Tech Trends to Watch in 2018

As 2018 begins, it’s time for staffing professionals to look ahead at industry-shaping trends that will impact their work over the next year. Challenges like the competitive labor market and the accelerated pace of digitization is prompting change in the workforce. As a result, business and HR leaders will need to examine new strategies and technological solutions to help meet business demands and attract top talent.

Here are four trends Randstad predicts will influence staffing across all sectors in 2018:

  • Demand for STEM skills will grow. Employers will continue to feel pressure from the STEM talent gap, especially in midlevel jobs like computer support specialists, web developers and engineering technicians. The quick pace of digital transformation means many jobs in industries that didn’t previously require technical experience, like accounting and finance, have shifted to become more technology-focused. As a result, an increasing number of roles will require at least some STEM skills. These vacancies present an opportunity for employers to invest in upskilling workers with high potential and the ambition to grow.
  • Automation will add, not eliminate, jobs. Despite fears that automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will take away jobs, they will actually create an estimated 15 million positions. Skilled humans will need to operate, program and support new technologies – after all, machines are only as intelligent as those who program them. We’re already seeing an increased need for data scientists, robotics architects, cybersecurity and automation engineers and don’t expect this trend to end anytime soon. Automation should be embraced, rather than feared considering it will manage repetitive, manual work and will allow employees more time for higher-level, analytic tasks.

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  • HR technology will mature. Historically, HR has been at the tail end of innovation, but as talent acquisition and retention become hot-button issues for the C-suite as unemployment levels drop to record lows, executives are exploring where to invest in emerging technologies to streamline the hiring process. They’re moving beyond tools already in use – like chatbots and automated “assistants” that communicate with job applicants – toward more sophisticated technology to home in on the cultural and non-technical traits a candidate could bring to a company.For example, some are investing in tools that use AI to analyze candidates’ facial expressions via video interviews or using data to predict the output of cross-functional teams, which would add useful insight to the hiring process.
  • Soft skills aren’t going anywhere. As automation frees up workers for higher value-add work, giving them the capacity to take on more strategic initiatives, candidates with strong technical and soft skills are in high demand. As competition for talent increases, employees with high emotional intelligence will stand out as employers prioritize communications skills, adaptability and curiosity. In fact, many are prioritizing soft skills and cultural fit in the hiring process with the intention of training or upskilling for hard skills once employees are onboarded.

It’s an exciting time for staffing professionals: digital transformation is not only affecting jobs themselves, but how companies approach the recruitment process. In 2018, business leaders will need to continuously evolve alongside technology changes and apply new tools and strategies to the entire recruitment and hiring process. Those that do will be best equipped for the challenges they’ll face in the coming years.

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Alan Stukalsky

Alan Stukalsky
Alan Stukalsky is chief digital officer of Randstad.

Alan Stukalsky

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