How will the talent landscape change in 2020?

Historically, HR and recruitment were people-focused functions concerned with finding and nurturing the best people to help businesses operate efficiently and grow. However, as we near the end of a decade of profound change across most industries, we find HR functions in the midst of a seismic shift towards influencing strategy, building culture and using technology to recognize trends and talent gaps in an organization.

This is reflected in the key skillsets of these professionals, where the onus is changing from traditional talent management and development expertise to aptitude for predictive analytics and leadership of cultural and digital transformation.

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So, how are we likely to see the talent landscape grow and change this year?

Purpose-driven organizations will emerge as market leaders: Responding to the new wave of Generation Z workers, and a general feeling of the growing importance of corporate social responsibility, companies which are able to successfully engage employees with meaningful work are likely to excel.

The rise of the ‘agile’ organization: We will see flat leadership structures becoming more mainstream. The onus will shift further away from traditional hierarchies to autonomous groups with decision-making authority at all levels, meaning leadership and communication skills will be sought after in new hires.

Non-core roles will largely be outsourced to contingent workers and vendors: There will be fewer permanent employees.  Those who remain will be in key areas of leadership and/or critical to maintaining a firm’s intellectual property. We’ll also see an uptick in fractional executives in smaller organizations working, allowing these firms to drive strategic imperatives while still adhering to budget constraints. As such, there will be a rise in independent and agency professionals offering services on a consultancy basis.

Predictive HR Analytics will become omnipresent: HR analytics to leverage organizational design, talent optimization performance management and learning have moved from bleeding edge organizations to organizations of every scale, size, and maturity. We will see companies like Microsoft enter the enterprise HR systems market as tech giants compete for a slice of the pie.

Integration of AI and machine learning will become the norm: These technologies will spread from integration in a few jobs to most jobs, meaning professional roles will be impacted at a higher degree than they have in the past. This is likely to result in roles becoming broader in their scope and responsibility, as well as candidates being screened for more advanced digital capacities.  It will also heighten leadership and influencing skills as the differentiator between candidates who get the job and those who don’t.

Talent acquisition will be viewed as a commercial function – Candidate experience will begin to be considered under the bracket of profit and loss (P&L), becoming more heavily tied to customer experience and brand equity.  With the easy access to real-time broadcast opinion, thoughts, and experiences on social media, a candidate experience mirrors a customer experience and has as much impact on the firm’s business bottom line results as does a direct interaction with the firm’s products and marketing efforts.

This year, those working within the wider talent sector will be looking for – and demonstrating – adaptability to the rapidly changing demands of job roles. Technology will be coming to the fore and, with new generations rising up the ranks, purpose and autonomy must become important features of successful organizations if they want to thrive.

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Carrie Magee

Carrie Magee
Carrie Magee is client partner at Marlin Hawk, the international exec search firm. A specialist in placing exec-level HR roles, Magee is growing Marlin Hawk's HR practice in the US.

Carrie Magee

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