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2021’s talent acquisition and recruiting trends and what to expect in 2022

2021’s talent acquisition and recruiting trends and what to expect in 2022

We’ve finally said goodbye to the long year that was 2021. As we all find our footing in 2022, it’s a good time to reassess your recruitment strategy. So, let’s take a look at last year’s talent acquisition and recruiting trends plus what you need to know to make 2022 a success.

What did we correctly predict at the end of 2020?

Way back in 2020 (sure feels like more than a year, right?!), HR professionals correctly predicted several trends for 2021, including an increase in remote working and wider use of technology in the recruiting process.

Remote working

Remote working is here to stay. What started as a short-term change at the start of the pandemic has become the norm. Offering remote working options helps companies comply with ever-changing COVID restrictions, and allows recruiters to look beyond their local area. Even though we’ve spent lots of time at home in 2021, the workplace has become more global than ever before.

Intelligent automation and data-driven hiring tools would increase

The increasing use of AI and intelligent automation became apparent at the end of 2020. AI is vital for screening large volumes of applicants. For instance, 37% of recruiters aged 18-24 used automated text messages to screen candidates compared to 14% of those over 50.

Automating digital reference checking, resume screening, and interviewing provides multiple benefits. Not only do employers save on labor costs, but data-driven tools also speed up the hiring process, can help you avoid unconscious bias, and collect data to predict future trends. 

To learn more about how to integrate new technology into your manual screening process and the dos and don’ts of fair candidate screening, head to our blog.

📊 37% of recruiters aged 18-24 used automated text messages to screen candidates compared to 14% of those over 50.

2021 recruiter nation report, Jobvite

Reassessment of the core skills required for business success

In 2020, and 2021, businesses had to shift their priorities thanks to the pandemic. And this led to a change in the skills recruiters see as most valuable to an employee’s success. In an increasingly digital and flexible world, businesses want employees to be able to keep up. Job experience and cultural fit used to be a recruiter’s main priorities. But according to a Jobvite survey, candidates now must be tech-savvy in this new digital landscape. Companies are also looking for workers who can adapt to flexible working and candidates who have excellent communication skills. 

Remote evaluations presented new problems

The pandemic necessitated shifting interview and evaluation processes online. And this shift caused its fair share of problems. With assessment centers closed, recruiters had to find ways to set up remote assessments. Navigating these new tasks as well as communicating the new process to candidates was challenging. Plus virtual assessments can be biased against candidates without reliable internet or computer access. While moving assessments and evaluations online was required, we learned that there are pros and cons and the process needs to be refined further in the future. 

Recruiting budgets increased

As hiring teams knew they must embrace this digital shift, companies plowed money into keeping up with the technological trends. 40% of recruiters said they had bigger budgets to play with in 2021, and this helped them target top talent. 

Higher salaries

In this candidate-led market, high-quality employees hold the cards for salary negotiation. They know what they’re worth and expect suitable remuneration. In the same jobvite survey 56% of surveyed recruiters reported a considerable rise in salaries in 2021. 

What wasn’t predicted last year?

DEI struggles

Diversity, equity, and inclusion targets were all set to be the main focus for many organizations in 2021. Following the charged political and emotional year of 2020, many recruiters vowed to do better. Which wasn’t an easy task with the pandemic raging on. Researchers at McKinsey found that the pandemic intensified existing issues for diverse workers. And in the US, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that Black and Latinx workers have experienced much slower employment recovery rates than white employees. 

But then the “Great Resignation” came along and shocked us all. People left their jobs in droves, and recruiters had to try to replace them and hit diversity targets. 

Despite the immense pressure to fill vacancies, organizations need to take their time and hire with diversity in mind. Perceptive recruiters know that diverse teams outperform less diverse ones, and that Gen Z values diversity. Just rushing to fill vacancies, which can easily lead to biased hiring decisions, will be detrimental. 

🗯 Despite the immense pressure to fill vacancies, organizations need to take their time and hire with diversity in mind.

Hiring predictions for 2022

So that was 2021. What’s in store for the year ahead? Here are a few trends and predictions we expect to see next. 

The Great Resignation will get worse

If you thought recruiting was tough in 2021, talent acquisition will become even more competitive. According to a survey by Korn Ferry, The Great Resignation will get worse before it gets better. 55% of professional recruiters surveyed expect unfilled vacancies to increase in 2022. So organizations need to seriously consider their talent retention strategy to keep current employees from wandering to new pastures.

📈55% of professional recruiters expect unfilled vacancies to increase in 2022.

korn ferry

Employer branding will be crucial

Showcasing your organization’s values and culture will be even more crucial in the coming year. Employees feel proud working for a well-known, ethical company. So, investing your employer branding can provide more bang for your buck in talent acquisition.

When your brand is well known, quality candidates come to you. Prominent employer brands spend much less on advertising jobs than lesser-known companies. And, if your branding lets people know you’ll treat them fairly if they work for you, you’ll spend less on recruiting too. 

AI and technology will feature more heavily in recruiting

Spending hours sifting through CVs will become a thing of the past. AI is paving the way for a monumental digital recruiting revolution. Recruiters can whittle down candidates in seconds using smart technology. 

Data-driven tools can identify ideal candidates for roles with accuracy, eliminate bias, and free recruiters to add a personal touch to the hiring process. AI is where the savviest hiring teams will be able to leverage their budget most effectively.

Headstart’s Fairscreen ATS add-on was specifically developed to enable recruiters screen candidates en masse while eliminating bias. If you’re after quick, accurate, and unbiased candidate matching, we can help you hit those DEI targets AND speed up the recruitment process.

Appeal to Generation Z

Attracting and retaining Gen Z is now more vital than ever. They are the future. And this generation wants to see real change in the business world — both in terms of technology and diversity.

Creating an immersive and comprehensive candidate experience and hiring process is paramount. Gen Z also needs nurturing and encouragement to develop the hard skills they haven’t perfected yet. 26% of Gen Zers feel that their education didn’t properly prepare them for work activities like public speaking, networking, and negotiating. 

Gen Z talent wants to see that you’re following up on DEI promises too. Generation Z is the most diverse generation yet: nearly half of post-millennials are racial or ethnic minorities. And they prioritize diversity when it comes to race, gender, identity, and orientation. 

Show them that you value diversity and that you’re willing to invest in them. Let them know you’re here to help them shine. Companies that show compassion, pay well, stress a good work-life balance, and offer mentoring programs will be most attractive to new talent in 2022.

What next for recruiters?

Recruiters need to keep their eye on the ball to stay ahead of the competition. It looks like the pressure won’t be easing off in 2022.

To stay on top of all the latest hiring trends, visit the Headstart Blog. And if you’re ready to start screening candidates in a way that’s fast and fair, book a demo with us to see Fairscreen in action! We’re here to help you streamline and improve your recruiting strategy in 2022.

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