Year in Review: 2014 Recruiting Trends Roundup

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Trends, Successes, Pitfalls in Recruiting & Talent Acquisition

Looking Back
The end of the year is always a good time to reflect in business – what went right, what went wrong, what we could have done differently, what we’re looking forward to improving into next year. In talent acquisition and recruiting in particular, the trends and changes in the industry move so fast it can be hard to keep up and have a true understanding of what’s working and what we need to move on from as we enter 2015.

Let's take a look back at some of the trends and topics within recruiting and talent acquisition in 2014 and what we learned from each one. We can then apply these lessons from the year as we look onward in preparing our talent acquisition strategy for next year and beyond.

Job Numbers
In 2014, Americans began quitting their jobs at the fastest pace since 2008, a trend viewed as a positive. The shift in quitting highlights confidence in the job market, a sign of economic recovery that hasn’t been present in years. The amount of workers quitting their job means employees are confident that they will find a new job or have a better offer in hand, usually with higher compensation or better prospects. According to the Labor Department, about 2.8 million people quit their jobs in September of 2014, up almost 10%$ from August.

Better Job, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.Hiring continued to surge in November of 2014 as 321,000 jobs were added, making November the best one-month gain for jobs in three years, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate, at 5.8%, is down from 7% this time last year. CNN Money is calling 2014 the strongest year for job growth since before the turn of the century.

The U.S. economy has been gaining an average of 224,000 jobs a month for the past 12 months, which is considered ‘strong growth,’ according to CNN Money. Still, wages remain relatively stagnant for how much movement being seen in the workforce. Economists predict that employers will adjust wage growth into the New Year to respond to the candidate-driven marketplace.

An influx in job movement means recruiters will have to be fully prepared to pitch the perfect employer to candidates on the move. A CareerBuilder survey released in 2014 said that one in five of today’s workers plan to change jobs within the year. Thus, the need is stronger than ever for recruiters and companies to understand what makes a worker stay.

“Not recognizing what’s important to employees can translate into more job dissatisfaction, lower productivity, and higher voluntary turnover.” Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder

Stdents learning in libraryMillennials
By now it’s no mystery that many companies are working to attract Millennial talent in order to bring a fresh perspective to their brand. What shifted in 2014 is the ways companies went about doing this, as well as the realization that not all Millennials are the “lazy” or “entitled” workers they were painted as in the media for the first few years of their entrance into the workforce.

Take LifeSize, a tech company out of Austin that sells video conference technology.

The CEO, Craig Malloy, recently told NPR that he had a realization his company and services were outdated and needed a major facelift. In order to do this, the CEO took older product lines such as big screen TVs and cameras and replaced them with computer applications – and with the changes, an outreach to Millennial talent that would better understand the tech savvy product.

LifeSize completely restructured their company brand, instituting Millennial-friendly perks such as free food, group exercise areas, and lunchtime activities such as parking lot volleyball to entice such talent.

"We're seeing more interest from a younger generation of software and hardware developer that would consider a company like Nest or Google….and now we're able to compete for that talent." Craig Malloy, CEO, LifeSize

As part of the younger-generation restructuring, the LifeSize office also changed gears, moving everyone – including the CEO – out of their offices and into an open work space. The company tells NPR that the baby boomer generation workers aren’t very happy about the shifts in work space. Despite pushback, LifeSize says that the change is necessary to stay competitive in the evolving talent pool.

LinkedIn Changes
Recent modifications to the networking giant may mean trouble for recruiters who over-use this social tool. Member Blocking, announced in 2014, allows users to be rid of bothersome connections, including overzealous recruiters. Similarly, LinkedIn announced the ability to report InMail spam, which could limit the amount of ‘Great Opportunity’ messages recruiters can send.

But recruiters on LinkedIn may be in for even more trouble on the horizon.

A sales representative for LinkedIn recently shared via a telephone conversation that drastic changes to recruiter memberships will soon be under way. These changes include a mandatory paid account for any and all recruiters using the network, with fees as much as $695 per month. Additionally, LinkedIn said they plan to remove Team Account memberships altogether, no longer allowing groups of recruiters to have multiple premium accounts under the same cost structure.

One can speculate that these proposed changes would be an added incentive for recruiters to pay to be on LinkedIn, a tool where they can currently glean viable candidates free of charge. It could also whittle down the overabundance of recruiters on the social networking platform and balance out the Recruiter/Candidate ratio - according to Forbes, over 97% of Recruiters use the platform as a talent acquisition and sourcing tool.

Job Perks
driving car on the mountain roadPicture this: A dream vacation to a faraway destination, paid for by your company. The only stipulation is you are not allowed to check your work email or take any work-related calls while you are gone. Sound like a dream? It’s a reality for employees at FullContact, a Denver-based software company that offers a paid vacation as a benefit. The company gives $7,500 to each employee to be used toward a vacation of their choosing.

According to the FullContact website, they explain that it’s important to “disconnect” and be off the grid to be a better employee when you are in the office. Knowing about the vacation perk, the company says, encourages the team to be empowered, make decisions, and contribute.

Some companies are also implementing unlimited vacation days as a way to encourage and trust their team. Virgin founder Richard Branson this year announced unlimited vacation within his company, following in the footsteps of Netflix and Evernote. Branson told the press his reasoning was that flexible hours have revolutionized the way we work. “If working nine to five no longer applies, then why should strict annual leave policies?” Branson wrote in his blog.

According to the New York Times, as much as 40% of Americans don’t use their paid time off at all. Fear of being replaced, paired with being “extremely stressed” and overwhelmed with work responsibilities, stop employees from taking time away from the office.

More organizations are allowing employees to work remotely or work from home. According to Forbes, the top five companies that allow remote workers includes:

  • Xerox
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • Dell
  • Aetna
  • American Express

Hiring remote workers could open up a broader talent pool instead of looking only for those strictly in the company’s backyard. Still, some recruiting and business professionals are wary of the changing policies, noting that the employee must be trustworthy in order to earn the right to work remotely and display characteristics that allow the employer to be confident in their productivity.

Additionally, some organizational structures may require in-person strategizing and brainstorming, and being separate could hinder these communication processes. Company culture, which has become a must for companies trying to entice top talent, might also take a hit with members of the staff out of office.

Tech Talent
Technology is changing quickly, and adoption of some of these technologies is changing even faster – causing an immediate talent shortage.

The HackerIn 2014, companies saw a heightened demand for a variety of tech leadership roles, such as: Managers of IT Security, Consulting Security Engineers, Software Engineers, Product Managers, UNIX Security Engineers, and Windows Security Engineers, as well as Software Developers and Systems Administrators.

Big data continues to lead the industry, with an estimated 14 million new cloud computing jobs globally by 2015, according to Forbes. The demand for quality developer professionals is highlighted in a recent tech internship salary report that was released to online news outlet Vox. The report names salaries for software developer interns hovering around 100K a year for many big-name tech companies.

An ongoing issue for many organizations is locating top tech talent to fill open positions. Many companies are relying strictly on job boards, of which only 18% of all candidate types can be found, according to ERE. This supply-demand imbalance equates to approximately three open positions for every one trained software developer nationally.

Other issues in finding and hiring tech talent include an unexciting employer brand – tech candidates are being approached by hundreds of recruiters and without a strong brand to back up the job description won’t likely take the leap – and time to fill a role taking far too long.

With their choice of where to go, top tech talent likely won’t wait through a lengthy interview process to see if they are a match. Business News Daily recommends looking beyond the usual resources to locate tech talent. Candidates that can’t be found online may be the best undiscovered fit for the role, as well as candidates who break the traditional stereotypes associated with technology professionals.

In 2014, organizations began to take employer branding a step further with a goal of understanding their audience to gain traction with customers and candidates instead of simply shouting into a void.

In order to find the best possible talent, companies must first understand their demographics. According to Forbes, today’s Top Talent is: Highly Educated, Social, and Well Connected.

Today’s talented candidates require a personal connection – building a rapport with the candidate pool on social networks and building a community of followers by becoming a trusted Thought Leader as an organization.

Workplace Wellbeing and Business Performance Concept

The underlying question to truly perfect a company’s brand has become – what do candidates want?

Into the New Year, many companies are investing in an in-house marketing professional who will be able to manage social channels and actively engage with the target audience. Marketers are quickly adapting their skill set to manage the company brand as well as work the tech and system management sides of the trade in order to keep the company’s digital and social presence relevant.

Cultivating these engagements, paired with providing and distributing engaging and educational content that will attract candidates, will allow for a canvassing of digital channels and casting of a wider net for top talent identification. Refine your recruiting strategy by reviewing where you’re finding candidates. Searching LinkedIn for qualified talent has proven effective, but with nearly 98% of Recruiters on LinkedIn (Forbes), you’re at risk of searching in an over-fished pond.

Don’t forget to put your money where your mouth is when it comes to pairing company culture with employer branding strategy. Touting a fun yet professional workplace that offers great benefits and flexibility? As employer or Recruiter, work to prove it by holding true to these enticing aspects of the organization. The reputation of companies is spreading faster than ever, and backing these statements with satisfied, happy, and engaged employees will help to attract the best available talent for the role.

Skills Shortage
According to a recent survey by the Wall Street Journal, an increasing number of business owners say they are having trouble filling job openings due to a lack of qualified candidates. The study found that 33% of small business owners and CEOs feel that finding qualified workers is becoming more difficult, leading to vacant job openings that hurt business.

As the unemployment rate decreases, the competition for qualified talent with the appropriate skills and experience heightens. Managers are finding that posted jobs are not leading them to qualified candidates, according to the report. As a result, the role remains vacant and small businesses suffer – 43% of small business owners said unfilled jobs were hurting their business growth. This is up from 39% in 2012.

The study says small businesses that handle recruiting and human resources internally may be hurting most. Without a proper avenue to effectively and efficiently uncover the entire talent pool, these businesses end up floundering.

For the first time in the company’s history, Google released its diversity statistics this year, and they reflected some ongoing hiring issues within the technology industry as well as across other industries and functions. The plan to release such details publicly came as a response to recent escalating pressures on the tech industry to hire more women and minorities, according to The Associated Press.

Among other findings, the report addressed a couple of key issues within Google’s workforce:

  • Google’s men-to-women ratio is lopsided: 70% men to 30% women
  • Google is predominantly white, with 2% African Americans and 3% Hispanics in the workforce

Google currently employs about 50,000 people and hires thousands of new workers each year. Critics say the tech industry isn’t doing enough to ensure they have a diverse workforce. According to The Associated Press, about 7 percent of technology workers are black or Latino nationally. And though there are many women in the tech industry, few are in high paying or executive positions vs. their male colleagues.

The report caused other companies to follow suit and release their diversity statistics. Internet news and entertainment company Buzzfeed in October posted its own results, and while gender was much more even (51.6% male to 48.4% female), it also had a predominantly white office, with white employees coming in at 74.8% of their workforce.

Looking Ahead
As we enter the New Year, remaining cautious of the silver bullets of recruiting may be key. Candidate prioritization will continue to be the crucial focal point – it’s how we get there that will continue to shift.

For more information on talent acquisition in 2015, please download our [WHITEPAPER].

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