2021 Workforce Outlook: A discussion with global talent leaders

We are living in the future of work. HR leaders face new and evolving business priorities and hiring challenges nearly every day.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with a number of my fellow talent innovators surrounding the state of the global talent market, along with fresh insights from the iCIMS 2021 Workforce Report.

Lydia Dishman, contributing reporter and editor for Fast Company, Jesper Bendtsen, global head of talent acquisition at Thomson Reuters, Tey Scott, vice president of global talent acquisition at Medallia, Jill Bone, senior vice president of talent at Alteryx, and I discussed how to navigate today’s hiring landscape, touching on top-of-mind hiring challenges including remote and hybrid work environments, digital transformation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Read on for some of the top insights, or listen to the entire discussion on-demand here. And, if you are interested in hearing more, Jesper, Tey, and I will continue the conversation at Spring HR Tech on March 16, 2021 at 1 p.m EST. Sign up to attend the free virtual conference here.

Remote work and the digital experience as the great equalizer

iCIMS data revealed that nearly a quarter of job applications submitted in 2020 came from out-of-state applicants, meaning these job seekers are looking outside of their state borders for employment. On the flip side, half of employers removed location requirements from their job postings and are providing stipends or bonuses for home office set-ups.

Remote work has increased talent pipeline opportunities exponentially; however, recruitment strategies and technology must change dramatically to keep up. Employers should be thinking about widening the aperture beyond the traditional norms as it relates to skills and social capital. Breaking down geographic barriers also provides an opportunity to build more diverse pipelines.

Technology must evolve with these strategies in mind. It will need to flex for all of the models that will emerge, from fully remote to hybrid. 80% of organisations expanded or accelerated their digital transformation, and virtual hiring tools became more critical than ever before.

Leaning into tools and tech to create dynamic and engaging digital experiences is critical. In this remote environment, where we are invited into our colleagues’ and candidates’ homes, connections and relationships are more important than ever. Employers that embrace an authentic, transparent approach will have a competitive edge.

The evolution of the skills shortage

The combination of remote work and digital transformation has created an increased demand for tech talent in a space where supply was already scarce. iCIMS’ report found that IT departments were hit the hardest with redeployment. In-demand tech roles take employers 61 days on average to fill, while non-tech roles take only 42 days on average to fill.

The adage that all companies are tech companies has never been more true. How can employers broach this massive need for digital skills when nearly every other organisation out there is competing for the same talent?

Developing a highly-skilled workforce starts with understanding the skills your internal talent holds and the skills they are interested in building. By curating dynamic skills profiles, employers can more effectively and equitably manage the skills economy. This ramps the opportunity for skills transference, enabling internal mobility opportunities and helping bridge critical business gaps.

A top-down commitment to DEI

We know that more diverse companies leads to greater ROI, better financial performance, happier personnel, and more. iCIMS data shows that DEI efforts are gaining momentum, as female and racially and ethnically diverse candidates led the hiring rebound last year. But, 4 out of 5 (84%) of HR pros surveyed said they are concerned their organisation isn’t reaching diverse talent pools.

There is no silver bullet when it comes to DEI. However, a top-down approach with full executive commitment is critical to success. Funnel management is essential. Treat talent prospects and candidates as customers – leveraging engagement tools, Employee Resource Groups, and more. Creating a sense of authentic inclusion and belonging from the first touchpoint on is key to attracting and retaining your pipeline of talent.

With these insights, HR leaders are well prepared to attract, engage, hire, and advance talent and drive success in 2021 and beyond. For more on the latest labour market activity and our vision for the future of work, read the iCIMS Insights 2021 Workforce report here.

And, don’t forget to register for Spring HR Tech to hear more from Jesper, Tey and I. We’ll be speaking at the free online conference March 16, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. EST. Register here and visit the iCIMS booth within the virtual sponsor exhibit hall for a direct link to our session.

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