RPO & StaffingTalent Acquisition

Talent Forecast

Predicting the recruitment industry climate for 2013.

By Byrne Mulrooney
Along with 15 members of our company’s leadership team from across the globe, we have debated the changing talent scene and collaborated to forecast the landscape for the coming year, based on the trends, developments, and challenges faced in 2012 as the industry has continued to evolve. We see trends that will shape the recruitment and talent management industry globally in 2013.
1. Building the internal business case. Companies are already asking the insource versus outsource question more than they have historically, in order to make more sense of what outsourcing can mean for them and to build an internal business case to present to the key decision makers and executive boards. As budgets continue to be scrutinized during 2013, organizations will increasingly ask for assistance to make outsourcing work for them in their specific situation, thinking more broadly about the bigger picture rather than concentrating on the detail of each individual tactic.
2. Balancing short-term challenges with long-term positioning. An on-going trend that will become more acute in 2013 is the need for companies to balance shorter-term financial challenges with longer-term strategic needs. One such example includes the imperative to build a brand that can attract talent over the long term.
Most companies are facing immediate financial pressures sustained by the global economic conditions. The United States has been experiencing significant challenges since the recession began in earnest in 2008 and many countries in Europe are suffering severe financial stress. Even hyper-growth countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China are not growing nearly as fast as they were three or five years ago. Many companies are finding it hard to dedicate the time, resources, and budget necessary to develop and execute a talent strategy that will continue to attract colleagues in the short and long term. But in the next 12 months we will see organizations starting to put strategies in place to overcome this as their focus shifts to recovery and growth.
3. Global complexity in workforce planning. The globalization of workforce planning is a trend we will see more of in 2013 as organizations start to—through desire and necessity—think about their talent more globally. Most organizations have locations where they have very mature operations (the U.S. and Western Europe). But as companies expand internationally, and different markets present more attractive business opportunities, they have to think about their workforce and talent in this way too. Emerging markets such as India, China, and Latin America are driven by different trends and each has their own talent issues, which will add a layer of complexity for businesses addressing workforce planning on a global scale. This complexity needs to be supported by the right tools and strategies if businesses are going to succeed.
4. Consumer-grade employer branding. More and more businesses will start to treat candidates like true consumers, drawing on the practiced arts of product-orientated companies to attract and engage talent globally. It is consumerism that will underpin the most successful employer branding strategies in 2013 and beyond. Smart employers are recognizing that many of the strategies and tactics used by consumer brands to attract and maintain a relationship with customers can be applied to the candidate experience.
5. The new talent battlefields. The war for talent, which was once
ferocious and dominant, will become more subtle and focused in 2013. Businesses will not hire the volume of talent they once did, but against the current economic backdrop and the drive for growth, they will be focused on hiring critical talent. Therefore, in the on-going war for talent, we will see the emergence of some new, fiercely fought battlefields in 2013.
One such battlefield is the fight for talent in tier two and three cities within emerging markets. Organizations are looking to expand into smaller cities, but getting talent to relocate—or finding it in the area before a competitor snaps them up—is a significant hurdle. For some businesses, the success of their long-term business strategy rests on winning this battle. The key will be enticing people with a good career framework by beginning their career in the tier two and three cities, then moving them to the tier one cities as they mature. Right now in the emerging markets, the war for talent is so fierce that it’s the candidates and employees that have all the options—and organizations will need to be smart in how the target them.

6. The rise of talent communities. Consumerism will also underpin the continued maturation of talent pool management and the use of talent communities. The challenge—and in fact the opportunity in 2013—will be to build a sustainable strategy for engaging internal and external talent. Organizations are battling with the fact that they know they will need talent at a point in the future, but in today’s economic climate, they don’t have the luxury to hire them when they first encounter them.
This time last year, we predicted that in 2012 we would see the creation of more professional candidate communities in addition to a presence on existing social media platforms, as brands look to engage above and beyond the limitations presented by those sites. In 2013, the use of talent communities will be driven by particular segments of the industry that are becoming increasingly difficult to find positions for– such as engineers or sales and marketing professionals in the fast-moving consumer goods sector. They will also gain momentum in three specific areas: executive level, experienced hires, and graduate hires. Talent communities will also be used by businesses to target passive candidates. A whopping 80 percent of candidates on LinkedIn are passive and in 2013 there will be a drive to engage them.
7. The engagement imperative and the new norm of employee-driven development. An engaged workforce is essential to drive growth and innovation—a continued struggle for businesses in 2012. The economic uncertainty has left workforces exhausted; employees feel insecure in their jobs and there are no guarantees. In 2013, employers will need to become more egalitarian in their engagement approach–not just favouring the top talent but engaging all employees to retain all talent. Social media will emerge as the tool of choice in engaging employees while also aligning them with the company strategy and vision.
Linked to this is the fact that over the next 12 months we believe we will see employee-driven development becoming the new normal. It remains true that the majority of employees globally do not have an actionable development plan. They may know where they are going career-wise but they are not at all clear on the steps they need to take to get there.

Organizations should be looking to put the onus around performance management, succession planning, and career development back on the employee themselves. Talent management professionals looking to increase employee engagement in 2013 and beyond need to examine their employee development strategies. It is here that the root of better engagement and productivity lies.
8. Closing the innovation gap. HR technology solutions are becoming more engaging, a welcome shift away from the monolithic systems. Driven by a global business arena that is crying out for talent to reach its potential and excel, solutions providers are innovating at a rapid rate. New solutions seem come to market every week. However the level of adoption within HR departments is patchy and is not increasing at the same rate. There is a gap between innovation and adoption in the industry, and we believe in 2013 this will start to reduce because it has to. Organizations will need to improve the investment they make in new technology in order to be competitive both as a recruiter but also as a manager of talent. More and more over the next 12 months, businesses will look to innovative products to give them the edge.
9. Increased intention for diversity. Businesses will increasingly tend toward demanding greater diversity in the workplace in 2013. This will be particularly apparent in sectors such as engineering where there is a focus on gender equality, and in markets such as North America where there is an all-industry push for diversity. The main driver behind this trend is its presence in the boardroom, with business leaders looking to HR to ensure their company represents society.
10. Focus on internal mobility. The various pressures facing recruitment and talent managers in 2013 will lead almost inevitably to a greater focus on internal mobility and up skilling employees. Tighter budgets, the requirement for specific talent areas, and increased complexity in global workforce planning will mean that many businesses look internally to solve their staffing issues, rather than externally.
Byrne Mulrooney is the CEO of Futurestep.

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