Talent Acquisition: New research into the current state of play and outlook for 2021 (PART 2)

By Ben King, Client Experience Director, Acendre

As the dust settles on 2020 and we move into a new year, what is the outlook for the Talent Acquisition (TA) function? What changes experienced during the pandemic year are likely to remain permanently, and what are the priority areas for 2021? These are the questions we posed in a recent report commissioned with ATC into the current and future state of play in TA, based on interviews with 133 TA professionals in Australasia.

In this article I touch on the key insights into the future focus areas identified by TA professionals, including in technology and professional development. For a summary of the current state of play research findings, read Part 1 {link to part 1 blog} of this series.

Technology is key to unlocking the true potential of TA

Whilst the research identified a rapid increase in the rate of technology adoption, there were also frustrations identified with current technology platforms being used by TA teams. The average overall satisfaction level for applicant tracking systems (ATS’s) was only 5.3 out of 10. This indicates a major gap between what TA teams would ideally like to achieve out of their technology, and what they are actually currently achieving. Whilst we are pleased that satisfaction with Acendre technology was higher (at 7 out of 10), there is still much work to be done.

As RMIT University TA leader Paul Martin said, “As an industry, we tend to have a patchwork of technology”. This complexity can lead to manual workarounds and lost productivity. Given the constantly changing nature of recruitment processes, I believe organisations can no longer implement technology and then ‘set and forget’. Ongoing investment and attention must be paid to technology to ensure it is meeting the needs of the business.

Many respondents to the survey recognised that automation is key to allowing TA leaders to perform higher-level activities, such as market data analysis and advisory work. With an increasing volume of TA activity, automation of manual tasks can deliver huge benefits to any organisation.

The top technologies planned for implementation in 2021

1. Onboarding
2. CRM
3. AI sourcing tool
4. Chatbot

Professional development needed in employer branding and leadership

Investment in technology is important, but investment in the professional development of TA staff is equally as critical. A slight majority of respondents were happy with the level of professional development they are receiving (52%), with a number of areas called out for further development in 2021, including:

  • Employer branding (44%)
  • Leadership (40%)
  • Talent strategy (36%)
  • Organisational development / talent management (30%)
  • Diversity & belonging (30%)

When discussing talent development, one respondent said “I’d like the freedom to become involved in the areas I’m passionate about”.

Future focus priorities for TA

Building talent pools and improving employer brand were the top future priority areas identified in the research. Unsurprisingly, improving the use of technology (including data and reporting) plus enhancing the candidate experience also ranked highly. As one respondent said “Talent intelligence and understanding the workforce is where TA could further expand into. Data is another area of interest, as TA isn’t going to be about hiring process stats anymore. But more about market data and Talent pipelines.”

Find out more

I strongly encourage anyone in TA to read the full report {link to slides} to gain some excellent insights into where TA leaders will be focused this year and beyond. Although 2021 will be largely about getting back to business, I believe the right technology can help TA teams lift their performance to the next level.

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