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  • Natasha Makhijani

The recruitment marketplace is set to undergo some significant changes in 2024, driven by a shift in working habits, the widespread adoption of new technologies, and an emphasis on environmental and social responsibility. So, what are the top recruitment trends we can expect to see in 2024?


1. Changes to Flexible Working

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, flexible and hybrid working models have seen a huge increase in popularity. We saw three years of an upward trend since the beginning of 2020, as hybrid working became the norm. However, according to the Timewise Flexible Jobs Index for 2023, the proportion of job adverts which offer flexible working appears to be stalling. The 2023 rate of 31% represents a negligible advance on 30% in 2022, indicating that perhaps the year-on-year increase has plateaued. Many major companies including Apple, Google and Meta are recalling employees to the office full-time.


The complexity of this situation will be compounded by the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, which has been passed in parliament but has yet to come into effect. Employees will have the right to request flexible working from day one and can make two requests in any 12-month period. However, this does not make flexible working a right – the decision is still ultimately down to the employer. The future of flexible working seems to be at a critical juncture.


2. Technology will be Further Integrated into Recruitment Processes

Technology and automation can help massively to reduce recruiter workloads and help relieve pressure. New tools and evolving technologies are entering the recruitment space all the time, and 2024 will be no different. Of course, there’s no substitute for a talented recruitment team, but HR tech stacks can include solutions for chatbots, candidate screening, AI skills matching, video interviewing and much more! This can all help to streamline the recruitment process and help the recruiter focus on what they do best.

However, there is a growing distrust of AI. According to the ONS, 28% of UK adults believe that AI brings more risks than benefits, while 43% believe there are equal benefits and risks. Only 14% believed the benefits outweigh the risks. Will these fears slow the development and adoption of AI tools?


3. Focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) continues to be a focus for many employers and society at large. They are no longer only buzzwords, they are essential elements of forward-thinking and successful organisations. Research shows that companies that champion diversity and inclusion are more successful and innovative, and more attractive to customers, staff, and potential job applicants. McKinsey’s study (2018) showed that companies with ethnically diverse leadership are 33% more likely to outperform on profitability and 21% more likely to have above-average profitability with gender diverse leadership teams.


In hiring processes, companies should give priority to DE&I initiatives, such as using inclusive interviewing techniques and diverse placements. This trend aims not only to meet societal expectations but also to foster innovation and create a more robust and dynamic work environment.


4. Pay and contract transparency will increase


As candidates’ priorities and expectations change, there is a greater need for transparency throughout the recruitment process, especially when it comes to salaries. Job listings with no pay range may be overlooked by candidates who are searching for a role based on salary, and even for other candidates it may put them off applying if they feel the company lacks transparency in general. Most UK workers would be more likely to apply for a job if the pay is included in the job listing, especially as the rising cost of living forces more employees to reconsider their financial position. Including a pay range and stating that the exact salary will depend on experience, for example, allows a company to set expectations from the start while still leaving room for flexibility and negotiation.


Pay transparency can also help to eliminate discrepancies between candidates from different backgrounds and demographics who are equally qualified. This is a key consideration as diversity and inclusion come under the spotlight, and people are becoming more conscious of gender and ethnicity pay gaps. These considerations will only continue to grow, and so companies who are transparent about pay should have an easier time attracting talent in 2023.


5. Focus on upskilling and reskilling


According to Microsoft’s Future of Recruiting Report 2023, 74% of UK recruiting professionals say upskilling and reskilling employees will be an important factor shaping the future of recruiting over the next 5 years.


Over the last few years, we have seen a real shift in focus from employers. The focus today is less on qualifications and more on transferrable skills and experience. This is a refreshing trend for Diversity & Inclusion efforts, as members of underrepresented groups are less likely to have attended a higher education institution. Offering learning and development opportunities is critical for advancing Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace.


Not only is upskilling becoming a priority for employers, but also for jobseekers, who now rank advancement as the 4th highest priority when searching for new roles. Candidates are increasingly interested in more than just the role they are applying for - they want to see an integrated career development path that they can grow into.


It's clear that learning and development is a key pillar for securing a stronger future for any organisation.


  • The Inc. Magazine

After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from City, University of London and a Master’s from DePaul University in Chicago, I began my recruitment career on the Graduate Scheme at Hays. Fast-tracked into management roles, I achieved four promotions in four years and took a team from billing £10,000 to £80,000 a month.

From Hays I then moved to Michael Page, where I worked on a hybrid desk across permanent and interim senior leadership roles. I was given responsibility for growing Michael Page’s Public Sector division from its offices in London. I soon became the company’s number one biller in HR across the UK, but I always wanted to pursue an entrepreneurial route. Having already set up executive desks at both Hays and Michael Page, I switched my focus to establishing a business of my own, and in 2011, Oliver Sanderson was born. What started as one woman on a laptop has grown into an international business at the cutting edge of executive search, working with big clients, winning awards, and making a difference internationally!

Oliver Sanderson

Oliver Sanderson is an executive search firm with a difference, combining experience and expertise with innovation and fresh thinking. Our Values of Honesty, Integrity and Passion are at the heart of everything we do. Our aim is to help clients achieve greatness by attracting, developing and retaining professionals of the highest calibre. We ensure that clients strengthen their organisations by identifying and recruiting the very best individuals, as well as supporting their progression into accomplished leaders.

Oliver Sanderson has built up a strong track record of senior and C-suite appointments at FTSE 100, FTSE 250, and Fortune 500 companies. We offer end-to-end recruitment and consultancy solutions and our team of highly experienced consultants offer a bespoke service designed to satisfy all recruitment and consultancy requirements. Unlike other recruiters, we offer a genuinely consultative service that ensures we listen to the client’s needs and tailor the search process accordingly. This ensures that we can comprehensively search for candidates that are the best possible fit for the company and role.

Our pioneering digital solutions set us apart from the competition. With our innovative suite of digital apps, including Snapp – the world’s first voice-technology enabled mobile jobs platform with exclusive Amazon Alexa integration – we are leading the way in discovering the next generation of business leaders.

How the recruitment industry is changing

The recruitment industry has already undergone a process of transformation triggered by the pandemic. We are now seeing a candidate-led market – talented candidates are in demand, and they are now setting their own terms, especially with regard to flexible working arrangements. There is no longer any obligation to commute, or spend the whole working week in the office, and companies are building diverse, multi-talented teams operating across different countries and different time zones. There is now a bigger global talent pool to choose from, but the competition for talent is also increased. I expect this trend to continue, with recruiter workloads increasing rapidly. The widening gap between supply and demand is forcing recruiters to work harder to find talent and fill roles. This is where technology and automation can help massively to reduce recruiter workloads and help relieve pressure. New tools and evolving technologies are entering the recruitment space all the time. Of course, there’s no substitute for a talented recruitment team, but HR tech stacks can include solutions for chatbots, candidate screening, AI skills matching, video interviewing and much more! This can all help to streamline the recruitment process and help the recruiter focus on what they do best.

Flexibility is becoming a priority for candidates. Flexible working doesn’t just mean a combination of working from home and in the office – it can mean employees making use of job-sharing, flexitime, and working compressed, annualised, or staggered hours. Businesses are set to benefit from higher productivity and staff retention as a result. LinkedIn Sales Director Cara O’Leary recently revealed that flexibility has become the number one priority for candidates searching for a new job on the platform. It’s clear, then, that employers will need to be offering flexibility in location, hours or other areas to attract talented candidates in the competitive market. We are also likely to see more businesses opting to move to a 4-day working week given the positive results from the recent UK trial.

Successful Leadership

I think it is vital to be aware of the needs of the sector, the job market, and the requirements of one’s company and people. I firmly believe that a leader should have passion, drive, energy, honesty, integrity, and humor, to name a few! A leader has to be open-minded and find solutions through difficult times. They must be challenged, actively listen, constantly know that they are always learning, and be open to others guiding them. As a business grows, a leader should be apt at identifying and cultivating talent – proper succession planning is vital to longevity. Never be afraid to speak up in the boardroom and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other leaders, but at the same time be open to listening and change. Nobody knows everything and there is always room to learn from others in industry.

Our team has driven our growth from day one, and I work hard every day to keep my team motivated and engaged with our vision and our journey. As a leader, it is vital that I am always challenging, supporting, and inspiring them. We set monthly and annual targets to hit for our team across a number of areas, from sales to social media engagement. But we also support each other, understanding that growth isn’t always linear, and we sometimes learn more from failure than from success.

  • The Global Recruiter

The Winner for Best Employer Brand is Oliver Sanderson Group PLC. The company’s brand has incorporated four key elements, from a focus on ED&I, the use of cutting-edge technology, deep HR sector knowledge and inspirational leadership from their CEO. Through their support for black professionals in the HR industry this company is making a wider, transformational contribution to the recruitment sector. Fantastic achievement! Sponsored by Marmalade Marketing.

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