Global Job Market: What the Future Holds
Potential hurdles include technology, talent shortages, changing employee expectations, new competitors and a change in demographics resulting from migration shifts. How can employers hope to overcome it all and keep their talent pipelines healthy?
The automation revelation
Contrary to popular opinion, automation won’t result in the loss of everyone’s jobs. It will, however, cause a massive shift in the type of jobs available. According to REC’s Future of Jobs Commission, mid-skill jobs will decline, and we’ll see higher numbers of high- and low-skilled jobs.
Generally, the rule for anticipating where automation may hit is to look for tasks which are repetitive, require a high level of accuracy, and have few variables. For example, for mid-skilled talent acquisition professionals, screening candidates, sending updates and answering candidate questions are all time-consuming yet repetitive tasks which could be streamlined using automation. This will free up TA managers to perform more high-value tasks which need human input, such as conducting interviews, and will allow them to upskill and become more valuable as a result.
Employers need to anticipate this shift in skills requirements and availability – employees may need to be redeployed into differently-skilled jobs, or trained to use the latest technology. What’s more, offering apprenticeships may be an effective way of filling in low-skilled vacancies with employees who will learn and grow into more high-skilled positions.
Workforce expectations shift
The gig economy allows businesses to run lean, hiring staff on contracts and ensuring that there is never a surplus. The other side of the gig economy coin means that workers will come to expect more flexible working lives, and a better work/life balance, even if they are on a full time, permenant contract .
Employers who stick rigidly to the traditional 40 hour working week, with employees required to be at their desks during the hours of 9am – 5pm, may find that they struggle to attract the best candidates. Putting some trust in employees and allowing flexible working, job sharing, working from home, or providing a generous holiday allowance will naturally attract a workforce who values a degree of autonomy and flexibility.
A more flexible working life benefits employers too. In fact, it’s been proven to boost productivity, reduce absenteeism and improve staff motivation and loyalty. At a time when retention rates are already a pain point for many organisation, embracing a more flexible approach could help employers be future-ready, as this particular trend shows no signs of slowing.
Competitors challenge traditional models
It’s no secret that the internet revolutionised the way we do business: what some may not have seen coming is the rise of the digital behemoths. Amazon and Google in particular have branched out into markets that were traditionally owned by bricks-and-mortar businesses, such as automotives and groceries.
In order to stay competitive when it comes to attracting talent, employers will have to be wary of the challenge posed by tech companies moving into new industries. Giving staff training opportunities to keep them performing at the top of their game will ensure they feel valued, but more important is an employer’s brand.
Tech companies like Amazon and Google have an aura of ‘cool’ surrounding them, which doesn’t happen by accident. These brands invest time and money in creating employee advocates, showcasing photos of fun office spaces, providing enviable perks and fostering a diverse and PR-friendly employer brand.
No assessment of the future of talent acquisition would be complete without mentioning the effect political change will have on the movement of people. Brexit is, of course, front and centre of talent managers’ concerns over how much more difficult it will become to recruit foreign talent to UK shores, but more widely, the global political climate is leaning towards more introspective hiring practices.
Free movement will end for the UK in March 2019, and many industries, including finance and technology, have already felt the effects of a reduced labour market. Some organisations have moved their headquarters or satellite branches elsewhere in Europe, but the same issues will be faced when they try to import talent from the UK and so this may not be the most effective solution.
To ensure that businesses don’t lose access to an already-small talent pool in future, it will become even more necessary for businesses to consider remote or satellite workers, or to reassess the relocation package they offer employees, including support with visas and work permits.
Keeping pace with change
Global industry is already feeling the pressure from the pace of change we’ve experienced in recent years. Many of today’s most in-demand professions didn’t even exist 10 years ago, and so specialists in new fields, such as cyber security, are difficult to find and important to retain.
The ability to anticipate future job skills requirements and its impact on business is already a crucial part of an organisation’s talent acquisition strategy, but will become even more of an imperative as the skills landscape lags ever-further behind technological advancement.
Companies who wish to stay at the forefront of their industries must be prepared to innovate in order to attract and keep top talent. Outsourcing recruitment to specialists with expertise in conducting worldwide searches for niche talent is one way to keep ahead of the competition.
Gain a competitive advantage and future-proof your business with SD TalentSource, a value-add solution that identifies, attracts and then selects the best talent in the global marketplace. SD’s exclusive recruitment method allows us to find unique candidates that competitors and direct teams cannot.