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Recruitment: What's coming in 2019?

Managing Director of Michael Page UK, Nick Kirk, talks to OnRec about what’s coming in the recruitment industry in 2019

It’s safe to say that 2018 was a year like no other. We witnessed rapid and unparalleled change not only in our industry but also in the world – with seismic shifts in international relations, the balance of power, and stock markets. Technology also expanded hugely, touching almost every aspect of our lives. Together, this delivered a climate of uncertainty, with many believing we cannot truly know what’s to come in 2019. However, whilst it’s true we’re living in a time of rapid change, it’s false to say we cannot predict what’s coming – as what we saw last year provides key insights into what is next to come.

Aversion to change

As uncertainty gathers around us, it’s only natural that people seek greater security – and we expect this to be true throughout the new year and reflected in the recruitment sector. With markets left precarious by the global events, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to sit tight, steadfast in their current position as they weather out the storm. Accordingly, recruiting the right candidate may become more difficult this year, as the pool of available candidates shrinks.

Championing the customer experience

With multiple applications for a role, recruiters have to get used to delivering disappointing news to unsuccessful candidates.  However, in order to stand out in a crowded market, it is more important than ever for recruiters to deliver this news in as positive and constructive a way as possible. That’s why increased customer-centricity is expected to play a huge role in recruitment throughout 2019, with companies turning to independent review platforms in order to properly shape their service. At Michael Page, for example, we use Feefo to direct customer feedback directly into the leadership team, so we can affect real and rapid change.  We would expect to see similar programmes emerge across the industry this year.

Artificial Intelligence

Of all the predictions we’re making, perhaps the clearest involves the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recruitment. The integration of smart technology into working and everyday life has already begun to revolutionise the way we operate, eliminating many of the repetitive administrative tasks involved in our industry. There is huge potential for this to grow in 2019, for example chatbots could be used to organise interviews or AI could manage the early candidate screening process. We must remember, however, that the human experience is paramount to many parts of the recruitment process, and those that lose this to smart technology may come to regret it.

Growth of video

When discussing the evolution of tech in recruitment this year, it’s natural to jump to AI – but we must not lose sight of other technologies. Over the last few months, video has started making significant waves in the recruitment process, with this set to grow in 2019. It has the potential to save time – for example by eliminating the pre-screen interview, but it can also serve the candidate as well. Nowadays, millennials and Gen Z want a voice and purpose, a positive working culture and a mission. Accordingly, the video offers the candidate a glimpse into the workplace – so they can make a more informed decision about whether they could see themselves working for that employer or not.

School Leavers

Perhaps a less obvious trend we can expect in to see this year involves the role of school leavers. The current climate of uncertainty is not only causing people to stay in their jobs, but it’s also putting some people off further education, particularly owing to the costs of the process. As such, we can expect companies to increase the space for school leavers in 2019. This should involve an acceleration of the efforts to recruit them, and providing the sure-fire promotional paths previously reserved for graduates. Historically, we have seen entry level programmes targeted solely at graduates, but as the next generation of workers emerges, we can expect to see initiatives targeted explicitly at school leavers who are keen to get on to the career ladder.

These predictions can only represent general trends and tendencies, particularly because we live in a time where conditions are so prone to change. However, these trends are driven by two fundamental processes. The first is technical innovation, where advances in our knowledge, understanding and integration of technology will revolutionise the way we recruit. The second is the shrinking supply of candidates, driven by the lack of a certain tomorrow. It is the interplay of these forces that have led us to propose these themes, but in reality, only time will tell how these forces will actually manifest.