What you need for an edge in recruitment in 2023


Recruitment in 2023 will continue to test us. If we have gleaned anything from the pandemic, it is just how unpredictable the world is and how swiftly we must adjust and embrace change. Adapting to our new world of recruitment has required a monumental shift in mindset. Next year will be no different.  After all the events that have reshaped our employment landscape, the conundrum of the employment market continues. But the outlook is not entirely grim. There is a reprieve – a slight easi

asing and a chance to gain ground – but only for businesses that have learnt to be recruitment fit. Approaching such an ongoing, difficult, and often confusing problem will require remaining nimble, enterprising, adaptable, and resourceful. 

2022 recruitment   

For many, recruitment in 2022 was a shock to the system. The strong bounce back after the pandemic seemed full of promise. In February, job adverts were the highest in 25 years. To build and rebuild our businesses, we were all on the hunt for talent. Then we ran into a roadblock of mammoth proportions – there were no available people or skills. The unemployment rate hit a 48-year low, making the competition for talent almost barbaric. 

Inflation of 6.1 per cent, the highest in 21 years, helped increase salary and hiring pressures. And with job seekers inundated with opportunities, the highest bidders won out. It was a melange of high business hopes and frustrating, despairing lows. For most, it was unanticipated unless you were a seasoned recruiter. Avoiding such surprises going forward would be a plus. So what’s next?

As a managing director of a recruitment firm, this is my outlook for hiring in 2023. 

The skills shortage remains

The nature of our skills shortage means it will not revert any time soon. Our ageing population is exiting the workforce at accelerated rates. Combine that with birth rates not close to replacement levels and ongoing systemic challenges are guaranteed. Even the increased flow of job seekers from the potential economic downturn and likely rise in the unemployment rate will not suffice. The root cause of our human capital issue is lack of qualified candidates to do the job, not job seekers. Tackling recruitment in 2023 firstly requires a sharp reality check – recognising that scarcity of talent is here to stay. 


Already we see a softening of some economic indicators. Total job vacancies declined 2 per cent in August, and our unemployment rate has increased slightly, to 3.5 per cent. Whilst the unemployment rate is expected to decline to 3.25 per cent before the end of the year, the forecast is for a gradual rise after that. This is in line with slowing growth in activity, as the gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to grow by just 1.75 per cent over 2023.  

Typically, in times of economic uncertainty, workforce behaviours reflect that job security is the holy grail. However, with inflation rates in 2022 causing real wages to shrink by as much as 3 per cent, we can expect continuing resignations in pursuit of higher salaries. Real wages are expected to pick up some, as the consumer price index (CPI) is projected to trend at 3.5 per cent in 2023 and 2.5 per cent in 2024, providing some eventual relief on salary pressures for employers. 

Purpose at work 

Forget about hiring expenses and the cost of an empty seat; consider the exponential value increase created by deep employee engagement and retention. Purpose will be key in 2023 for gaining a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining your talent. 

Post-pandemic, our workforce has been searching for ‘something’. For many workers, 2022 brought a heightened focus on flexibility and balance at work, to allow for other life priorities. It has been a great year for the self. But we seek more.  

Purpose creates a sense of meaning. It connects the work we do with our feelings and values. Purpose internalisation is the next step, occurring when employees integrate personal beliefs and motivations with an organisation’s purpose. Research has shown that when a company’s purpose is authentic, coherent, and has integrity, employees are twice as likely to go beyond the call of duty. Provide purpose at work, and you will be ahead of the 2023 recruitment curve. 

Human capital remains our biggest asset. Never before have we felt such hiring pressures. Yes, the skills shortage has been bubbling away since well before the pandemic, but in the surge for growth and recovery, we now desperately need the skills and talent. Factor in the increased workloads and burnout, and we have another potential problem brewing. Be recruitment fit; accept the reality, adjust, adapt, read the collective attitudes towards work and focus on your existing team for engagement and retention.


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