Talent shortage moves to a chronic problem in 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic is the test case that no one wanted.
For the last few years, employers have grappled with a shrinking talent pool, but the global pandemic has accelerated this talent crunch by a significant degree and there’s no relief in sight.
A September 2021 Korn Ferry survey shows 55% of professionals believe employee turnover will only increase in the coming year.
As we move into 2022, organizations will need to think more broadly about talent attraction and retention—from compensation, rewards, and benefits to learning & development (L&D), succession and diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I). Based on input from talent acquisition experts from across the globe, Korn Ferry has identified 12 key emerging talent acquisition trends that will have the most impact on the candidate experience in 2022.
The Great Resignation is at epidemic levels.
Of nearly 700 professionals, a Korn Ferry survey about the reasons behind the Great Resignation, found that a third (31%) say they would quit their job even if they didn’t have another one lined up.
Many talent acquisition strategies include offering sign-on bonuses, even at the entry level, that are paid out before a candidate even starts (with a clause that they must pay it back if they leave within a matter of months).
There are more counteroffers (and counter/counteroffers) than ever before and starting salaries are on the rise. Also, there’s a surge of offering long-term incentives (LTIs) for middle to senior managers to stay, including employee stock options and sabbaticals. More organizations are—and will—offer enhanced wellness benefits, such as on-site childcare, caregiver stipends, increased paid time-off, education reimbursements, and top-tier health and dental insurance.
Last year, organizations were operating in survival mode. Now, they need to develop future capabilities to quickly adapt. But a widening talent gap means talent acquisition teams can no longer rely only on hiring external candidates.
One major trend for 2022 is focusing on internal mobility to prevent attrition and solve the talent shortage, especially for niche roles.
Some organizations have started to focus on reskilling and upskilling existing employees through specialized training, programs, coaching and on-the-job experiences, while others are investing in new technologies to surface skills and connect employees with opportunities.
As it continues to be more difficult to attract talent, we will also see more organizations either drop or ease up on job qualifications, such as four-year college degrees and set years of previous experience.
Employers are—and will be—much more understanding of gaps in resumes, as people took time off for personal health reasons or to care for others during the pandemic.
Organizations are also starting to look for talent in non-traditional places, such as outside of their industry or within the retired worker population. What is important now is how quickly a person can learn and how agile they are to meet the evolving needs of the marketplace.
Company leaders have known for some time that workers, especially the younger generation, demand a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG). There has been more emphasis on putting sustainability commitments in values and mission statements. But that’s not enough: candidates will do their own due diligence to see if a prospective employer is really doing work that will move the needle.
This means that taking tangible, meaningful action on sustainability and weaving it into every aspect of the business has become table stakes for organizations.
As a result, we will see more organizations measuring ESG objectives and publicizing their progress as a way to differentiate in a competitive labor market—particularly one where, as Korn Ferry research shows, certain organizational values are tied strongly to corporate effectiveness.
The pandemic has upended the entire world of work, which has left organizations in a highly reactive mode. This has left leaders scrambling to stay in front of the ever-changing business environment, dealing with what's in front of them and not planning.
In 2022, the trend will be to step back and find out why people are leaving organizations or even the workforce. Is it the pay? The benefits? The culture? The business model? The location? What types of employees are leaving? Leaders will need to be accountable for stemming the turnover in their organizations.
Candidates often receive multiple offers, and companies are doing everything they can to ensure they are the chosen employer. Because most hiring has been done virtually, hiring managers are sending video tours of offices and encouraging future colleagues to reach out and welcome employees before they start on the job.
In 2022, we will see more organizations reinventing employee onboarding processes.
The more ambiguity we face, the more structure we need. First days on the job used to mean in-person introductions, lunch with the team and tech support coming to you with a computer and a phone. In a remote world, formal virtual introductions must be scheduled, explanations on what each colleague does have to be spelled out and processes need to be clearly articulated.
HR and hiring managers need to stay closer to the new hire to help them through the onboarding process, especially within the first 90 days on the job, which are the most critical for the new hire experience.
Pre-pandemic, many professionals were on a plane and travelling for work more than they were home. In a recent Korn Ferry survey asking professionals if they are looking forward to travelling for work, more than three quarters (76%) said they miss traveling for work, with 41% saying they missed it very much.
As the world starts to open back up, many professionals are slowly starting to travel again. However, the trend is to dramatically slow the pace of travel.
While it might be critical to see key clients face-to-face, travel for in-person meetings with colleagues within the same organization will greatly diminish. The same applies to interviews. Going forward, the trend will be to reserve face-to-face meetings for the final stages of the hiring process, as well as during the employee onboarding process, and for mostly senior-level roles. This will help save valuable resources that can be used in other areas, such as employee incentives.
As we ease out of the pandemic and workers return to the office— even part time—we will see much less need for professionals to live near their offices.
In fact, during the pandemic, there was a trend of employees moving to more affordable cities, because remote work meant they could work from anywhere, at any time. We’ve proven that we can be as productive, or even more productive working from home.
In a Korn Ferry survey asking workers if they will return to the office , nearly a third (32%) of professionals said they don’t think they’ll ever go back into the office full time, and 74% say they have more energy and focus working from home instead of the office.
More organizations will move toward a hybrid work model, allowing employees to split their work week between working on-site and working from home, depending on their needs.
Employers will have to start looking inward at their culture and employer value proposition (EVP) to understand how they align—or don’t—with the candidate experience and what candidates want in the organizations they work for.
This is particularly poignant in today’s environment, where virtual work makes it harder for candidates to understand and connect with a company’s culture. A positive, inclusive culture not only makes sense from a talent perspective, but also from a business perspective. Recent Korn Ferry research found that there is a direct relationship between highly engaged and enabled employees and increased company sales and earnings.
Employers have become hyper-focused on bringing more people in the door to meet current demands.
But to thrive in the future of work, leaders will have to think beyond the short-term, which means they will have to take a close look at those issues affecting hiring and retention success.
The combination of failing to convey a compelling employer value proposition (EVP), optimize processes and understand the candidate experience will have a large impact on offer acceptance and dropout rates. Going forward, organizations will need to focus more on candidate experience and engagement if they want greater—and sustainable—recruiting success.
For years now, talent acquisition professionals have been chasing that “bright, shiny new technology” that will make their jobs easier. The result was often the opposite—competing technologies added to the process of getting the job done.
Now, more streamlined technology platforms are replacing the hodgepodge of applications to create a one-stop-shop that moves across the hiring continuum. What this does is give recruiters time to focus more on strategic interactions with clients and candidates that will enhance the process, and less on the tactical aspects of the process.
Another trend for 2022 will be to invest in more inclusive technologies to root out bias and create equitable hiring practices. Current screening tools often exclude qualified candidates because they do not tick specific boxes, which limits an already sparse talent pool. This will need to change if organizations do not want to leave great talent on the table.
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