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The Top 6 Hiring Trends to Watch in 2024

Several trends, including artificial intelligence and early-career hiring, will influence talent acquisition in the coming year, according to Korn Ferry’s 2024 Talent Acquisition Trend report.

“With the explosion of AI in recruiting, as well as the challenges of greeting a new generation of workers and grappling with when, where and how people should work, there is a lot for talent leaders to consider when shaping the hiring and retention landscape,” said Jeanne MacDonald, Chief Executive Officer, Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Korn Ferry.

It’s your chance to find out what recruitment trends and talent trends you’ll be seeing in the coming year – and your opportunity to stay ahead of them. Here are the six biggest hiring trends you need to know about in 2024.

AI and Recruiters
Cautiously, AI and recruiters will find hiring harmony

AI will increasingly handle time-consuming recruitment tasks, such as AI-driven assessments and scheduling. The time saved by AI will allow recruiters to focus on the candidate experience and help to discern how candidates match to specific roles.

A cautionary note, however: a Korn Ferry survey found that 73% of leaders will be closely monitoring the use of AI tools for potential negative effects on their companies such as security issues and algorithmic bias. In fact, a recent Stanford study shows generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, may be regressing in terms of accuracy.

In one of Korn Ferry’s latest studies, 82% of CEOs and senior leaders said they expect AI to have a significant or even extreme impact on their business. But will it be positive?

The takeaway for recruiters is that AI tools are just that – tools. It speeds up processes. It writes job descriptions. It powers pre-screening video interviews and assesses candidates to find the best matches for roles. Recruitment chatbots can even answer candidates’ questions in real-time.

However, it is critical that these assets be used in conjunction with human input, checks and balances.

AI and Candidates
AI will help candidates apply themselves

AI will assist candidates by finding openings for roles they may not have considered, optimizing their resumes and cover letters, and preparing them for interviews. AI will also keep the lines of communication open, as it can continually update candidates on where they stand in the recruiting process.

It should be noted, however, that there have been reports of fake AI-generated job postings that are trying to obtain candidates’ personal information such as social security or bank account numbers. The best advice for candidates is to double check the validity of postings and be very judicious in sharing personal information.

Candidates will also be empowered to seek fairer pay. As AI can easily compare salary ranges, candidates will be in a better position to negotiate or walk away if they’re not getting an offer that matches the market.

Finally, when they land the role, candidates will go through a more streamlined onboarding process – thanks to the help of virtual training and chatbots on hand to answer questions.

Early Career Hiring
It’s never too early: doubling down on early career hiring

There is a growing battle for workers who are fresh into the professional field. Employers are interested in the new ideas they bring and, in times of economic uncertainty, it’s easier to justify bringing on people with entry-level salaries than hiring more experienced (and more expensive) workers.

Some larger employers are starting to woo candidates as early as high school, and others are broadening their candidate searches beyond top-tier colleges to technical and non-traditional higher education institutions. This larger candidate pool is critical to achieving diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) goals. 
While most professional jobs still require college degrees, many organizations are also offering in-house certification programs.

Young hires today expect more from employers – more inclusion, more balance, more compassion. We’re finding a call for more empathy, emotional intelligence, and focus on mental health at work than ever before. It’s on employers to step up and support their people.

Hiring For Skills
It’s not where you’ve been, it’s what you know: hiring for skills

Instead of tying hiring initiatives to long-term strategic business needs, many companies are hiring for – and paying top dollar for – the skills workers possess today, such as generative AI specialists.

Job postings will focus more on specific skills – including both technical and leadership skills, depending on the role – instead of qualifications such as the university the person attended. This will be a big win for DE&I and widening the talent pool will bring big advantages to organizations too.

We also can expect to see more lateral moves as businesses reassign roles to unleash hidden potential in their ranks.

Another increasingly common practice will be to hire interim employees and executives who will bring niche skills to help organizations through periods of change or evolution, such as mergers and acquisitions or expansion into new products and geographies.

Empathy Regains Importance
Listen up or step down: empathy regains importance at the top

Many employees believe there is a decline in pandemic-era empathy from top organizational leaders. CEO-led return to the office mandates are perceived as ignoring workers’ personal commitments. An early 2023 survey of 3,000 HR professionals found that 32% don’t find their CEO to be empathetic – 16 points higher than in 2022.
Research shows that empathy is associated with high retention and positive job performance. As high performers move on – taking roles in organizations that give them greater work-life integration, or more freedom to share their opinions without fear, CEOs will have to make changes.

By 2024, we expect CEOs to listen more to colleagues at every level in their business without judgment. That doesn’t mean they’ll stop asking teams to return to the office, but it does mean they’ll think more about the culture they create. And they’ll make more allowances for people’s personal circumstances.

Relocate or Resign
Relocate or resign: an impossible choice is on the rise

In 1986, 45% of Americans packed up and moved across country to follow lucrative careers. Back then, it seemed like a no-brainer, but not so today. In the first quarter of 2023, one study shows that just 2% of Americans made similar moves.

Why the drop? Moving costs have skyrocketed. Company relocation budgets have shrunk. And many people came out of the pandemic realizing they loved working from home.

But that’s all about to change. Now most employers are asking their teams to head back to the office at least some of the time, including the people they’d hired as remote workers, and tough choices will need to be made.

Either those remote workers leave and hope to find more flexibility elsewhere, or they uproot their families to move closer to workplaces that could be hundreds of miles away.

If employers want to hire and keep hold of the best people – and see more of them in the office – they’ll need to re-evaluate their relocation policies.

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