Are you seeing the bigger picture?

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Moving to a global Early Careers strategy.

Are you seeing the bigger picture?

Gaining greater perspective by looking globally can help organisations identify new opportunities, increase efficiencies, and improve processes for their business.

the washington monument is in the background of cherry blossoms

So, why is it standard practice for global organisations to have numerous local Early Careers strategies? Should global businesses have global Early Careers and Campus strategies to match?

Fixing something that’s not broken?

There’s nothing wrong with having different Early Careers strategies for each region or area of your business. After all, each region is different and has its own nuances; trying to combine some of these aspects into a global framework may put you out of line with local markets. For example, in the US and India, processes like online testing and video interviewing come with differing legal complexities.

On a broader level, the approach to key strategies like university relationships and diversity are evolving at different rates across the globe.

Or creating a coherent foundational platform?

But thinking globally could be an advantage. Having a joined-up approach with standardised processes will drive more consistent team delivery. And, if you operate the same assessment processes, you’re bringing in a consistently qualified Early Careers cohort who you can socialise and train together with a global mindset.

Having a global outlook allows you to deliver on universal initiatives like diversity, equity and inclusion or to create a consistent strategy to fill skills gaps. It also means delivering a comprehensible and cohesive brand message, so there’s no disparity when candidates are looking to join, wherever they are in the world.

It’s important to remember that talent markets are global, too. The INEUCS Global Employers Insights Survey highlighted that 6.4 million students moved to a different country in 2024. With such high candidate mobility across different regions, it is becoming increasingly important that candidates have a similar experience, no matter where they are.

is the number of students who moved to another country in 2024. Source: INEUCS Global Employers Insights Survey

The business case for going global

  • Target global outcomes
    Track ROI from Early Careers hiring and drive organisational goals, such as DEI and tech skills.
  • Brand consistency
    Ensure all candidates experience the same journey.
  • Standardisation of assessment and selection
    Provide consistency of quality hires across the organisation.
  • Consistent training
    Allow all new hires to attend the same foundational skills development courses.
  • Improved efficiencies
    Create a helpdesk for global candidate queries instead of multiple separate mailboxes, and partner with a global RPO provider for greater flexibility across regions, in line with local recruitment peaks and troughs.
  • Exploitation of global partnerships
    Leverage relationships with RPO partners, assessment providers (i.e. SHL), attraction tech (Handshake), social media planning and coverage.
  • Reporting and data
    Report globally across all divisions.

Your roadmap to going global

Scaling from a local to global Early Careers strategy may feel like mountains need to be moved.
There is a lot to consider, but these simple steps will set your organisation on the path to a consistent, sophisticated, and global methodology.

Step 1: Understand the process

Before doing anything, it’s important to get under the skin of each local strategy and see how one differs from another, region to region. To do this, run an audit of the many processes and programmes in place.

Start by identifying each stakeholder, which will often be local HR specialists who have supported intern and graduate hiring in-country. Then spend time doing ‘deep dive’ sessions. Ask pre-set questions and discuss the end-to-end process. It’s vital to understand what they are doing across each stage, from attraction, through to onboarding and offer management.

Next, identify the tools they’re using. What technology are they deploying and what are the assessments? How are they attracting new talent? Do they go onto campus? At which point in the year?

By working through each stage and mapping the Early Careers journey in each locality, you can identify where there are similarities and differences that can be optimised or streamlined.

Bringing in an expert Early Careers strategy partner to help you understand local processes, governance and compliance can provide objectivity and a broader view of what needs to be changed.

Step 2: Choose the most effective and efficient process

Once you’ve completed your audit, it’s time to design the global process.

There are many different aspects that will need to be evaluated, including:

  • Applicant Tracking System (ATS) – This will form a large part of your core process, so it’s important to decide how this will run. By ensuring a streamlined workflow across regions, you will be able to extract meaningful global data that measures key performance outcomes (e.g. time-to-hire, conversion rates, candidate diversity, etc.) and reporting in a consistent way.
  • Global framework – Engage with key stakeholders across regions from both the business and HR to understand and identify key characteristics that are most valued by Early Careers employers; like candidate skills, qualifications, or experience. Clarifying exactly what you are looking for in your candidates will help underpin your overall hiring and assessment strategy that can be built out consistently region to region.
  • Programme framework – This should be evaluated similarly to the global framework. Consider how it will impact the regions, business and candidate needs, as well as global business objectives. For example, how are you developing your Early Careers employees while on the programme? Which training and networking interventions can be globally aligned? What roles are they exiting into? And how can you create a consistent experience.

Throughout this process, it’s vital to communicate with all key stakeholders. These will sit across local and global HR, as well as within the business, and could be Early Careers or local HR specialists.

It’s also important to engage with Learning and Development teams, internal or external attraction and branding specialists, assessment leads, governance and compliance stakeholders, as well as diversity teams, to ensure any new processes are fit for purpose, fair, unbiased, and aligned with regulations. 

You must also consider the future team model.  Often local resources will not be line managed by global teams, and according to the INEUCS Global Employers Insights Survey, 54% of global Early Careers teams include local resources. So, getting opinions from a wide range of stakeholders will ensure views are identified upfront, avoiding fewer problems in the future.

All this might sound like a lot to achieve; when taking on a large-scale strategy transformation, it’s helpful to use the ‘horizon’ approach. Break down your overall process into stages. What’s achievable in year one, two and three? You may start with standard process and ATS adjustments, or governance and reporting in year one. Then, the following year’s goal could be tackling a redesign of your assessment and programme strategies.

These small steps over time will add up to meaningful changes that make your process more consistent and cohesive.

Step 3: Recognise regional nuances

Considering regional nuances within your global strategy is important. For example, some localities will hold video interviews while others prefer to keep the entire process in-person. Different regions will run back-to-back interviews, while some will favour assessment centres with a range of  exercises.

Getting the blueprint right will minimise push-back with the business and ensure candidate engagement with your brand. When reviewing the nuances across regions, consider whether they are processes that are unique to your organisation or something that is a given for that region. Certain local regulations or ways of working require unique processes that can’t be avoided. For example, contracting with universities for interns in certain EMEA locations, works councils in Germany, compliance in the US, and working with campus placement officers in India. Other processes can be more easily adapted or removed.

You may also encounter governance differences. For instance, regarding the order and timing of compliance steps, some localities might send out a referral questionnaire before they make an offer. Others won’t do this until after the offer stage. Nuances like these need to be documented and factored into the blueprint, as this is where mistakes can happen. Ideally, your ATS can accommodate these nuances so that data is easily reportable, and audits can be completed.

Many regional stakeholders may happily jump on board. But you should be prepared for objections and have a credible business case as to why you are proposing this strategy for the business. Some stakeholders will just want to carry on doing what they’ve been doing. A robust change management solution will be critical.

The most important stakeholders that global teams seek to influence are local and regional business leaders (88%), and HR leaders (79%). Source: INEUCS Global Employers Insights Survey

Step 4: Measure and report

To make the global approach a success, you need to evidence it.

Look at different common performance indicators, such as vacancy fill rate or pipeline reporting. Where are the candidates in the process right now? What are the conversion rates of candidates from final stage to offer? Are the diversity levels higher or lower at different stages of the process? Has the time-to-hire been reduced? How long are candidates held at each stage? Which source are candidates coming from and how are they performing?

Data like this will help you look holistically across the whole new process, so you can see what’s working and what may need to change. Also, it can help highlight any unwelcome trends, allowing them to be better addressed and future opportunities. Building a global reporting tool will allow you to look holistically and draw trends and conclusions to support global hiring strategy.

Case study

Global healthcare technology business

A global healthcare technology business outsourced their early careers and campus recruitment to AMS leading to a candidate satisfaction rating of 94%, a hiring manager satisfaction of 90% and an increase in gender diversity of 20%. The partnership moved from a local strategy hiring disparate region to region to a global one. It now yields over 250 intern hires annually across 27 countries, delivered in a consistent and cohesive manner.

With your customer focus and incredible sense of execution you are making miracles…You are demonstrating case by case that this model is working. Thank you!”

 – Regional Early Careers Lead

Need some help?

Delivering an Early Careers strategy like this requires a transformation. And this level of organisational change doesn’t happen overnight.

You may need to deploy extra resources, bring in new people, or restructure your current team so that you can manage a global scope rather than a local one. Partnering with an experienced RPO provider can help. They’ll have the expertise to plan, deliver and measure the success of your strategy.


Consistency allows businesses to build trust, broadcast the right message, and deliver services efficiently and profitably. The same is true for Early Careers.

By delivering the same global solution for all, organisations can improve their candidate experience and have confidence in a consistent level of qualified talent.

If global businesses want to secure tomorrow’s brightest minds, they need to start refreshing and redesigning how they attract, recruit and onboard their Early Careers talent.

It’s time to think global, not local.

AMS has helped some of the world’s leading organisations make the transition to a global Early Careers strategy.

We have the expertise and experience to identify a suitable process, pinpoint nuances to address, define metrics that count, and create the strategy that’s right for your business.

Get in touch today.

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An eye on tomorrow

Top trends shaping talent acquisition in the banking industry

The last few years have been unsettled for the financial services industry.

Banks have had to adjust to new ways of working. An increased requirement for more agile talent processes and digital transformation has re-shaped hiring practices. In addition, global uncertainty has meant the industry has had to brace for recession and adapt to a reduced talent pool. And there has been a raft of new diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies to absorb. 

As we look ahead, it’s evident that banking recruitment strategies will need to continue to evolve to stay ahead of future challenges.  

This whitepaper explores predictions and trends across the international banking sector – and provides advice on how TA Leaders can be prepared for what’s next.

AMS is the market leader in partnering with large scale, complex global banks to deliver world class talent acquisition services (6 of the top 8 global banks partner with us today) with over 2,500 specialists supporting experienced hire, campus and contingent worker hiring in banking. In 2023, we delivered 125,000 hires for our banking clients globally.

The story so far

When it comes to the banking talent market, it’s easy to forget what normal looks like. The last few years have been extremely turbulent, and predicting what will happen next has been virtually impossible.

Take 2022, for instance. This was a record year for hiring, but just one year later, banks concluded they had over-hired on the assumption that the economy would continue to grow. In fact, it had started to slow down.

In every region, hiring volumes significantly decreased across AMS’s extensive global banking portfolio by up to 50% between 2022 and 2023.


Many of the big banks have cut their workforce significantly. For example, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citigroup reduced their combined workforces by 17,700 last year.1 The only US bank to buck the trend was JP Morgan Chase, adding 16,200 employees after the purchase of First Republic Bank in May 2023 and adding 470 people to its corporate and investment bank in the second quarter.

Whilst overall hiring reduced, banks have continued to focus on strategic hiring initiatives. For example, whilst Bank of America focused its efforts on repurposing its existing workforce, they continued to make ongoing investments in fixed income professionals in London and roughly doubled its sales and trading workforce in EMEA over the last two years.

Areas of growth

With the outlook remaining uncertain, many TA leaders are still very cautious about hiring levels for 2024.

But there are areas within banking that are seeing growth, and one of those is the acquisition of digital talent. 91% of global banks are increasing their cloud-enabled digital transformation investments as they realize the urgency to compete and stay relevant in today’s digital-first world.2

Although digital maturity is gradually rising across the banking sector (especially in areas such as account opening, bancassurance, investment services, and card management), most banks still have a long way to go until they can respond to customer expectations around digital services.3

Another area that’s also growing is internal mobility. With the reluctance to invest in new talent, many banks are looking at their current staff, and providing training and development opportunities to fill specific skills gaps.

Remember, this new post-industrial economy is moving toward a further shortage of workers. The recent U.S. BLS workforce outlook shows the U.S. workforce will only grow at 0.3% per year over the next decade, while the GDP is expected to grow at 1.9%. Where will these workers come from? The answer lies in internal hiring.4

In the Internal Hiring Factbook, developed in partnership between AMS and The Josh Bersin Company as part of The Talent Climate Series, consumer banking has the largest internal hiring rate of all sectors at 42%. Investment banking saw an uptick from 25-27% from 2022 to 2023 during a period of restricted external hiring. Banks will need to consider how to retain and improve these rates during periods of fewer hiring restrictions.

We will definitely see a greater focus on operationalizing skills-based hiring and prioritizing career pathing and reskilling of the internal workforce is a great place to start. Organisations who can successfully identify critical future skills and train and develop their existing workforce will be able to demonstrate far greater agility when responding to critical programs of work and rely less on expensive external hires.

Our global predictions for the banking sector in 2024

A steady workforce
Banks will be cautious about further reductions in their workforce as they anticipate a rebound in the market. Hiring volumes in 2024 are expected to run in-line with 2023.

Centralized expense
Expense control will be centralized at HR and Talent Acquisition (TA) level, focus on hiring budgets and ‘doing more with less’

Increased automation
Fewer people will be needed to administer manual back office tasks and for TA departments, we will see greater automation of highly manual processes such as candidate screening, job-advert writing, candidate shortlisting and interview scheduling.5  

Technological turbulence
The rate of technological advancement will increase as banks address some of the latest opportunities in fin-tech innovations include Open Banking, RegTech, Autonomous Finance and Voice Integration. Specialized tech areas where banks are predicted to invest and recruit or upskill in 2024 include AI, ML, cloud, and cybersecurity.

New skills adoption
Banks will seek to secure or develop expert teams of quants, modelers, translators and AI skills such as prompt engineering and database curation. According to McKinsey, generative AI alone has the potential to deliver significant new value to banks between $200bn to $340bn benefitting Corporate, Retail banking and Risk functions the most.6

Bridging the green skills gap
While several Wall Street asset management companies have recently scaled back their participation in Climate Action 100+7, Banks are continuing to experience increasing revenues from Sustainable Finance, and we will continue to see TA teams focusing on building talent pipelines to secure EST/Renewables market experts.


The impact of Brexit

There has been much noise about the impact of Brexit in the banking industry. Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest losers of the deal was London.

The relocation of financial operations has seen around 7,000 banking employees move from London to the EU.8

The decision for the UK to leave the EU has had a negative effect on the London banking industry. In 2017, London was the undisputed global leader in the Global Financial Services Index, followed by New York. 9London has since dropped to second place and hubs such as Frankfurt have risen from 23rd to 13th place and Paris from 29th to 14th position globally. For example, Paris is attracting major investment with the likes of Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Bank of America expanding their operations there.

This shift has sent shockwaves through the banking industry and has created long-term change in recruitment. With US investment banks gaining European market share, local banks like BNP Paribas and Société Générale are starting to experience more competition in attracting and retaining candidates. With all these big players fishing in the same pool, it has dramatically changed the whole dynamic of what’s available in the marketplace.

Looking to new regional markets for digital talent

According to McKinsey, as digital talent shortages increase in the rest of Europe, “Africa will become a technology hotspot in the next five years as an inflow of developers revolutionizes the continent into a “world-leading startup ecosystem.”10 Africa will have the world’s largest working age population by 2040 and holds immense potential for companies seeking new markets and talent, and the research reports a 30% increase in developer talent in Africa with increased venture capital funding.

Recommendations for TA leaders in UK & EMEA

  • Ensure the organisation has retention plans for their best performers. Competition for talent is fierce. Proactively present the best internal job opportunities to your top talent before going to the external market, and provide the best coaching and training to ensure their success in stretch assignments.
  • Conduct an analysis against other banks. How competitive are your compensation packages? What or who are your attrition risks?
  • Forward-plan to combat attrition and movement in the market. Focus on pipelining and external talent-succession planning.
  • Move past traditional adverts and into a broader mix of attraction strategies. As well as traditional LinkedIn targeting, use programmatic advertising and attraction like geofencing to attract more passive talent.
  • Look to new talent markets such as Africa for scarce digital skills.  


A post-Covid return to growth

In 2023, hiring in the region grew by 4.6%, higher than the global average of 3.3%.11 Expansion is expected to continue in 2024, driven by emerging SEA markets and recovery in China.

Increased economic uncertainty and fluctuating market conditions have intensified job seekers’ efforts. Year on year, job seeker activity was elevated by 16% in Australia and 19% in India.12

Major players including Deutsche Bank and Nomura are strategically adjusting their approaches in response to the shifting dynamics in the APAC investment-banking landscape, investing more in the region to profit from the higher growth compared to other markets.

There has been significant growth in the Fintech market where growth is expected to exceed 16% CAGR between 2024 and 2029.13 Developing markets are seeing 70% more finance app installs than developed markets and fintech adoption is up to 67% in Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. There has been significant excitement around the launch of Hong Kong’s 8 digital challenger banks including ZA Bank, Airstar, Ant Bank and Mox Bank (backed by Standard Chartered).

Growth in wealth market

Right now, there’s a huge shift in the high-net-worth market.

Traditional markets like the US and EMEA have shrunk in the last few years. In contrast, emerging markets like Africa, Middle East and Singapore are seeing a surge in high-net-worth customers.

So, what’s driving this change? Fluctuating populations. In the US and EMEA, the older and wealthier population is shrinking while in emerging markets there is real growth. More people means more wealth and inheritance, so the customer base for high-net-worth in the APAC region is growing. In fact, an industry report indicates that Asia will surpass the US in financial wealth by 2025.

As a result of this, major banks including BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Citibank, UBS and HSBC are moving to hire more private bankers and appoint senior leaders to wealth management. In addition, there’s been a massive tightening in the market for licensed relationship managers to support Wealth customers. This means these managers are now much more in demand, with big banks competing hard to attract them so they can make the most of this lucrative market.

Tech hiring is on the up

Even though the hiring market is going through a significant transition, tech hiring is still surging ahead.

In this digital world, banks know that they need to stay competitive and that investing in tech talent helps them do this. But attracting and retaining this talent is challenging as they’re competing with other sectors investing in digital transformation.

We’re seeing some banking businesses embedding generative AI in their operations, which is intensifying the talent crunch in the sector. Here, banks are re-prioritising investment money and investing in reskilling their staff, which they expect will deliver longer investment gains.

Additionally, organisationsare now looking in new areas to boost their digital capabilities, with a large percentage of tech workers coming from Australia, India and Singapore.

Recommendations for TA Leaders in APAC

  • Increase your focus on diverse hiring to offset population decline in traditional markets.
  • Improve diversity by providing more female leadership roles.
  • Grow your own strategy for wealth relationship managers. Start this at Early Careers stage. Then train and invest in Early Careers and Campus (EC&C) candidates, as there’s fierce competition for this group.
  • Consider India for digital talent. The market here is growing and there’s much investment. Many global banks have already tapped into this new supply of digital talent.


Adapting to the change in job markets

For many years, the North America banking business has been the world’s largest financial market. It benefitted from a strong global economy and decreased interest rates that boosted profit margins, as well as affordable credit that resulted in a surge of Merger and Acquisitions’ activity. To cope with this demand, banking experienced unprecedented hiring, adding to increased talent costs.

But all that has now changed. Due to increased interest rates, reduced spending and shifting global economics, banks are being more selective in their hiring, evolving from a volume-based approach to a strategic one.

Major North American banks have cut roughly 20,000 jobs in 2023 due to reduced market activity and economic uncertainties.14

In addition, this new approach is changing the way banks are doing their hiring. Automation and digital products are now doing much of the heavy lifting, helping to stack and rank candidate searches for instance.

Much of this new TA modernisation is being driven by the banks’ HQs. They want to create greater hiring efficiency, removing time-consuming and costly activities so TA teams can provide a more strategic service for the business.

The return to office

Many sectors are struggling to get employees to return to the office. Banking is no exception.

Before the pandemic, remote working was rare. Even more so in banking institutions. During COVID-19, banks had little choice but to allow a more flexible approach due to an inability to mandate office attendance.

Many banks are now bringing talent back to the office on a flexible basis, typically requiring three days in the office. However, a recent survey of financial services executives revealed that 66% of employees would quit their current positions if forced to go back to the office full-time.15

As a result, many banks are vying for the much more rare talent that wants to return the office, especially those in front-office roles. According to the GFCI 35 rankings, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, San Diego and Boston all sit in the top 30 financial centres globally. Most interestingly, Toronto and Montreal have seen significant increases in their rankings to appear in the top 30 globally for the first time. 16

60% of net job growth by 2030 may come from the 25 mega-cities and high-growth hubs, even though they only have 44% of the population.17

The rise of digital

Like every market, the North American banking sector is investing heavily in digital transformation. They are trialling new technologies – including AI, robotics process automation and predictive analytics – to increase efficiencies.

They’re also improving their hiring processes. In a competitive talent market, creating a better hiring experience will enhance the ability to attract new talent. In addition, these advances will improve team efficiency, reduce labour-based costs and create more scalable models for TA departments. According to Aptitude Research, 63% of companies are investing or planning to invest in AI solutions for talent acquisition in 2024, compared to 42% in 2020. Use cases include generating inclusive job descriptions, summarising data, sourcing, generating personalised email templates and new hire onboarding experiences.18

Recommendations for TA leaders in North America

  • Create new attractive propositions in key locations (and establish global centres) which can tap into different talent segments at potentially lower costs.
  • Ensure you are keeping pace with competitors in digitising your TA operations. Automating response handling and interview scheduling can release investment for more strategic, higher value TA activities.
  • Consider your location strategy. North America headquartered banks have typically retained a higher proportion of resources in high-cost locations than other sectors.
  • Explore the efficiencies and scalability of other near/offshore locations for administrative and non-hiring manager facing tasks.


Technology driving growth

One of the biggest developments in the Indian banking industry has been the adoption of technology.

Due to a lack of skilled workers, the government launched Skill India in 2015 to ensure Indian workers were ready for the future. This program has not only provided help with reskilling and upskilling the population, it’s also encouraged growth in the sector.19

This increase in tech talent means many global banks are shifting their centres of excellence to India as talent in other markets has dried up. This is also more cost-effective for accessing the digital skills needed to ensure competitiveness. In fact, Michael Pizzi, MD and Head of US Banks and Technology for Morgan Stanley, cited India as the best market outside the US for tech talent, particularly cloud computing and generative AI, for multinational banking firms.20

India’s access to a large, cost effective , diverse and high-quality talent pool positions it to become the world’s leading workforce provider, with its workforce expected to reach 1.1bn by 2050.

New trends emerging

Many new trends are now emerging in the Indian workforce.

Remote working, which was once unheard-of in the market, has become more acceptable since the pandemic, with many businesses accepting there’s a need for a work-life balance. Also, diversity has become an increasing priority in TA.

Around 88% of Indian professionals are now considering a new job in 2024, up by 4% from 2023, indicating a shift in attitude towards career growth, according to a recent LinkedIn study. Better work-life balance and higher salary are the key motivators for changing jobs, while individuals are also open to opportunities outside their industry or role.

Transitioning towards digital-first

India’s drive to become a digital-first economy isn’t slowing down. Even though it took off later than the US and UK, there’s major investment in digital transformation. According to a 2024 report by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), India has secured the position of the world’s third-largest digital economy, trailing only the US and China. With one of the world’s largest digital talent pools and a government eager for digital adoption, investment in tech talent is set to continue to rise.

The Indian Banking sector is seeing the emergence in digital banking, cyber security, AI, data analytics and many more digital technologies. According to Bersin’s Labour Market Insights report on Consumer Banking, demand for talent in these areas is increasing exponentially, with roles like front-end engineers and data scientists becoming sought-after positions.21 With this growth expected to continue, many large investment banks (e.g. Deutsche Bank, The NatWest Group, UBS, J.P Morgan, Goldman Sachs etc.) are investing heavily in their Indian infrastructure.

Recommendations for TA leaders in India

  • Consider increasing your investment in your India infrastructure as seen by Deutsche Bank, The NatWest Group, Lloyds Banking Group and Goldman Sachs in the last 48 months.
  • Differentiate yourselves in the India tech skills market – technology innovations are making banking organisations a sought-after career move for many millennial and Gen-Z candidates. We’ll see more sustainability and eco-friendly strategies in sector EVPs to attract Gen Z and millennial workers.
  • With increasing competition from the international banks, Indian TA organisations will need to become more flexible to attract the best talent, offering more flexible working and remote working, and considering gig workers for agility and expertise.


The future of banking talent

Today’s banking regions have a number of considerations and challenges to address when defining their future talent strategies. 

In the UK and EMEA, Brexit has meant many large banks have relocated to European cities, creating a surge in hiring requirements in these locations. The US is still grappling with uncertainty and is changing its approach to hiring, using technology to do the heavy lifting so TA can become more strategic. APAC hiring levels are recovering but are still way off pre-Covid levels, with new growth in the high-net worth market. While India’s investment in technology skills is attracting interest from all over the world, with major banks moving operations to the country.

But while each region has its challenges, there are also new opportunities emerging that banks can take advantage of. 

AMS is a trusted TA partner for global banking institutions wanting to enhance their talent capabilities. We work with some of the leading banks from around the world and have a deep understanding of the talent market. If you are looking for supporting in building a robust talent strategy for your region, get in touch today.

Get your complete guide to Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), from the experts

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TEST: Get your complete guide to Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), from the experts

Get your complete guide to Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), from the experts

Recruitment process outsourcing might be the game changer you need to build a really efficient and effective talent acquisition team when good talent is hard to find.

Get the complete RPO guide book now for insights on:

1. How RPO works and why it’s becoming the go-to solution for modern businesses.
2. The various RPO models available to meet your organizations needs and goals.
3. The multitude of services and transformative benefits the right partner can bring to your recruitment efforts.

Get your Time-to-Hire Factbook too.

Produced in collaboration with The Josh Bersin Company, get the hiring facts and see the benchmarks among:
– 25 countries
– 8 industries
– Regions
– Roles
Learn where you are in the market with benchmarks and scorecards. Plus, recommendations for optimizing your hiring practices.

About AMS

AMS is a leading global provider of talent acquisition services, providing unrivalled experience, driven by technology and underpinned by innovation. We help our clients to attract, engage and retain the talent they need for business success.   

We have three core areas of service: acquisition, advisory and digital, mainly delivered as an outsourced model, and spanning our clients’ permanent and contingent workforce, and internal mobility requirements. 

Our dedicated teams of experts are deeply embedded with our global blue-chip clients, enhancing talent acquisition processes and driving projects which align with overall strategic objectives. This relationship-driven approach is supporting our clients to redefine how they hire and retain top talent.

Talent is our world.

See the AMS One RPO operating system in action

AMS One can be your RPO Operating System: designed to integrate with your technology stack, it can give you a flexible, end-to-end talent acquisition experience.

Learn about what AMS One can do for you.

Remember to get your guide to recruitment process outsourcing now and give your talent acquisition team a leg up on the competition.

It’s a wakeup call for the planet — and recruiters and TA leaders are searching for candidates with the right skills to help bring the Earth from the brink of destruction for the sake of future generations.

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Are we ready for the Green Skills Revolution?


Veronika Bougioukli

IO Psychologist, Bryq

David Ingleson

Sector Managing Director, AMS

Caitlin McGregor

CEO, Plum

It’s a wakeup call for the planet — and recruiters and TA leaders are searching for candidates with the right skills to help bring the Earth from the brink of destruction for the sake of future generations. Here’s how your team can play a crucial role in a global existential crisis.

The alarm clock is ringing.

At the United Nations COP28 World Climate Action Summit that took place in Dubai in December, politicians, business leaders and scientists heard a stark warning from the UN Secretary General.

“Excellencies,” UN General Secretary Antonio Gutteres told the gathered guests, “the climate challenge is not just another issue in your inbox. Protecting our climate is the world’s greatest test of leadership.”

It’s a great test for HR leaders, recruiters and the technology firms that provide them with solutions as well. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by fossil fuels by 2030, forward-thinking talent acquisition leaders are actively seeking to hire a new breed of employee: People with green skills — in both white, gray and blue-collar fields — who can help companies fight emissions, create clean technologies and reduce carbon footprints inside and outside the workplace. But in order to reach these goals, TA teams and the vendors that supply them with their technology are adapting to the new hiring demands to attract these valuable workers.

Adapting to modern realities of the job market is part of the job for TA leaders, whether it’s hiring essential workers during a global pandemic, shifting employees from the office to remote work, meeting the needs of DEI mandates and mastering disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence. The recent focus on green skills is an off-shoot of the recent emphasis on employee skills, both hard and soft ones. Not long ago, recruiters looked at a candidate’s resume for their educational background and work experience and their skills almost always sat in the bottom of their CV. Not only have skills risen to the top of nearly everyone’s resumes, they are now front of mind for recruiters and hiring managers.

And the greener the skills, the better.

What are green skills? According to the UN Industrial Development Organization, this set of expertise and strengths encompass “the knowledge, abilities, values, and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society.”

While this definition is a good start, David Ingleson, Sector Managing Director at AMS, believes that the modern definition of green skills should be broader as many roles in the current green economy are based on established skillsets but are still not seen as uniquely green skills.

“We need to demystify the whole idea of ‘green skills’ as being some kind of technical skillset that can only be achieved with a specialist Masters’ Degree in a scientific field,” says Ingleson.

The demand for green skills will only grow as more organizations, businesses, universities and other entities look for candidates with what Liam Neeson would call “a very particular set of skills.” Ingleson points out that “countless” organizations and nations have now signed commitments such as the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals among others.

“Every large organization in the global economy that wants to be perceived as an attractive employer with a sustainable long-term future has committed to their own individually imposed targets of net-zero or net-neutral by a certain date in the future,” says Ingleson.

Green skills are not just for energy producers.

As little as a decade ago, it would have been safe to assume that primary businesses in need of green skills were limited to energy companies, but this notion has been shattered. Modern green skills are in demand in every sector of business, argues Ingleson. An exemplar in the consumer goods sector is Unilever (an AMS client) who are leading the way in decarbonizing their supply chains and focusing on sustainable product design in their business operations. Unilever’s aspiration to be a ‘net positive’ company is clear to see. Government and education sectors need more policy advisors, researchers, scientists, and environmental experts, and the financial services sector is also scrambling to keep track of sustainability-related reporting as they create and grow their portfolios. They also need to address the increased energy needs for recalculating investment positions for super-fast, sub-second trading manoeuvres and satisfying their power-hungry data server farms for their blockchain operations for cryptocurrency and other asset classes. 

“In the digital and technology sector, we see the need to develop clean technology that is energy efficient, such as using data scientists to analyze complex data sets to see ways to reduce emissions,” adds Ingleson.

According to Veronika Bougioukli, IO Psychologist for TA solution provider and AMS Verified partner Bryq, marquis-name companies are pursuing green skills with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose.

“Consultancies like Deloitte have invested in upskilling their consultants in green skills, Ikea has trained over 20,000 food workers in technology which resulted in 50% cut in food waste, and Walmart has integrated green skills into its operations by hiring professionals with expertise in sustainable supply chain management, energy efficiency, and waste reduction,” she says.

As expected, leading technology firms are all aboard the green skills train, including Siemens Energy, Microsoft, Tesla, Baker Hughes, IBM, AXA among others. “Google has a workforce that includes professionals with green skills in data center efficiency, renewable energy procurement, and sustainable business practices,” adds Bougioukli.

Specific technical expertise varies across sectors. In the renewable energy sector, for example, specific technical expertise may include knowledge of solar panel installation and grid integration. Similarly, in eco-friendly construction, skills related to green building design, and sustainable materials are highly sought after.

“However, there is a universal pattern when it comes to sought-after soft skills,” says Bougioukli. “Recruiters and employers highly value critical thinking, problem-solving, design thinking, creativity, adaptability, empathy, and self-management skills like resilience.”

“Excellencies, the climate challenge is not just another issue in your inbox. Protecting our climate is the world’s greatest test of leadership.”

Antonio Gutteres, UN General Secretary

Where are the workers with green skills?

If employers are eager to hire workers with green skills, why are they facing hurdles in filling these urgent roles? LinkedIn has an idea. In its Global Green Skills Report 2023, the online job and professional networking site scoured its 930 million subscribers for data about the status of hiring for jobs that require green skills and the companies that are hiring for them. The verdict? Green skills may be in high demand but there aren’t nearly enough candidates with these skills looking for work.

The rise of green skills: Between 2022 and 2023 the % of green talent rose by 12.3%; Job postings requiring at least one green skill rose by 22.4%; Hiring rate for workers with at least one green skill is 29%, higher than the workforce average.

Source:  Global Green Skilling Report 2023, LinkedIn

The numbers are eye-opening. LinkedIn found that only one in eight workers have what recruiters would consider to be a green skill. Between 2022 and 2023, the percentage of green talent in the 48 countries that the online career site examined rose by 12.3% while the share of job postings requiring at least one green skill rose by 22.4%.  

While overall hiring slowed globally between 2022 and 2023, job postings requiring at least one green skill increased 15.2% over the same timeframe. The hiring rate for workers with at least one green skill is 29% higher than the workforce average, and since March 2020, workers with green skills have been hired for new jobs at a higher rate than those without these same attributes in every single country examined for the report, LinkedIn says.

Speaking of different nations, from 2015 to 2023, the renewable energy industry hired new employees in every country studied by LinkedIn. As of last March, Sweden boasted the largest slice of auto workers with electric vehicle (EV) skills with 8.1% of workers, while the UK and Germany had the second and third largest percentage of workers with EV skills at 7.3% and 6.1% respectively. The U.S. trailed behind its European counterparts with only 3.7% of auto workers possessing EV skills.

And the green energy space is reasonably secure for employees that possess this expertise. LinkedIn found that for every 100 workers who left the global renewable energy sector, 120 joined to take their place.

Global renewable energy hires of auto workers with EV skills - Sweden:8.1%; UK:7.3%; Germany: 6.1%; US: 3.7%.

Source:  Global Green Skilling Report 2023, LinkedIn

Why is hiring candidates with green skills such a challenge? Typically, green jobs have a high bar for entry because they typically “require combinations of multiple green skills,” Efrem Bycer, Sr., Lead Manager, Public Policy & Economic Graph at LinkedIn said in an interview with Forbes. “Typically, 81% of workers who transition into green jobs have at least some green skills or prior green experience,” he added.

Given the emergence of many new green roles and the scarcity of candidates with direct experience in these positions, it’s crucial for recruiters to identify transferable skills to help them deepen their talent pool, advises Caitlin MacGregor, CEO of TA technology provider and AMS Verified partner Plum.

“You’re not going to find many applicants with 10, 15, 20 years of experience to fill every single role, but you’d be missing out on great people if you limited yourself in that regard,” she says. “By emphasizing soft skills such as innovation, communication, and execution, recruiters can screen-in a wider and more diverse pool of candidates who possess the aligned behaviors necessary to excel in these jobs.”

This is where an assessment platform, like the one Plum provided to clients such as Scotiabank, Whirlpool and others, can play a role. “Given that these competencies are challenging to identify in a consistent, non-biased way, assessment platforms like Plum enable you to gain insights beyond what is evident from a candidate’s resume,” she says. “This enables a more holistic understanding of a candidate’s potential to thrive in a green role while simultaneously ensuring a broad range of perspectives in these roles as well.”

Recruiters can effectively identify candidates with robust green skills during the hiring process by prioritizing objectivity, credibility, and fairness, recommends Bryq’s Bougioukli. “Structured interviews further enhance the identification of candidates with robust green skills during the hiring process,” she says. “This approach ensures a systematic evaluation of both technical proficiency in industry-specific green practices and essential soft skills like problem-solving and critical thinking.”

While up-to-date talent technology is needed in the pursuit of workers with green skills, recruiters need a different mindset when searching and assessing for these new skillsets. AMS’ Ingleson says recruiters ignore the transferability and adjacency of skills at their own risk. For example, he says that engineering problems are similar across many industries, and engineers are equipped with solving complicated engineering problems in whatever industry they might be.

“Analysis of data and critical thinking are skills that can be transferred across many different data-sets and it may just be that it is green data that needs to be analyzed,” he says. Machinery and infrastructure will need to be operated and maintained in the coming years, but it may simply be part of what Ingleson calls a “green infrastructure.” Likewise, leadership skills are “highly transferable” across any industry and can be applied to the green economy.

“It is therefore crucially important that recruiters and hiring managers keep an open mind as to what skills are genuinely needed to operate in a given environment,” says Ingleson.

TA and HR leaders also need to embrace candidate and employee training if they are desperate to fill new ranks of green jobs. TA models like “recruit, train, deploy” could be a highly effective route for green skills hiring, offering a comprehensive approach to address the increasing demand for workers with expertise in sustainable practices and environmental conservation, according to Anna Crowe, Client Operations Director for AMS.

“Such a model can Identify individuals from diverse backgrounds who have the potential and interest in acquiring green skills and design training programs that are tailored to the specific needs of the green economy,” she says.

DEI on the road to being green

The experts we interviewed agree that one of the most exciting aspects of the green skills revolution is the building up of the green collar workforce.

“We have the chance to start from a near blank piece of paper and build a diverse workforce in the green economy, rather than recycling the same non-diverse group of people,” says Ingleson.

“This is where the change of mindset is really important. If we embrace a diversity-led approach to attracting talent into the green economy, we can bring whole new diverse categories of talent into the sector to help accelerate the energy transition,” he says.

The green economy is proving to be an attractive destination for more diverse talent. Renewables-focused university courses attract nearly twice as many more women than pure engineering courses, with around half (48.5%) of students in the renewables-focused courses being women, compared to just 24.9% of students in the pure engineering courses. 

“There needs to be a concerted effort to promote the purpose-led careers available in the green economy. Working practices, remuneration and reward also need to be positioned to ensure all talent consider a career in the sector,” says Ingleson. “Recruiters will play an important role in bringing these aspects to life.”

Ingleson isn’t done with DEI’s role in green skills just yet. “Ongoing investments in green skills development contribute to social fairness and inclusivity,” he says. “By actively promoting training and educational opportunities for underrepresented groups, recruiters can play a proactive role in creating a workforce that reflects diverse perspectives in environmental sustainability roles.”

Despite these dire warnings and signs that governments and industry have put off action against climate change for too long, the UN Secretary General rang a note of hope for the future at the COP28 World Climate Action Summit and the key role that technologists can play in this cause.

“We have the technologies to avoid the worst of climate chaos,” he told the assembled dignitaries, “if we act now.”

written by Phil Albinus and reviewed by the Catalyst Editorial Board

with contribution from:

Veronika Bougioukli

IO Psychologist, Bryq

David Ingleson

Sector Managing Director, AMS

Caitlin McGregor

CEO, Plum

DEI Impact, from Awareness to Action

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The DEI Knowledge Exchange Series 2024 by AMS

DEI Impact, from Awareness to Action

March 27 | July 11 | Sept 26 | Nov 21
4:00 PM BST | 11:00 AM ET
1 hr

2024 DEI Knowledge Exchange webinar lineup:

DEI predictions for the
year ahead

4:00 PM BST | 12:00 PM ET

How are technology and AI impacting DEI?

4:00 PM BST | 11:00 AM ET

Driving DEI through Talent Acquisition

4:00 PM BST | 11:00 AM ET

Skills: paving the path to a more diverse workforce

4:00 PM BST | 11:00 AM ET

March 27
DEI predictions for the year ahead

What key DEI trends will define 2024?

As companies continue to evolve their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategies, we’ll explore key trends helping or hindering ongoing efforts. How can leaders ensure their DEI strategy focuses on the right things and that diversity goals are being met?

In this webinar, our panel of industry experts will explore:  

– Artificial Intelligence (AI).

– Resurgence in hiring volumes.

– US Affirmative Action ruling’s impact on Early Careers and diversity goals.

Learn how organizations are navigating the new reality of AI, preparing for hiring volume increases, and exploring the new affirmative action landscape.


Beth Keeler AVP, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Merck

Kathi Enderes – Senior Vice President Research and Global Industry Analyst, The Josh Bersin Company

Kate Matthews – VP DE&I Global External Engagement and Talent Development, BP

July 11
How are technology and AI impacting DEI?

Navigating the future of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace.

The future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace holds both exciting possibilities and potential drawbacks for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. Join us as we explore how HR and talent acquisition leaders can navigate this rapidly evolving landscape, maximize the benefits of AI while mitigating its risks, and build a more inclusive and equitable workplace.

In this webinar, our panel of industry experts will explore:

Fostering a more inclusive talent pool with AI. Streamlining unbiased sourcing, removing resume bias, and personalizing candidate experiences.

– The use of AI in DEI initiatives including the identification of pitfalls, the challenge of algorithmic bias and lack of human connection. Plus, strategies to mitigate them fairly and responsibly.

– How to build a future-proof strategy with actionable steps to harness the power of AI.  Learn how to ensure compliance in achieving your organization’s DEI goals.

September 26
Driving DEI through Talent Acquisition

What are the key enablers?

How do organizations strive to increase the representation of candidates from diverse talent communities in today’s complex Talent Acquisition processes? Join us as we explore success stories, identifying potential challenges and risks faced, all while ensuring compliance every step of the way.

In this webinar, our panel of industry experts will explore:  

– What has been effective in driving representation through the talent hiring process? 

– What can be improved?

– How can we apply this to the future? 

November 21
Skills – paving the path to a more diverse workforce

How skills-based hiring can drive DEI in recruitment.

With more companies looking to shift towards a skills-based hiring approach, we will explore how this could affect Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) outcomes. Many organizations are moving away from relying on previous work experience and education to hiring for aptitude and potential. This is allowing organizations to make more equitable decisions based on an employee’s full range of skills, rather than their past experiences.

In this webinar, our panel of industry experts will explore:  

– Where to begin when preparing to move to a skills-based approach.

– How skills-based hiring can tap into diverse talent pools overlooked by traditional methods.

– How to influence leaders and hiring managers who are sceptical of this approach.


Judy Ellis

SVP, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory, AMS

Judy’s 20-year career in DEI includes leading global training initiatives to upskill hiring managers and TA team members on inclusive hiring, unconscious bias and interviewing skills for companies including Delta and MUFG. She has developed programs to increase underrepresented early career hires and aligned corporate cultures to increase employee retention and engagement. Judy’s expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion has been featured in Forbes and on numerous conference platforms.

Paul Modley

Managing Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion COE, AMS

Paul is responsible for AMS’s internal DEI function. Prior to this Paul led our internal recruitment function, incorporating talent acquisition and talent mobility. Before becoming the face of our team’s talent acquisition efforts, Paul led some of our key client relationships in investment banking, retail banking and defence & engineering. Before joining us, he had worked in the talent acquisition sector for over 20 years in a variety of roles in agency, executive search and in-house.

5 common questions on modernizing hiring with tech-enabled RPOs

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Talking Tech and RPO

5 big questions when modernizing hiring using tech-enabled RPOs 

As the talent acquisition (TA) landscape continues to fluctuate, talent teams are looking for the most effective ways to manage and optimize their hiring function. Candidate expectations have changed, and technology is at the core of the employment experience. A Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) partnership remains important, but it has evolved – and will need to be tech-forward and adaptable to reach today’s modern hiring goals.  

Recruitment as a concept is simple. Identify, find, hire and onboard new talent. But recruitment in the context of the digital world requires a new lens.  

Think of it like the evolution of air travel. In the past, you would buy a ticket for a flight using the telephone. You would receive a paper copy of your ticket and then board your flight. Now, every step from ticket purchase, to check-in, baggage tagging, seat selection and monitoring flight disruptions is tech-enabled. Our collective digital experience spans many industries, and this is no different in the HR and TA world. Steadily, aspects of recruitment are advancing with rich data, AI, new features, insights, modules and tools.  

Whether you’re in the research phase of discovering the right tech to support your hiring, or you are selecting an RPO and comparing the sophistication of recruitment platforms, you will want to ensure recruiters are equipped with the most efficient processes, and a seamless and meaningful interaction with candidates. A tech-enabled RPO helps you find and keep talent at the pace your business requires.

Below are five common questions we are hearing from talent teams as they navigate RPOs in a rapidly evolving, tech-driven world.   (COPY)

Where should I start with a tech-enabled RPO? 

In this new era of talent and technology, companies of many sizes must think more strategically. Technology will help to streamline and optimize talent processes, but it’s imperative to begin with a plan. Has your team determined what talent outcomes could look like, examined the gaps you face, and decided which challenges may require an outside perspective? Having these early discussions before hiring plans are definitive helps organizations re-group before they partner with any outside support – especially when it comes to tech-enabled RPOs. 

“In today’s talent market, integrating technology into your talent acquisition strategy is vital. Leveraging market intelligence and analytics to grasp the dynamics of talent supply and demand significantly enhances your sourcing efforts. By incorporating these insights to refine and guide your sourcing strategy, you will more efficiently source prospective candidates.” 

– Luke Kohlrieser, Head of Tech and Analytics Advisory Delivery, AMS 

Whether your talent acquisition strategy is ready or it requires additional input, there are some key questions to ask your team while planning your sourcing methodologies for an RPO: 

• Do we know the right technologies that align with our culture and business goals?  

• Do we need to improve hiring manager and candidate experiences with technology? 

• Do we have end-to-end problems, or more project-based issues, or contingent support that we believe tech can solve for? 

• Do we want data-driven help identifying the talent we need, and finding that talent? 

• Are we seeking more engaging and tech-forward ways to attract talent? 

• Do we need assistance with digital interviews, learning, onboarding?   

Once you’ve begun to map out both an ideal future state, and become knowledgeable about various technologies and integrations on the market, you can begin to explore an RPO partnership that layers in the right tech to fulfil your requirements.  

What is the difference between traditional RPO and modern RPO?  

Historically, RPO partnerships were sought by talent teams looking to augment their existing workforce with new recruiters. External providers would help companies to scale hiring up or down depending on their hiring need. RPO providers would typically provide limited guidance, but rather deliver the adequate recruitment needed to fill placements – and this was seen as the return on investment.   

In today’s hiring landscape, RPOs have transformed beyond the traditional model. Over the last 10 years, many technologies have become available to support HR and TA. HR teams want the right technology to support unique needs. They want to improve their processes, reduce research time, and find solutions to their tech and talent challenges. They also want to ensure that if they use an RPO, they have a leading-edge platform to analyze, assess and source talent.  

How are other organizations planning to benefit from tech-enabled hiring? 

Beginning your journey with a tech-enabled RPO? Consider what other organizations are doing to advance innovation in their talent acquisition. Compare if your needs are one and the same. Organizations are looking to reap the benefits of tech-enabled RPO in a number of different ways:

  • Organizations want a lot of flexibility in their hiring choices. Tech-enabled RPO allows customization and the ability to scale talent sourcing up or down depending on a variety of factors, providing freedom and reliability. 
  • Companies are always looking to solve unexpected volumes or might need help retaining talent. 
  • Teams want to try new ways to hire and want to test-run outsourcing before they commit to larger models or contracts.  
  • The value-add of data insights from tech-enabled RPO providers is a key tool for talent professionals. Subjects of interest are changing – from skilling to internal mobility – and TA leaders want help on a micro or macro level to make the best hiring decisions possible.  
  • Hiring fluctuation goes in cycles and having partnerships that can support through the ups and downs is a way to gain an edge and not over invest for many companies.  
  • Every organization has their own tech ecosystem, so selecting the right systems, and integrating them well will ensure better flexibility. And in the end, it will be easier for recruiters to re-calibrate when needed.  

What role does human intervention play in tech-enabled hiring?

As the world of work changes amid increased automation, more and more actions can be executed with Artificial Intelligence (AI). So, this begs the question: why is the ‘human touch’ continuing to be so important?  

In the TA process, a human element is crucial. New hires still need to report to a manager and have a relationship with them. Relationship-building through the interview and hiring process is not something that can be left entirely to technology. After all, they are still working for a human and there are social dynamics at play.  

The nurturing and outreach stages of a recruitment process do present opportunities for automated mechanisms, but even then, the human connection propels the TA.  

Technology is great, it makes us more efficient. It allows humans to focus on the higher value and meaningful activities. Humans are always going to be necessary to ensure that ethical practices are taking place in your hiring

– Kimberly Kelly, Managing Director, Americas

A tech-enabled RPO does not take away the human experience of hiring. It simply enhances processes and the assessment of talent through data insights. It can streamline the hiring flow, and help to identify core components that can be automated. Interestingly, the use of technology will highlight areas where the human touch is going to be the most impactful – such as in reducing risks in data security and bias intervention. Over the long-term, we will see meaningful changes to the role of the human recruiter as technology and AI give us the opportunity to re-focus on where human expertise can have the most impact.

How to introduce a tech-enabled RPO, and why is data so important? 

As your business is changing, a tech-enabled RPO provides elements of versatility, such as problem-solving ‘on the fly’ and identifying talent when and where you need it. The next generation of tech-enabled RPO is here. If you are ready to explore its benefits, it begins with data.

 Data allows recruitment to evolve beyond the status quo. With an increased need for agility, consistent performance and principle-driven hiring, the future of talent solutions lies in harnessing data to get the most from your digital sourcing process. Data is at the core of a modern RPO. New technologies bring an array of capabilities, but without the proper analytics of that data and interface to access those insights, you won’t uncover the information you need to power your recruiting.

“With the capabilities we are developing, data is going to be used to drive decision making and provide measures of hiring success in ways that haven’t been possible historically. Laying the groundwork for this new kind of data relationship will open the door to better, faster and fairer hiring in the future.”

– Lewis Cohen, Managing Director Service Development, AMS

When it comes to a tech-enabled RPO, a key factor is data security and compliance. Talent teams want to ensure their critical data questions are met – and some are even surprised to learn their current internal processes aren’t as secure as they had previously thought. Partnering with a data-compliant third party is an initial step to overcoming privacy concerns and embarking on a tech-forward, AI-integrated, efficient, and successful hiring journey.

How thinking differently could create a pipeline of possibility for this crucial sector

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Solving the Pharma and Life Sciences talent deficit

How thinking differently could create a pipeline of possibility for this crucial sector

We have, and will continue to have, a talent shortage in Pharma and Life Sciences – 35% shy of what the sector needs according to our research. Talent leaders need to think differently about how they approach talent, and take some very specific actions to close the gap.

Two years ago

Although the pandemic created some profound talent challenges for most sectors and geographies, the Pharma and Life Sciences sector was largely sheltered from these. It was one of the few sectors that saw a bump in demand because of the vital services it provided.

However, the sector didn’t escape unscathed from the Great Resignation that followed. Pent up demand played a part. As did a backlog of attrition that caught up with itself post-COVID, resulting in an uptick in resignations. The result was a significant increase in demand for talent and a particularly tough hiring landscape.

Today’s picture

Fast-forward to today, and the Pharma and Life Sciences sector is in a similar position to other industries. Growth has slowed because of a struggling economy, and attrition has reduced as people choose to stay where they are.

Yet we know from our data that external hiring remains challenging:

• At last count there were 87,000 sector roles unfilled in the US alone (LinkedIn).

Time-to-hire is on the up. According to our research it rose by a full day in 2023 to an average of 43 days across all sectors and 44 in Pharma and Life Sciences.

Internal hiring is down. Today, only 25% of roles are filled internally across all sectors, which is a dramatic drop from before the pandemic. While internal hiring in Pharma and Life Sciences was holding steady for the first half of 2023 at 29%, it still means that companies are more reliant on external hiring than they’ve ever been.

It’s getting worse

Unfortunately, in all major economies, we know that talent shortages are going to get worse year on year for the Pharma and Life Sciences sector. This is principally because there are fewer people entering the workplace than the sector needs, and the talent available can’t keep pace with GDP growth.

The recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics workforce outlook shows the United States workforce will only grow at 0.3% per year over the next decade, while GDP is expected to grow at 1.9%.

Alongside this, in the West people are living longer, which is driving up demand for pharmaceuticals. The number of people aged 65 years or older worldwide is projected to more than double by 2050, rising from 761 million in 2021 to 1.6 billion. The number of people aged 80 years or older is growing even faster. At the same time, in emerging markets, a rise in the middle classes is set to have an impact. As prosperity increases, so will the issues that create further demand for drugs.

The skills Pharma and Life Sciences sector needs are also changing at record pace. Digital transformation is happening quickly because it’s accelerating the way treatments are developed, improving the probabilities of research and development (R&D) success and reducing R&D spend. And technology is fundamentally changing the core skills that companies need in a variety of critical R&D, clinical trial, manufacturing and quality-assurance (QA) roles. Eight of the top 13 priority skills identified by the UK Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) in their 2023 survey involve an element of digital or data expertise. As a result 80% of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities are struggling with skills mismatches and half of all executives say that recruiting experienced staff is challenging. Things aren’t much better in the clinical trial sphere, with more than a third (36%) of drug developers warning that talent shortages are limiting progress.

Understanding the scale of the deficit

A year ago, when we analyzed data from the US Pharma and Life Sciences market, we predicted that there’d be a 35% talent deficit by 2030. We recently updated this model, and this figure remains the same. It’s clear that, despite economic uncertainty and a slowdown in attrition, finding and attracting the right talent is still a profound challenge for talent leaders. 

In 2021, we published a paper looking at talent scarcity across the Life Sciences sector by function (see figure B). We re-ran this research in 2023 (see figure A). We analyzed data from hires made in our major outsourcing clients in the industry in the last 18 months, and measured talent scarcity by plotting average time to hire and the extent to which agencies were used. Our findings show that the landscape hasn’t changed a great deal 2021. We still see talent shortages in the same functions.

Looking at the two data records, we can see some positive movements in corporate affairs where agency usage has decreased. Also in sales, marketing and commercial where time-to-hire has come down. This has mainly been as a result of businesses prioritizing internal hiring for this key segment of the workforce which has led to savings of up to eight days in time to hire. However, at the same time, we are also seeing growth in agency usage for business analysis and a big increase in time-to-hire for medical affairs.

Figure A: Scarce talent by function – 2023 Data

Figure B: Scarce talent by function – 2021 Data

Towards a solution

With not much change in the last two years and a bleak outlook ahead, how might the Pharma and Life Sciences talent market improve? The answer lies in thinking differently to curate a productive talent pipeline.

To fulfil future requirements, organizations are going to have to make some radical moves. This includes redesigning work and exploiting generative AI to get tasks done, which should help reduce the need for new external talent. But competition is still going to increase exponentially.

Companies are going to need to take some very specific actions from a talent perspective to try and close the gap. Here are our four priorities for talent leaders.

1. Reimagine your approach to internal mobility

The first place to look when filling your talent gap is inside your organization. Yet most organizations aren’t making it easy for employees to find new internal roles.

A 2019 study by Deloitte found that just 6% of companies felt they were proficient at internal talent mobility, while more than half of employees thought it was easier to find a job outside their existing organization than inside. But those organizations that do succeed see a payback in employee retention. LinkedIn data shows that employees stay at companies almost 2x longer if the employer is highly committed to internal hiring.

To reimagine your approach to internal hiring, here are some of the key things to consider.

Get to know the skills you have. Then identify the ones you need. Apply advanced analytics, AI, machine learning and market-based skills data from your talent partners to see deep into the skills position of your enterprise. Publicize the skills you need to your workforce and give them ways to develop these.

Embrace potential over experience. Identify adjacent skills that complement or align with target jobs. Create career pathways that encourage sideways movement in the company. And equip recruiters with the data and insights they need to know when to focus on the existing workforce.

Foster a culture of mobility. Think beyond traditional jobs to work and skills. Incorporate more ‘gig’ and project work. Introduce job rotation, non-linear career paths and continuous learning into workflows. Coach and incentivize hiring managers to support talent mobility. Build and regularly tap into contingent workforce pools via direct sourcing to extend your talent ecosystem even further.

Create an inspiring internal candidate experience. Make sure your internal recruiting practices set you apart from the competition and bolsters internal hiring. Make use of a talent marketplace to record workforce skills and make matching easier for recruiters, employees and hiring managers.

2. Adopt a skills-based approach to external hiring

It’s still normal in the Pharma and Life Sciences industry to recruit from the competition and to use past experience, qualifications, universities or personal networks as the principal way of assessing talent. This narrows talent pools and lessens diversity. And it also handicaps TA efforts when there are such extensive skills gaps as today.

Skills-based hiring widens your talent pools and increases diversity. It’s also a better indicator of future success. Studies show that skills-based hiring is five times more predictive of future performance than hiring for education, and 2.5 times more predictive than past work experience.

Start small to gain confidence. Once you have proved it works, you can move onto the rest of the business.

Here’s how to adopt a skills-based approach to external hiring.

Define critical and hard-to-get skills. Interrogate your business to identify the critical skills it needs as well as those that are the hardest to attract, hire and retain. Deploy a shared language and framework for thinking about skills.

Encourage a culture shift in hiring. Focus on new hires or existing employees with adjacent abilities that can be developed through training. Offer strategic advice to business leaders and hiring managers, using your knowledge of the market to influence recruiters and collaborate around the skills needed to fill each role.

Leverage market insights and AI tools. Harness data insights to understand what skills are available and what hidden talents and markets you can map across when you’re not looking for a like-for-like replacement. Exploit AI-driven technology for efficiencies in advertising roles, skills-matching, candidate identification and shortlisting. (To ensure ROI, think clearly about the problem you are solving, engage all relevant stakeholders and understand how any technology you deploy will integrate with current platforms.)

Consider creating a dedicated skills team. Make this team responsible for running sourcing and attraction campaigns based on skills rather than roles, and building talent pools of critical skills outside of specific open requisitions. For TA teams in the Pharma and Life Sciences sector to address the skill shortage they need to be efficient and agile (not just to scale up and down their recruitment in terms of volumes but also to shift their focus from one part of the business to another) while at the same time being at the cutting edge of recruitment.

3. Take a holistic, thoughtful approach to talent

Understanding and embracing the skills-based economy also means thinking differently about talent. Work becomes about getting a project done rather than completing a standard working week. And the talent you draw on can be permanent, contingent or project gig workers.

Once you’ve identified what skills your organization needs and learned more about the skills and capabilities you are trying to attract, consider how and where you might hire them. For example, can you get the people you need permanently? Where do they need to be located? Do you need to bring in just a few individuals with the skills you need to upskill other employees?

Workforces can and should be blended strategically to create the most talented workforce for supporting your organization. To reverse the talent deficit, they’ll need to be boundless, global and able to scale and flex at pace. The goal is to build a diverse-enough skills pool to be able to ask, ‘who or what is the best fit for this specific initiative, no matter the source?’

4. Make insight the bedrock of everything you do

Using insight, or ‘talent intelligence’, to drive the hiring strategy is already a game-changer. It can give organizations the ability to inspect skills availability internally and externally, and to discover adjacent skills as well as upskilling opportunities.

It provides external market information such as competitor talent, their specific skill sets, salary expectations and where to find the greatest supply of the required talent. 

With access to advanced market insight, you can leverage your knowledge of the market to advise managers on how to best adjust hiring requirements – enabling success and reducing time to hire.

No choice but to think differently

It’s clear that progressing along ‘business as usual’ lines is not going to cut it when it comes to solving the talent deficit in Pharma and Life Science in the coming years. To quote Josh Bersin, Global HR Research Analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company:

“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.”

Thinking about the skills you need now and in the future is critical.

To find out how AMS can help your organization create a pipeline of possibility to solve the talent deficit, get in touch today.


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Think your business is too small for RPO?
Think again.


Josh Bersin

Founder and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company and HR and TA technology analyst

Kimberly Kelly

EVP, Managing Director Client Services Americas, AMS

Rebecca Wettemann

Founder and CEO of market analysis firm, Valoir

Understanding when to delegate tasks and let go is a challenge for all business leaders, but it is especially difficult for those running startups and small to medium size enterprises.

When is the right time to hand over the reins to an expert and focus on something different? How do you know when you need help? Most importantly, when will the benefits of outsourcing outweigh the costs?

The US is home to more than 33 million small businesses employing approximately half of its entire workforce. Millions of new small firms are created each year, boosting the economy and building new jobs. Yet finding, attracting and onboarding quality talent can be a problem for small businesses.

There is a misconception in talent acquisition that recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is only for big businesses with big turnovers. However, RPO can be hugely effective for SMEs and mid-size companies who are growing rapidly in scale and geographic reach.

Expertise and access

This is because RPO isn’t just about delivering quality recruits at a reduced cost. It’s also about tapping into expertise, talent pools and capacity that you might not otherwise have access to.

“In SMEs there is a feeling that what makes you great is that you do everything. They are concerned that when they leverage a company like AMS they will lose control of what makes their business theirs,” says Kimberly Kelly, EVP, managing director client services Americas at AMS.

“In reality, when we partner with SMEs we are an extension of their organization. We aren’t AMS, we are them,” she adds.

Kelly gives three ways that a RPO provider can help small and midsize companies develop talent acquisition.

“Right now, hiring is on the side of corporations, not talent. There is a deluge of people coming in, but they aren’t always the right people with the right skills.

“Hiring managers are misusing their time as they can’t get through all the candidates applying for roles. The knock-on effect of this is that the candidate experience is really bad as hiring managers are spread too thin. Candidates don’t get responses and this erodes the company’s brand,” says Kelly.

As the talent market fluctuates and becomes a candidate market again, these brands become less desirable as candidates recall previous poor experiences and share them with other potential recruits. Working with a RPO provider allows SMEs to consistently offer candidates a good experience while also identifying the right talent to pursue.

Your voice and brand

Secondly, outsourcing recruitment to an RPO provider gives SMEs better agility and creativity in the talent market.

“We’re often able to help clients by taking on a portion of their business so that they can focus on other areas,” says Kelly.

“They can choose to invest in training their people to get better in certain areas, whether sourcing, skills development or identifying more diverse candidates, or simply focus on what they are best at from a talent acquisition perspective,” she adds.

Finally, recruitment process outsourcing allows businesses to access expertise, knowledge and experience in a way they wouldn’t be able to do so in-house – while retaining control of their business.

“Dependent on size, some small to mid-sized businesses might not even have a ‘true’ recruitment function. Their talent teams might do benefits, employee relations and recruitment all as part of the same job, pulling people in different directions and taking them away from what they are good at,” says Kelly.

“When SMEs work with us, they control the process. They can choose to purchase the piece where they need expertise, whether that’s people who understand how to use recruitment technology, know where to find people or develop procedures – and they do it efficiently in the client’s mechanisms.”

According to HR and TA technology analyst Josh Bersin, recruiting has grown more challenging thanks to a labor shortage and the high demand for skilled candidates.  Not only are highly-skilled roles in great demand, but recruiting technologies, tools, and systems are radically changing, according to the founder and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company.

“By working with a deeply experienced RPO firm, regardless of size, companies can quickly upgrade their process and technology, and take advantage of deep expertise in this complex area”, he tells AMS Catalyst.  “I see RPO as a steady and increasingly important part of the HR marketplace, growing in importance over time.”

Your voice and brand

Secondly, outsourcing recruitment to an RPO provider gives SMEs better agility and creativity in the talent market.

“We’re often able to help clients by taking on a portion of their business so that they can focus on other areas,” says Kelly.

“They can choose to invest in training their people to get better in certain areas, whether sourcing, skills development or identifying more diverse candidates, or simply focus on what they are best at from a talent acquisition perspective,” she adds.

Finally, recruitment process outsourcing allows businesses to access expertise, knowledge and experience in a way they wouldn’t be able to do so in-house – while retaining control of their business.

“Dependent on size, some small to mid-sized businesses might not even have a ‘true’ recruitment function. Their talent teams might do benefits, employee relations and recruitment all as part of the same job, pulling people in different directions and taking them away from what they are good at,” says Kelly.

“When SMEs work with us, they control the process. They can choose to purchase the piece where they need expertise, whether that’s people who understand how to use recruitment technology, know where to find people or develop procedures – and they do it efficiently in the client’s mechanisms.”

According to HR and TA technology analyst Josh Bersin, recruiting has grown more challenging thanks to a labor shortage and the high demand for skilled candidates.  Not only are highly-skilled roles in great demand, but recruiting technologies, tools, and systems are radically changing, according to the founder and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company.

“By working with a deeply experienced RPO firm, regardless of size, companies can quickly upgrade their process and technology, and take advantage of deep expertise in this complex area”, he tells AMS Catalyst.  “I see RPO as a steady and increasingly important part of the HR marketplace, growing in importance over time.”

Project RPO

Recruitment is a labor intensive process that takes time and effort, often with specialist knowledge. Very few mid-sized businesses have the finances and desire to employ a single recruitment specialist, let alone an entire team. Partnering with a RPO provider gives expanding organizations access to expertise at a fraction of the cost. Effectively, SMEs can get recruitment expertise on a pay-per-use model.

This can be particularly useful to businesses that are expanding rapidly into new geographies and sectors. Buying region-specific recruitment knowledge around hiring laws and talent expectations can be invaluable in moving quickly and effectively.

This leads to another misconception around RPO. Many talent professionals believe that RPO is only effective for long-term, complex recruitment challenges. In reality, RPO can be hugely helpful in managing capacity gaps and talent acquisition capability on a project by project basis and Rebecca Wettemann, founder and CEO of market analysis firm Valoir, supports this view. 

“For HR and talent acquisition teams with limited bandwidth, which is almost everyone, RPO is more than just an augmentation of existing resources. RPO can enable HR and talent leaders to scale up and down their recruitment efforts as needed while maintaining access to a broader and diverse field of talent.”

Wettemann went on to explain that “because RPO’s are focused specifically on the talent acquisition process, they can bring up to date knowledge to talent pools and the most effective means to reach them. This is particularly important in areas of new demand or high specialization, or hard-to-find candidates. And of course, RPO’s provide strategic advice and develop recruiting strategies based on in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of evolving regulations and different compliance requirements for different locations, industries, and job roles. Critically, RPO’s are able to leverage their investments and knowledge in people analytics and other cutting-edge technologies to deliver their benefits to their clients without clients having to tackle investments.”

So why should smaller companies consider partnering with a recruitment process outsourcing company to deal with their talent acquisition needs?

By providing access to expert, experienced recruiters, RPO providers can improve your recruitment processes and outcomes, allowing you to focus more on the day-to-day requirements of your business. It can save you money in the long-term on recruitment, while also bringing you better and more diverse candidates. It can also help you develop better internal processes and procedures, all while maintaining your voice and branding.

“If you embrace walking shoulder to shoulder with an RPO provider on the journey of talent attraction, it can only make your talent acquisition team stronger,” smiles Kelly.

written by the Catalyst Editorial Board

with contribution from:

Josh Bersin

Founder and CEO, The Josh Bersin Company and HR and TA technology analyst

Kimberly Kelly

EVP, Managing Director Client Services Americas, AMS

Rebecca Wettemann

Founder and CEO of market analysis firm, Valoir

As AI continues to evolve and become increasingly more sophisticated, there will be some significant implications for the way that Early Careers candidates are assessed.

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How is Generative AI revolutionising Early Careers recruitment?

Matching answers. Generic content. ‘Samey’ cover letters. Written assessments you’ve seen before. The involvement of Generative AI in your Early Careers candidates’ applications is probably hard to miss. It’s everywhere.

As more and more candidates are using Generative AI to complete their assessments, there are decisions to make about how you should respond. Should you condemn Generative AI and try and limit its use? Or can you embrace its capabilities, as your candidates are doing, and evolve your hiring process?

Generative AI in a nutshell

AI has been through many cycles of development. It’s not new but, with the introduction of machine-learning algorithms, it has taken off. Generative AI uses deep learning and artificial neural networks so that we can interact with the technology to prompt ideas and answers. Whereas traditional AI can only analyse data and tell you what it sees, Generative AI can create new content such as text, images, video and music by learning patterns and structures from existing data.

How candidates are using it

Early Careers candidates are digital natives, born and bred. Adopting new technologies comes naturally to them, and their use of Generative AI is already well-established.