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UK Recruiting

The Future Trends of 2017 Recruiting in The UK

We had a great time at The Recruitment Conference 2016, presented by UK Recruiter. This conference brings together some of the brightest recruiting minds in the United Kingdom and includes exchanging ideas with other vendors and recruitment business leaders.

With all these great recruiting minds in the same place, we sought to answer the question “where is recruiting going in the future, especially in 2017?” Thankfully, I was able to learn some new things that should help other recruiters understand how to win the war for talent, and be competitive in an aggressive talent marketplace.

A Shortage Of Skills And A Change Of The Era

The session started with Kevin Green, the CEO of REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation), who delivered a really interesting look at the UK employment market. He’s a straight talker, with access to some great insights via new REC research.

The good news is we have more people working than ever before in the UK. However, The bad news is the UK now has 73 areas of skills shortage: up from 13 since the last report – which focused on IT, engineering, and typical hard-to-find skills.

But it’s not just engineers and IT anymore, it’s now almost every type of role across every sector. For example, 96% of recruiters in the hospitality industry said they struggle to find chefs. Guess it’s time for Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey to buddy up and launch a chef’s academy!

The most sobering aspect includes the details of our Brexit. The U.K. has 3m EU workers currently employed here, and we have 1.6m people unemployed. With the dip in exchange rates, our EU workers are starting to leave in droves and we don’t have enough people to fill the gap. This will make the market in the UK much more competitive for recruiters in 2017, and passive candidates will be more important than ever.

Overworked Recruiters and New Recruiting Technologies

Next up was Emma Mirrington from FIRM (Forum for In House Recruitment Managers). Her presentation centered on the results of a recent survey of her 8700 UK members. For internal recruiters, direct sourcing is on the rise, but at the same time recruiters are being swamped with jobs to manage.

Boston Consulting Group suggests that 15 roles at a time per recruiter is a maximum optimal capacity, but Emma’s research showed that 38% of her members had 21-50 vacancies to manage at one time. Obviously, the life of an internal recruiter is a very busy one and something needs to change. How can recruiting teams deliver an exceptional candidate experience and focus on quality when they are stretched so thin?

Her data then focused on hot topics for recruiters. Mobile is a huge topic which many companies have failed to address, as it’s useful for passive and young candidates. It was also interesting to hear that the number one question raised across the FIRM community is ‘which ATS should we look at’’. It’s clear that recruiters are fed up with the existing applicant tracking systems. However, my observation is that only half of the companies surveyed had the budget to pay for a change in recruitment technology (51%). So the need to build a business case and win internal support is a big problem for many. That coupled with the fact 69% of internal recruiters use 2-5 different technologies in their daily activities begs the question; ‘surely there is a better option out there to consolidate the tools?’

The New Era of Talent Acquisition Suites

My session focused on the need for recruiters to build a case for best of breed recruiting technology. The ATS market has evolved from basic recruiting software into two polarized options: take the recruitment module from an HR/HCM suite or go to a best of breed recruiting software. The industry is seeing a clear shift to replace the legacy ATS, primarily to deliver a better candidate experience, engage hiring managers, and modernize the whole experience, but there is an internal battle happening as to which software to choose.

The debate centers around the perceived advantages of simply adding a module to an existing system (typically seen as easier because of only one vendor to manage) vs. a solution that is dedicated to recruiting. It’s clear the big companies in HCM are trying to bridge the gap and add recruiting to their ‘suite’. The issue is that their R&D is diluted, they can lack product focus, and the audience feedback has confirmed that recruiting modules of market leading HCM platforms just don’t perform well.

But how can recruiters build the case for a best of breed platform? The advice offered was simple: act now. Clearly define the requirements, including:

  • A job board marketplace
  • Better support for internal sourcing
  • A compelling mobile experience
  • and a solution which aggregates the tools the modern recruiter requires (i.e. the functionality that is often spread across the 2-5 technologies as referenced in the FIRMs research).

There is a new breed of vendors with modern platforms, who are natively mobile, and 100% focused on fixing the challenges for all users – candidates, recruiters, and managers.

I’m off now to go and buy Boom, Bust, Echo (one of Kevin’s book recommendations) as the one thing today has reinforced – the world is changing. You need to step outside of your day job from time to time and feed your mind with new insights!

Robert Symons