Winning the war for talent in 2022

The combined challenges of the Great Resignation and COVID staffing shortages are creating a perfect storm for recruitment. The global war for talent – already intense pre-pandemic – is becoming more competitive than ever before. People are moving around, switching jobs, companies and even industries, chasing higher pay, bigger benefits and a better work-life balance.

Microsoft’s Work Trend Index 2021 researched over 30,000 people across 31 countries, and found that 40% intend to look for another job. PWC Australia’s The Future of Work survey identified similar levels of movement, with 38% of respondents wanting to find a new job in the next 12 months.

This will lead to a major challenge for businesses. Talent shortages that were already being felt before the COVID pandemic will be amplified. Job vacancies reached record highs of 396,000 in November 2021 according to ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) data. This was 74% higher than the start of the pandemic  – equivalent to 169,000 more job openings.

The “interview tsunami” of 2022

Organisations are going to have to hire significantly more people in 2022. To ensure valuable talent isn’t missed, it is highly likely that in many cases businesses will need to interview every single candidate for a role. Recruiters face far more interviews with far less talent, with some estimates suggestion this could be four times as many interviews required, compared to pre-COVID hiring.

Dealing with the sheer volume of applications and interviews is essentially unmanageable unless recruiters adapt their current methods. This is because previous talent acquisition and management models don’t work in this new environment. The average hiring manager already wastes 70% of the time they spend on interviews and scheduling.

Put simply, there just isn’t enough manpower to cope with the four-times wave of interviews.

Despite this fact,  some companies have been reacting to the issue by hiring more recruiters: LinkedIn has recorded a vast surge in recruiting roles posted, with nearly seven times as many recruiter jobs posted in June 2021 vs June 2020. Site users identified thousands of recruitment roles being posted on a single day in January 2022. Even if organisations manage to fill all these roles [spoiler: they won’t] it’s not going to work. We need a radical mind-set change with a total rethink of the recruitment process. It starts with three key steps:

1. Engage and communicate with employees to reduce the impact of the Great Resignation

A severe lack of alignment between employer and employee expectations is adding to the crisis. The assumptions of what employees want are hugely out of step with reality. According to PwC analysis, business leaders believe that “value alignment between worker and organisation” is the top priority for staff. Whereas employees actually rank that 16th: far below preferences such as “good co-workers”, “pay and incentives”, “autonomy” and “working from home”.

An Employee Benefit News study found that three-quarters of the reasons for employee turnover were “preventable”. People cited career development, manager relationships, remuneration and work-life balance as the top reasons for quitting – all of which are within a business’s control to fix. But without communicating, it’s impossible to know whether staff are unhappy or why.

2. Broaden your talent acquisition model

Organisations still aren’t walking-the-talk when it comes to diversity. It’s well-established that a wider talent pool means more opportunities to hire talent. It’s also well established that higher diversity is linked to improved business performance, with smarter teams, better collaboration, higher innovation and entrepreneurship.

But DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) programs haven’t delivered. There’s a lot of spin but not a lot of action. Often the definition of diversity is too narrow: restricted to gender and/or ethnicity. Huge discrimination due to age, disability, educational background, career experience and socioeconomic status still gets overlooked. Deeper changes are needed to actually improve diversity in the pipeline and make workplaces more inclusive.

Traditional hiring practices are beset with bias and limitations. By using talent intelligence platforms, recruiters can uncover people who might have been overlooked or dismissed due to various preconceptions and biases.

3. Change how you hire

Only technology can help businesses stay afloat in the interview tsunami coming this year. Aptitude Research found that 67% of companies increased their investment in talent acquisition software in 2021, and 73% plan to increase investment this year.

Talent engagement platforms can help managers better understand how engaged staff are and get actionable feedback. This helps increase employee satisfaction and productivity, as well as retention. It builds a stronger culture which also makes hiring easier.

Talent ecosystem tools can help source candidates from a business’s own networks, with platforms that map employee skills and career goals to the company’s needs. This helps find underutilised people who are at risk of becoming disengaged, and move them into higher value, more productive roles.

Programmatic job advertising can also play an increasing role, using AI to figure out the best locations for job ads and automating placements. Job seekers see targeted job ads no matter where they are online, at the right time.

Once prospective candidates arrive in the interview process, Intelligence-powered hiring platforms can help partially automate the application process, enabling recruiters to handle much higher volume as well as reduce the stress on job candidates. This also takes a lot of the human bias out of the process, enabling a much more objective approach that results in higher diversity and better quality of hire.

Now is the time to act to ensure your business does not get drowned in the volume of interviews that will need to be carried out this year. By leveraging smart technology and rethinking the approach to diversity, recruiters will maximise their chances of accessing a larger, higher quality talent pool.