Recruiting Trends and Challenges that will shape 2022

Greek philosopher Socrates was possibly talking about the times we are living in when he said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Business enterprises dealing with a world altered by the pandemic are coming to terms with this fact. The old ways of working, hiring, communicating and building companies are being redefined and in some cases discarded.

However if we are to predict what talent acquisition, hiring and expansion trends will look like in 2022, we must look back a little. A McKinsey Global Survey had stated in 2021 that business leaders expect half of their companies’ revenues five years from now to come from “products, services, or businesses that do not yet exist.” I would say that holds true even today but to get from Point A to Point Z, companies will need a workforce that is future ready.

As far as hiring trends and talent acquisition in 2022 go, here is what I foresee:

We will need remote talent but the hybrid work model will stay

A recent LinkedIn analysis of work trends in 15 countries, states that the most in-demand jobs for 2021 could all be done remotely and that 150 million new technology jobs will be created in the next five years. That means more remote workers will be needed especially if you consider a World Economic Forum report according to which, 84% of employers plan to expand remote working. However, companies will need employees who can be physically present on specific sites to do the work that requires tangible interaction between teams and with clients.

For instance, the roles that require people to discuss strategies, brainstorm and ideate will require physical presence in office. Those working with sensitive data will also have to work within regimented and secure work spaces. Roles that are more operational in nature may not necessarily require people to come to office.

A hybrid work model hence will be needed and employees will undertake physical and remote work depending on the nature of their job. I also see recruiting of diverse candidates via online conduits like social media, career fora, referrals and sites like LinkedIn. Companies at the same time will rely on internal hiring and re-skilling to create a cross-functional workforce. We will also see the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), data analytics tools and applicant tracking software in speeding up, simplifying and streamlining hiring processes.

Focus on multi-faceted, digitally savvy global teams

Digital transformation is imperative today, so hiring will primarily focus on skills that can keep up with evolving business models. Tim O’Reilly, the man who popularised terms like open source and Web 2.0 once said, “What new technology does is create new opportunities to do a job that customers want done.” This perfectly sums up what will be required of new talent.

Employees who can deliver not just what is needed but what is expected will be on the wish list of companies. Research has repeatedly found that teams with skills in Cyber Security, Blockchain Development, Cloud Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, and Cloud Computing, a hunger to learn more and cater to global markets will have an edge on those which are struggling with outmoded ways of doing business.

Cybersecurity specialists, analysts and engineers are much in demand today to safeguard computer systems, networks and sensitive data from hackers. Blockchain development specialists well versed with Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) are also needed in large numbers. As are engineering experts to manage and maintain cloud computing systems and solutions.

The BFSI industry works extensively with AI and we also need data analysts well-versed with machine learning to manage unstructured information. In summation, the teams that succeed in the future will be adaptive, versatile, flexible and they will work not just in one discipline or demographic but many.

Diversity and inclusivity will not just be incidental but normative

“Without equity, we cannot end COVID-19, HIV or any other pandemic,” wrote Peter Sands, the executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Equity cannot however be achieved without inclusion and diversity and perhaps that is why, as Harvard Business Review reported in May 2021, more than 1,600 CEOs signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge, an initiative to “rally the business community to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.”

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) are becoming a big priority not just for recruiters but employees who want to work for companies that have clear policies around pay parity, inclusive hiring and a strong commitment towards creating safe and responsive work spaces. Diversity is also good for business and in fact a McKinsey report as far back as in 2019 had found that, “Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.”

Even though the research predates the pandemic, global companies have benefited enormously from working with diverse teams. Be it Parag Agrawal helming Twitter, Satya Nadella leading Microsoft or Arvind Krishna working for IBM, companies today are expanding their idea of an ideal candidate beyond notions of gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, colour, age, disabilities and in some cases even educational qualifications.

Overcoming challenges will be important

Recruiters will have to work increasingly hard to meet the diversity and inclusion goals of their companies even as they compete with peers to woo the requisite talent into their fold. Especially because the much in demand, highly-skilled candidates would need employers to match their expectations for a desirable pay scale, bonuses, health benefits and flexible, safe and responsive work culture.

Recruiters and companies will also have to address health and safety concerns and also deal with resistance to COVID-19 vaccination mandates. The demand for digital talent is growing each day and I am not sure, there are enough candidates who can deliver the results that are needed. So skilling, I repeat, will be a big aspect of how companies fill in the blanks as they evolve to adopt a multilayered metaverse and walk towards the future.

Source: The CSR Journal