Ri5’s industry predictions for 2019

Ri5’s industry predictions for 2019


Even though the predictions from many of our industry’s good and great were received before the house of commons vote on Tuesday, the ‘B’ word that dominated 2018 is still making lots of noise. And no wonder. However, irrespective of the outcome, life (and recruitment), goes on. So, what else are people talking about?

In this time poor era we live in, AI and its integration into our industry is predicted to evolve. And, as technology advances, the ‘old dogs’ are looking to be taught new tricks in what’s being described as reverse mentoring. Yet, with ever decreasing pools of talent, we’re also conscious about retaining our talent, communicating our employer brand, looking at the diversity of our workforce and talking about job purposes, not defined descriptions. Want to know more? It’s all below.

Steve Playford, Global Director, Financial Times Career Management 

It is very difficult to look beyond Brexit when judging the UK market. Many of our executive recruiter clients have publicly reported difficult times in the UK last year while doing extremely well in other global markets. Hopefully by April we will have clarity on what, if any, Brexit has been achieved and there could be some real pent up demand at senior level to get the UK market flying again. 

AI and technological advances will continue to dominate the agenda but I suspect this will be an evolution rather than a revolution. The smart phone changed the game for mobile recruitment after many false dawns and I haven't seen any developments recently that will radically shake up the market next year. 

We also might start to understand the long term aim of Google Jobs in 2019. The initial launch was a bit of a damp squib and I expect a lot more from the giant of search going forward.

In summary - post Brexit stabilisation should have been on the wish list of every UK recruitment industry professional this Christmas!

Natasha Nagra, Talent Resourcing Manager, Kew Green Hotels

2019 will see the continuation of a significant focus on proactively building pipelines of talent from Talent Acquisition teams. As the talent-pool shrinks to more of a puddle, the importance of nurturing relationships through effective employer branding and recruitment marketing initiatives increases significantly. To support this, in 2019 we will see further developments surrounding tech, including the generation of complex analytics and also the use of predictive tools that will enable us as TA leaders to gain a deeper understanding of how to adapt our recruitment processes to meet candidate expectations, desires and behaviours, and how to make data-driven hiring decisions encompassing who is the right fit for our organisations. 

Furthermore, as the unemployment market continues to shrink, I believe we will see more organisations seeking to recruit within underrepresented groups, with this positively impacting on what I believe will be a key agenda for wider HR teams in 2019 – diversity and inclusion. Additionally, we will see further growth surrounding the GIG economy, and more savvy organisations seeing the opportunity to really improve business performance if utilised.

Anthony Moran, Director, Redactive

The rise of the machines! There is no doubt that Artificial Intelligence will continue to transform the relationship between people and technology.

My 6 year old is a prime example of this; when we have guests at home he introduces Alexa as if she is a member of the family – the other day he was bitterly disappointed to not receive a response when shouting “Alexa, play ‘Highway to Hell’” at our car radio.

As always, this industry is an early adopter of the latest and greatest tech to help boost engagement levels, drive application rates and reduce cost per hire, which is great; but let’s not forget that we are all unique too.

Let’s face it, people still buy people and I’m pretty sure co-workers, culture, feeling valued and ethics all still rank highly when looking for that perfect job.

Tom Viggers, Global Account Director, pymetrics

Early adopters of data-driven HR transformations will increasingly see tangible returns, and this will catch the attention of business leaders. The strategic importance of the HR function as a whole will therefore increase and professionals with experience of implementing new HR technologies effectively will find themselves in increased demand.

Gradually, understanding of the big emerging technologies – especially Big Data and Machine Learning, what they are and what they can do – will broaden and mature. Traditional company hierarchies (and with them all sorts of conventions and norms) will continue to be disrupted as technology facilitates more agile ways of working.

Sam Wilson, Assistant Marketing Manager, JGP

In 2018, an increasing number of our clients started to rethink how they were defining their employee value proposition and executing their employer brand. We expect this to continue into 2019, with more employers harnessing the power of their own people to broadcast their messages on platforms such as video and podcasts.

We also predict that we’ll see a growing focus on true diversity and inclusion and we hope to see more action and less talk, with a real focus on change and the positive impact it can have for all. 

We also think more employers will do away with the traditional job description in certain instances, embracing an approach where employees are given a job purpose and the freedom to achieve it in the way they feel is best. Those that do this in the right way will see increased productivity and innovation in practice as reward for this extra level of trust and autonomy.

Steve Keith, thebrandingman.co.uk

WHEN people access information it will start to impact upon content planning. In our pursuit to make content that is more and more bitesize and ultimately grab the attention of audiences stuck in what has been coined as 'infinite mode of browsing' we've missed the point when it comes to creating the right content, on the right platform, at the right TIME. Attention spans are linked to when people can access content, and as a result more and more long-form curated content is being consumed by all generations who are actively planning when to tune in. It could be bingeing their favourite YouTube influencer when they get home from work, or planning which podcast to tune into whilst they are commuting or exercising. If the content is good enough it's being bookmarked and saved for later. 

Charlie Ball, Head of Higher Education Intelligence at Prospects

It’s never easy – or, arguably , wise – to make predictions about the labour market in the New Year and with the ongoing, ever more serious lack of clarity surrounding Brexit, 2019 is about the worst year to do it for. The only certainty is uncertainty.

That said, the major graduate labour market trend of 2018 is set to continue in 2019, and that is occupational shortage. British Chambers of Commerce began the New Year with the release of findings from their Quarterly Economic Survey for Q4 2018 and the message was consistent with previous findings and came through loud and clear – businesses are struggling to recruit key professionals. 81% of manufacturers reported recruitment difficulty. And just before Christmas the Bank of England reported that businesses were struggling to recruit in “IT, professional services, construction, engineering, hospitality, health and social care and logistics”, many of these being industries with shortage occupations of graduates. These squeezes will only get more serious in the main as the UK has to forge evolved relationships with the countries from which we draw a lot of the graduate professionals we need to cover national shortages of highly skilled workers.

Matthew Searle, Head of Employer Relations, Henley Business School Careers Team

The 2019 landscape will be chaotic and uncertain: top of the agenda for employers and universities will be how or even if the UK leaves the EU, closely followed by ever-changing visa regulations affecting future and present international workers. If you throw in the volatility around how employers are able to spend their slice of the Apprenticeship Levy, as well as the ongoing debate around the level of undergraduate tuition fees, there’s a real melting pot of change and disruption on the horizon. 

When it comes to talent and resource management, I expect to see a steady decline in the number of traditional graduate schemes due to an increase in degree apprenticeships as employers seek to bring in talent from a wider socio-economic background than they’ve done in the past. In addition to this, employers will continue the shift towards more project-by-project demand-based recruitment to keep staffing costs as low as possible. This on-demand short-term recruitment will be music to the ears of international students who require a visa to work and study in the U.K.  It will be fascinating to see if any employers begin to actively target this group to take advantage of the current U.K. pilot project which has extended some university students’ visa expiry dates to six months after the end of their course. 

In terms of what might happen regarding recruitment operations, employers who undertake volume recruitment will continue to focus on automation to help them focus on providing quality, personalised feedback to candidates at every stage of the recruitment process. 2019 will also see the continued shift from competency-based assessment to strengths-based as employers realise this is a key component to improve social mobility.

The challenge for university careers services will be to continue to help students help themselves build and hone the skills and behaviours which will help them succeed in the changing workplace. To support this, I think we will begin to notice a shift towards university careers services building relationships which go beyond student recruitment teams and into employers’ learning and development teams. Our Henley Business School careers research shows that in 2019 the top three skills and behaviours employers’ value the most are critical thinking, resilience and commercial awareness.

Oliver Sidwell, Co-founder of RMP Enterprise

Reverse mentoring is my predicted buzzword for 2019.

Having grown up in a digital age, young people entering the world of work have such a huge amount of value to upper management with their opinions and insight. The idea that CEO's and line managers will have young mentors to 'mentor up' and help them keep in touch with reality will become an essential part of creating an amazing organisational culture. Not to mention keep them in touch with their next generation of customers and employees!

I predict this will be a big trend for 2019 across the recruitment industry, especially in the early careers space due to the rapid rate of technology advancing and disrupting, and awareness of social issues such as the environment, diversity and inclusion continue to challenge all of us.

Stephen Isherwood, ISE

Does anyone do face-to-face first interviews anymore? Slowing growth in China, the US and Europe coupled with Brexit uncertainty is going to increase the pressure on recruiters to be cost efficient. This season is the tipping point where large recruiters are using tech and process efficiencies to cut the time line managers and recruiters spend with candidates. Data is being harvested this season that will help recruiters’ systems switch to AI decision making by the end of the year.

And with all eyes focused on Brexit there is a danger that employers and careers teams overlook government policy developments. The apprentice levy is up for review, T-levels will be further developed, and student/university funding could be radically overhauled. These factors could reshape the student recruitment and development industry in the years to come.

2019 is not going to be a dull year!

Thursday, 17 January 2019

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