2023 was the year dominated by economic uncertainty that was felt in the labor market. Employers were more moderate in recruitment, and candidates became more active, interested in learning more about job opportunities and applying more often. To meet the daily expenses, some of the employees have even taken up second jobs. And these are not the only trends in the labor market in 2023, which was not at all typical of previous years. Find out below the behavior of employers and candidates, as well as the most important lessons we can take from 2023 and apply in 2024!
2023 FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF EMPLOYERS
There was still a high demand for professionals in certain fields, with employers paying much more attention to the professional level of candidates and their career development prospects. In this sense, employers did not necessarily want to introduce new stages in the recruitment process, but they expressed their desire to see more candidates, to be able to make a correct choice.
Most companies gave higher chances to candidates whose experience was gained in a similar position, i.e. within a company in the same industry. To motivate their candidates and employees, they kept several benefits granted in previous years, but also added new ones, for example, short Fridays and 4 working days/week.
HOW DID THEY FIND THE RIGHT CANDIDATES?
“Even though employers made efforts to make recruitment ads as attractive as possible and to be promoted intensively and constantly on various social media channels, they were not a magnet for candidates. In this situation, the BIA Human Capital Solutions team turned to headhunting to identify passive candidates suitable for the jobs we were recruiting for. 90% of BIA Human Capital Solutions recruitment projects are completed by using recruitment tools that involve direct search/headhunting techniques”, says Cristina Scarlătescu, BIA Human Capital Solutions Recruitment Manager.
2023 FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF CANDIDATES
In the year in which they felt the economic changes, candidates were much more attentive to open opportunities, giving more time to information in advance, even before applying to a job ad or during the recruitment process. “I noticed, during the recruitment stages, that there were many more questions from the candidates about the specifics of the companies, their future projects, the team they would be a part of, but also the perspectives they can have within the respective company. We also noticed the desire of the candidates to join a company where there is a balance between work and personal life, a trend that will occupy a leading place on the list of priorities next year”, says Georgiana Mirică, Senior HR Consultant BIA HCS.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM 2024 ON THE LABOR MARKET?
“We believe that even in 2024, top talents will be looking for companies with a strong brand, and companies will choose to have smaller teams, but with much better professionally trained people. In this scenario, the role of recruitment consultants remains quite challenging, a successful recruitment process needs much more attention with a personalized action plan”, says Andreea Dumitrescu, Senior Recruitment Manager BIA HCS.
WHAT LESSONS WE LEARN FROM 2023 AND APPLY TO RECRUITMENT AND PEOPLE RELATIONS IN 2024
2023 was a year of transformation in the labor market. Economic changes have affected both employers and employees. And all have struggled to maintain control over their financial well-being.
Some employers searched for ways to support employees financially and provide them with health care plans and flexibility in the workplace.
We’ve rounded up the top trends from 2023, highlighting the biggest lessons learned that will continue to shape 2024.
SUCCESS IS INFLUENCED BY PEOPLE’S WELL-BEING
2023 meant an increase in prices and the cost of living. People have faced and are facing financial challenges. According to a PWC survey, personal finances were a top stressor in employees’ lives, which affected their physical and mental health. Nearly half of those surveyed said financial challenges distracted them at work. More than a third indicated they are actively seeking new job opportunities, highlighting the link between financial well-being and factors such as productivity, engagement, and retention.
All of this points to the need to build a culture of well-being that creates a sense of belonging and respect and demonstrates that an employer cares about employees as people. Building such a culture not only improves productivity by promoting healthier lifestyles but also boosts engagement and retention.
And recruitment ads can reflect employers’ concern for well-being. Economic conditions are causing people to pay more attention to the benefits package as well. That is why they must respond to their real needs, which may be related to health, daily expenses, child care, etc. Financial education is also very important and in this sense, you can provide people with solutions and guidance to manage their immediate financial challenges.
But remember that benefits packages can’t provide value if employees aren’t informed about them. Make sure you inform them during onboarding and periodically, through the internal communication channel, through the internal newsletter.
ATTRACT TALENT EASIER THROUGH FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY
In 2023, the European Parliament adopted the salary transparency directive, which represents one of the most important measures on the labor market in recent years, with effects that will be felt both among employees and employers. This directive aims to ensure equal pay between men and women. Thus, employers must provide salary or salary range information in the job ads or before the job interview.
The transparency movement is both a challenge and a positive development for the workforce in several ways. According to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), salary transparency can significantly increase job application rates. 82% of US workers are more likely to apply for jobs that offer a salary range in the ad.
We noticed that financial transparency brought more interest from candidates to continue the recruitment process, and people’s perception was very good, also reflected in recommendations.
Salary transparency in recruitment can attract more qualified candidates and increase the confidence of colleagues. But before you show salaries, you need to make sure that you have a fair compensation policy, and that you offer fair salaries for women and men, for the same level of education, and experience. Once you’ve established your compensation policy, it’s important to communicate it to colleagues as part of your company culture.
GENERATION Z REDEFINES WORK
Generation Z is currently up 30% of the world’s population, according to the World Economic Forum, and by 2025 is expected to be up 27% of the workforce. It is considered one of the most vocal generations about their wants, needs, and demands in the workplace.
For example, 72% of Generation Z are looking for a fair and ethical boss, according to Tallo research; 61% want to be heard, and 47% are looking for a job with social and economic impact. 77% of Gen Z youngs prioritize work-life balance when considering a new job opportunity, according to data from McKinsey, and they’re also the generation most likely to leave a job work if their employer does not offer them a flexible working policy. Therefore, every year we will have to take important steps to adapt to Generation Z, rethinking every interaction with young people, from recruitment to onboarding, work culture, and benefits, which we can do through continuous communication with the representatives of the generation.
AI CAN’T MISS from the RECRUITMENT ANYMORE
According to a study by IBM in 2023, 35% of companies are actively using artificial intelligence in their daily operations and 42% are still exploring the potential of AI for the future. Data from market analysis and consulting firm GrandViewResearch found that the AI market is expected to grow 37.3% annually between 2023 and 2030.
In recruitment, we need artificial intelligence to analyze applications and simplify the hiring process. In the workplace, hyper-intelligent chatbots take over repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks so that people can focus on the more fulfilling aspects of their jobs. And while the data suggests there’s no real threat to jobs yet, it’s clear that jobs will evolve, and change and people need to keep up with them. How do you help them? Continuously offering them development opportunities.
INVEST IN UPSKILLING
As technology evolves, we need people to keep up with it. It all starts at the recruitment stage by identifying candidates with a growth mindset and commitment to development and continues with benefits and growth opportunities within the companies. Give them career paths within the company and the opportunity to develop their skill set. Through training, you allow them to remain relevant in the labor market.
EMPHASIZES DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
2023 reinforced the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. And more employers are recognizing that a diverse workforce not only encourages innovation but is also a reflection of social responsibility.
It all starts at the recruitment stage, where the focus must be on people skills and not on gender/religion/culture/social background/disability issues. In this way, you can expand your recruitment channels, remove unnecessary requirements from recruitment ads, and become more aware of biases by trying to be objective in recruitment as much as possible.
Reflecting on the challenges and lessons of 2023, these valuable experiences will guide us to further growth and success in 2024. All that remains is to set a bold motto like this:
“Dream big, work hard, stay focused & surround yourself with good people!”