Home Headlines The Future of the Talent Acquisition Market in the UK – an insight with Rob Symons
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The Future of the Talent Acquisition Market in the UK – an insight with Rob Symons

by jcp

By: Rob Symons, GM EMEA, SmartRecruiters

  • Tell us about Smart Recruiters

SmartRecruiters makes hiring easy. We provide over 4,000 global businesses with reliable enterprise recruitment software to drive hiring success. Our cloud-based talent acquisition suite allows businesses to attract, select, hire, onboard and retain the best people. The platform is flexible and creates a compelling and human candidate experience, enables meaningful hiring team engagement, and empowers talent acquisition teams to showcase their value, all from one centralised, integrated system.

  • Did SmartRecruiters change as a result of the pandemic?

For SmartRecruiters, the pandemic and its subsequent shift to remote work doubled down our efforts to support customers, employees, and businesses. We invested more time into R&D to build a new platform for remote hiring, and introduced new policies to give our employees a better work-life balance. We also went remote first forever to take advantage of global talent pools. 

  • Is technology driving change in better talent management?

Yes. In simple terms, technology can optimise hiring processes and make them faster. When recruiters  go through every application by hand, they often aren’t read in real detail meaning the best talent may be missed. Implementing AI in the recruitment process can help filter through and surface the most suitable talent quickly and efficiently and remove unconscious bias. Furthermore, channels like recruitment chatbots and personalisation in the candidate experience can help drive engagement with a broader talent pool helping organisations source the best talent.

  • What has been the biggest challenge for HR over the last 2 years?

The challenges faced by HR departments will vary from company to company depending on location, sector, and size. With everchanging conditions, HR teams have had to adapt over the last 2 years based on face-to-face rules, cut company budgets and the uncertainty the pandemic brought. Providing excellent applicant experience has been a challenge given these circumstances and HR departments have had to adopt new methods to achieve the same positive outcomes. However the primary challenge has been pace of change and the need to be more agile, that’s where again the right technology can help enable this.

  • What is one of the biggest challenges for employee retention in UK companies today?

Flexibility. Remote and hybrid working unlocked a freedom within workforces which boosted productivity and team morale. As businesses begin to tighten these policies, many employees and candidates are rightly concerned about these benefits and the possibility of being misled. Companies that rescind these benefits are at risk of losing employees and their interview processes taking a hit. Gen-Z are set to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025, and this generation are not afraid to speak up for what they know they’re entitled to. If something is promised through an application process, it must be delivered on to ensure staff don’t leave for a competitor. 

  • How is the rising cost of living crisis impacting the employment market in the UK?

A new report from Totaljobs uncovered that over a third (37%) of the UK workforce is considering changing their job over concerns their current wage isn’t rising fast enough. Currently, the number of job vacancies is at a record high in the UK with 1,318,000 positions currently advertised despite the level of employment returning to pre-pandemic levels. The rising cost of living is causing employees to leave and seek new work which partially accounts for the large number of vacancies. 

  • What are some of the biggest trends in recruitment right now?

Temporary and part-time workers are becoming more common. Particularly in the past two years, lots of workers want flexibility and freedom to balance their personal and professional lives. For recruitment, this means that those struggling to employ full-time employees are turning to hire multiple part-timers, depending on the company’s needs. 

One of the other biggest trends is undoubtedly the focus on candidate experience. Now more than ever, employees have the power to decide what job they wish to take, and employers are expected to meet applicants’ expectations. Positive experiences in the route to hire lead to applicants accepting offers. Employee review sites and other communication platforms are prime places for applicants to share negative experiences with other prospective candidates. So, always keeping the candidate in mind will lead to a positive experience.

  • What’s the most essential type of software (not naming any brands) that every HR professional should know about?

Talent Acquisition (TA) Suites are by far the best types of software to use in hiring processes. Totally equipped for the modern recruiting world, they overhaul legacy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. TA suites provide intelligent and insightful tools such as candidate experience management and analytics that help recruiters source, select and manage potential talent; as they specialise in this area whereas the ERP has to serve a wider use case and is less targeted in its approach.

  • Will the Great Resignation have any long-lasting effects on recruitment?

The Great Resignation has created an attitude shift within employees and candidates. Microsoft discovered over 40 percent of the global workforce considered leaving their employer in 2021, so staff really do now have the upper hand. In response to this, employers have had to completely rethink their approach to welfare and company culture. 

Many organisations are permanently offering their staff flexible working patterns as many have come to favour it. For those companies forcing their employees back into the office, they’ve faced a lot of backlash in the national press. Consequently, these businesses have begun to develop a negative employer reputation which will affect the quality of applications they receive in the long run. The best talent will simply not want to work for a company known for ignoring their employees wants and needs.

  • What’s next for SmartRecruiters in the year ahead?

As The Great Resignation continues, SmartRecruiters is going to be as laser focused as ever on solving recruitment for organisations. We are continuing to invest in research and in developing our solutions to make them the best they possibly can be for our customers. Our main goal, however, is to communicate to the C-suite that hiring is no longer a problem contained to HR departments and recruitment teams. An organisation is only as good as who they employ – without a strong team behind the business, these C-suite roles wouldn’t exist.

In terms of our own expansion, SmartRecruiters currently has over 600 employees across the company. We have plans to continue to scale across Europe, especially as we have recently opened a regional presence in the Nordics and Benelux is next. We want to ensure we can help all organisations across the globe to easily recruit the right talent on time.

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