Annual Trends Research Illustrates That Firms Can Use Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Technology to Improve Operations and Customer Value
Bullhorn, the cloud computing company that helps staffing and recruiting organizations transform their businesses, found that 84 percent of global recruitment firms feel the need to embrace digital transformation — defined as the integration of technology into all areas of their business for the purposes of improving operations and the way they deliver value to customers — to remain competitive. According to Bullhorn’s 2019 Global Recruitment Insights and Data research, 55 percent of respondents believe that artificial intelligence — one aspect of the digital transformation journey — will have a positive impact on candidate and customer engagement.
While firms see digital transformation as an opportunity, they also acknowledge it as a challenge. Forty-nine percent of them rank embracing digital transformation to improve operations as their top operational hurdle, ahead of pricing pressure and margin compression (44 percent) and increased competition from freelance and gig platforms (27 percent).
Bullhorn’s Global Recruitment Insights and Data research also illuminates overall optimism for 2019, despite persistent concerns and challenges related to tight talent pools, candidate-driven market and economic conditions, and macroeconomics and politics. Seventy-nine percent of respondents expect revenue to increase this year.
Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of firms believe that digital transformation will drive their business further, sourcing and acquiring candidates (61 percent) is the top priority for 2019, followed by engaging candidates and improving the candidate experience (36 percent). Top challenges include: tight talent pools and skills shortages and gaps (73 percent), accelerating pay increases due to candidate-driven market and economic conditions (38 percent), and higher churn rates due to low unemployment (27 percent).
Other key findings include:
- Reskilling Workers to Combat Talent Shortages: Seventy-four percent of global recruitment firms believe that reskilling workers represents an effective strategy to combat the perennial skills shortage as it will help to create new talent pools, fill key roles, and transform lives.
- Understanding the Skills Gap: When asked if firms think skills shortages in certain sectors are better or worse now compared to five years ago, more than half (55 percent) say they are getting worse.
- Views on Diversity in Recruitment: Fifty-nine percent of firms agree that diverse organizations are more effective than other ones.
- Expediting Pay Increases Due to Candidate-Driven Market and Economic Conditions: Seventy-eight percent of firms agree that employers must accelerate pay increases in order to compete for qualified candidates, and nearly 40 percent say it is one of their top challenges for the year ahead.
- Working with Online Talent Platforms—Or Not: Fully 60 percent of respondents do not have an opinion about whether online talent platforms will be more helpful or harmful in recruiting talent. Only 26 percent of firms think they will be more helpful, and 14 percent think they will be more harmful.
- Navigating the Unpredictable Global Economy: Less than half of firms say they worry about the uncertain economy and future growth of it and only about a third say they agonize about low unemployment rates. Twenty-nine percent say they stress about local and national legislative changes.
- Recruiting Candidates in the Digital Age: Millennials are the most difficult generation to reach and engage, according to 44 percent of recruitment professionals, followed by Post-Millennials/Generation Z (20 percent). Only 16 percent of respondents rank Baby Boomers as the most difficult generation to reach and engage.
- Focusing on People to Achieve Future Firm Growth: The single biggest issue impacting an agency’s ability to achieve its future growth goals: people. Respondents overwhelmingly say finding quality candidates, working with the right clients, and hiring the right staff matters the most for their businesses to flourish in 2019.
“Following a successful 2018, the global recruitment industry continues to remain optimistic for 2019,” said Gordon Burnes, Bullhorn’s chief marketing officer. “While firms will face another year filled with an unpredictable macroeconomic and political environment, most are confident in their ability to navigate through these challenges as they continue their journey of digital transformation to drive business growth. Now that most companies have automated formerly manual workflows, they are beginning to explore artificial intelligence to drive increased productivity to set them up for success in the years ahead.”
Bullhorn’s Global Recruitment Insights and Data research is the result of a global survey conducted among 2,185 recruitment professionals from Sept. 11, 2018, to Nov. 30, 2018. The findings spotlight the industry’s take on the current recruitment landscape—from financial forecasts and top priorities to persistent challenges and emerging technologies.