and resources that turn unpredictability into progress. So, at Adecco, we’ve identified five megatrends that impact how to source talent for now and contain principles that will also hold true for the next wave of change.

Consider these interlinked megatrends a useful rule of thumb if you want to stay agile and front-footed and capitalize on a market in constant flux.

Economic and political uncertainty. Despite signs of recovery forecast for H2, caution could be 2024’s defining characteristic. Adecco’s most recent Labour Market Outlook reports that 36% of large companies are facing hiring challenges because almost one-fifth (17%) of staff are too hesitant to leave their current role.

With ongoing economic upheaval and an impending general election undermining candidate confidence, positioning yourself as a stable “safe haven” employer could convince skilled workers to reconsider.

Talent scarcity. As demographic transitions redefine — and restrict — the UK’s available talent pool, collaboration between government and industry is increasingly crucial. An ageing labor force and steep uplift in economic inactivity levels (reaching 8.7 million in 2023) have compounded the UK’s deepening digital, interpersonal and green skills shortage.

To create a tech-savvy and eco-equipped workforce, the UK requires a multi-pronged plan of attack. In addition to expanding skills through ground-up training efforts, businesses and government must entice experienced retirees and latent young talent into the labor market — and use meaningful, multi-generational retention measures to convince them to stay.

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Changing ways of working. The pandemic made remote working a core attraction and retention tool, and flexibility is now reshaping employment regulations. Legislative changes in Q2 2024 will further upend traditional working patterns, granting staff the right to make two flexible working requests in each 12-month period. Individuals will also be able to ask for flexible working from day one in a new job.

It’s worth making these win/win solutions work. On top of promoting employee well-being, flexible setups typically increase diversity and plug vital skills gaps. Fluid options like remote working, job shares and staggered hours can broaden your candidate base to include those previously limited by location, disabilities or caring responsibilities.

Digital transformation. For many businesses, the digital transformation delivers a dual challenge: fighting for key skills while planning for an unpredictable future. Currently, two-thirds (67%) of large organizations are experiencing significant IT skills shortages. At the same time, nearly half (45%) believe that most jobs they’ll be hiring for in 2030 don’t exist today.

The answer is to take a holistic approach to skills development, keeping step with emerging technologies while investing in essential human capabilities. Developing workers’ creativity, adaptability and problem-solving will successfully position them for upskilling and reskilling as roles shift and change. By future-proofing staff skillsets, businesses can strengthen resilience, target talent deficits and stay on course through evolving tech trends and political-economic conditions.

The rise of the purpose-led business. What your organization stands for and contributes to society has never been more critical — for candidates, consumers and the global community. Recent McKinsey research found that 82% of workers think it’s important for their company to have a purpose. Similarly, 93% of employees would recommend a purpose-driven business to others.

Recent Adecco research shows that almost three-quarters of large businesses believe their purpose powers retention rates. But crucially, the same report warns that 22% of staff expect to change jobs in 2024 because their work isn’t meaningful enough.

The disconnect signals the desire for firmer commitment, clearer values and more authentic action. Strengthen your purpose through ongoing collaboration and communication, extensive employee involvement and ownership of common objectives.

Achieving shared goals drives higher levels of cohesion, positivity and well-being — all fundamental factors for a successful, dedicated and purpose-driven workforce.

Niki Turner-Harding

Niki Turner-Harding
Niki Turner-Harding is country head, UK & Ireland, for Adecco.

Niki Turner-Harding

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