A data-driven report exploring the scale of savings possible when employers actively innovate with internal mobility and internal hiring.

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Internal Hiring

An Untapped Lever in Today’s Talent Climate

Today, only about 25% of roles are filled internally worldwide. With global talent shortages in most sectors, and a scarcity of skills still holding many organizations back, a lack of focus on Internal Hiring risks hindering productivity and growth. 

In association with The Josh Bersin Company, the Internal Hiring Factbook digs into the current trends around Internal Hiring, and how it can be an effective path to rapidly filling positions and creating a culture of growth in an organization.


Internal Mobility:
A Bright Spot in the Storm

Time-to-hire is increasing. Internal Hiring rates are falling. In this challenging talent climate, progressive TA leaders must find new and innovative ways to acquire and retain people. 

Internal mobility offers a bright spot in this stormy period. But how can organizations set themselves up for success in this space? 

Join experts from AMS and The Josh Bersin Company for a special webinar event, as they share data from the second Talent Climate research series entry – the Internal Hiring Factbook – and discuss the importance of focused internal mobility efforts to talent retention.

– Janet Mertens, SVP of Research, The Josh Bersin Company
– Jim Sykes, Global Managing Director, Client Operations, AMS
– Teresa Beach, HR Chief Operating Officer, Marsh McLennan
Michael Durrant, Senior HR Manager, Santander

Case study

How Internal Hiring Transformed Santander’s Talent Strategy

“Internal mobility is critical to Santander’s overall talent strategy. The omnipresent demand for new skills is becoming the standard, so any organization who wants to thrive needs to be agile in this space and support internal career mobility. Simply giving employees career path options based on past achievements or projects is no longer enough.”

Michael Durrant, Senior HR Manager

“Organizations that want to succeed in this post-industrial era, where talent is scarce and hiring times are extended, have no choice but to think laterally about approaches to hiring, and career pathways.

Now, more than ever, there needs to be a culture of movement inside the company, whether those moves are part time, project based or full time. The potential cost savings, the prospect of cutting the time to hire by up to two weeks, and the direct impact on the employee experience and on long-term retention are all huge reasons to revisit and elevate internal hiring and internal mobility strategies.”

Josh Bersin, Global HR Research Analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company


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Today’s Talent Climate:
Hiring Remains Harder Than Ever

Even with economic uncertainty, finding the right talent is still a challenge. Unemployment rates are low. Job-seekers are more picky. And the level of skills needed is constantly evolving.

In association with The Josh Bersin Company, the Time-to-Hire Factbook makes sense of these seismic changes, and provides insight on how organizations need to break the boundaries of traditional talent acquisition.

Read a short excerpt of the Time-to-Hire report below.

Despite the economic slowdown, it’s still hard to find good people. As you’ll read in this research, time-to-hire rates are higher, and in some cases getting worse. This means employers have to work even harder to find just the right candidate in most positions.

Why, in this time of slowing growth, is the job market so competitive? To answer that question, we need to look at three major drivers, which are happening all at once.

The unemployment rate is low. Thanks to the low birth rate and the exit of many baby boomers from the workforce, the actual working population in most countries is stagnant or decreasing. And demographic forecasts show that almost every developed economy will see a shrinking working-age population in the future. Therefore, the raw number of people looking for work is not increasing, and this, of course, gives job-seekers more power.

Job-seekers are more picky. Despite some layoffs in certain industries, research shows that many workers are looking for better pay and job-seekers now expect or demand flexible work. Companies have lavished benefits on their employees during the pandemic, and most job-seekers expect a wide range of such benefits, leave options, insurance, and competitive pay.

Technology, IT, supply chain, and finance are quickly demanding new skills. New technologies, new tools, and new business models are changing the nature of most jobs, forcing employers to look far beyond experience to find the right candidate. Most well-paying jobs are “skills-centric” positions, where employers are looking for cutting-edge skills, competing with peers for strong candidates.

Our forecast
The combination of demographic changes, empowered workers, and a rapid need for emerging skills is here to stay. Prepare yourself for a complex hiring environment, and look at systemic HR solutions to keep your company growing in this time of change.

Time-to-Hire Getting Longer?
6 Ways to Reduce it.

Time-to-hire is getting progressively longer. Finding the right talent for the right roles has never been so challenging. So how can business thrive in this new landscape, and attract, source and hire the people they need? It’s time to look at things from a new perspective.

Read our recent article and discover six practical steps your business can implement to hire the right talent at speed. 

key findings

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and key findings

When we started this whitepaper, its overarching premise was to debunk commonly held digital myths in talent acquisition by talking to thought leaders and practitioners in the industry. It’s clear that the change that has occurred across industry in the intervening period has been seismic. AI has exploded into the market and is touching every facet of the talent industry. 

In conjunction with this now, far more accessible technology, the temperature of the Talent Climate continues to rise, with pain points such as time to hire, and skills shortages in certain sectors still front and center for many industries. Alongside this the ‘noise surrounding talent technology can at times be deafening.  Indeed, in the talent acquisition industry the speed of technological development continues to transform the world of work. This, coupled with current global macro-economic tightening, a new technology to understand in AI, the increasing need for tech skilling of the talent pool, and fierce competition for companies to stay at the top, all means talent professionals are under huge pressure.

The industry is at the foothills of revolution in how we attract and retain talent. And like most industries, technology and digital transformation is at the heart of this change. Companies are looking to technology, yet their teams need to stay on top of these advances.

That’s not to say that robots are replacing people. Instead, the best performing companies are leaning-in to the responsible use of AI, with focus given to technology that considers its wider impact and how it helps talent professionals re-think recruitment in a digital environment from automating the mundane and innovating the challenges, to allowing people to lead and strategize, thus allowing technology to act and process.

Ultimately, technology will allow talent professionals to build longer-term relationships with candidates, matching skills to future job requirements.

Technology is an enabler, not a replacement.
The future is a mix of tech and touch.

Our key findings

Technology needs to support employees, not replace them

Business leaders believe that technology will make employees more efficient, but employees don’t necessarily agree, fearing the ‘robots’ will replace them. Getting employees onboard is key to successful tech implementation.

Have a plan beyond simply launching your new tool

Too many businesses focus on launching new technology tools and then leave users to get on with it. Plan how use of the tool will adapt over 30 days, six months and two years to get the most value.

Talent tech is in its infancy, so long-term vendor relationships are key

We’re just at the start of the impact of technology on talent acquisition. Choose your tech vendors based on long-term strategy, not short-term aims.

In chapter two, we examined why technology projects fail – and how to avoid doing so. Talent technology isn’t something you implement and then simply leave to its own devices. Instead, successful technology implementations involve including users in the decision-making process, understanding the specific use cases you want the technology to intervene on, and planning for post-launch adoption and training.

Above all, adopting technology into talent processes is about meticulous planning, ongoing training and understanding how use of the technology can evolve. It’s about thinking beyond launch and planning for the future.

Digital overload weakens the impact of technology

Technology without user led implementation and a eye to simplification, leads to poor adoption and slows down processes, frustrating users. Only implement technology where it can have a strategic impact.

Traditional hiring routes won’t meet demand for talent

Wage inflation, headhunting from competitors and hiring job-ready candidates isn’t going to be enough to meet the huge appetite for tech talent – so it’s time to think outside the box.

Hire for attitude, train for skill

The complexity of technology means skills need continuously updating. In most cases, hiring someone who is adaptable, agile and has a willingness to learn is better than someone with one set of technical skills.

Technology will change both how a candidate applies for and engages with a job role, and how talent professionals source, assess and onboard new hires. It will also offer both parties more data and information about roles and people, allowing for better profile fits, more engaged employees – and less attrition.

Talent tech should be part of a wider strategy to meet the challenges of digital transformation

COVID-19 has proved a catalyst for digital transformation. As hiring tightens, talent professionals are at the forefront of this shift and need to be strategic partners to business.

Candidates expect a consumer experience

It’s not just employees who need to get used to talent tech. Candidates now expect a quick, frictionless hiring process, with easy to use and actionable technology. Fail to stay ahead of the tech curve and your future talent needs fail too.

Artificial intelligence is a game changer for strategic talent acquisition…

By 2025, 75% of organizations will shift from piloting artificial intelligence tools to operationalizing – one of the biggest data and analytics trends of the near future.

…but remember to implement change management

The efficiency of artificial intelligence means roles change and headcount can drop. Make sure you upskill your people and offer a real focus on development opportunities and develop an inclusive environment to grow and retain talent.  In summary, powerful AI is already here but we need to use it responsibly and ethically in order to mitigate bias, thus allowing the wider economy to thrive.

The future is a balance of tech and touch…

Of course, meeting the evolving challenges of talent technology is easier said than done. That’s why AMS provides a number of solutions that help organizations deal with the complex issues brought about by technological change. From how to choose a technology provider to building digital skills in your organization, chatbots to remote hiring – here’s what you need to know.

As mentioned earlier, the temperature of the Talent Climate continues to rise and the noise surrounding talent technology can at times seem deafening. As we climb the foothills of this digital revolution and reach for the uplands, we need the right solutions to cater for our needs and at AMS, our digital solutions help our clients succeed in a new world of work. Finding the right way to get the right people at the right time, on the right terms is what AMS does. We are proud to offer focused and relevant solutions that will make a difference to your world of work.
Talent is our world.


AMS One  is a digital platform built to optimize the delivery of RPO talent solutions for AMS clients. With a focus on client, hiring manager and candidate experience, this new platform has benefitted from AMS’ deep understanding of best practice processes, harnessing the power of 27 years of delivering RPO talent solutions.

AMS Verified

Is talent technology a puzzle you’re yet to solve?

Partnering with trusted vendors and evaluating their solutions through a rigorous vetting process, AMS Verified turns complexity into clarity. Our unique online platform cuts through the noise of the talent technology market with expert insights.
Make confident tech decisions, understand specific products, and stay up to date on the latest innovations.

AMS Talent Lab

Hiring isn’t the only way to fill the skills gaps. Sometimes, it’s more efficient and cost-effective to help established employees develop niche capabilities. Or finding new, fresh talent and equipping them with the skillsets you need. The possibilities are as varied as your talent challenges. 

AMS Talent Lab can help clients meet their ever growing and demanding skills challenges while focusing on two distinct offerings provided by AMS Talent Lab. 
Recruiter skilling:  enabling clients to grow the recruitment talent they need.
Tech skilling:  helping clients to close the tech skills gap.

How Talent Acquisition Teams can be a Catalyst for Change

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Everyone’s Talking about Skills-based Organizations

How Talent Acquisition Teams can be a Catalyst for Change

The period of massive technical advancement we know as the Industrial Revolution took off over 250 years ago. So, it’s extraordinary to think that the way we organize work has not really changed in all that time. Many of today’s organizations still evaluate and perform work along strict role-fulfilment lines. That’s just the way it has always been done.

Today, the global scarcity of talent is propelling urgent change. Technological upheaval, economic uncertainty, ageing populations, and dwindling birth rates are creating the conditions for creative solutions. Some business leaders and industry experts are working with a new operating model as a result: one that focuses on skills.

Deloitte estimates around 15-30% of organizations are currently disrupting workforce and talent structures in this way.1

But switching to a new way of working after centuries of established hiring patterns is no easy feat. Talent Acquisition teams are in a unique position to be a catalyst for change but enabling a skills-based transition has major implications for hiring practices and the organizational structures they’re embedded in.

So, how can this transformation be achieved?

Sculpted around skills.

There’s no harm in summarizing what we mean by skills-based organizations for the purposes of this article.

Under the standard, legacy structure, work is organized by roles in a functional hierarchy with a clear scope, remit, and accountabilities. A skills-based approach dismantles this and packages work around the skills needed, opening up opportunities for professionals to transcend the organizational silos of roles and tasks. Work is broken into meaningful chunks and employees with the relevant skills and capabilities are used to fulfil it in a fluid and agile way.

People feel empowered to unlock their potential, helping organizations grow the skills they need to stay competitive.

But moving to a skills-based requires seismic change. And while some businesses have begun to introduce elements of this model into their day-to-day processes (either in defining skills ontologies or within distinct talent practices, such as workforce planning, or performance management and learning and development) this approach is far from widespread. 

Ultimately, the journey towards building a skills-based organization will need pilots like these in certain business functions before such a significant business-wide change can be achieved.

The case for change.

Organizations that have taken steps towards being skills-based are reporting positive outcomes. According to Deloitte organizations are:

•52% more likely to innovate •57% more likely to anticipate change and respond effectively •107% more likely to place talent effectively

•98% are more likely to have a reputation as a place to grow and develop •98% are more likely to retain high performers

Here are some of the reasons businesses are seeing benefits:

1.   Increased match between talent and business needs. Selecting workers based on skills rather than prior job experience and education has helped organizations better ensure that they have the right talent to meet their business needs – not just for “right now”, but for the future, too.

2.    Organizational agility. When organizations understand the skills necessary to deliver work now and, in the future, and are aligned on the skills their workforce has, they can more quickly assess and move skills that are based on business priorities.

3.    Improved workforce performance and productivity. With a skills-based approach, organizations can better tap into all the skills a worker has – not just those they currently use in a specific job.

What’s more, businesses can better nurture and develop in-demand skills, and move talent with the right skills to where they are needed most.

4.    A sense of belonging. When work is structured around skills, employees can put their specific skillsets, strengths and interests to use around the organization, bringing them closer to business strategy. This can help breed a strong sense of belonging and loyalty. 

5.    Built-in diversity. A skills-based setup means DEI is more than a catchphrase. It allows organizations to make more equitable decisions based on an employee’s full range of skills, rather than their job description. Shifting the focus to value skills more than experience, education, or previous workplace, helps to avoid biases against certain talent groups – for example, candidates or employees who did not attend university.

If we can shift our focus, or broaden our lens, from jobs to skills, we’ll find workers have more in common than we think.

Nicole Brender a Brandis
Head of Strategy Consulting, Talent Advisory, Americas, AMS

Deep knowledge of the skills that make people successful across a broad range of strategic work, as well as understanding adjacent skills, opens doors to new talent pools and ultimately leads to a better match between talent and business needs.

Kirstin Schulz
Head of Strategy Consulting, EMEA, AMS

A journey, not a switch, for TA teams.

Until now, leadership and development teams have been leading the charge when it comes to skills-based approaches. But talent acquisition teams have an opportunity to move the journey to the next level because of their unique position as gatekeepers for candidates at the start of their journey.

Forward thinking TA teams are already starting to embrace skills-based hiring. According to LinkedIn, recruiting professionals are 25% more likely to search by skills than they were 3 years ago and 75% predict skills-based hiring will be a priority for their company in the next 18 months.

Having said that, only 64% feel they can accurately assess candidates’ skills today. So, there is still some way to go for some organizations.2

To implement skills-based hiring effectively, day-to-day TA work itself needs to undergo a transformation. Of course, this level of organization change doesn’t happen overnight. Key pillars of TA teams’ processes (such as job descriptions, for example) cannot simply be removed with no alternative in place. But steps can be taken to move TA teams along the journey towards a skills-based approach. Rethinking how they source, interview and ultimately think about talent is the key.

Nicole Brender a Brandis
Head of Strategy Consulting, Talent Advisory, Americas

TA teams have a fundamental part to play in building the blocks to a skills-based future. They can help this come alive at an organizational level by influencing the conversation and shifting the business to a skills-based mindset.

Kirstin Schulz
Head of Strategy Consulting, EMEA

Recruiters are the shop window to the external market. But it’s the infrastructure that sits behind them that needs to enable the recruiters to be able to hire for skills.

Shared missions and definitions.

Organizations should begin their journey by pinpointing what the strategic and critical skills are within the organization. This is no easy task. Ask three people to define a critical skill and you’ll get three different answers. Most managers think their roles or skills they are hiring for are the most important.

So, businesses must work out a shared framework, language and understanding of skills together. It means thinking through the skills that make key business strategies happen, those that disproportionately affect performance, and the skills that are hardest to attract, hire, and retain. It’s vital everyone is on the same page before critical skills are cascaded into ways of working and conversations with candidates and clients.

Skills-based hiring success.

Working in conjunction with this crucial mindset change, there are a multitude of levers that can broaden TA’s approach to skills-based hiring. From building a skills-driven model for sourcing and attraction to creating ‘strategic skills teams’ that purely focus on sourcing and engaging talent with business-critical skills.

One of the most impactful actions that TA leaders can take is to train recruiters to better understand adjacent skills and shared skillsets across different role types or functions and really break down siloed ways of engaging talent. This puts TA in the driving seat to completely shift the conversations with Hiring Mangers – away from experience towards skills, challenging long-held assumptions about what makes a strong hire.

12 levers to broaden TA’s approach to skills-based hiring

1. Have versus Learn
Determine which skills can be learned and evaluate the learning aptitude of potential applicants

2. Adjacent Skills
Source and screen based on skills, and train TA team to look for ‘adjacent skills

3. Identify Roles
Identify roles that have a shorter “shelf life” with rapidly changing skills (i.e. software developer) where agility is particularly critical

4. Reconstruct Job Descriptions
Re-construct JDs and job ads to highlight skills and capabilities over experience and education

5. Bench Hiring
For critical skills, sourcing and hiring outside of specific open requisitions

6. Organization Structure
Set up the TA org to align to skills rather than function or geo’s (e.g. dedicated ‘strategic skills’ sourcing team)

7. Drive data collection
Amplify skills data collection on internal and external candidates

8. Technology
Use AI-driven technologies for skills-matching, candidate identification and shortlisting

9. Adjust Assessments
Amplify skills in assessment & interviewing methods

10. Talent Pools
Curate skills-based talent pools

11. Campaign
Run sourcing & attraction campaigns for skills rather than roles

12. Expand
Expand the roles that fall under the skills-based hiring framework

Nicole Brender a Brandis
Head of Strategy Consulting, Talent Advisory, Americas

In an incredibly tight labor market, your chances of getting a 100% fit are virtually non-existent. A candidate may not have A skill, but they have B skill, and their application of B is very similar in what you need to bring to this role to be successful. You may need to start thinking about talent with a slightly different lens – harnessing transferrable and adjacent skills.

Kirstin Schulz
Head of Strategy Consulting, EMEA

Train TA teams to be change agents within the business. Think broadly about what is underlining this capability, what skills are required for the role, and what adjacent skillsets with some training can be developed?

Recruitment Leader (Global)

Case study: Shifting to a skills-based structure

Here’s an example of how one TA team restructured to align to a skills-based approach by creating a ringfenced team for sourcing strategic skills

Making this change has enabled the organization to proactively build the talent pipeline for critical skills without interrupting the day-to-day work of regional teams and CoE functions.

Recruiting Delivery Leaders
(Regional or Division/Business Unit)

  • Primary contact to Regional or Division/Business Unit leaders on all aspects of attracting/hiring talent
  • Direct management of recruiters
  • Dotted line oversite of req based sourcers

Sourcing Strategist Lead

  • Owns global sourcing strategy
  • Integrates market insights into overall sourcing approach
  • Identifies which positions need proactive sourcing support
  • Coaches and mentors sourcing team

Req-Based Sourcing
(Regional or Division/Business Unit)

BAU Proactive Sourcing Team Candidate Attraction

  • Proactive req-based sourcing support for reqs which lack quantity/quality
  • Will leverage leads from talent communities and do other proactive outreach

Candidate Management

  • Manage in-bound applicant experience
  • Leverage technology for initial calibration
  • Screen top candidates for submittal of recruiter long-list

Strategic Skills Sourcing

  • Build and nurture critical skills talent communities.
  • Talent mapping and targeted candidate outreach.
  • Sourcing ahead of the need.
  • Proactively present hot leads for the business to participate in the nurturing process

The skills-based hiring maturity model

As TA teams move through the levers for change

and address the challenges of becoming skills-based, they should increase their overall level of maturity