When you think about the future of the workforce in Germany, you have to think about demographics. For over 30 years Germany’s population has stayed at 80-84 million, what has changed significantly is the age of the workforce.

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The future of the workforce in Germany

Lead author
Brett O’Connor Client Director, EMEA, AMS

Contributors
Ute Neher Head of Executive Engagement, Indeed.com
Heike Lipinski Client Director, AMS

When you think about the future of the workforce in Germany, you have to think about demographics. For over 30 years Germany’s population has stayed at 80-84 million, what has changed significantly is the age of the workforce.

When East and West Germany reunified in 1990, around 1.2 million Germans were born each year. Now, it’s nearer to 900,000. Around 10% of the population is aged 15-24, which has fallen from 16-17% in the mid-80s. This means that it is increasingly difficult for companies – both big and small – to fill job roles with the talent required.

In fact, there are currently 1.7 million unfilled jobs in Germany, with critical labour shortages across all industries. With such an ageing population, if the country doesn’t bring in skilled people in their 20s and 30s soon, they’re going to face huge talent shortages for years to come. By 2030, Germany could have 5 million fewer workers than it does today to which automation cannot compensate.

Laptop displaying a graph from 'Bloomberg' magazine

The need for new talent

The most pragmatic solution that is going to address the challenges is increasing net migration, which before COVID-19 was just over 300,000 people per year. This is a similar amount of people that migrate to Canada and Australia each year, yet with smaller populations there is a vastly greater demographic and economic impact than in comparison to Germany.

The current German federal government is determined to bring in more immigration, to which the challenge is the attractiveness of Germany to global talent. Changes have been proposed to visa regulations and opening dual citizenship for people from outside the EU. However, a key challenge is mastery of the German language. It is not a global language, therefore English-speaking business cultures have the edge in attracting global talent be it Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, the US, or Singapore – all vastly easier countries to integrate into when compared with Germany.

To combat this, some German companies have adopted English as the first language – especially in IT departments. This is particularly prevalent in fintech and start-ups, which are more international in nature. For example, N26 the market leading German mobile bank has adopted English and French as its internal language, which helps them to bring in international talent from the US, South Asia, and other regions.

However, this doesn’t work in all industries. One of the benefits, yet also a challenge, is that Germany has one of the world’s most highly advanced and unique vocational training systems. Germany not only makes products – engineering, pharmaceutical, biotechnology – but it also designs and produces the capital equipment that makes those products giving it a unique place in the global supply chain market.

Changing how those organisations operate is not easy. One multi-national engineering company AMS partnered with, had an executive board who wanted to bring in more English-speaking talent. However, they found that their engineering leadership teams weren’t comfortable speaking in English. More importantly, their customers weren’t comfortable speaking in English.

When you’re setting up a high-technology manufacturing facility in Germany, it is not practical to do this just in English. A reliance on support from the local community and the vocational education system – would be a very challenging transformation. Tesla has adopted a dual running system of German and English-speaking shifts, which may point the way to future ways of working for some production and assembly roles.

There are 1.7 million unfilled jobs in Germany

The population aged 15-24 has fallen from 17% in the 80s to 10% now

By 2035, Germany is estimated to have 7 million fewer workers than today

What talent wants is changing

The second challenge for these types of organisations is that the changing demographics of Germany mean that 40% of apprenticeships went unfilled in 2021. Whereas these organisations might have had a significant number of applicants per role previously, they’re now lucky to get half of those – or even no applicants in some cases. This means that they can no longer rely on their employer brand to attract applicants.

Like other countries, Germany has a model that is seeing an increase in digitisation, automation and changing attitudes to what people want in life and work. The modern workforce is not so keen to commit to working their way up in one company for 20 years – especially when the work is often specialised.

Take two famous companies – Roche pharmaceuticals and Deutsche Bank. Roche is a family owned business and has been for 125 years. The current CEO started as a trainee, and so will the next CEO. Deutsche Bank’s CEO also started as a trainee. This mindset of lateral movements through an organisation is changing for many companies.

A need to do things differently

To sum up – the practices that have made Germany successful in the past are not going to be successful in the future. Germany has a world leading education system, scientific and academic employment market that other countries would strive for. There is however more work that needs to be done to accelerate immigration, integrate people into the community and workforce and make the country even more attractive because the best global talent has a choice.

The changing demographics across a range of sectors means that organisations will continue to have a limit on application numbers, so they need to work on brand, engagement, community and think very carefully about accommodating migrants into the workforce. It is less likely they will find the perfect candidate from a robust shortlist of choice, so companies need to be open to accommodating people from different backgrounds, life experiences and of different ages.

The last twenty years has seen the nature of work change. People want more balance in their lives, from remote working to reskilling and having different careers. Organisations need to allow people to bring more of their culture and themselves to work.

Finally, it is also about changing the mindset of how we operate. Organisations should consider a total transformation of their recruitment, engagement, induction, and work practices that are in place. Whilst, recognising that people now have significant choice in their careers.

“With the prospect of huge retirement and labour shortages in the upcoming years, organisations need to transform their attraction, retention, sourcing and recruitment strategies. They will need strong partners and new perspectives to master the challenge and to navigate the future of work. We still have untapped talent creating big opportunities for employers across the region who are ready to change their mindset, build on DE&I and transform their workforce”, comments Ute Neher, Head of Executive Engagement at Indeed.com.

This isn’t a new topic for Germany, it has been widely discussed for decades. However, Germany should be confident about its potential to succeed in the future of work – but it needs to face these challenges head on.

If you find yourself facing these challenges please contact us here.

written by the Catalyst Editorial Board

Lead author:
Brett O’Connor
Client Director, EMEA, AMS

with contributions from:
Ute Neher
Head of Executive Engagement, Indeed.com
Heike Lipinski
Client Director, AMS



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Myth number 2:
Once launched, technology can look after itself

The talent technology marketplace is huge – and it’s only going to get bigger. By the end of 2022, the global HR software market is expected to exceed $10bn, with the rate of growth in talent technology set to reach 13.5% by 2025.

However, with this growing usage comes a challenge for talent technology companies to move beyond their individual areas of expertise and build out into more comprehensive offerings.

Boston Consulting Group breaks down talent technology offerings into six key areas, with specialist providers leading the market in each section. These areas include providers that anticipate future needs, assess skill levels, source internal and external talent, develop employee skills, embed workers in an organisation and manage performance.

The problem for users is the lack of integration between various technology providers. With no single solution available to practitioners, talent technology is often siloed, with a lack of understanding as to how to integrate it into a wider, holistic talent strategy.

While major tech players are now attempting to bridge this gap through partnerships – Microsoft Viva’s numerous integrations – and buyouts – Workday purchased employee feedback software Peakon in 2021 – the challenge remains.

There’s also the issue of digital overload. A report by HR technology provider Personio found that more than a third (37%) of employees said they used too many different digital tools at work, with an average of six different tools per team for people-related insights and tasks. 

This leads to poor adoption from users, and can even slow down processes that it’s supposed to speed up. A quarter of HR professionals surveyed by Personio said that the number of systems used is frustrating employees and unnecessarily slowing down work.

Why talent technology implementations fail

So why do talent technology projects fail? HR technology media platform UNLEASH surveyed 700 talent leaders responsible for a combined $3bn technology budget about the challenges that derail implementations. It found that 40% of respondents reported three or more problems that directly impacted the success of a project, with only 16% believing that their projects were successful.

The three most common challenges encountered by organisations were users not being ready for the functionality, data not being clean enough and poor change management.

Expansive scope in technology projects leads to better outcomes according to Unleash.io's 'Why HR projects fail' report

Significantly, the scale and cost of implementing new technology often ran away from leaders. Less than a quarter (22%) believed that talent technology projects adhered to budgeted costs, with even fewer (19%) managing to keep projects to allotted timelines. With such a poor start, it’s not a surprise that many projects fail to fulfil their objectives.

Changing the narrative

In order to improve the chances of technology implementation succeeding, organisations need to change the narrative around talent technology.

Firstly, technology is no longer simply about automating processes and talent acquisition systems, but is rather a tool to transform and grow business. This means that talent technology isn’t about one-off implementation, but rather forms part of an approach to maximising the potential of your talent strategy.

Understanding this leads us to understand that simply launching a new piece of technology isn’t enough to ensure success. Far too many organisations only get to grips with new technology implementation at the point of actual launch, without considering, consulting and getting buy-in from end users in the procurement stage.

Taking a step back and actually involving users in the process of choosing technology, while focusing on the desired outcomes of the technology allows organisations to achieve two things: a clear goal with expected return on investment, rather than muddied thinking brought about by shiny new features; and a focus on employee experience that speeds adoption and actually makes a process easier.

Expert commentary

Josh Bersin
Author and HR thought leader

The role of technology in talent acquisition

Technology plays a vital role in talent acquisition and recruitment. Today, as employees move more dynamically than ever, companies need intelligent systems for sourcing, advertising, marketing, assessment, and ongoing candidate communications. Tools like intelligent chatbots, skills-based job recommendations, video interviews, and AI-enabled assessment are common. So there are hundreds of tools to consider.

Unfortunately, however, most recruitment teams have a stack of older systems. The core tool of recruitment, the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), is more than 30 years old in design. Originally designed as a place to store, search, and index job applications, these systems have become critical but legacy in most organisations. How do you add new tools around these systems to scale?

Our research shows that highly successful companies are always upgrading and experimenting with new technology. AI, which started as an interesting idea, can now match job seekers to roles by skill, identify possible internal candidates, and even assess the probability a candidate will succeed. Many leading companies now let job seekers just “apply” for any job, and the systems decide which role or skill may fit them best. Once a candidate expresses interest, these tools can automatically feed the more information, schedule an interview, and eventually provide onboarding uniquely designed for that job.

We also see an explosion of new tools we call Talent Intelligence to scan millions of possible job seekers and help make decisions on non-traditional candidates, diverse populations, and adjacent jobs to help fill positions. As jobs change more rapidly than ever, these systems can assess the true “skills” needed in a job and then help recruiters find candidates with greater precision than ever before. These tools, which are the latest evolution in this market, amass data from billions of job seekers and use AI to match people to jobs in ways we never imagined.

While all these tools are important, our newest research still finds that recruiters are perhaps the most important role of all. As we looked at the use and prevalence of technology in our new research, we found that “Human-Centered Recruiting” is still the biggest factor in success. In other words, no matter what technology you adopt, it’s the human side that really makes a difference. So these tools, while magnificent in many ways, are still part of a very “human-centered” process that always comes down to culture, fit, and match with the team.

There’s no question that technology will always play a major role in recruiting, workforce planning, and long term organisational design. But as you arm up and upgrade your tool set (which is a never-ending process), make sure you train and talk with your recruiters too. They, in the end, are still the most important tool you have.

Secondly, organisations need to plan for ongoing adoption of the technology, with a long-term change management programme in place to ensure that users continue to update their skills and develop new case uses for the chosen platform.

One way of doing this is to incentivise employees to use and train on new technology platforms, whether through providing on the spot bonuses, extra time off or gifts and merchandising. According to PwC’s 2022 HR Tech Survey, this is one of the most effective ways of driving technology adoption, with an 85% success rate amongst companies that used this method.

Other options include optimising the technology for mobile use to meet employee demand for anytime, anywhere work, introducing elements of gamification to drive engagement and – more controversially – providing penalties for non-usage.

Thirdly, businesses need to invest in technology for the longterm, providing a roadmap and iterative methodology to continually drive return on investment. This might be about assessing technology partners across multiple dimensions, including ongoing support and training. The aim is to avoid costly relaunches or switching providers as the strategic needs of your business change by ensuring that your technology partner – and the training you provide – flexes with your new requirements.

The successful adoption of talent technology is about meticulous planning, ongoing training and constant evolution – much like any other key business process. Technology isn’t there to simply automate processes, it’s there to help organisations transform and grow. Launching some technology and then simply hoping it – or the people using it – work things out by themselves isn’t going to lead to success.

Keep scrolling for more content

Expert commentary

Annie Hammer
Head of Technology Advisory, Americas, AMS

How to maximise technological adoption and avoid buyer’s remorse

There is a lot of technology on the market at the moment, which is busy and confusing. I’ve seen plenty of organisations get seduced by shiny product demos without understanding the core requirement and business outcomes you’re trying to drive.

To combat this, I recommend that businesses develop 3-4 scenarios that are specific to their organisation and ask tech providers to show how these scenarios are played out within their tools. It helps to bring up practical things that demos don’t show.

Then, it’s about avoiding tools with single use cases or duplication. A lot of times I’ll work with organisations that say ‘I need a CRM, or a chatbot, or a video interview tool’. That might be what you need, but you also need to understand the broader ecosystem and components within that. You might already have a tool that can provide some of the functionality you need, or you might need another tool that provides a wider use. It’s about looking at the broader picture and understanding the specific scenarios you need to accomplish with the tool specific to your business, rather than a general technological capability point of view.

There are several practical steps you can take when implementing new technology. First, involve end users in the selection process. Even if the ultimate decision lies with a manager, get forward-thinking users onboard to give their viewpoint and begin engaging with the technology. It can form part of a reward or development plan and helps socialise the technology amongst employees.

Let manager level employees be involved in localisation and specific business unit or regional needs. Once you’ve selected the tool, they can be involved in the implementation and design of the process.

When it comes to launch, get your team to feedback on the build in stages, rather than on completion. This allows HRIT to build and show functionality, with feedback coming from users who preview the technology. In addition, this builds in checkpoints along the way and reduces testing issues nearer launch.

You also need to plan for post-launch training and adoption. What’s the plan for 30 days post-launch? What’s the plan for six months? Or two years?

Having someone accountable for the evolution of technology is key, but make sure they are in place from the start so they avoid feeling overwhelmed by launch feedback. On that note, have a ‘fast-follow’ list of tasks that aren’t crucial for launch but need to be completed within three months. This allows for ongoing testing and development of the technology.

Finally, think about providing a platform for user voice, where end users can log issues or feedback. Add a mechanism for users to upvote issues, so that way you can prioritise the changes that need to be made based on real-time feedback.

So much new technology has been brought into the market in the past 18 months that soon we’ll see many organisations relaunching or iterating on technology that isn’t providing the required return on investment. Following some of these pre and post-launch processes will help to minimise future challenges.



The war for talent is raging.In September, a record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs, according to the US Labor Department. That was after 4.3 million people left their jobs the month before, with more than 10.4 million jobs going unfilled at the end of the month.

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How America’s talent wars are reshaping business

Contributors
Nicola Hancock
Regional Managing Director, Americas & Investment Banking, AMS
Ron Thomas
Managing Director, Strategy Focused Group

The war for talent is raging.
In September, a record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs, according to the US Labor Department. That was after 4.3 million people left their jobs the month before, with more than 10.4 million jobs going unfilled at the end of the month.

Things haven’t gotten much better in 2022. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 11.3 million job openings were still on the market at the end of May. As organizations compete to fill roles, wages have increased, with average hourly earnings up 0.3% month-on-month in June and 5.1% on the year.

Some of America’s biggest institutions are facing the squeeze. Speaking on a Fortune panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Bank of America CEO, Brian Moynihan, admitted that the war for talent is on.

“Our attrition rate came down throughout the decade and dropped in half during the pandemic, but has come back up to where it was in 2019. Part of this is a natural recovery in attrition rates, but a real part of it is in the tightness of the labor market. A lot of people left the labor market and are not going to come back, even with a strong bid for their services,” he said.

“That’s the reality we’re going to be facing. We’re chasing that dynamic of not enough people working. In the US, the immigration issue is also heavily impacting this. Our population growth rate has fallen in half over the last decade and we just don’t have enough people now. It’s going to be a big bid for a while,” added Moynihan.

To combat this, Bank of America bumped its minimum wage to $22 a hour, equivalent to nearly $45,000 a year for full-time employees. It also expanded its stock awards program to employees who make up to $100,000 annually – nearly 97% of total employees – who previously received a one-off cash bonus. The move could cost the bank up to $1 billion.

Beyond salary

Other businesses are following suit, with those working in service industries just as likely to see a wage increase as those in offices. However, the labor market squeeze means that continuous pay bumps are not sustainable. Instead, organizations are looking for new strategies to recruit, upskill and engage their employees.

“While salary plays a role in attracting talent, it shouldn’t be the dominant piece of the puzzle,” says Ron Thomas, Managing Director at consulting firm Strategy Focused Group.

“Can you sell your brand and purpose? Can you tell the story of how you build a career in the organization? What success stories do you have? People today are looking to connect and be a part of something bigger,” he adds.

“Organizations recognize that they have to think differently about their talent strategies,” agrees Nicola Hancock, Regional Manager Director, Americas & Investment Banking at AMS. “There aren’t enough people out there to simply think about constantly buying in more talent. Instead, they have to think more holistically and start developing their own talent and retrain existing employees.”

Attracting talent
Bank of America raised
minumum wage to $22 per hour,
expanded stock awards programme,
all at a potential cost of $1bn.

Internal mobility

For Hancock, this starts with organizations being less reactive in sourcing talent and more strategic. Such is the competition for hires, that even the biggest businesses are having to rethink how they attract the people they need.

“Everybody is looking at their employee value proposition, even those organizations that haven’t had to traditionally rely on that. Just look at the big corporate players, across all sectors, they’re all leaders in their respective industries who have been able to rely on their logos to attract and retain talent. Now, they’re recognizing that they’re having to work a lot harder,” she says.

One way to do this is to focus on building talent from within. However, internal hiring isn’t the same as internal mobility, warns Hancock. Instead, businesses need to think about how they can be agile in moving talent around the business depending on strategic needs.

“Internal mobility is cheaper and creates better engagement. Internal candidates get to productivity quicker, understand culture and know who to collaborate with to succeed,” says Thomas.

There are other ways American organizations are looking beyond salary. Some are increasing employee flexibility – whether location, remote work or compressed work weeks. They’re re-examining the benefits they offer in a post-pandemic era, moving away from office perks to offerings around mental health and wellbeing, and they’re particularly looking at career development, training and reskilling programs.

Reskilling programs

Back in 2019, JPMorgan announced a $350 million investment in skills development and social mobility. The investment created training programs upskilling the bank’s workforce for changes in technology and business, while also forecasting future workplace skills to build opportunities for internal employee development. It also made it compulsory for incoming asset management and investment banking analysts to take coding classes.

This allowed the bank to refocus its skillset – JPMorgan sees itself as a technology group, not just a bank, with technologists now accounting for a fifth of the organization’s 250,000 plus workforce. However, such large-scale reskilling programs are the exception, not the norm, says Hancock.

“The skills gap has always been there and it has gotten worse during the pandemic. This means that organizations need to fundamentally rethink how they approach talent acquisition. With digitalization, the skills organizations need change much more quickly than previously and the idea of a job for life doesn’t really exist anymore,” she says.

“Fundamentally, businesses need to be more agile and think about talent acquisition differently. Those that do will gain a competitive advantage, as it’s no longer affordable to keep buying in talent as it becomes even more of a premium,” adds Hancock.

written by the Catalyst Editorial Board

with contributions from:

Nicola Hancock
Regional Managing Director, Americas & Investment Banking, AMS
Ron Thomas
Managing Director, Strategy Focused Group



Global travel restrictions, the impact of remote working and the growth of workplace technology means that the need for employees to be office-based is diminishing. However, it’s not just the office that employers are foregoing, with an increasing number of organisations looking beyond location and geography when it comes to recruitment. Welcome to the era of ‘borderless’ hiring.

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The boom of borderless hiring in the APAC region

Joy Koh
Head of Growth and Advisory (APAC), AMS
Siddharth Suhas
Head of Growth Initiatives and Partnerships (APAC), AMS
Michael Uhlmann
Senior Manager, RPO Solutions Design (APAC), AMS

Global travel restrictions, the impact of remote working and the growth of workplace technology means that the need for employees to be office-based is diminishing. However, it’s not just the office that employers are foregoing, with an increasing number of organisations looking beyond location and geography when it comes to recruitment. Welcome to the era of ‘borderless’ hiring.

While the pandemic has increased opportunities for employees used to working from home (WFH) to try working from anywhere (WFA), the concept is not a new one. Companies as diverse as Amazon, American Express and Siemens have adopted long-term work from anywhere policies, while Salesforce President and CPO Brent Hyder even called the 9-5 workday ‘dead’.

The benefits of being borderless

Another organisation that introduced a work from anywhere policy in 2021 was Swedish audio streaming service Spotify. It allowed its 6,500 employees to determine how often they worked in an office and even where the location they chose to work from (providing the company had operations there).

It also revamped how it set salary bands, setting them by country rather than city or region, encouraging employees to move within locations.

The result? One year on, Spotify has seen attrition rates fall – 15% lower in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same quarter in 2019 – and diverse representation grow. In Europe, the streaming platform has grown its operations beyond its Stockholm headquarters into Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. At the same time, its location flexibility in the USA has seen half of hires come from cities outside its main US hubs of Los Angeles and San Francisco, helping it to meet diversity targets.

Growth in APAC region

In the APAC region, many organisations are choosing to hire from geographies or locations beyond their headquarters too.

A survey by global banking giant HSBC found that 40% of companies are encouraging more flexibility around the location or office employees work from over the next three years, with more than a third (36%) increasing the number of international remote workers they employ. Companies in India (51%), China (48%) and Australia (47%) had the greatest appetite for borderless workplaces, according to the Future of Work survey.

Meanwhile, at Indian IT services consulting giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), CEO Rajesh Gopinathan has plans to make 75% of the company’s 450,000 employees fully remote by 2025, reducing its global carbon footprint by 70% compared to a decade earlier. COVID-19 offers an opportunity to ‘leapfrog us into a new model’.

So what is driving cross-border hiring in the region?

“A lack of talent in the market and organisations fighting for the same talent, coupled with border closures due to COVID-19 limiting relocations, means many organisations have been forced to think about increasing borderless hiring programmes in the past year,” says Joy Koh, Head of Growth and Advisory, APAC for AMS.

“Secondly, companies are increasingly recognising that diversity is important to innovative and successful teams. It’s not just about diversity of location, but also the diversity of thought and problem-solving that people from different backgrounds bring. Companies are realising that a diverse workforce strengthens the organisation,” she adds.

Countries with the greatest appetite for borderless hiring

Australia

47 per cent

China

48 per cent

India

51 per cent

Three things companies should be doing to capitalise on borderless hiring

The way companies post jobs, screen resumes, make offers and onboard hires needs to change in the face of borderless recruitment. Furthermore, company culture is evolving as we move away from office-based organisations to remote ones. So while borderless hiring opens up new and exciting talent pools, it’s important to remember that the way these employees interact and engage with your business is also different.

To succeed, organisations need to think about the following:

Be aware of compliance and tax issues
Hiring employees from different geographies may mean a change in how organisational and employee taxation is calculated. Structuring globally compliant payrolls or industry-specific issues always requires detailed analysis before you go borderless.

Understand culture and how to engage remotely
While the pandemic has helped many organisations develop employee engagement programmes remotely, borderless hiring requires you to take this up a level. How are you going to build teamwork and a sense of belonging if employees never meet face-to-face? How are you going to ensure that those working remotely have the same opportunities as those in office? How will your culture evolve to be inclusive of people from new geographies and locations?

Plan for growth
Borderless hiring provides an opportunity for rapid growth, but businesses need to be prepared for this eventuality. If you suddenly find you have several hires in a region, are you prepared to set up regional hubs to facilitate more efficient work? Should this affect where you look to hire from? Prepare for borderless hiring to be a long-term strategy, not a short-term solution.

Siddharth Suhas, Head of Growth Initiatives and Partnerships APAC at AMS agrees that the combination of closed borders, tighter international talent mobility and dwindling local talent pools has forced businesses in the region to look further into borderless hiring, as well as outsourcing. However, it is the scope and speed at which borderless hiring is taking place that makes it a trend worth following.

“As with any new emerging talent channel or phenomenon, APAC is very much at the forefront and leapfrogging other regions. Tech hiring in particular, followed by certain operational and functional roles seem to be paving the way. What is different is that it is not just teams, but also leadership roles that are now being looked at with no location barrier,” says Suhas. 

“It’s also probably one of the few times when both ends of the employer spectrum – big multinational companies and startups – are following and leveraging the trend. They might be doing it with different EVP spins, but the truth is borderless recruitment is now a very key part of hiring strategy,” he adds.

What this means for recruiters

Borderless hiring opens up a new set of challenges for recruiters and hiring managers used to more traditional recruitment methods. Historically, recruiters would be assigned to specific sectors and geographies. Now, they need to cast their net wider meaning a greater need for data analysis and automation to improve the efficiency and impact of the profession as search goes global.

There are also compliance and tax considerations – both corporate and individual – to take into account. However, one of the biggest shifts is a need to focus on cultural fit over skillset.

“Because borderless hires are not in the office, you can’t engage with them in the same way you used to,” says Koh. “It’s really important to screen them for cultural fit, so there is a sense of belonging and engagement. Someone sitting in a different country who doesn’t get to meet colleagues face-to-face can be at a higher attrition risk.”

However, companies thinking about borderless hiring can lean on the remote working experiment of the pandemic for ideas when it comes to culture, argues another AMS colleague.

“Companies have experimented with different strategies to engage staff whilst working remotely. We’ve seen some of the best organisations have adapted their approach and culture to almost a remote working first mindset. Although touch points between employees are less frequent, they can be more meaningful as organisations take the time to build connections and culture,” says Michael Uhlmann, Senior Manager, RPO Solutions Design APAC.

This requires a reset of traditional hiring practices. Is your organisation ready to make the change?

written by the Catalyst Editorial Board

with contributions from:

Joy Koh
Head of Growth and Advisory (APAC), AMS
Siddharth Suhas
Head of Growth Initiatives and Partnerships (APAC), AMS
Michael Uhlmann
Senior Manager, RPO Solutions Design (APAC), AMS


Jim Sykes – Sector Managing Director, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences and Professional Services, AMSChip Holmes – Managing Director, Client Services, AMSCeline Raffray – VP Talent Acquisitions, BMSBeth Keeler – Associate Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition, Merck

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Closing the US pharmaceutical industry’s growing skills gap

Jim Sykes – Sector Managing Director, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences and Professional Services, AMS
Chip Holmes Managing Director, Client Services, AMS
Celine Raffray VP Talent Acquisition, BMS
Beth Keeler – Associate Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition, Merck

The world is facing a talent crisis. In the US, there were almost two jobs available for every unemployed person in July, with wage inflation rampant and the Great Resignation making it even harder to keep the talent that organisations are able to bring in.

One industry facing particular skills shortages is the life sciences and pharmaceuticals industry. Buoyed by rapid investment and hiring during the pandemic – as the sector ramped up manufacturing to deliver life-saving vaccines to millions of people – life sciences has nevertheless faced long standing challenges in bringing new talent and skills into the sector.

Back in 2017, industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) warned that the US would need to hire 3.4 million employees to meet demand in life sciences and pharma by 2025, but that 60% of those jobs would be vacant due to skills shortages, a lack of effective education policies and increased competition for talent from other countries.

Skills mismatch

By 2020, a McKinsey & Co report into future pharma workforces concluded that 80% of pharma-manufacturing companies were reporting a skills mismatch, with the pace and scale of technological disruption key.

“Manufacturers are introducing advanced technologies, automating and digitising processes and applying advanced analytics to data. Pharma is also facing its own disruptions – for example, new business models (such as direct-to-customer sales and personalised medicine) and new product modalities,” suggests the report.

This reflects what Celine Raffray, VP Talent Acquisitions at BMS, sees in the modern day market.

“Like all companies in the life sciences sector we’re feeling the competitive nature of the jobs market, particularly for scarce skills such as digital or cell therapy. Whilst BMS has an incredible brand to leverage in order to acquire the best talent, I am very aware the challenge will only get greater in the coming years,” she says.

“As such, I see the need to be more agile and flexible and turn to innovative or inhouse solutions such as upskilling and reskilling of staff, enhanced internal mobility and the need to take a skills-based approach to talent acquisition as being of great strategic importance,” adds Raffray.

So how can the pharmaceutical industry meet the twin challenges of digital innovation and a growing skills gap?

“Historically, the life sciences sector hasn’t done a good job attracting talent from outside the sector. Instead, it has had a very heavy reliance on hiring job ready candidates rather than investing in campus or internship programs,” says Jim Sykes, Sector Managing Director, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences and Professional Services, AMS.

“The challenge of this is that when you’re hiring job-ready candidates, you’re limited to headhunting talent from competitors. If you look at the market, you have increasing demand for pretty much any skillset, with attrition going up and unemployment going down. For me, the answer isn’t tactical, but rather it’s about more strategic approaches to how businesses approach talent,” he adds.

Sykes’ colleague, Chip Holmes, Managing Director Client Services at AMS agrees that the shortage of talent means that pharmaceutical companies have to rethink their talent strategies.

“For the first time, we have seen a greater willingness for talent to migrate out of the life science sector. Where organisations previously had attrition, it would usually be leaving one company in the sector to move to another. Now, we’re seeing people leave the industry altogether which is exacerbating the problems facing the sector,” he says.

The US life sciences industry needs to hire
3.4 million people by 2025

80% of pharmaceutical companies report a skills mismatch

The US life sciences industry needs to hire
3.4 million people by 2025

80% of pharmaceutical companies report a skills mismatch

New approach to talent acquisition

Changing the headhunting approach to talent means rethinking how pharmaceutical companies approach internal mobility, training and development and reskilling. Like other industries, more needs to be done in the life sciences to help existing employees update their skillsets to meet future demands – as well as engage them so that attrition falls.

However, actually creating effective reskilling programmes is still a challenge.

“A client of mine was going through a significant restructure. One therapeutic area was reducing significantly, while another was growing massively. You had a hiring freeze here, and a big recruitment drive there, but there was very little investment in crosstraining talent to facilitate moves between these therapeutic areas. With big pharma, the business units can be so big in their own right that they miss the opportunities to retrain talent,” says Sykes.

Those in industry agree that new ways of sourcing talent need to be developed to meet demand – but that doing so could also help diversify the industry. Beth Keeler is Associate Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition at Merck. She believes that transforming talent acquisition processes in the life sciences can bring new people into the sector.

“Hiring volumes at Merck, as with most companies inside and outside our sector, continue to be high and we certainly feel the competitiveness of the market when it comes to particular skills and geographies,” says Keeler.

“Amongst many initiatives, we are focused on transforming our talent acquisition processes to build long-term and diverse talent pipelines, creating more opportunities for those who haven’t been given a fair chance to gain qualifications for these roles. In doing so, we’re addressing the skills gap and building a better and more diverse organisation at the same time,” she adds. “We are proud to offer opportunities that provide purpose within a career through saving and improving lives while encouraging our employees to bring their authentic selves and various skill sets to our company to mirror the patients that we serve.”

Changing approaches to talent acquisition is one challenge – but how do you source people with niche digital skills who are in demand across different industries? As Sykes puts it – if your technological skills are such that you can work for tech companies like Apple or big banks like JPMorgan, pharmaceuticals is probably not going to be top of your list of employees.

Develop branding

The solution requires swallowing some pride and reasserting why the industry is a great place to work.

“In a lot of larger companies, there’s an assumption that everyone wants to work for them. The reality is that people now are less concerned with where they work than with what they do,” says Holmes.

“Organisations need to think about segmenting and differentiating their brand to target different groups of talent,” agrees Sykes. “The idea that you would go to market with a brand just as adept at hiring manufacturing talent as digital or clinical talent is nonsense. Tailor your brand to talk specifically to the talent you want to attract.”

“There is a golden opportunity now for Life Sciences companies.  As a result of COVID, people now hold pharma and life sciences in higher esteem than ever before due to the amazing contribution to society that the companies have made. There is an opportunity to make a massive leap in attracting talent from other sectors.”

written by the Catalyst Editorial Board

with contributions from:

Jim Sykes
Sector Managing Director
Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences and Professional Services, AMS
Chip Holmes
Managing Director, Client Services, AMS
Celine Raffray
VP Talent Acquisition, BMS
Beth Keeler
Associate Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition, Merck



Myth #1

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Myth number 1:
Talent technology will replace the need for recruiters and sourcers

The world of recruitment has changed dramatically in just a few decades. What was once an entirely human-centric endeavour, with people wading through printed resumes, making calls on telephones and searching rolodexes for contacts has morphed into the digital world of AI, applicant tracking systems and chatbots.

This is reflected in the wider working world. The World Economic Forum famously predicted that some 85 million jobs would be lost to automation by 2025, but with an additional 97 million created through new technology.

COVID-19 has only accelerated this digital transformation, with a 2020 McKinsey & Co report suggesting that a majority of companies had accelerated digitisation of internal operations and customer interactions by three to four years in the pandemic, while the share of digital products in their portfolio grew at a rate of a rapid seven years.

So with the impact of digitisation on the world of work and the growth in talent technology, are recruiters in danger of being replaced by robots?

In short, no. Recruitment is a deeply human process, rooted in the ability to connect, communicate and empathise with others. Think about how talent professionals source and screen applicants, understand and articulate an employer’s brand and then match the two together – and then try to imagine a non-human process doing so.

A 2020 report by cloud computing company Citrix called Work 2035 surveyed and interviewed nearly 2,000 business leaders about the future of work. It found that 73% of business leaders believe that technology and artificial intelligence will make employees at least twice as productive by 2035. However, when employees were asked the same question, just 39% agreed that technology and AI would make them more efficient. This digital disconnect represents the fear many employees have about the impact of digitisation on their jobs, versus the efficiencies that business leaders hope to gain.

With this in mind, it’s important to focus on the role technology has in reducing the pressure on talent professionals, rather than replacing them.

Human-centric recruitment

Josh Bersin is an author, industry expert and founder of corporate learning advisory The Josh Bersin Company. He believes that while the sheer volume of talent technology is accelerating, AI-based candidate searching and recruiting is still in its infancy.

“We’ve talked for years about the possibility of automating recruitment, but it is, at its core, a people-to-people business,” he writes in his paper the definitive guide to recruiting: human centred talent acquisition.

Instead, organisations should focus on ‘human-centred talent capabilities’, says Bersin. “[These are] more adaptable to change, more profitable, more innovative, their customers are more satisfied and they have higher employee engagement and retention. In short, when you have the right people, everything else gets better,” he adds.

Organisations using AI are 4 times more likely to have a strong candidate pipeline; Organisations using digital hiring solutions are 2x more likley to attract and retain the right talent

Bersin’s research shows that companies leveraging human-centric talent acquisition are twice as likely to exceed financial targets, five times more likely to have a deep pipeline of talent and 30 times more likely to engage and retain employees.

At the same time, Bersin acknowledges that technology can strengthen talent pipelines – but the issue is that most companies don’t know how to effectively utilise digital recruiting solutions.

“Our research shows that virtual hiring tools, automation, talent intelligence platforms, and even AI and chatbots do drive key metrics like your ability to attract and hire great candidates or maintain a quality talent pipeline,” says Bersin.

According to Bersin’s report, organisations that use AI are four times more likely to boast a strong candidate pipeline, while those that use digital hiring solutions are twice as likely to attract and recruit the right talent.

So with that in mind, how can talent professionals work with technology to build the future of recruitment?

Combining people and process

The first step is to think of talent technology as a complement and partner to the human skills talent professionals bring. By using talent technology to bring in efficiencies and remove administrative tasks, recruiters and talent acquisition professionals can focus on more strategic goals.

This also creates efficiencies on the candidate side. In a candidate-driven market, it’s vital that employers offer a slick, speedy recruitment experience. Technology like chatbots, automatic interview scheduling and AI screening can speed up the hiring process and move potential candidates more quickly to the interview and offer stage.

Building people and process on top of technology

Digital transformation is affecting all aspects of business, so it’s vital that a business’ talent strategy works with the broader strategic goals of the company. This might mean harnessing technology used elsewhere in the business for talent acquisition, or using talent technology to find the right profile of candidates to drive transformation.

Either way, technology is going to underpin the future of work, so it’s vital to examine how organisations can build people and process on top of technology.

Building relationships with vendors to understand technology

The impact of technology on recruitment is in its infancy. Currently, most talent technology is aimed at improving workflow efficiencies. However, as the sector develops, new technologies will inevitably change how candidates apply for roles and how recruiters manage them. It’s also likely we will see a consolidation of technologies, with larger providers emerging offering wider services.

A long-term skillset organisations and talent professionals will need is the ability to build relationships with technology vendors in order to better understand their offerings, how these will integrate with an organisation and how they can maximise value.

The world of recruitment has changed dramatically in just a few decades. What was once an entirely human-centric endeavour, with people wading through printed resumes, making calls on telephones and searching rolodexes for contacts has morphed into the digital world of AI, applicant tracking systems and chatbots.

This is reflected in the wider working world. The World Economic Forum famously predicted that some 85 million jobs would be lost to automation by 2025, but with an additional 97 million created through new technology.

COVID-19 has only accelerated this digital transformation, with a 2020 McKinsey & Co report suggesting that a majority of companies had accelerated digitisation of internal operations and customer interactions by three to four years in the pandemic, while the share of digital products in their portfolio grew at a rate of a rapid seven years.

“We’ve talked for years about the possibility of automating recruitment, but it is, at its core, a people-to-people business. Instead, organisations should focus on ‘human-centred talent capabilities." Josh Bersin, Industry Analyst & CEO, The Josh Bersin Company

So with the impact of digitisation on the world of work and the growth in talent technology, are recruiters in danger of being replaced by robots?

In short, no. Recruitment is a deeply human process, rooted in the ability to connect, communicate and empathise with others. Think about how talent professionals source and screen applicants, understand and articulate an employer’s brand and then match the two together – and then try to imagine a non-human process doing so.

A 2020 report by cloud computing company Citrix called Work 2035 surveyed and interviewed nearly 2,000 business leaders about the future of work. It found that 73% of business leaders believe that technology and artificial intelligence will make employees at least twice as productive by 2035. However, when employees were asked the same question, just 39% agreed that technology and AI would make them more efficient. This digital disconnect represents the fear many employees have about the impact of digitisation on their jobs, versus the efficiencies that business leaders hope to gain.

With this in mind, it’s important to focus on the role technology has in reducing the pressure on talent professionals, rather than replacing them.

Human-centric recruitment

Josh Bersin is an author, industry expert and founder of corporate learning advisory The Josh Bersin Company. He believes that while the sheer volume of talent technology is accelerating, AI-based candidate searching and recruiting is still in its infancy.

“We’ve talked for years about the possibility of automating recruitment, but it is, at its core, a people-to-people business,” he writes in his paper the definitive guide to recruiting: human centred talent acquisition.

Instead, organisations should focus on ‘human-centred talent capabilities’, says Bersin. “[These are] more adaptable to change, more profitable, more innovative, their customers are more satisfied and they have higher employee engagement and retention. In short, when you have the right people, everything else gets better,” he adds.

Organisations using AI are 4 times more likely to have a strong candidate pipeline; Organisations using digital hiring solutions are 2x more likley to attract and retain the right talent

Bersin’s research shows that companies leveraging human-centric talent acquisition are twice as likely to exceed financial targets, five times more likely to have a deep pipeline of talent and 30 times more likely to engage and retain employees.

At the same time, Bersin acknowledges that technology can strengthen talent pipelines – but the issue is that most companies don’t know how to effectively utilise digital recruiting solutions.

“Our research shows that virtual hiring tools, automation, talent intelligence platforms, and even AI and chatbots do drive key metrics like your ability to attract and hire great candidates or maintain a quality talent pipeline,” says Bersin.

According to Bersin’s report, organisations that use AI are four times more likely to boast a strong candidate pipeline, while those that use digital hiring solutions are twice as likely to attract and recruit the right talent.

So with that in mind, how can talent professionals work with technology to build the future of recruitment?

Combining people and process

The first step is to think of talent technology as a complement and partner to the human skills talent professionals bring. By using talent technology to bring in efficiencies and remove administrative tasks, recruiters and talent acquisition professionals can focus on more strategic goals.

This also creates efficiencies on the candidate side. In a candidate-driven market, it’s vital that employers offer a slick, speedy recruitment experience. Technology like chatbots, automatic interview scheduling and AI screening can speed up the hiring process and move potential candidates more quickly to the interview and offer stage.

Building people and process on top of technology

Digital transformation is affecting all aspects of business, so it’s vital that a business’ talent strategy works with the broader strategic goals of the company. This might mean harnessing technology used elsewhere in the business for talent acquisition, or using talent technology to find the right profile of candidates to drive transformation.

Either way, technology is going to underpin the future of work, so it’s vital to examine how organisations can build people and process on top of technology.

Building relationships with vendors to understand technology

The impact of technology on recruitment is in its infancy. Currently, most talent technology is aimed at improving workflow efficiencies. However, as the sector develops, new technologies will inevitably change how candidates apply for roles and how recruiters manage them. It’s also likely we will see a consolidation of technologies, with larger providers emerging offering wider services.

A long-term skillset organisations and talent professionals will need is the ability to build relationships with technology vendors in order to better understand their offerings, how these will integrate with an organisation and how they can maximise value.

Expert commentary

Jonathan Kestenbaum
Managing Director
Technology Strategy & Partners, AMS

The future of technology in talent acquisition

There’s a number of ways to look at the impact of technology on people in talent acquisition. The easiest way is to look at how it’s impacted a similar industry, like sales. Here, the evolution of technology has seen sales development representatives, account executives and heads of sales increasingly use tools like Salesforce or Outreach. These people didn’t disappear when technology came in – they just became more efficient, optimised and data-driven.

The flipside of this is candidate experience. Applying for a new job is potentially a life-changing decision. If you get through to an interview, you’re looking for cultural fit, you’re looking to understand the vibe of an organisation.

You can’t get this without speaking to someone who works there and connecting with the human element of an organisation. This means that while technology can be an enabler of recruitment, the people element is and will remain crucial.

We’re only at the beginning of the impact of technology on recruitment processes, with workflow technology the main focus. There are many more layers and dynamics that will come into play as technology evolves. This means that technical savvy will be a unique skill for recruiters moving forward. The ability to understand technology and optimise recruitment processes around it will be a valuable skill going forward.

In the future, recruiters will actually use less technology than they do now. You’ll use five technology platforms, not 20. As the space evolves, we’ll see significant consolidation of technologies into larger platforms.

On the people side, technology is going to allow us to optimise for specific metrics that make a business impact, such as time to hire or diversity. Recruiters will build deeper, more meaningful relationships with candidates – and hold onto these relationships for a longer period of time. What’s going to differentiate organisations of the future is the relationships they hold with candidates. Technology will allow us to scalably stay in touch with candidates in a meaningful way, matching their skills and requirements to jobs.

Keep scrolling for more content

Expert commentary

Jeanette Leeds
Managing Director
Hourly, AMS

How technology makes high volume hiring more efficient

AMS Hourly is set to focus on high volume retail organisations. It’s focused on engaging and optimising the hiring of hourly workers, through a quick and efficient process.

We do this through three key areas – conversational AI, automation and real-time data and analytics. Combining those three pieces can be very powerful in making the recruitment process more efficient and freeing up recruiters to do more strategic work.

One example of how such technology can improve recruitment is speed. The time from when a candidate engages with an Hourly chatbot to scheduling an interview is less than three minutes. This can be super powerful when you need to hire the same profile of candidate repeatedly in a short period of time. The chatbot asks a series of simple questions, the candidate answers and the system automates a response for you. It is rapid candidate sifting and scheduling.

Those in the market not using such technology are missing out on candidates, as the job market today is all about speed and candidate experience. Jobseekers today are used to a frictionless, consumer-like experience. They use Uber Eats to order food, or Amazon to buy products. Everything is so quick and easy and you don’t have to engage with another person. If your job application process is long and tedious, you’ll lose candidates to your competitors.

This is particularly true in the current job market, where demand for candidates is huge. There are way more jobs than candidates, so speed and efficiency is key.

There is a lot of fear about AI and automation in the job market, with people worried about technology replacing people. This will absolutely not happen. What will happen is that jobs will evolve. Technology will take over some tasks – particularly admin – but people will remain the decision-makers. Technology will guide and suggest, but people will make the ultimate decisions. It will make the job of a recruiter more strategic, more efficient and in the end, more fun.



Talent technology is here to stay. The future is now.

View the story

Exploding Digital Myths in Talent Acquisition

AMS Whitepaper

Talent technology is here to stay. 
The future is now.

We live in a world driven by technological transformation. New technologies have touched all industries and businesses. The talent landscape too has been propelled into the digital sphere, whether that’s automated CV sifting or conversational AI driven hiring processes.

George Westerman, the pioneering researcher and world recognized thought leader on digital transformation, recently commented: “When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar”.

As the war on talent continues to heat up, it’s that tech-enabled butterfly that will herald the endless summer for organizations looking to future proof their workforces by securing the best talent. Those who fail to embrace a technology enabled approach are increasingly at risk of finding themselves unable to deliver the workforce they need, thereby putting the business goals they strive for at considerable risk.

However, change is a symptom of the brave and the talent technology market is fragmented, often confusing and moving at pace. According to the Boston Consulting Group, more than $12bn in venture capital was poured into the sector in 2021 and thousands of new talent applications have come to market in the last five years. It’s no surprise that industry leaders have found it difficult to embrace and adopt new technologies and ways of working.

Our latest white paper, Exploding Digital Myths in Talent Acquisition, debunks some of the most common myths surrounding talent technology and explores how tech-enabled tools, when implemented and used correctly, can underpin a talent acquisition strategy, and deliver better, faster and more dynamic decisions.

It’s important, however, that we bridge the gap between technology and talent. The fear of being replaced by automation can be a very real concern for employees. A 2020 report by Citrix found that 73% of employers believed that AI and technology would make employees more efficient by 2035. Conversely, only 39% of employees agreed when asked the same question. If left unaddressed, these concerns can lead to poor adoption of costly technology, further slowing the hiring process and demotivating existing employees.

But that need not be the case. It’s a myth that employees and technology cannot co-exist, or that AI will soon automate the entire hiring process. Rather, technology is here to remove mundane administrative tasks from talent professionals, allowing them to focus on candidate experience and strategic insights.

That’s just one of the myths around talent technology that this white paper aims to address.

From how to choose and implement talent technology through to the impact of artificial intelligence and automation on wider business, we’ll explode some of the misconceptions around technology and give tangible advice on how to implement tech tools within your talent acquisition function.

Along the way, we’ll hear from AMS industry experts, academics and thought leaders about their take on how digitization is transforming the world of talent acquisition, as well as examining global reports and studies on the sector. We conclude with a spotlight on AMS solutions, carefully developed, to make a difference to the world of work.

The temperature of the Talent Climate is rising, and talent technology is here to stay. Forget the myths, augment your talent teams by successfully operationalizing the right technology and you’ll revolutionize your workforce.

Talent technology is here to stay. 
The future is now.

David Leigh
Chief Executive Officer
AMS

We live in a world driven by technological transformation. New technologies have touched all industries and businesses. The talent landscape too has been propelled into the digital sphere, whether that’s automated CV sifting or conversational AI driven hiring processes.

George Westerman, the pioneering researcher and world recognized thought leader on digital transformation, recently commented: “When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar”.

As the war on talent continues to heat up, it’s that tech-enabled butterfly that will herald the endless summer for organizations looking to future proof their workforces by securing the best talent. Those who fail to embrace a technology enabled approach are increasingly at risk of finding themselves unable to deliver the workforce they need, thereby putting the business goals they strive for at considerable risk.

However, change is a symptom of the brave and the talent technology market is fragmented, often confusing and moving at pace. According to the Boston Consulting Group, more than $12bn in venture capital was poured into the sector in 2021 and thousands of new talent applications have come to market in the last five years. It’s no surprise that industry leaders have found it difficult to embrace and adopt new technologies and ways of working.

Our latest white paper, Exploding Digital Myths in Talent Acquisition, debunks some of the most common myths surrounding talent technology and explores how tech-enabled tools, when implemented and used correctly, can underpin a talent acquisition strategy, and deliver better, faster and more dynamic decisions.

It’s important, however, that we bridge the gap between technology and talent. The fear of being replaced by automation can be a very real concern for employees. A 2020 report by Citrix found that 73% of employers believed that AI and technology would make employees more efficient by 2035. Conversely, only 39% of employees agreed when asked the same question. If left unaddressed, these concerns can lead to poor adoption of costly technology, further slowing the hiring process and demotivating existing employees.

But that need not be the case. It’s a myth that employees and technology cannot co-exist, or that AI will soon automate the entire hiring process. Rather, technology is here to remove mundane administrative tasks from talent professionals, allowing them to focus on candidate experience and strategic insights.

That’s just one of the myths around talent technology that this white paper aims to address.

From how to choose and implement talent technology through to the impact of artificial intelligence and automation on wider business, we’ll explode some of the misconceptions around technology and give tangible advice on how to implement tech tools within your talent acquisition function.

Along the way, we’ll hear from AMS industry experts, academics and thought leaders about their take on how digitization is transforming the world of talent acquisition, as well as examining global reports and studies on the sector. We conclude with a spotlight on AMS solutions, carefully developed, to make a difference to the world of work.

The temperature of the Talent Climate is rising, and talent technology is here to stay. Forget the myths, augment your talent teams by successfully operationalizing the right technology and you’ll revolutionize your workforce.



How Recruitment Process Outsourcing helps you win in a tough talent world

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How Recruitment Process Outsourcing helps you win in a tough talent world

Introduction

Attracting, hiring and retaining top talent is the number one priority for today’s CEOs. At the same time, the job of securing the best people has become more challenging than it has been for many years – if not ever. Employees everywhere are on the move. According to Pew Research Center, 2.5% of U.S. workers – about 4 million – switched jobs on average each month from January to March 2022. This share translates into an annual turnover of 30% of workers – nearly 50 million – if it is assumed that no workers change jobs more than once a year. Meanwhile, demand for labour is greatly outstripping supply. The result is a highly candidate-driven market where good people get to pick and choose their employers according to an increasingly diverse list of concerns. Are there opportunities for me to progress? Can I work from home when I need to? How serious is this company about reducing CO₂?

In short, the pandemic has produced a tougher-than-ever hiring world. Organisations cannot expect to beat competitors to the best talent by sticking to the same old, same old. Instead,  they need to take a more strategic, more holistic and more innovative approach to recruiting and retaining talent.

It’s a big challenge – but it’s not one you need to tackle alone. Over the next few pages, we look at some of the key ways in which an recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner can help your organisation optimise its hiring power in an increasingly competitive market.

Are you using data and analytics to anticipate future trends?; 	Will you be able to react quickly enough when talent needs change?; 	Do you understand your current skills and immediate and long-term skilling requirements?; 	Have you identified talent pools that could be reskilled and upskilled?;  	Is your talent strategy focused on areas outside of purely hiring?

“Our talent market has changed beyond recognition. Candidates are prioritising lifestyle choices and values, and the demand for skills in many categories still far outstrips the supply. As a result, we are finding that traditional recruitment practices are no longer effective.”

Steve Leach
Regional Managing Director, UK&I

“Many people dropped out of the labour market during the pandemic, creating a nationwide staff shortage, particularly for hourly roles. To compete, companies must work hard not only on their proposition but also on ensuring the application process is quick, straightforward, and mobile-enabled.”

Nicky Hancock
Regional Managing Director, Americas

“Traditionally, companies in APAC have cherry-picked talent. Post pandemic, however, there is not enough to go around. So organisations are working hard to establish where the skills are in the region – and whether hybrid working could enable them to hire people in locations where skills are more plentiful.”

Roop Kaistha
Regional Managing Director, APAC

“The talent landscape in EMEA is experiencing a perfect storm right now due to the effects of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If they haven’t done so already, organisations need to factor these issues into their long-term plans and start working strategically to create an idealised workforce of the future.”

Maxine Pillinger
Regional Managing Director, EMEA

Navigating the market with greater speed and agility

Climate change. Soaring inflation. Geopolitical conflict. COVID-19. It’s no wonder RPO clients interviewed for NelsonHall’s RPO & Total Talent report predicted we would be seeing economic instability for some years to come.

To survive and thrive in the face of fluctuating demand, organisations must become as agile possible – particularly when it comes to recruiting permanent and contingent workers. Only then will they be able to respond quickly enough to changing market conditions, deploying people with the right skills and capabilities, when and where they are needed.

The good news is that RPO partners tend to be masters of scalability – ideal for managing all those peaks and troughs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, AMS helped a global e-commerce company meet a sudden spike in demand by hiring 175,000 US-based warehouse employees within just six weeks. The company’s internal team wasn’t big enough to cope with the sudden influx of candidates, so we used our scalable model to rapidly assemble and deploy a Candidate Care team of 35 agents.

Here are three ways an RPO partner can make it easy for you to scale your TA function up (and, even more importantly, down) at pace.

Flexible resourcing
Most RPO partners will offer you the option of scaling costs up and down in line with demand. In fallow periods, the TA function can be pared back to a core team. Recruiters who are surplus to requirements are transferred temporarily to other clients, ready to return whenever volumes start rising again. This allows the organisation to downsize without losing vital skills and capabilities that will be needed in the long term.

Upskilling and reskilling
Struggling to cope with another large hiring peak? At AMS, we help our clients develop talent using the AMS Talent Lab, which focuses on upskilling and reskilling. So, whether it is helping established employees develop niche skills or finding new talent and equipping them with the skillsets you need, an RPO partner can help.

Centre of excellence
Organisations that have a specialist sourcing centre of excellence tend to be able to respond to business needs with greater speed and agility. These centres use data and deep market insight to identify, engage and nurture short-, medium- and long-term talent pools.

Navigating the market with greater speed and agility

Climate change. Soaring inflation. Geopolitical conflict. COVID-19. It’s no wonder RPO clients interviewed for NelsonHall’s RPO & Total Talent report predicted we would be seeing economic instability for some years to come.

To survive and thrive in the face of fluctuating demand, organisations must become as agile possible – particularly when it comes to recruiting permanent and contingent workers. Only then will they be able to respond quickly enough to changing market conditions, deploying people with the right skills and capabilities, when and where they are needed.

The good news is that RPO partners tend to be masters of scalability – ideal for managing all those peaks and troughs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, AMS helped a global e-commerce company meet a sudden spike in demand by hiring 175,000 US-based warehouse employees within just six weeks. The company’s internal team wasn’t big enough to cope with the sudden influx of candidates, so we used our scalable model to rapidly assemble and deploy a Candidate Care team of 35 agents.

Here are three ways an RPO partner can make it easy for you to scale your TA function up (and, even more importantly, down) at pace.

Flexible resourcing
Most RPO partners will offer you the option of scaling costs up and down in line with demand. In fallow periods, the TA function can be pared back to a core team. Recruiters who are surplus to requirements are transferred temporarily to other clients, ready to return whenever volumes start rising again. This allows the organisation to downsize without losing vital skills and capabilities that will be needed in the long term.

Upskilling and reskilling
Struggling to cope with another large hiring peak? At AMS, we help our clients develop talent using the AMS Talent Lab, which focuses on upskilling and reskilling. So, whether it is helping established employees develop niche skills or finding new talent and equipping them with the skillsets you need, an RPO partner can help.

Centre of excellence
Organisations that have a specialist sourcing centre of excellence tend to be able to respond to business needs with greater speed and agility. These centres use data and deep market insight to identify, engage and nurture short-, medium- and long-term talent pools.

are you agile?

Are you able to scale your team up or down quickly enough to respond to business needs?; 	Do you have access to specialist sourcing centres who can use market insight and candidate identification to build a strong talent pool?;? 	Do you have the capability to upskill and reskill talent to fit your needs?

“The pharmaceutical and life sciences sector is grappling with scarce talent, rapidly changing skills requirements, and the challenge of developing and retaining employees. Without a doubt, those companies that approach talent in an integrated way will hold a competitive advantage.”

Jim Sykes
Managing Director | Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences

“The demand for renewable energy skills is expected to treble from 12 million globally in 2020 to 43 million by 2050. Much of this can be met by upskilling candidates from outside the sector who have the relevant transferable skills. To succeed, organisations will need to draw people in with a compelling employee value proposition and develop a large talent pool that they can nurture.”

Lynne Gardner
Managing Director | Energy, Engineering and Manufacturing

Agility and creative thinking are crucial when sourcing high-demand and niche skills in the financial services sector. This could include looking for relevant skills within the company, using upskilling and reskilling programmes to fulfil niche areas, sourcing talent from underrepresented talent pools, and balancing a mix of contractor and permanent employees.”

Janine Chidlow
Managing Director | Retail Banking and Insurance

Building a compelling employee value proposition

Having a strong, well-defined employee value proposition (EVP) has been linked to everything from decreased attrition to better productivity and bottom-line impact. A CEB study entitled Branding for Influence found that a strong employer brand can raise your quality of hire by 9% and improve applicant pool quality by 54%. According to LinkedIn, companies with stronger employer brands see a 43% decrease in the cost per hire.

The tougher the talent market gets, the more important your EVP becomes. Candidates today are subjecting organisations to ever greater levels of scrutiny. What will they make of your company’s market reputation? How attractive do you appear to them as an employer? These are critical questions that organisations must address if they want to survive and thrive in the current talent market. But data from Aptitude Research shows that less than 50% of recruiters spend time on employer branding or DEI initiatives each week.

Many RPO providers are also employer branding experts. They know how to develop an authentic and compelling EVP – and how to communicate it in a way that will help you stand out from the crowd and attract the top performers in your market. It doesn’t even need to be a costly or time-consuming process. In many cases, the basics are already there – the task is merely to bring your culture to life by engaging with employees, listening to their experiences, and retelling their unique stories to the outside world.

This is the approach we took with our long-standing client, Synchrony, one of the largest issuers of store credit cards in the US. They were looking to build their team with qualified professionals and recognised that having a distinct employee value proposition was crucial for achieving standout in a crowded market. We have helped them establish their reputation as a top employer by focusing on their culture, telling their unique story, and remaining committed to a strong candidate experience. As a result, they have been able to grow their business significantly while at the same time decreasing cost per hire and cost per application.

are you attractive?

Do you have an EVP that is distinctive and compelling? Is your EVP aligned with your authentic company culture - or is it purely aspirational? Do your recruiters know how to communicate your EVP and bring it to life for candidates?