37%

of HR leaders anticipate a shift in working patterns that will require employees to work from the office more often.

50%

of employees are thinking about leaving their jobs in the next twelve months.

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With the impact of the economic downturn, major tech firms announcing layoffs, and attrition rates increasing, things feel a little uncertain in talent acquisition right now. And in times of economic uncertainty, looking to the future can be difficult. 

But talent acquisition teams need to be prepared for what the next year will bring so that they can hone their strategies and deliver the best possible results in 2023. Although we can’t see the future, we can arm ourselves with the information we have, and seek to understand it to get a better idea of what the next twelve months will look like. 

In this article, we’ll share seven of the most important trends that will shape the talent acquisition landscape in 2023.

1. Workforce Planning For An Economic Downturn

The world’s economists are agreed: 2023 will see us plunged into an economic downturn. For many organisations, the knee-jerk response to these conditions is to freeze hiring, cut costs, and even look at making layoffs. But data from the aftermath of the Great Recession in 2007–2009 suggests that companies who take this approach will have only a limited possibility of full recovery once the economy returns to normal. 

Instead, talent acquisition teams should be deliberate and strategic in their approach to workforce planning. The best teams will develop plans for the best, average, and worst-case scenarios — and then keep a close eye on market conditions. 

It’s also important to remember that whatever economic storm is headed our way will eventually pass. To have the best possible chances of emerging unscathed, companies will need a strategy in place for ramping up recruitment once the recession is over, enabling them to quickly bounce back.


2. The Great Return To The Office

If remote work shaped 2020–22, the return to the office (RTO) will shape 2023. Companies such as Apple, Google, and Unilever have already announced their plans for getting staff at least partially back onsite. Others, like investment bank Goldman Sachs, are pushing for a return to full-time in-person work for all employees. 

According to a recent survey, 37% of HR leaders anticipate a shift in working patterns that will require employees to work from the office more often. But at the same time, 48% believe a full RTO would hurt their ability to attract and retain talent. 

They’re probably right: in a recent McKinsey survey, a desire for flexible working arrangements was the third-most common reason respondents gave for looking for a new job. Various other studies have found that anywhere from 34% to 64% of employees would quit their job if their employer forced them back to the office full-time.

Companies that choose to mandate a full RTO will likely face retention issues in 2023. On the flip side, those recruiting for hybrid or remote roles will be at an advantage when it comes to talent attraction. 


3. Increased Internal Mobility & The Rise Of The Boomerang Employee

Despite the threat of a recession, 50% of employees are thinking about leaving their jobs in the next twelve months. But for many of those people, the opportunity to take on a new role within their current organisation might be enough to convince them to stay. 

According to a survey by Randstad RiseSmart, 87% of employers believe at least 10% of their open roles could be filled internally. In 2023, companies that want to beat their high attrition rates should think about developing an internal mobility strategy, which both creates an easy source of talent and improves retention too. 

Another trend that we’re likely to see more of in 2023 is a rise in so-called “boomerang employees”. As the name suggests, these are people who previously quit (perhaps in search of pastures newer and greener in the midst of the Great Resignation) but who could be interested in returning. Recruiters and hiring managers should not ignore this small but important group of candidates. After all, they already know the organisation and they’re in a perfect position to slot back in with minimal training.


4. Increasingly Data-Driven Recruitment Strategies — With DE&I As A Key Focus

We all know that building a diverse workforce is beneficial to a company. Diverse organisations are reportedly more innovative, more profitable, and better at capturing new markets than those whose workforces are not diverse. But many talent acquisition teams are still relying on instinct when it comes to determining whether their processes are set up to achieve this goal. 

In 2023, we’ll see more and more recruitment professionals turning to hard data to assess their processes through a DE&I lens. By layering demographic data with things like pass-through rates and interview feedback, recruiters will be able to identify equity gaps in the recruitment funnel and highlight them as areas for improvement.


5. Increased Automation Of Recruitment Tasks

According to an SHRM report from 2022, only about one in four companies use automation or AI to support their HR efforts, including recruiting and hiring. We may see this change in 2023 as more companies look to cut costs and boost efficiency in the face of a looming recession. 

For example, 99% of Fortune 500 companies reportedly use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to keep track of candidates. This can save recruiters time by automatically parsing, sorting, and ranking applications based on how well they match the job description. And, according to a blog post from recruitment automation software company CleverStaff, using candidate tracking software can save a recruiter 20% in hire time, or 2.4 months per year — resulting in an ROI on the software of about 325%.

Naturally, in times of economic uncertainty, companies need to be sure that the tools they invest in will truly save them money in the long run. So, while spending on recruitment automation may increase in 2023, companies would be wise to spend time calculating the ROI that each tool or software solution can give them before investing. 


6. Focus On Well-Being & Work-Life Balance

Recruiters have had a hard time since 2020. While the need for recruiters dropped by 70% at the beginning of the pandemic, this figure quickly bounced back. By November 2021, at the height of the Great Resignation, the Wall Street Journal was reporting that there were not enough recruiters to go around. This has left many recruiters overworked, burned out, and suffering from a kind of professional whiplash.  

In 2023, talent acquisition leaders will have to focus first and foremost on their own employees’ mental health — whether that’s by providing the right tools to automate repetitive, demoralising work, setting up policies to encourage a healthy work-life balance, or creating a wellness plan that supports employees to recognise and tackle burnout symptoms. 

And of course, recruiters aren’t the only people suffering: a 2021 study found that 89% of employees had experienced burnout at some point over the past year. This means that the tools, programs, and measures that employers put in place to look after their employees’ mental health will continue to form a key part of their EVPs in 2023.


7. Recruitment Recognised As A Strategic Role

A LinkedIn report from 2019 predicted that recruiters would become less like salespeople, and more like business people over the next few years. And in 2023, as more of the repetitive, administrative parts of the recruitment process are outsourced or automated, the role of the recruiter is changing. These days, it’s less about execution and more about strategy, problem-solving, and aligning with overall business goals. 

At the same time, soaring attrition rates and stiff competition for top candidates mean that companies truly see the value of talent acquisition. Over the next twelve months, recruitment will increasingly be recognised as a strategic role, with recruiters expected to bring market knowledge and perspective, and help companies to transform their talent acquisition processes.

Is an economic downturn the perfect time to invest in recruitment? Here’s our guide on how to use a market slowdown to optimise your recruitment processes. 


Introducing Talentful

Talentful is an embedded recruitment solution that gives you the best of agency and in-house recruitment. Our transparent, subscription-based model provides the flexibility you need to confidently scale your business against an uncertain economic backdrop. 

At Talentful, we take a holistic approach to recruitment and will work with your internal team to transform your recruitment processes from the inside out. We’ve built our success on a foundation of data that we’ve gathered from hundreds of partners, from small-scale tech startups to large, global enterprises.

While onboarding an external recruitment partner might look like an extra expense that you’d be best to avoid during uncertain times, it can actually represent a big cost saving compared to increasing your internal team. Plus, our vast collective experience means our experts are well-placed to reduce CPH, giving you more value for each penny you invest in recruitment. 

When things are uncertain, it’s difficult to know what your talent acquisition needs will look like even a few months from now. That’s why it’s the perfect time to opt for a flexible solution that can scale and contract in line with your business needs.

Discover more about Talentful and how we could support your business goals.

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