By Bailey Reiners  |  March 11, 2019

It’s March and the trends in the recruiting and talent acquisition space this month are nothing short of madness.

Given some of the headlines of late, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there hasn’t been much going on, but we’re here to correct that notion.

From female feats and overworked geeks to the future of HR technology, there’s plenty to catch up on.

The trends are in reverse monthly order, so if you're all caught up, read on. If you need to catch up, click on the months below to get there.


Recruiting Trends - March 2019

Who Run The Workplace?

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There may still be a prevalent gender gap in the boardrooms of America, but women are making headway in some of the most notoriously male-dominated fields and roles out there.

Take the Fortune 500 companies, for example. In 2018, the number of female CEOs doubled over the course of the preceding decade. Granted, by “doubled” we mean there are now 25 (4.8%) female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies compared to the mere 12 (2.4%) in 2008, but it’s a noticeable shift.

Not only that, but in recent months, women have taken a few first time executive-level roles in the automotive industry, NY Stock Exchange and The Home Depot, industries that are primarily run by and are marketed to men. In addition to the big wigs, smaller companies are also following suit, bringing women onto their executive boards and prioritizing diversity initiatives.  

It’s not just women high up in their careers who are making waves. In particular, over the past two years, Millennial women have made a significant change in the employment gap between men and women. Contributing factors likely include some noticeable social, cultural and political shifts that have taken affect in recent history.

In honor of Women’s History month, make sure to celebrate women who have and are taking risks, paving the way for more inclusive opportunities and are supporting other women to reach higher and go farther in their careers.


Office Madness

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Last year, 97 million people watched March Madness games across 180 countries.

There’s so much hype around the annual college Basketball tournament that OfficeTeam decided to run a study to see how much the Madness dribbles into the office.

On average, employees spend 25.5 minutes watching sports-related activities each day in the office during the March Madness tournament. Over the course of 15 work days, that’s about six hours spent per employee, amounting to nearly $2.1 billion in lost wages.

While some companies are wary of how the games will affect productivity, last year Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, famously encouraged his employees to take part in the Madness by offering $1M every year for the rest of their life to anyone who accurately predicts all Sweet 16 teams.


Casual Everyday For Everyone

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While casual Friday may still be the norm for corporate America, in the startup tech scene, or really anywhere that Millennials dominate the workplace, everyday is a casual day. Whether they’re working from home or in the office, workplace attire and etiquette has drastically changed from the suits and ties of yesteryear.

Now more than ever, candidates care about the culture of the companies they apply to work for, including how people dress and what’s considered appropriate for work. In fact, company culture is the number one factor contributing to a candidates decision to accept an offer.

Not only that, but culture and casual attire are contributing factors to employee morale, happiness and productivity, not to mention the financial burden that comes with updating an additional (and expensive) ‘work appropriate’ wardrobe.

On a more serious note, casual workplace attire has made an impact on the emotional and psychological welfare of employees, especially for those coming from poor, working-class and lower-middle-class backgrounds. Casual dress creates a more inclusive and comfortable work environment for people with diverse backgrounds because employees are less concerned with abiding by the the strict yet ambiguous social and dress codes established by... well...The Man.

Even hyper-formal environments like the White House and Goldman Sachs are adopting company-wide casual offices to evolve with workplace trends and attract younger, diverse talent.


Work Work Work Work Work

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We’ve all been to those meetings. You know, the ones that always start with “Hi my name is ___, and I’m a workaholic.” No? Well it may be a rising trend in the not too distant future.

And by that, I mean there already is a Workaholics Anonymous organization that supports people recovering from workaholism across the globe. An organization that should be in high demand considering 50% of Americans are self-proclaimed workaholics.

While companies may be looking to recruit professionals devoted to their work and seeking purpose in their next job, they may want to consider the serious negative effects long working hours have on employees’ health and the consequential rise in burnout rate among young go-getters.

Before you throw the overachievers out with the bathwater, there is an argument for healthy workaholism, depending on the type of workaholic. A study distinguished two types of workaholics — engaged workaholics, who take pleasure in their work, remained healthy after working long hours over an extended period of time. Compulsive workaholics, who are not engaged in their work, showed unhealthy physiological symptoms that may lead to long-term effects. Such risks include diabetes, abnormal heart rhythms, heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome and psychiatric disorders.

The main difference between the two is that engaged workaholics are able to tune out work once they leave the office or shut their laptop. Compulsive workaholics, however, are unable to turn off work — it’s always on their mind. This can significantly impede on their personal life, negatively affecting relationships, family dynamics and daily functioning.

Not sure if you’re a workaholic? Read up on these 5 indicators.

Need help balancing your work and life? Check out these tips from the Mayo Clinic.


HR Unicorns Taking Flight

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Unicorns are the rarest breed of startups, only earning the moniker after reaching $1B in valuation. As of right now, there are only four tech startup Unicorns in the HR field:

  • Huike Group, headquartered in Beijing, China, is an HR tech platform that trains software development professionals in Mobile, Cloud and Marketing.
  • Zip Recruiter, headquartered in Los Angeles, USA, is a hiring platform that connects businesses with job seekers.
  • Gusto, headquartered in San Francisco, USA, is a payroll and benefits platform.
  • Zenefits, headquartered in San Francisco, USA, is a payroll and benefits platform.

I know what you’re thinking, really only four? Yup. Of the 327 global startup Unicorns to date, there are only two HR Tech companies and two HR Fintech companies with a valuation of over $1B in the world.

However, the increasing need for better HR solutions with advanced technologies may soon send the HR world for a ride in the cloud(s). When CB Insights partnered with the New York Times in 2015, they created an algorithm that predicted startup Unicorns with 48% accuracy.

Now in 2019, the’ve done it again, and three (more) HR Tech companies are predicted to reach Unicorn status. Here are the HR & Workforce Management companies to keep an eye on.

  • Beisen, headquartered in Beijing, China, is a cloud-based SaaS HR platform for talent and performance management.
  • Checkr, headquartered in San Francisco, USA, is a background checking service.
  • Deputy, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, is a digital scheduling service that coordinates managers and shift workers.



Recruiting Trends - February 2019

Unemployment Crisis or Fake News?

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Employment numbers took a hit in January with only 172,000 new jobs created, a considerable drop compared with the 312,000 jobs added in December.

While that’s a significant difference month over month, let’s not forget the 35 day partial government shutdown that ran from December 22 through January 25, which certainly contributed to the conversation.

You may have also heard of an alarming spike in initial unemployment claims in January, but you have to remember that the 350,000 government employees furloughed during that time were considered unemployed. 

Before we make any major claims about job creation and unemployment, let's see how the dust settles in February to determine what was shutdown related and what we can expect moving forward.


Soft Skills — A Top Priority

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Technology is the future, there’s no doubt about that. But as long as humans are being hired, there will always be a need for the human touch.

With The Rise of Robo-Recruiting, soft skills — like creativity, verbal and visual communication, storytelling, adaptability and listening — are more important than ever. In fact, soft skills are rated the number one workforce trend in 2019.

Unlike hard or technical skills, which can be clearly tested through skills assessments and algorithms, soft skills are difficult to identify on a resume or even in the interview. Yet these are the skills that make a person and team successful.

Think about it, even the most technical companies out there —Netflix, Airbnb and Google — are also known for their creativity, adaptability and storytelling skills.


Relocation Vocation

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While remote work is just work,  not all jobs offer the same flexibility, making relocation a vital part of the recruitment effort when pursuing top talent. With so many flexible opportunities available, tech in particular is difficult to hire for, and that's before you account for the fact that only 34% of techies even consider relocating when given the opportunity.

To attract candidates and create an opportunity worth relocating for, companies have put a lot of time and money into offering top benefits for employees and families as well as elaborate perks to set them apart from competing offers.

Companies are also investing in bringing their offices to talent, like Salesforce and Apple to make it more convenient and cheaper for talent to relocate. This is especially appealing for tech talent looking for the opportunities that tech giants have to offer who don’t want to take on the burden of living in exorbitant locations, like Silicon Valley or New York City.


A $4B Hangover

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Perhaps in response to the lowest-scoring game in Super Bowl history, Americans felt their game day regrets the following Monday when 17.2 million people called in ‘sick,’ amounting to more than $4 billion in lost productivity.

Ironically, that’s about how much politicians stammered over for more than a month during the government shutdown and aforementioned decrease in January jobs created. They're not the only ones in need of a timeout during the first quarter.

The real question is, at what point do we throw in the towel and make Super Bowl Monday a national holiday for the hungover?



Recruiting Trends - January 2019 

New Year, Same Competition

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To say that things are a little uncertain at the moment would be an understatement.

At the time of publication, the U.S. government remains in a partial shutdown, the United Kingdom may or may not be leaving the EU (it’s complicated), markets are in a state of flux and geopolitical tensions are high.

As people start to whisper the dreaded “recession” word, you may be thinking that recruiters will soon be back in the driver’s seat, but you’d be wrong. 

As the markets were busy freaking out in December, the U.S. economy added more than 300,000 new jobs, marking the second best month of the year. In total, nearly 3 million jobs were created in 2018 (pending review of November and December data), bringing the unemployment rate down to 3.9%.

2019 looks to hold much of the same.

Some forecasts predict the unemployment rate will fall as low as 3.4% by year’s end, with hiring demand set to outpace new entrants to the labor force by a fairly wide margin. What’s more, salaries could increase by as much as 3.5% over the next 12 months. 

While predicting the future is a fruitless endeavor, current signs point to another competitive year for recruiters in 2019.

The Rise of Robo-Recruiting

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Recruiters, welcome to the fourth industrial revolution.

Recruiting has traditionally been a high-touch process with limited options for automation, but the rapid advancement of technology is opening new frontiers.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking the world by storm, and the recruiting industry is getting in on the action. While most of the technology occupies relatively niche spaces (e.g., recruiting chatbots and personal assistants), the rise of algorithmic candidate matching can’t be ignored. 

Candidate matching tools utilize AI and machine learning to identify ideal candidates for specific roles, eliminating much of the upfront work associated with the recruitment process. These tools are able to crawl the web 24 hours a day, sourcing millions of top candidates from around the world.

And if that weren’t enough, recruiters may have to get comfortable with the idea of spending a large portion of their time wearing an Oculus Rift, as virtual reality (VR) is also making inroads into the recruiting space.

Jaguar Land Rover recently made headlines for making its first hire through a mixed-reality app, and if the numbers are any indication, it won’t be the last. The auto manufacturer created a code-breaking puzzle that has attracted more than 40,000 participants to date, making excellent use of both VR and gamification.

VR is also being used to onboard and train employees, creating opportunities to gain efficiency and improve safety. Companies like Boeing and Walmart have embraced the technology as a core component of the training process, and both claim positive results.

As cutting edge as VR may seem, it’s actually been utilized by recruiters for quite some time. Lloyd’s Banking Group has utilized VR in its application process for several years, calling it a way to gauge applicants in a manner "that would otherwise be unfeasible in the conventional assessment process."

The verdict is still out on VR’s long-term future in the recruiting space, but it’s clear that companies are more than willing to embrace technology in the pursuit of a sustainable recruiting advantage. If recruiting technology isn’t part of your 2019 budget, you may want to go back to the drawing board.


Tech Turnover Still Going Strong

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If you’re a recruiter, you likely spent much of 2018 seeking out qualified tech talent and pitching them on open roles at your company. Well, get ready to repeat the process in 2019, but not because of growth but because of turnover.

The technology sector boasted the highest turnover rate in 2018, and due to the driving factors behind it, we expect much of the same in 2019. Let’s start with the numbers.

In 2018, the technology industry experienced an average turnover rate of 13.2%, led by UX designers, data analyst and embedded software engineers. In fact, the average tenure of employees at many of the world’s biggest technology companies is 24 months or less.

So what gives? Why are some of the world’s most valuable companies struggling to hang on to their people? Well, it’s the same reason that every recruiter is struggling to hire tech candidates in the first place: competition.

There are more technology jobs than there are qualified candidates, leading to intense recruiting and poaching efforts. The best software engineers are able to job hop to their heart’s content knowing full well that they’ll still be just as in demand.

A rash of negative publicity within the technology sector over the past 12 months hasn’t helped either. PR nightmares at companies like Uber, Facebook and Google (to name a few) also had plenty of people looking for new opportunities, and with demand so high, they likely weren’t looking for long.

Retention isn’t typically the responsibility of talent acquisition professionals, but given the amount of work it takes to hire software engineers in the first place, it may behoove them to do whatever it takes to hang on to top talent, as finding a replacement won’t be fun.


Remote Work Is Just Work

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Looking for a solution to that aforementioned retention issue? Try implementing a remote work policy.

The rise of remote work has been one of the most pervasive and successful recruiting experiments of the past decade, and it shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. The number of full-time, non-freelance remote workers has increased by 140% since 2005. due in large part to the fact that it just makes sense.

Don’t believe us? Let’s look at the facts.

To start with, remote work policies open a literal world of possibilities when it comes to recruiting. If employees can work from anywhere, companies can recruit from anywhere, making geographical limitations and relocation packages a thing of the past.

Additionally, remote work policies can offer significant savings opportunities as well. Dell reports having saved more than $12 million a year in reduced office space costs.

But it isn’t all about the bottom line. Remote work policies are playing a significant role in closing the gender gap in tech as well. 51% of women say being a working mother makes it difficult to advance in their careers. Flexible work options could eliminate that issue all together.

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