Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

2023 Hiring trends: What will recruiters see this year

Sean Behr, CEO, Fountain

The year ahead is shaping up to be a challenging one for talent acquisition teams; economic uncertainty and the lack of long-term market visibility are just some of the big issues for 2023. With a tight labour market, companies are finding that the talent pool does not always have the skills they need to fill the jobs they have, adding extra strain. As such, talent leaders are turning to the unconventional when hiring at high volumes, leveraging new channels and technologies in order to find the best candidates instead of relying on the same outdated hiring processes.

As talent acquisition teams continue to move with the times and adapt to the pressures around them, the need to consider new approaches will grow. Here are just a few of the things that will shape how UK businesses hire in 2023.

Different generations with very different expectations

Melding differing generations together has always been a challenge for organisations, but with expectations of working life as disparate as ever this is now a particularly acute issue. Possible business closures and layoffs will spark worker mobility, encouraging workers to explore new career fields. Those who survive layoffs may need to fill in the gaps, requiring upskilling and new job roles.

One of the particular features currently defining the UK labour market, in comparison to other developed economies around the world, is the number of people who have left the workforce and become ‘economically inactive’. There are many reasons for people having taken an early retirement, but looking ahead a reversal of this trend could have a profound effect on the hiring pool in the UK.

The rise of unretirement

Whilst many have seen the advantages of leaving the workforce, anxiety related to an uncertain economic future has caused some people to reconsider their decision in 2023. The UK government has also stepped in, trying to entice people back to work through their 50 PLUS Champions scheme. Besides extra income in uncertain economic times, these returnees can also resume a sense of purpose, one that may have gotten lost during the transition from employment to retirement. 

As for employers, retirees bring decades of knowledge and experience to their jobs, and they often have fewer time-consuming responsibilities, like childcare or higher education. Companies need to create an equal balance between using conventional hiring practices to target the older generation of workers, while also immersing themselves with new technologies and best practices to connect with the next generation of workers: Gen Z.

How to reach Gen Z

Generation Z, known as the “always-on” generation, have only ever known the ease of seamless mobile communication. In their latest Online Nation 2022 report, Ofcom found that those aged 16-24 spent an average of 5 hours and 6 minutes online every day, with 9 in ten of them using a smartphone to do this.

Expectant of technological enabled and content rich experiences, this generation crave fast communication, mobile-friendly functions, and total transparency with regards to benefits and pay. Because of this, recruiters need to be prepared to operate with the latest technology that uses automation, machine learning, and analytics. Recruiters also need to be able to keep this younger generation engaged by using new platforms and approaches that may seem alien in practice compared to their usual way of operating. 

Recruiters take on a new role of their own

Recruiters have evolved from being mere employee-seekers, and now occupy the role of ‘talent strategist’. This terminology means different things to different people and a definitive definition is yet to be established, but the change is fundamental to how recruiters will go about their duties in 2023. Although the job duties of a recruiter have remained largely unchanged, if you take a step back, you’ll notice that recruiters must notice the gaps in the employee pipeline and learn how to fill these gaps by sourcing applicants for specific roles, and implementing post-hire activities that can affect retention. 

As the talent pool is extremely large, recruiters will need to step up their “people analytics” game, or the strategy they use to assess the effectiveness of their hiring processes. For example, using a data-driven approach to inform future hiring decisions will organically improve the candidate experience.

Bringing in the best talent also means recruiters have to really bring humanity to their role. Once candidates become part of the hiring funnel, recruiters’ responsibilities shift to guiding them through quickly and seamlessly, while still incorporating the human element that makes candidates feel seen and valued.

Then, once a new hire is in the door, the post-hire journey begins. A recruiter’s duties will extend to this first phase of a worker’s tenure, but more intentionally than before. Rather than ensuring a new worker has sorted paperwork, payroll, and other administrative tasks, recruiters will be responsible for making sure their new hires feel welcome within the culture of the organisation. When new hires feel a sense of belonging, they’re much more likely to stay on board for the long term. 

TA teams for whom retention is a priority can and should start their efforts as early as the application, before the candidate even becomes a candidate. From the moment a potential hire looks at a job listing, the employer brand is taking shape in their minds.

DEI to take the lead

Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are going to be just as important in 2023 as they’ve been in recent years. According to Indeed & Glassdoor’s Hiring and Workplace Trends Report 2023, 62% of workers said they would consider turning down a job offer or leaving a company if they felt their manager (or potential manager) did not support DEI initiatives. 

This values-driven approach needs to be on show wherever your organisation is - whether at events, on the website or on social media channels - and it needs to be demonstrated in meaningful ways. This will encourage job seekers from all backgrounds to feel welcome to apply. To further promote equal opportunity for all candidates, TA teams can alter the job postings by removing resume requirements, swap out educational requirements with skills, or advertise new jobs on non-traditional job boards.

Pay and benefits transparency

The first step to building recruiter-worker empathy is to be transparent about pay and benefits from the earliest stages of the applicant journey. This trend is gathering legislative momentum in the US, where New York, California, and other states have passed laws requiring employers to disclose pay as part of their job listings. As this becomes more commonplace, expect it to filter into the UK market, especially as multinational corporations come under pressure to be as transparent with UK employees as they are with their US counterparts.

However, competitive pay is no longer enough to pique a job seeker’s interest. They also want ample paid time off, commuter benefits, and healthcare plans—including mental health—and they want to know their future employer is invested in their professional future. 

Stepping into the breach

The battle for the talent that organisations need shows little sign of slowing down in 2023. Those that make use of effective and data-driven systems will be the ones that stay ahead of fluctuations in the hiring market. Whilst we cannot predict what is next for the economy or talent, those organisations that want to find and hire the best candidates can take steps to ensure the security of their own processes, and how these processes affect their recruiters, their employees, and impact the workforce as a whole.