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Our latest international market research for the New Technology Shaping the Future of Work report was launched just as economic warning signs were starting to rumble in 2022. One major component of the research was an international survey completed by over 1,000 HR and talent acquisition leaders. The survey was open through November 2022 as “full economic confusion” had become the norm in the world of recruiting and recruiting technology. Inflation was up while unemployment was at an all-time low. Big tech layoffs were in the headlines daily while record numbers of jobs were being added each quarter. The word “recession” was being cast about while some Work Tech providers reported their best-performing quarters ever. Similar confusing economic signals continue to this day.
Our goal for the report was to identify the technology that was most aligned with the future of work, to clearly define it and to measure its market size. This included taking a deep dive into the technology supporting the entire hiring process, with an understanding of both adoption success and future budgeting plans. It was to be a landmark report, announcing the arrival of the Work Tech category, and Hiring Work Tech as they displace old-school HR technology for the future of work. I think we accomplished this. But after following up with several HR and talent leaders who had read the report and seen the data, an interesting impact emerged that we couldn’t have predicted back when this project was launched. The report has become a key supporting document in making the business case for investments in new recruiting strategies and hiring technology during what continues to be an uncertain economic climate.
Here are three examples of how the report is being used that may help you as you sell your strategies and budgets internally.
#1 Help your CEO and CFO understand that, regardless of the headlines, the current labor market conditions aren’t new and aren’t going away anytime soon with the data and analysis in the report
The labor market conditions that set the stage for the emergence of Work Tech were shaped by several macro trends that have been evolving for years. While all of these trends were accelerated or revealed during the pandemic, none of them were created by the COVID-19 crisis. In our 2019 Workplace Intelligence Report, developed well before the pandemic, one of our major findings was that “distributed work is the future.” More than 54% of global respondents indicated that their companies offered some form of alternative work arrangements like hybrid or remote work.
Employees wanting to find meaning in their work isn’t new either. It also isn’t generational. In the same 2019 report, 61% of employees across all generations in the workforce and surveyed globally stated that they would like to find meaning in their work.
The workforce is and has been shrinking. It won’t get easier to find people for jobs as the economy goes through its cycles. There isn’t a light at the end of this tunnel where there will suddenly be more people to fill open roles. The ratio of working-age people for each retired person has decreased by 25% in the US since 2017. Similar decreases are happening in every modern country, per Lancet’s 2020 study. And the forecast is that we will be continuing on this trajectory.
Even amid all this economic confusion, with big tech regularly making headlines for layoffs, the number of open jobs in the US rose from 10.5 million in December 2022 to 11 million in January 2023, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (US BLS). And the power is still in jobseekers’ hands, which doesn’t look to be shifting any time soon.
Companies are still planning for growth, outside of big tech and those industries that have been hit harder by the economic uncertainties. Consistent with the results we’ve seen from the US BLS, 94% of our respondents told us that they were planning for headcount growth.
#2 Whether you’re doing more with less or doing more to keep up with growth, you’ll need to automate more to keep up
Your organization may have a conservative hiring stance. You may have even lost some of your recruiting team, internal support and operations staff, and hiring process partners across your company. Or, you may still be growing with aggressive hiring goals, with only the same resources. Either way, old-school HR technology isn’t going to help you keep up with the demands put on your team.
The time is now to be thinking about new strategies to attract, engage and hire talent and you’re going to need modern hiring technology, Hiring Work Tech to make it happen. George LaRocque, WorkTech Market Analyst
The shrinking workforce and widening skills gaps affect HR just as they do every other department. Having the right core Hiring Work Tech platform at the center of your strategy is key to your ability to be agile and simultaneously compliant. Open APIs that support partner marketplaces and an immediate path for those apps not yet in it are table stakes in the customer-first world of Work Tech. Its targeted applications seamlessly integrate into most hiring teams’ existing platforms and suites.
Traditional HR technology is more limited with integrations and partners, reducing the options for your team and your customers. It’s really more of a cultural challenge for traditionalists than a tech challenge.
With the right Hiring Work Tech platform in place, you can start to look at further adoption of Hiring Work Tech, such as chatbots and conversational interfaces powered by AI to engage candidates in the hiring process. Look for these interfaces to be paired with workflow automation tools as they turn to the internal participants in hiring. These solutions will not replace already-lean and hyper-optimized recruiting teams, but will augment them and boost their productivity.
#3 A down market is the right time to consolidate and replace your Hiring Work Tech
To understand this, you don’t have to look any further back than 2020 and 2021. As the COVID-19 pandemic stagnated the economy and companies had layoffs and froze hiring in 2020, the companies that were using their existing resources to define their requirements for, implement and onboard new recruiting strategies and technologies were better-positioned to meet their goals when the economy surged back in 2021.
The companies that reduced their recruiting headcount and lost all momentum in the hiring market were ill-prepared to quickly meet new hiring goals as quickly when the market turned.
Your competitive edge in recruiting depends on sound strategies and tactics empowered by innovative technology. Even though our international survey of more than 1,000 HR and talent acquisition leaders was completed amid the current economic confusion, a full 71% of our respondents said their budgets would be either similar or increasing in 2023. And those increasing budgets would be doing so by an impressive average of 47%. So they aren’t just increasing their existing budgets, but adding cutting-edge technologies to their Hiring Work Tech stacks.
The New Technology Shaping the Future of Work report contains even more helpful data and practical insights about the shift to Work Tech and related spending and budget implications. Download the report here.