According to Forbes, Gen Z will make up 27% of the global workforce by 2025. The new wave of employees will come with a different set of workplace expectations and priorities than the generations before.


of HR professionals believe that AI has many benefits and a positive impact on the recruitment process.


What does the future of talent acquisition look like? How can TA leaders effectively harness emerging technologies? And has the pandemic changed recruitment forever? 

Our founder and CEO, Chris Abbass, recently sat down with the renowned talent expert Hung Lee to discuss these pressing questions.

With over 25,000 weekly subscribers to his Recruiting Brainfood newsletter and numerous global talent leaders acknowledging his expertise, Hung is one of the most prominent voices in talent acquisition.

In this article, we share five key insights from their conversation, which can be heard in full on episode 11 of Chris’ podcast, Hiring On All Cylinders: “2023 Talent Acquisition Predictions.”

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1. Tech will drive the recruitment
booms of tomorrow

As Chris says, “it’s been a whirlwind for the recruitment space.” Over the last two years, we’ve witnessed record highs and hard-hitting lows, fuelled by the global pandemic and an ever-shifting geopolitical landscape.

Booms and busts are to be expected. But will we ever see anything on this scale again?

Hung thinks we might. But it will be tech, not global events, that drives future upswings.

“Technological breakthroughs can sometimes surprise us,” he says.

“I didn’t think we’d see a company valuation go through the roof. But then we see ChatGPT come out, and I’m thinking, ‘OK, if they decided to raise some money, they’re going multi-billions.’

“So technological breakthroughs, I think, can trigger again this concept of, ‘maybe another new world is there.’ Green tech, green energy, space tech. Lots of things might still occur that would generate that type of interest and growth.”

2. ChatGPT will change everything

No surprises here. ChatGPT is a hot topic. As Hung notes, “there’s not a single recruiter who isn’t talking about this.”

Most of the hype has positioned ChatGPT as a powerful productivity engine. However, Hung believes we should be mindful of its negative potential too.

“I think it will replace a lot of the work that recruiters traditionally have done, or at least make it more efficient,” he muses.

“We’re talking about copywriting. We’re talking about doing the research. We’re talking about getting upskilled on things you don’t know about. All those things that took tonnes of time. This thing can reduce the amount of effort required by orders of magnitude.

“That’s exciting and alarming in two respects. It means, ultimately, recruiters can become much more efficient. But it also means companies will eye this up and think, ‘you know what… I could probably get away with five recruiters instead of eight.’”

For Hung, there’s only one choice on the table – upskill or lose out.

“Recruiters who are highly skilled using these technologies will become super valuable,” he predicts. “But the folks who have not got into it, or denied its relevance… I think that will be a mistake because it will be very competitive.”

3. TA leaders must learn to do more with less

It’s more important than ever to prioritize quality over quantity when sourcing recruitment talent. In times of economic uncertainty, the old “more is more” mentality just doesn’t cut it.

As Chris puts it, “the way that recruitment teams traditionally have solved the supply and the demand is just, ‘let’s add some more sourcers. Let’s add some more recruiters to the team.’

“I think there’s going to be a much tighter focus on the actual efficiency and performance of the team that you have,” he adds.

Hung agrees. “Doing more with less was already a topic pre-ChatGPT. It was already something that was going to happen because everyone was staring down the barrel of 2023.

“And everyone was thinking, ‘OK, how can I hit the same productivity levels with fewer people?’ And technology is one thing you can do. But there’s another thing you need to do, which is to increase your awareness of what is actually working within your team.”

The trick, Hung says, is to diversify, diversify, diversify. This might mean hiring fewer full-time employees, reaching out to talented alumni on an ad-hoc basis, or leveraging third-party support.

“A greater leaning towards folks like Talentful – you know, RPOs – I think that can help provide risk assurance. If I don’t know whether my headcount is going to be 100 next year or 200… maybe I need 50 of those people from an RPO. I’d rather have that situation than go to the pain of hiring 100 extra people and then have to make aggressive cuts again.

“Basically, diversification of employment type is happening throughout companies anyway. But it will certainly happen in TA – and that’s the smart thing to do.”

4. “Third spaces” are the future of
talent communities

Talent communities are nothing new. But Hung believes we must look beyond CRMs and marketing emails. A smarter kind of community-driven hiring is emerging, built on mutual trust and conversation.

“How do we actually have a permission-based dialogue? How can we have a reciprocal relationship with these highly skilled, in-demand people?” he asks.

“The best way to do that is to create what I call a third space, which is not you invading their inbox or inviting them to someplace that you control. A third space that they can enter, like a pub or a bar, right? Hypothetically.

“There’s no commitment if they turn up. They haven’t volunteered to be part of a recruiting process just because they turn up in your community. You can’t just pipeline them in. They have that sense of agency and that sense of freedom. But they might just want to have conversations about a topic that you’re interested in.

“It’s not like dropping everyone into a CRM and doing a drip campaign to them. That’s just another version of spam.”

5. An age divide will emerge in remote work

The conversation turns to another hot topic: remote work. Has the office had its day?

“People fantasize that the world’s just going to turn and everyone’s going to be back in the office,” says Chris. “I just don’t see that happening.”

Hung’s take: office-based working will resume, but it will look very different from its pre-pandemic heyday.

“Eventually, what will happen is that we’re going to change the age demographic of people working in offices,” he predicts. “It’s going to be younger. It’s going to be early-career people coming in.

“The people who have never worked in an office – early-entry talent – they’re going back to the office. They’re going back to the office they never went to because they want to have that in-office experience. They don’t want remote.

“So I think that it’ll be very interesting from a societal point of view. Cities should get a little bit younger.”

Ready to hear more from Hung Lee?

Watch the full episode to hear Chris and Hung discuss AI-driven sourcing, influencer marketing and the implications of “de-globalization”.

The future is all about flexibility. At Talentful, we provide world-class recruitment expertise on demand through a flexible, scaleable subscription model. We become an extension of your internal talent team, gaining an in-depth knowledge of your culture, mission and hiring needs. Then we hit the ground running to deliver support where it’s needed. Learn more today.

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