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Hiring Trends Impacting Your Job Search in 2024

For a while now, candidates have held a position of power. Though the number of vacancies worldwide is falling, 77% of employers still say they struggle to fill job roles, leading to an influx of opportunities for the right candidates.

If you have the in-demand skills hiring managers are looking for, you could potentially have endless valuable job opportunities.

What’s more, though some companies are beginning to embrace return-to-office mandates, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to expand your job search to include remote and hybrid roles. Around 70% of talent professionals believe “virtual recruiting” is the future.

As an added benefit, business leaders are beginning to respond to the changing priorities of their candidates, creating more inclusive, empathetic and flexible working environments.

However, there are still challenges to overcome. The increasing presence of AI in the hiring landscape has created new issues for applicants to overcome, such as AI bias. Additionally, more opportunities in the job market also mean it’s harder to make the right choice for your career path.

Understanding which hiring trends will impact your job search in 2024 and how you can navigate the changing landscape is crucial.

Here at The Recruiting Office, we’re giving you a behind-the-scenes insight into the latest recruitment trends you need to know as you step into the future job market.

Neil Scarborough – Managing Director

1. Specialist Recruitment Partners Will Be a Vital Resource

Skill shortages remain a significant concern for employers. The acceleration of digital transformation, among other factors, has created a new demand for different skills, such as digital literacy and confidence with cloud computing.

By 2030, experts predict more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled due to a lack of available candidates. While this means candidates with the right skills have endless opportunities to choose from, it also means finding the right path in your career can be complex.

Working with a professional recruitment company could be the key to ensuring you’re making progress towards your career goals. Recruitment partners can help you navigate the job market in your industry, working with you to help you find roles that align with your values, skills, priorities and expectations.

These expert teams can provide the guidance you need to ensure your job applications reach the right companies, regardless of which AI tools or applicant tracking systems they use.

They can help you craft the right professional brand to attract the most appealing job offers and ensure you don’t make decisions that compromise your values. Recruitment partners can also boost your chances of finding employers that adapt to your needs for flexibility and empathy.

Even if, like 73% of job seekers, you’re a “passive” candidate with no plans to change your role immediately, a recruitment company can place you in the talent pipeline of the company you most want to work with someday.

If you haven’t considered partnering with a recruitment company, this could be the perfect time to leverage the right team and enhance your professional future.

2. Flexible Working Models Will Evolve

Demand for flexible working has risen consistently since the pandemic. More than 8.7 million full-time workers say they want to work “flexibly”, whether this means choosing their hours or embracing hybrid and remote strategies.

For employees, flexible working opportunities will continue to grow. Although 90% of business leaders now say they plan to implement return-to-office mandates by the end of 2024, employers are unlikely to eliminate flexibility entirely.

Many organisations still consider flexible work an important benefit for attracting talent in a skills-short environment. Additionally, new mandates are appearing worldwide to support the drive for flexible employment.

The UK “Flexible Working Bill” set to come into force in 2024 will allow you to make at least two requests for flexible work in any 12 months. The onus also will not be on employees to explain why they need a flexible schedule.

That being said, employees looking for specific roles in today’s hiring environment may need to be willing to compromise. Demonstrating a willingness for at least part-time in-office work may improve your chances of getting the desired role.

Be open to discussing different opportunities with your employer, such as a four-day workweek or more control over your schedule if you choose a company that values in-office work.

3. Employers Invest in Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

Throughout 2023, countless employees demonstrated a demand for more diverse, equitable and inclusive employers. While there’s still work to be done in this landscape, many leading companies are taking notice of the value DEI can bring.

McKinsey research found companies in the top 25% for diversity and inclusion initiatives where up to 36% more profitable than their peers. Plus, 85% of business leaders now believe a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial to innovation.

Employers now know they need to take a broader approach with their DEI initiatives, developing new strategies for attracting not just people of all ages, gender and race but also candidates who identify as “neurodiverse”.

Many leading employers have turned to recruitment partners like us in the last year to build a more inclusive recruitment process. As a candidate, searching for an employer with a strong DEI strategy can significantly improve your satisfaction at work.

Work with a specialist recruiter who understands your demand for diversity, equality and inclusion and watch out for the following factors in your job search:

  • Inclusive job ads that avoid discriminatory language, such as “young go-getter”.
  • Internal inclusion programs include team-building exercises, cross-team collaboration and adaptable onboarding strategies.
  • Well-trained managers who understand how to support and engage employees, regardless of their background, age, or other factors.

4. Wellbeing and Empathy in the Workplace

While candidates have long championed empathy in the workplace, business leaders are now beginning to recognise  the benefits too. The US Empathy in Business survey in 2023 found that 86% of employees believe empathetic leadership is crucial to a good company culture.

Many employers now know they must show they care for their teams to attract the right talent. This has led to a rapid increase in companies investing in wellness initiatives, candidate experience and holistic onboarding programs.

It’s not just the demand for talent in a skills-short landscape driving employer focus on empathy. Increasingly, companies are struggling with higher levels of team burnout. Globally, burnout has increased incredibly, particularly in the US, where 43% of middle-level managers are burning out on the job.

Employers are taking new approaches to supporting their teams to preserve productivity and reduce absenteeism and turnover. Businesses are exploring strategies to overcome issues like rising stress levels and even “presenteeism” – the problem that causes remote and flexible workers to feel increased pressure to be “available” at all times.

With studies showing that 86% of workers now feel the need to prove themselves to their employers when working from home, business leaders are championing work-life balance.

When looking for the right employer in 2024, focus on companies that promote inclusion for all workers, pay attention to employee feedback and commit to collaborating with their teams on strategies to reduce burnout.

5. Soft Skills Become More Valuable to Employers

Digital transformation and the changing workplace have created concerns for many candidates in recent years. Up to 61% of employees worry they don’t have the skills required to thrive in their industry in the years ahead.

At the same time, 80% of CEOs say they’re concerned about their workforce’s lack of digital skills. Many employers need their team members to be comfortable using the latest technology, from cloud-based apps to AI.

However, many businesses are also recognising the role they play in ensuring their team members are empowered to deliver their best work. Companies invest more heavily in training and development initiatives to minimise technical skills gaps.

As a result, businesses are focusing less on hard skills that can be taught when reviewing candidate applications. Instead, 97% of employers now say soft skills are as important or more crucial than technical skills when hiring.

Even if you don’t have all of the hard skills an employer is looking for, you can still improve your chances of getting a job offer if you show the right soft skills. The ability to collaborate, communicate and manage time in a changing work environment is now crucial.

Additionally, employers are increasingly drawn to candidates who demonstrate resilience and adaptability. Demonstrating how you can overcome challenges and remain productive during tumultuous times will boost your value in the eyes of business leaders.

6. AI Demonstrates Pros and Cons for the Hiring Space

Artificial intelligence has been a core focus for many businesses and consumers in the last year. Transformative technologies, like ChatGPT, have presented new opportunities for companies and candidates alike.

Today’s AI tools give employees easier ways to find jobs relevant to their interests and skills. For instance, LinkedIn’s platform can match candidates with jobs relevant to their priorities and backgrounds in seconds. They also help candidates refine and optimise their job applications, CVs and cover letters with creative and data-driven directions.

AI also supports employers, helping them automate the screening process, create more appealing job descriptions and communicate consistently with candidates. Certain tools can even enhance the candidate experience, keeping job seekers informed about the progress of their application and answering any questions they might have.

Unfortunately, AI in the hiring landscape also has issues to be aware of. AI systems can exacerbate unconscious bias, particularly when trained with incomplete data.

To mitigate this issue, candidates should be wary of any company relying too heavily on artificial intelligence during recruitment. Ensure the companies you approach still bring human beings into their hiring strategy and focus on building real connections with candidates.

Working with a recruitment company will help with this, as the relationships these companies already have with employers demonstrate the organisation’s continued commitment to keeping humans “in the loop”.

7. Personal Branding Remains Crucial to Success

Branding strategies have become essential for both candidates and employers. As a competitive hiring market candidate, you’ll need a powerful professional brand that showcases your skills, qualities and abilities online and offline.

In 2024, job seekers must focus on refining their image on social media channels and building the right network connections to unlock new opportunities. Showcasing a strong personal brand will help you appeal to companies investing in employee advocacy.

However, paying close attention to your employer’s brand is also important. Today’s businesses know how crucial their branding is to connect with and retain the right people. 83% of employers know a strong brand helps them to attract and retain talent.

Searching for evidence of the right employer brand can help ensure your prospective new employer shares your values and priorities.

When researching job opportunities, learn as much as possible about a company’s culture, commitment to diversity and inclusion, work-life balance and social responsibility. Find out whether the company commits to developing its team members and has strong training, succession and promotion strategies.

It’s also worth paying attention to the ethical values your employer demonstrates. Today, 1 in 3 staff members say they’d accept a lower salary to work for a socially responsible company. If you want your employer to share your values, be clear with your recruitment partner.

Remember, we’re still in a skills-short market, which means you should have plenty of opportunities to find the right environment to work in.

Summary

Although candidates have much power in today’s hiring landscape, navigating the space can be complex and challenging. There are plenty of opportunities for people with the right skills, personal brand and resilience. However, hurdles will need to be overcome, such as AI recruitment bias and choosing which employer you want to work with.

In 2024, the hiring space will continue to be unpredictable and dynamic. Skills shortages will continue to grow and employers will have to work harder to attract the talent they need.

Make sure you have a strategy to help you select the right employer based on your priorities and values. Specialist recruitment teams will help you sort through your options and pave the way to a brighter future.

Good Luck!

Kind regards

Neil Scarborough – Managing Director

At The Recruiting Office, we have been helping firms with their talent acquisition and a wide range of job seekers find their ideal roles for over a decade and have successfully placed hundreds of top tier candidates. If you want to find out how we can help you – call us on 01603 964816 or email neil@therecruitingoffice.co.uk

Further Reading:

The Critical Reasons You Should Consider Changing your Job
Preparing for your Performance Review: A checklist