70% of business leaders believe the existing talent pool is shrinking

25 October 2018 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read

According to a study of global business leaders, the talent pool is drying up, amid increased competition, high employment and an ageing population, among other factors. At the same time, however, they remain hostile to utilising technology to address this, with just 10% saying implementing technology to achieve their strategic goals was a priority.

The UK is one of a number of leading economies facing a major talent shortage, which could see the nation miss out on an unrealised revenue of more than £300 billion. With the approach of Brexit threatening to stifle the flow of labour between Britain and the continent, the effects of an ageing population could see almost 3 million jobs left unfilled by 2030

With the stakes so notably high across the industrial spectrum, while the majority of the world’s most powerful nations now face an ageing population, many firms have been left worrying what the best practices are for successfully courting and retaining key talent. The situation has become so drastic that some of the world’s most fastidious corporate entities have even openly considered paying a more liveable rate to their staff, in the hope of obtaining a strong supply of human resources.

Technology that drives success

In a global report based on a survey of more than 1,000 stakeholders and some 1,500 employers in North America, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and APAC, recruitment process outsourcing consultancy Cielo has found that seven in every 10 business leaders now believe the existing talent pool is shrinking, and are worried about how to close the gap between their needs and their resources. At the same time, 54% said their company has more open positions than ever before, while 30% of companies are now hiring contingent labour across all job levels.

In terms of the top priorities among shareholders for hiring new staff, it was predictable perhaps that the quality of the hire would be the near-unanimous choice as the top metric to measure success. Only respondents in the procurement sector disagreed, instead opting for hiring manager satisfaction as a top priority. The differing end-goals of procurement as a business sphere were further illustrated by respondents naming conversion rates as the second most important factor, while the remainder of sectors listed candidate experience as key.

Meanwhile, cost savings were marginally favoured over the customer satisfaction new hires could provide. This could be argued to show that shareholders are currently placed in a conflicting position, where they acknowledge that new hires are needed, but they remain hostile to the increased pay offerings which are becoming necessary to bring in that talent.

Stakeholder perspectives on metrics for success

At the same time, leaders in all of the business functions surveyed remained behind the curve in terms of adopting technology to draw in new staff. The Cielo research showed that only 10% prioritised implementing technology to achieve their strategic goals. As big data and artificial intelligence have advanced rapidly over the past several years, the authors admitted to a certain level of consternation at this, as when faced with an automated future, technology continues to struggle to move further up the agenda for firms looking for recruitment solutions.

The results were similarly low among shareholders. Less than 20% of those polled in the business and HR sectors said that AI was a priority for talent acquisition. The exception again came from procurement, which named analytics and AI as its most technologically important fronts for recruitment. Broadly, however, most shareholders were keen to put technology to use for advanced background screenings, something designed to weed out applicants rather than attract them.

Commenting on the findings, Seb O’Connell, Managing Director – Europe and APAC of Cielo said, “Over 70% of C-Suite leaders now say they want to play a role in talent acquisition decisions, a clear indication of the increasing pressure to align talent acquisition and retention with business goals. There is a tremendous opportunity to improve outcomes through better collaboration and communication across the enterprise and taking the time to implement technology into talent acquisition programmes will achieve this at a much quicker pace.”