The Recruitment Handbook for Energy & Utilities

The Recruitment Handbook for Energy & Utilities

The energy and utilities industry is undergoing a massive transition as providers move to green and renewable energy sources and adjust to changing energy use patterns across the globe.

This means the sector is facing a unique set of talent challenges. In many areas of the globe, energy job growth is outpacing the rest of the economy. At the same time, the workforce is aging, creating a massive talent gap. In fact, according to McKinsey, the massive growth in solar and wind projects expected by 2030 will make it almost impossible to staff these projects with qualified development and construction employees as well as operations and maintenance workers.

Now, talent leaders need to think big—not just to attract more and younger workers, but to reskill workers in the shrinking fossil fuels industry and plan for the future.

In this handbook, you’ll learn:

  • Global trends driving the need for energy and utilities talent
  • Strategies for overcoming challenges in your energy and utilities hiring programs
  • How partnering with an RPO provider can help

Tech & Digital Skills: 5 Recruitment Strategies for Closing the Skills Gap

There are a host of new and emerging tech disciplines—the metaverse, blockchain, generative AI, cybersecurity and more—that are changing the way we work and the kind of work we do. Many jobs that were previously done by humans are now done by machines. Many new jobs are emerging that require new and changing skill sets and organisations are struggling to find the talent they need to keep up as tech and digital skills gap grows.  

According to World Economic Forum, it is estimated that by 2030, “approximately 85 million jobs could go unfilled globally because of a lack of applicants with the skills to take them, which could result in $8.5 trillion (USD) in unrealised annual revenues.” 

Skills Shortage: Digital Age or Digital Deficiency? 

Salesforce’s 2022 Global Digital Skills Index surveyed 23,000+ workers across 19 countries and found the global digital skills readiness score is just 33 out of 100. No wonder that 64% of managers don’t think their employees are able to keep pace with future skill needs. Furthermore, 70% of employees say they haven’t even mastered the skills they need for their jobs today. Plus, a third (36%) of HR leaders say their sourcing strategies are insufficient for finding the skills they need. 

As organisations try to reinvent their business models to keep up with change, employers of all stripes—regardless of sector—must prepare their workforce for digital-first employment. By taking a skills-based approach to your talent acquisition strategy, you can move beyond your tired methods to find people with the right skills and competencies regardless of their degree or job history.  

Recruitment Handbook

Recruitment Handbook for Hiring Tech & Digital Talent

Measuring the Tech & Digital Skills Gap 

As an HR or TA leader, you’re probably asking, “Which digital and tech skills should I prioritise?” 

Well, it depends. 

To plan for the skills of the future, you must know where you are today. Conduct a skills inventory of current employees, regardless of department. Then, run a technology skills gap analysis, looking at what’s available now and what you’ll need in the future based on your organisational strategy.  

This, combined with external labour market data on the availability of tech and digital skills, you’ll be able to understand which critical skills gaps are in place today, what skills are available in the market and what skills you’ll have to develop internally. 

Only one in four talent analytics teams currently use external market data 

5 Skills-Based Talent Acquisition Strategies for Tech and Digital Talent 

Here are five strategies for closing the skills gap for your tech and digital roles. 

1. Assess for Adjacent Skills 

A crucial part of your skill inventory must be identifying skills adjacent to your critical skills which can be developed to bridge the gap. With the right capability and skills taxonomy in place—both for internal mobility and external hiring—you can tap talent with related skills to fill talent gaps through recruitment and upskilling.  

PeopleScout recently facilitated a reskilling project for a leading bank in the UK. We supported an evaluation of their customer service employees in call centres and bank branches to identify hidden skills. We evaluated hundreds of employees, surfacing many with complementary skills who are now involved in a development program to supply software engineering talent in the future.  

2. Don’t Overlook Candidates with Non-Traditional Backgrounds 

Identifying these complementary skill sets has the additional benefit of helping you surface non-traditional internal and external talent pools. These are candidates who possess the skills necessary to perform a role’s duties but may never have held a position with a tech or digital specific title. By taking a skill-based approach to tech and digital talent acquisition, you don’t limit yourself to a small talent pool with hard-to-find experience. This could also mean relaxing requirements around university degrees. Plus, it’s a great way to achieve diversity and social-mobility goals. 

tech & digital skills

3. Develop Upskilling Opportunities 

Once you’ve found talent with adjacent skills, you’ll need an upskilling program to get them up-to-speed on their target role and for ongoing development of skills as new technology emerges. Learning and development programs are a great way to support cross-functional talent mobility. Plus, it can act as a big draw for recruitment, as more and more candidates say they value growth opportunities when considering a new job. According to the LinkedIn’s Future of Recruiting report, Advancement and Skills Development are in the top five most important priorities for candidates.  

4. Embrace Global Expansion  

With the explosion of remote work, organisations can widen their talent search beyond their office locations. By shifting your focus to talent location and skill set, rather than your business footprint, you benefit from a more diverse talent pool. Leverage labour market data to find emerging tech hubs where demand is still low. For example, several cities in Latin America have a growing supply of digital skills with moderate salary expectations. 

5. Look Outside the IT Department 

Technology advancement means departments across the organisation—and across sectors—have become breeding grounds for addressing the IT skills shortage. In fact, according to Gartner, almost 40% of job postings for talent with digital skills come from outside of IT departments. The explosion of FinTech, MarTech and even HRIS means that there’s a plethora of digital talent in finance teams, marketing teams and HR teams. So, instead of looking for a data scientist, why not try tapping a financial analyst to get those much-needed analytical skills? 

How an RPO Partner Can Help You Secure Tech and Digital Skills 

Employers looking to grow their tech and digital workforce can benefit from the services of a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider. Your RPO partner can help you adapt your attraction strategy to resonate with candidates with tech and digital skills, ensuring that you are sourcing talent with the required skills and identifying new ways to target candidates who fit these personas. Plus, an experienced RPO provider can assist you in building your talent pool from within your own organisation, by consulting to develop an internal reskilling program. 

Get five proven strategies to attract, engage and hire the best tech professionals. Download our Recruitment Handbook for Hiring Tech & Digital Talent. 

Holcim: Total Workforce Solution for Building & Construction Recruitment

Holcim: Total Workforce Solution for Building & Construction Recruitment

Holcim: Total Workforce Solution for Building & Construction Recruitment

In a highly competitive talent market, Holcim, a building materials supplier, partnered with PeopleScout for a Total Workforce Solution that blended project RPO and MSP to hire both white- and blue-collar roles for a major infrastructure project in Perth.

Successfully sourced building and construction talent during critical skills shortage
Successfully sourced building and construction talent during critical skills shortage
Campaign incorporating recruitment marketing and passive candidate sourcing
Campaign incorporating recruitment marketing and passive candidate sourcing
Collaboration with vocational training program helped reduce competition with other sectors
Collaboration with vocational training program helped reduce competition with other sectors

Holcim is one of Australia’s largest integrated suppliers and manufacturers of building materials and solutions. Their partnership with PeopleScout started with a national recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) solution, through which we recruited personnel across their entire organisation including corporate, technical and blue-collar roles in metropolitan, regional and remote locations.

Situation

Following this success, Holcim came to PeopleScout for a project talent solution to support building a team to staff a major infrastructure project for the Western Australian Government. The key location was Metropolitan Perth, which presented challenges for the recruitment team:

  1. Australia was experiencing a worker and critical skills shortage following the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, reduced migration and an ageing population. This was making recruiting in the building and construction industry particularly hard.
  2. In addition to the national labour shortage, Perth is the main hub for the WA mining sector and the FIFO workforce, which means Holcim was competing with the top mining companies for talent. Given that FIFO wages significantly outstrip metro-based roles, our team had their work cut out for them to attract the talent Holcim required.

Holcim needed to source 20 permanent roles across white-collar, engineering, workplace safety and supervisory roles. In addition to the permanent roles on offer, our team was tasked with sourcing a contingent workforce of 35 blue-collar roles including welders, production operators and machine operators.

Strategy

First, PeopleScout made the strategic decision to approach this like a true project recruitment activity. We dedicated a full-time resource to focus on the project with our project manager working towards specific timelines and taking an agile approach to sourcing and strategy. Our project leader and Holcim stakeholders met weekly to review and re-evaluate how the project was tracking and where modifications needed to be made to meet project requirements.

Holcim’s requirements fluctuated, and at times our team was required to quickly speed up or slow down the recruitment activity due to the dynamic nature of the infrastructure build. To increase our agility, PeopleScout invested in a significant amount of planning when tackling the Perth labour market and assessing the best sourcing strategies to use.

Solution

Our flexible sourcing approach targeted both passive and active candidates. We ran a campaign incorporating traditional recruitment advertising, internal referral programs and strategic sourcing for passive talent via LinkedIn and Seek databases.

A collaboration with a government-funded vocational training and placement program was instrumental in helping Holcim to fill the contingent blue-collar roles and meant that we did not have to compete with the mining sector to source this talent. PeopleScout team managed the relationship with the placement program and completed all vetting activities before the hiring manager interview, leading to faster fulfilment rates and reduced the burden on the Holcim hiring managers.

Results

With the help of PeopleScout’s total workforce solution, Holcim has been able to meet timelines for infrastructure project, and from a recruitment perspective, we are ahead of schedule and under budget.

AT A GLANCE

  • COMPANY: Holcim Australia
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Managed Service Program, Total Talent
  • ANNUAL HIRES: 20 permanent roles across white-collar, engineering, workplace safety and supervisory roles; 35 contingent blue-collar roles including welders, production operators and machine operators
  • ABOUT HOLCIM: Holcim is a global leader of manufacturing and supplying building materials and solutions. Locally led, Holcim supplies aggregates, sand and concrete products to build homes, towns and cities across Australia and New Zealand.

Seasonal Hiring: How RPO Can Help You Better Source and Hire Seasonal Workers 

Hiring seasonal workers is essential for employers in need of extra talent during the festive season. If your organisation depends on seasonal hiring to augment your workforce, it is vital to efficiently source, recruit, and onboard your seasonal hires to ensure you are staffed during the busy shopping period.

Without a well-designed seasonal hiring program in place, employers risk going understaffed for the festive period, or for other times of the year when a business reaches a peak. In this article, we will walk through how an RPO provider can help you hire talent for the busy season and equip you with tips on building a seasonal hiring pipeline.

What is a Seasonal Worker?

hiring seasonal workers

A seasonal worker or employee is a casual workers who works for a short period to meet seasonal peaks in demand. This might coincide with annual seasons, like summer travel peaks, or with festive seasons.

Employers that use seasonal hires typically need assistance at the same time each year, for example as lifeguards or lawn care workers in the summer or retail workers or delivery drivers in the winter. When hiring seasonal workers, you can hire them on a part-time or full-time basis depending on your needs.

9 STRATEGIES FOR SOLVING HIGH-VOLUME HIRING CHALLENGES

What are the Benefits of Hiring Seasonal Workers?

Here are some of the benefits of hiring seasonal workers:

Extra Hands When You Need Them: When a business reaches its peak season, seasonal casuals provide you that extra help fast when you need it, without the investment required for full-time staff.

Assist Full-Time Staff: Your seasonal employees can help alleviate the load carried by your full-time employees. This can improve morale for your permanent workforce, because they have the support they need during peak times.

Low Risk: When you hire a permanent employee, you don’t always know if they’ll be a good fit for the job. Seasonal employees are only hired for a short period, if they aren’t a good fit, the impact to your business will be minimised.

Potential Talent Pool: On the other hand, if you hire a seasonal casual who works out well, you might be able to offer them a permanent position when one becomes available. It’s a trial run that works as a recruiting method for permanent positions.

Better Seasonal Hiring Begins with Crafting Better Job Descriptions

seasonal hiring

Writing job descriptions for seasonal positions is different from temporary, full- and part-time roles. It is important that your job descriptions accurately reflect the nature of your open positions, so candidates know ahead of time if they should apply.

For example, many seasonal roles are in warehouse and logistics setting and may require candidates to work in a more physically demanding environment. Major retailers and logistics companies are in serious need of seasonal casuals with Coles looking to fill over 3,000 positions and Australia Post hoping to add over 4,000 seasonal sorters and carriers.

To better understand the nature of the seasonal jobs for which you are writing job descriptions consider spending time shadowing workers in the relevant seasonal positions. What’s more, COVID-19 has made many employers become more familiar with video interviewing, however, the idea of leveraging videos to enhance your employment marketing and employer branding is sometimes overlooked.  

Job descriptions can be bolstered with video. A seasonal job posting could include a short video of a hiring manager describing the job and what they are looking for in a seasonal hire. Your video can even include examples of workers performing the most common tasks required to give candidates an accurate idea of the work involved.

How RPO Can Help

RPO providers can help employers conceive of and create a talent attraction strategy that considers both the needs of employers and the needs of seasonal hires. Through a data-driven approach to talent advisory and recruitment marketing, they help you showcase what makes you a seasonal employer of choice.

Sourcing Seasonal Hires

Recruiting seasonal employees begins with mining a verdant source of seasonal workers. Employers should look for candidates such as students and other demographics looking for short-term employment opportunities. For example, consider recruiting recent graduates who are taking time to figure out what they want to do long-term is one way of sourcing seasonal talent. Often, these candidates prefer the temporary nature of seasonal work compared to a longer-term commitment.

Moreover, hiring candidates with a seasonal work mindset can help you keep them around for the full season or even retain them for next year.

When sourcing seasonal workers, look to hire people who want seasonal work including:

  • Retired workers
  • Workers looking for extra work during the holidays
  • Stay-at-home parents who want to work while their kids are in school
  • Students who are on holiday break

How RPO Can Help

Many RPO providers have talent pools and networks they can tap into to source the right candidates for seasonal positions. RPOs also have experience building talent pipelines from the ground up and can assist employers in creating a sustainable seasonal hiring program that delivers year-in-year-out.

RPO partners also offer technology expertise to help you track, measure and optimise your seasonal hiring campaign by showing which channels and recruitment marketing messages are yielding the best candidates. They can help you with recruitment analytics so you can see your recruitment funnel at all your sites in a centralised dashboard.

Managing High-Volume While Hiring Seasonal Workers

seasonal hires

Many employers in need of seasonal hires require a large volume of talent to keep up with peak demand. High-volume hiring at its heart is a problem of scale which requires optimising your time and recruiting spend. Recruitment automation can help you reduce the manual workload on your recruiting team and hiring managers while keeping your visibility on all of the candidates progressing through different stages of the interview process. Automating certain steps, such as screening and triggering assessments, allows recruiters to focus their time on higher-value, strategic work.

How RPO Can Help

An HR outsourcing solution such as RPO provides employers the ability to scale up seamlessly as seasonal hiring demands shift. With an internal talent acquisition team, it may be difficult to scale up hiring quickly enough to handle a higher number of hires and then scale back down when hiring volumes shrink. What’s more, recruitment technology platforms such as PeopleScout’s Affinix can help you automate your recruitment program and create great high-volume hiring efficiency.

Never Neglect Your End of-Season Plans

How you end a relationship with seasonal hires can help with next season’s hiring. Here are a few things to keep in mind at the end of the season:

  • Availability: Ask outgoing seasonal employees if they would be interested in returning next season. Some workers design their needs and lifestyle around managing seasonal and temporary jobs, and they may be looking for another opportunity next year.
  • Exit Interviews: To learn from successes and drawbacks, hold exit interviews with seasonal employees, regardless of how long they worked with you. Having informative feedback can help streamline next year’s efforts.
  • Permanent Talent: Tempting as it may be, you likely won’t have the means or the resources to bring every seasonal employee on full-time. However, keep an eye on exceptional workers whose mix of soft skills and talent would be excellent fit as vacancies come open during other parts of the year.

How RPO Can Help

An RPO provider can help organise your offboarding efforts at the end of the season by assisting in exit interviews, managing your seasonal worker database as well as hiring top performers to permanent positions. An RPO provider’s ability to scale down engagements quickly means the process can be seamlessly executed so that you can resume business as usual.

Are You in Need of a Seasonal Hiring Partner?

seasonal worker

When it comes to maintaining your seasonal operations and providing excellent customer service during your peak months, hiring seasonal employees can help keep your business moving.

Whether you are in need of seasonal recruiting or a permanent talent solution, employers in our new world of work face rising recruitment challenges. An outsourced recruitment solution like PeopleScout’s high-volume RPO and Total Workforce Solutions can help you stay connected with talent and provide hiring resources that will add immediate value to your talent programs.

Talking Talent: Reducing Unconscious Bias for an Inclusive Recruitment Process

In this episode of our Talking Talent podcast, we hear from Simon Wright, Global Head of Talent Advisory, about tactics to reduce unconscious bias and make your recruitment process more inclusive.

Unconscious bias affects us all. In the two years since the death of George Floyd, public consciousness around the issues of diversity and inclusion has risen throughout the globe. As such, employers can no longer remain silent. 

Not only are investors and shareholders paying greater attention to social challenges, but employees, candidates, and consumers are also pushing businesses to make public commitments regarding diversity and inclusion—and to publish their progress. In today’s job market, where job vacancies are outpacing unemployment, candidates have more choices than ever about where to work—and they’re choosing employers that prioritise D&I: According to Glassdoor, 76% of candidates said that a diverse workforce was an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. 

Unconscious bias is one of the key forces holding employers back from making strides in D&I initiatives, and it’s a complicated issue to tackle. In this article, we’ll walk through the different types of unconscious bias, how they can affect your recruitment process and how to effectively reduce their effect.   

What is Unconscious Bias? 

What is Unconscious Bias?

Unconscious bias—sometimes called implicit bias—is a term that describes the associations we hold outside of our conscious awareness. Everyone has them, and they don’t make you a bad person; they’re an evolutionary adaptation designed to help our brains make decisions.  

Imagine if, every time we made a decision, we had to consciously take into account every piece of information available to us. Unconscious bias develops from our life experiences to help us navigate the world more quickly. However, it can also have negative consequences. And, the fact that it happens unconsciously means it can be difficult to bypass.  

For instance, in action, unconscious bias can look like what happened in the Boston Symphony in 1952. The Symphony was looking to diversify its male-dominated orchestra, so it conducted an experiment with a series of blind auditions. In an effort to remove all chance of bias and allow for a merit-based selection only—a selection that would hopefully increase the number of women in the orchestra—the musicians would be auditioning from behind a screen. To their surprise, the initial audition results still skewed male. Then, they asked the musicians to take off their shoes. The reason? The sound of the women’s heels as they entered the audition unknowingly influenced the adjudicators; once the musicians removed their shoes, almost 50% of the women made it past the first audition. 

This is just one example. There are several different types of unconscious bias that affect our decision-making: 

Confirmation Bias 

Confirmation bias causes us to seek out information that confirms something that we already believe. We hear about this type of bias most often in relation to politics. People are more likely to seek out positive news about the candidate they support, reinforcing their belief that they are supporting the right person. It can also play out in the hiring process. Recruiters and hiring managers can make snap decisions about candidates based on perceived truths. Then, they ask questions to try to justify these biases, rather than evaluate each candidate on the same criteria.  

Affect Heuristics 

Affect heuristics are mental shortcuts we take to make decisions based on our emotional or mental state, rather than taking all of the facts into account. In the recruitment process, this could play out with a recruiter or hiring manager discounting a candidate because of personal feelings that have nothing to do with the role. For example, if you used to have a friend named Pete, who you fell out with, you might still carry a negative bias toward a candidate named Pete. 

Anchor/Expectation Bias 

An anchor or expectation bias happens when we allow ourselves to anchor on to one piece of information to make a decision. This can happen in the hiring process when a hiring manager believes that a new hire needs to be a carbon copy of the person who used to have that role, so they anchor on one aspect of a candidate that is similar to the previous employee and ignore other information. 

Halo Effect 

The halo effect is a bias that causes us to use a general positive impression of someone to influence how we evaluate their specific attributes. For example, if we’re impressed by one fact about a person (like if they went to a prestigious university), that could make us see them in a generally positive light. The halo effect often kicks in when we wish we were more like another person. This plays out in the hiring process when a hiring manager or recruiter focuses heavily on one positive aspect of a candidate’s background and lets that guide their opinion moving forward.  

Horn Effect 

The horn effect is the opposite of the halo effect; it happens when we let one perceived negative aspect of a person influence the way we think about them. For instance, something as simple as not liking a candidate’s outfit or the way they speak can cloud a recruiter’s or hiring manger’s judgement during the recruitment process and be difficult to get past. 

Affinity Bias 

The affinity bias causes us to connect with people who are similar to us. This is different from the halo effect because it happens when we identify a similarity with someone, rather than looking up to them. We like the feeling of affinity because it makes us feel connected and part of a community, and we also want to surround ourselves with people who we feel we have rapport with. In the hiring process, this can lead to teams with little cognitive diversity as recruiters and hiring mangers lean toward candidates similar to themselves.  

Conformity Bias  

In essence, conformity bias is peer pressure. It causes us to rely on the opinions of others when making decisions, rather than making an independent choice based on our own interpretation of the facts. This can kick in when making the hiring decision: If you’re on a panel and you think one candidate is really great, but the rest of the group prefers someone else, you could get swept along by the majority. 

Contrast Effect/Judgement Bias  

The contrast effect happens when we compare two similar things to each other, rather than assessing them independently. During the recruitment process, this can happen when a recruiter or hiring manager compares one résumé or CV to another they viewed before. In doing that, they shift the goal posts; instead of judging a candidate based on their suitability for the role, they make a decision based on what they thought of another candidate. 

Combating Unconscious Bias 

Unconscious Bias

Understanding the different types of unconscious bias is only the first step toward reducing its influence on your organisation. And, while training can raise awareness, it rarely changes behaviour. So, to make a real change, employers should implement a robust diversity and inclusion program that touches every aspect of the hiring process. Following are some proven steps you can take to reduce bias.  

1. Clearly Outline the Role 

Taking time to really understand what the role requires is essential for weeding out bias in the recruitment process. Specifically, by identifying eight to 10 objective criteria that are predictive of role success, you’ll decrease the likelihood that decisions are made using unconscious bias. It’s important to evaluate what it takes to be successful in the role. Is there anything that could stop a candidate from applying? Does the role need to be performed in person or can it be done remotely? Are the criteria you’re using accurate predictors of success? Are you relying on the vague concept of “cultural fit” that breeds affinity bias? 

As an example, some of the big four accounting firms have reduced their reliance on academic achievement for their early careers and campus hiring programs because they know it’s not an accurate predictor of future success in the role. Instead, they’re now focusing on potential by using other measures that they’ve tracked over time to show their effect on performance. 

2. Build an Inclusive Job Description 

Once you’ve outlined your role internally, focus on your external job description. Is there anything that could discourage a strong candidate from applying? In particular, remove gendered language from your job descriptions and check the pronouns you’re using. Additionally, avoid words like “expert,” “superior” or “rockstar” that turn off female candidates. A variety of online tools can help highlight and remove biased language. 

Next, ensure that the requirements that you list for the role only cover what is absolutely necessary. Women are less likely than men to apply to a role if they don’t feel that they meet all of the requirements, whereas men are more likely to apply if they only meet a portion of them.  

Finally, when creating a job description, ask multiple people from different backgrounds to review the job description—and take their feedback into account.  

3. Update Your Screening Process 

The next area to consider is your selection process. Are you relying too much on résumés and CVs? Research shows that CVs are not only fraught with bias, but that they’re also bad predictors of success. That’s because there are many factors on a CV that can trigger unconscious biases, like the person’s name (gender or ethnicity), the school they went to (geography or economic class) or the year they graduated (age).  

For example, according to the National Centre for Social Research, people with white-sounding names are nearly twice as likely to get callbacks for jobs than people with ethnic-sounding names. In their study, job applicants with white-sounding names were a significant 74% more likely to be invited to a job interview compared to applicants with an ethnic/minority-sounding name. 

4. Rethink Your Interviews 

Recruiters and hiring managers often rely heavily on interviews, which can be rife with unconscious bias. On top of that, interviews have a predictive power of 56%, according to Don Moore, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. That means that, if you’re making your decision based on an interview, you’ll make the wrong decision nearly half of the time.  

Plus, most interviews are conducted one-on-one or with small groups, where bias can flourish. However, mixed panels with diverse interviewers and objective criteria used to assess each candidate can lower the risk of bias when compared to traditional interview settings.  

Meanwhile, there can be an increased risk for bias in the new world of virtual interviews, as well. That’s because, when interviewers can see the inside of a person’s home, they can make unfair assumptions. So, if you use video interviews, ask candidates to blur their backgrounds. 

It’s also important to standardise your interview process so that all candidates are evaluated on the same criteria. This helps you avoid the contrast effect where you only compare candidates to each other, rather than against an objective set of criteria. And, to further reduce the chance of bias, reduce the power of the interview. Can you add other assessment techniques, instead, like work simulation tools or sample tests? 

5. Formalise Your Decision Process 

The final piece of the recruitment process is making a hiring decision. Don’t just get together at the end of the interview and say, “You know, I think John was really great,” or “There was just something I really liked about Kathryn.” Conformity bias can play a strong role in these types of discussions.  

Instead, have your panel step away individually, reflect on each candidate and score them based on your objective criteria. Then, you can review those scores as a group and discuss what you learned about the candidates during the recruitment process.  

Defining Success 

Because unconscious bias is so deeply embedded in all of us, it takes the efforts of everyone to reduce it. However, reducing bias in your recruitment process is a long-term commitment and not something that can happen in three or six months—or even a year. Rather, it involves backing from across the organization and all the way up to the leadership team. It also requires hiring managers to really engage with the process and be willing to give up making “gut decisions.” Finally, it also calls for a clear picture of where you want to go and how you’re going to monitor, measure and communicate success.  

Learn more about how to evaluate your program and progress in our ebook, Improving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace.

Challenge Accepted: Tactics & Strategies for Hiring in a Candidate’s Job Market

The job market and the world of work have changed drastically in the last few years, leaving employers to deal with the new challenges. For example, in the U.S., there are currently more than 11 million job openings, and year-over-year wage growth was at 5.2% in May. On top of that, the Great Resignation has record numbers of workers leaving their jobs: In the last six months in the U.S., more than 4 million people left their jobs each month. And, it’s spreading across the globe; CNN reports that resignations have also jumped in countries like the United Kingdom, Australia and France. 

But, employers are dealing with more than just a tight talent market, increased turnover and rising wages; the world of work has changed permanently—and so have candidate expectations. For instance, nearly two-thirds of the workforce wants some form of remote work option and nearly one-third wants hybrid work. As such, employers can’t simply plan to return to the pre-pandemic ways of doing business; instead, they must adapt. 

More precisely, to succeed in this job market, you need to both hire the best talent and retain the workers you already have—and that requires multifaceted solutions that address the specific issues within your organisation. In this article, we’ll cover the potential sources of your talent challenges, some signs that they may be negatively affecting your organisation and strategies you can use to get ahead.  

Is Your Employer Brand on Life Support? 

Throughout the pandemic and initial recovery, many organisations didn’t have the resources to invest in their employer brands. Unfortunately, if this was the case for your organisation, it may be affecting your ability to recruit top talent. That’s because, if your employer brand is weak, qualified candidates won’t apply because they simply have other options.  

So, how can you tell if your employer brand is holding your organisation back? Watch for these warning signs: 

why is there a labor shortage 2022

Solution: Rebuild Your Employer Brand 

If any of these signs look familiar, it’s time to focus on your employer brand. Luckily, there are a few things you can do. The first is to build out a strong employer value proposition (EVP) as the foundation of an employer branding campaign.  

At PeopleScout, we define your EVP as the essence of your uniqueness as an employer, as well as the give and get between you and your employees. In many ways, your EVP is the foundation of your employer brand—the perception and lived experiences of what it’s like to work for your organisation.  

It’s important to note that building a strong EVP to drive your employer brand requires research into the short- and long-term goals of your organisation; the reality of what it’s like to work for you right now; and the outside perception of your organisation. That information is distilled into an EVP that’s unique, aspirational, authentic and dynamic. From there, you can communicate your message through an employer branding campaign via your careers site, social media campaigns, hiring events and more.  

At PeopleScout, we supported work on the employer brand at Vodafone, a telecommunications company in the UK. In this case, consumers knew the brand well as a mobile phone retailer, but didn’t see it as a multifaceted tech innovator. So, to help Vodafone hire more young workers, we worked to create an employer brand campaign that captured the spirit of change and possibility that’s part of their EVP. At the end of the project, PeopleScout had generated more than 16,000 applications and increased the number of female candidates by 23%. 

Does Your Candidate Experience Leave Much to be Desired? 

If your employer brand is in good shape, but you’re still struggling to hire qualified candidates, the next area to evaluate is your candidate experience. Candidate experience has always been important, but it’s even more critical in today’s job market. Nowadays, people have plenty of other options, so they won’t take the time to complete a long application or wait weeks for a call back.  

How can you tell if your candidate experience is the cause of your hiring woes? Look for these signs: 

Candidates accept other offers while in your recruitment process. 
You have a lot of interviews, but make few hires. 
Your process is slow and requires multiple steps for candidates.
Candidates ghost before starting

Solution: Update Your Talent Tech Stack 

The right technology can have a significant influence on your candidate experience. Candidates want the recruitment experience to be fast and easy and allow them to feel in control. For this reason, evaluate every step of the candidate journey to identify where you can make improvements with technology. 

Your first step is to look at your application. Have you tried filling out your own application recently? How long does it take to complete? Is it simple or does it feel drawn out and tedious? Can you complete the application on a mobile device? If the process takes a long time or requires a desktop computer, it’s time to update your application.  

Then, look for other points in the process where you might make things easier for candidates. Do candidates have to wait weeks to schedule a screening or interview? If so, consider adding a self-scheduling interview tool or virtual interview solution, like text interviews or on-demand interviews. Furthermore, adding something as simple as a status bar that shows candidates where they are in the process can help them stay engaged. 

At PeopleScout, we work with a large retailer that had a strong consumer brand, but still struggled to recruit candidates. Their application required a computer and took more than 30 minutes to fill out. As an alternative, we developed a mobile-first application with just 11 questions that took less than eight minutes to complete. Now, half the candidates apply on mobile devices and the application conversion rate rose to 85%. For comparison, employers using a traditional application have an average applicant conversion rate of just 35%. 

Are Your Offers Competitive Enough in the Job Market? 

Salary and benefits are the elephants in the room in any discussion about hiring challenges. Wages are rising significantly. While the average year-over-year salary growth in the U.S. is at 5.2%, some industries are experiencing even steeper wage growth. For example, in the leisure and hospitality sector, wages are up more than 11% in the last year. In fact, the World Economic Forum reports that wages are rising in every region of the world. Therefore, in the current job market, your offer needs to be competitive.  

Here are some signs that your offers may not be competitive enough: 

Candidates make it through the process, but turn down offers. 
Candidates cite salary expectations significantly higher than your budget. 
Employees who leave frequently cite increased pay. 

Solution: Adjust Your Compensation to Current Job Market Rates 

If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs, evaluate your compensation against the market and adjust where necessary. Due to remote work, the job market has changed. Now, you’re not just competing against employers in your area for talent; you’re competing for talent across the country and, in some cases, the entire world. 

To that end, an RPO or MSP provider can help advise you on market rates and what types of adjustments are needed to make your offers more competitive. Plus, increasing your wages could even save you money in the long run.  

This happened for one PeopleScout client, a major rural healthcare system. Hit hard by the ongoing nursing shortage, the healthcare organisation was relying on expensive travel nurses and struggling to bring in enough candidates. PeopleScout advised the provider to implement a $10,000 hiring bonus. This resulted in a cost savings as the client was able to reduce its nursing recruitment spend by 77%, totalling more than $4 million. The client was also able to reduce its use of travelling nurses by 68% and experienced its lowest-ever nursing vacancy rate—just 1.3%. 

Does Your Company Culture Send People Running? 

Perhaps the best way to avoid staffing shortages is to ensure that you don’t have to backfill large numbers of roles due to turnover. The Great Resignation is in full swing, but employers shouldn’t just throw their hands in the air as employees leave for new jobs.  

The good news is that employee turnover isn’t just about money. Talent leaders are finding that a major driving factor is employee disengagement. Throughout the last few years, many employees have experienced negative effects on their mental health, causing burnout and driving a reevaluation of work/life balance. Conversely, company culture can play a huge role in keeping employees happy, healthy and engaged. 

Is your company culture a problem? Watch for these warning signs:  

 job market

Solution: Determine What Employees Want in the Job Market & Meet Their Needs 

To improve your company culture, you must first determine what employees feel they’re lacking from your organisation. You can gather this information in two ways—and both are valuable. First, you should be conducting exit interviews with employees who have resigned. Try to get an idea of why they decided to take a new role. Is it simply increased pay? Did they feel they lacked a clear career path at your organisation? Did they not feel appreciated by managers and colleagues?  

Next, try to identify problems before they drive employees to leave. You can accomplish this through anonymous pulse surveys; there are a number of tools you can use to track employee engagement and look for areas of improvement. Do employees want more opportunities for training? Do they want to feel as though they’re part of something bigger? Do they feel as though company leadership is not addressing their concerns? 

Then, once you determine the biggest pain points for employees, make targeted improvements to your company culture. You can demonstrate appreciation for your workers in tangible ways: Communicate actively and often. Define paths for advancement and look at learning and development programs. Offer more flexibility. Provide training for managers. Not only will these kinds of investments keep tenured employees from leaving, but they can also improve your employer brand and make your employment offers more competitive.  

There’s no doubt that the current talent market is difficult for employers, but the sources of the struggle are multifaceted and complex. There isn’t an easy, one-size-fits-all solution. Employers need to evaluate both the candidate and employee experience and alter their processes where inadequacies reveal themselves. You can’t keep waiting for “things to return to normal.” We’re in the new normal, and we have to adapt. To learn more, check out our ebook, “Building an Employer Value Proposition and Employer Brand for the Future” 

Prioritising Mental Health for Employees: Creating a Culture That Promotes Employee Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental health for employees remains top of mind in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly contributed to deteriorating employee mental health around the globe, bringing new awareness to the importance of employee wellbeing.  Globally, the overall number of mental disorder cases rose dramatically in 2020, with an additional 53.2 million cases of anxiety and 76.2 million cases of major depressive disorders, as reported by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).  Many of the factors that led to this dramatic increase at the height of the pandemic remain—childcare and other caretaking responsibilities, financial difficulties, economic uncertainty and unemployment, to name a few.  

“These are stressful times. Half of Americans say their mental health has been affected by the pandemic. When you add racial injustices and a recession into the equation, a mental health crisis is imminent.”

Stephen Etkind, telemedicine provider with First Stop Health

Forbes noted that nearly six times as many employers have reported increased mental health issues among employees since the pandemic began. Clearly, this growing problem is one that employers can’t afford to ignore. 

Staggering Statistics

Mind/body health company All Points North conducted a survey of 1,000 individuals. They found that, since the onset of the pandemic, 36% of respondents reported experiencing more anxiety, 32% were suffering more panic attacks and 27% reported greater depression—with more than 30% saying that they regularly battled stress and anxiety. Similarly, a report from Indeed found that 52% of all workers were feeling burned out, up more than 9% from a pre-COVID survey.    

Mental Health for Employees

According to the 2022 State of Workplace Mental Health report by Lyra Health, working parents and other caregivers are more likely to face mental health challenges; nearly 90% of caregivers surveyed said they had experienced at least one mental health challenge in the last year and were more likely to experience worsening mental health. Moreover, Mental Health America estimates that depression costs the U.S. $51 billion in absenteeism and lost productivity alone, and Gallup data backs up this theory, finding that burned-out employees were 63% more likely to take a sick day and more than twice as likely to be actively looking for a different job.   

However, just as employee mental health is not a new concern, it’s also not one that will vanish anytime soon. As such, it’s essential for employers to recognise and prioritise the psychological safety of their employees, just as they protect employees’ physical safety. But, how do employers prioritise mental health in order to retain employees and give themselves a competitive advantage? Let’s start by taking a closer look at worker expectations. 

What Workers Want: How to Better Support Mental Health at Work

Mental Health at Work

The pandemic shined a light on previously unexamined areas of peoples’ lives—causing many to shift their priorities, rethink their work/life balance and reevaluate what really matters. And, these moments of clarity are unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon. Workers want a change in their working lives and are prepared to leave their jobs if they don’t feel support for their mental health at work.   
 
For instance, according to a FlexJobs survey, 56% of workers listed flexibility in their workday as the top way that their employer could better support them. In fact, remote work is considered the most important element to compensation and benefit packages, ranked only behind salary. Encouraging time off and offering mental health days were tied for second at 43%, and 28% said increased PTO and better health insurance were needed. Evidently, adopting a remote or hybrid work model could go far in many organisations, although that may not always be realistic depending on the role or industry. Fortunately, there are other ways that employers can ensure employee wellbeing. 

Actionable Ways to Prioritise Mental Health for Employees

employee mental health

The problem is clear: Employees are suffering mentally, emotionally, psychologically and even physically. So, to effectively prioritize the mental health of employees, it must be woven into the fabric of a company’s culture. The following are a few actionable ways you can do so. 

Effective Leadership and Mental Health at Work

As with any meaningful cultural change, leader buy-in is essential—and mental health prioritisation in the workplace starts at the top. By demonstrating awareness, compassion and openness toward mental health, leaders can reduce employee concerns of being perceived as weak or vulnerable if they come forward with an issue. And, the most successful leaders know that leading by what they do is far more effective than what they say.

In an article on post-pandemic mental health predictions from Forbes, Adam Weber, SVP of community at 15Five, said,

“If executives want their employees to prioritise their mental health, they need to be doing the same in a very visible way. It’s one thing to encourage people to take time off for therapy or a mental health day, but most leaders have yet to take the next step of doing that themselves in a transparent way.”

Adam Weber, SVP of community at 15Five

Leaders should also regularly and actively listen to their employees; having open and honest conversations with employees about what matters to them and how they’re feeling mentally and emotionally is critically important. For example, in a study with Qualtrics and SAP, Harvard Business Review found that nearly 40% of global employees said no one at their company had asked them how they were doing. Conversely, ensure that your leaders are creating a safe space during one-on-one meetings with their staff to bring forward any worries, anxieties, struggles and concerns.  

In the People Managers’ Guide to Mental Health, UK-based mental health charity Mind and international champion for better work CIPD offer the following suggestions for a management style that promotes employee mental health:  

  • Create realistic deadlines. 
  • Communicate job objectives clearly. 
  • Deal with problems as soon as they arise. 
  • Give employees the right level of responsibility. 
  • Encourage participation from the whole team. 
  • Act as a mediator in conflict situations. 

When managers and executives are on board with prioritising mental health, the groundwork is laid for a culture that acknowledges and protects all aspects of employee wellbeing.   

Recognise the Signs of Mental Illness in the Workplace

Once top-down buy-in is achieved regarding the importance of employee mental wellbeing, it’s important for employers to understand and be able to spot the early signs of mental health issues in the workplace—and know how to respond. While employers should not give advice about a mental health problem (as they’re rarely qualified to do so), identifying warning signs and responding appropriately can help prevent issues from escalating. This awareness is also a critical component of a culture that prioritises the mental wellbeing of its employees.  

Early indicators of a potential mental health struggle may include:  

  • A sudden change in the employee’s work habits 
  • A dramatic difference in an employee’s personality 
  • An increase in absences or arriving late to work 
  • A sudden inability to control extreme emotions 
  • Social withdrawal 

If you notice any of these red flags, or if an employee approaches you with concerns regarding their mental health, be sure to approach the topic carefully and with respect. Make them comfortable by showing empathy and compassion, and reassure them that there is no judgement or risk to their professional reputation.  

Organization-Wide Training

Beyond identifying the warning signs of mental health concerns, employers must also equip employees at all levels of the organisation to manage issues as they arise. In a recent global managers’ survey from Yahoo, less than one-third of managers said they felt equipped to handle the mental health needs of their team and 80% of managers worried about using the wrong language when addressing sensitive topics like mental health.

Additionally, some individuals may feel more comfortable bringing forward a concern to a peer, as opposed to their leader. For this reason, it’s critical to educate all employees on the best way to manage these situations. Plus, the right training can help bridge the gap between mental health awareness and effectively meeting the mental health needs of the workforce. Investing in mental health training for all levels of the organizsation will pay dividends in employee wellbeing and retention. Formal learning programs can also help substantially move the needle by debunking myths, reducing stigma, and building skills to appropriately and effectively manage concerns.

Employee Resource Groups 

If you don’t have the budget to invest in training, mental health employee resource groups (MHERGs) are a low-cost way to build a culture that prioritises employee wellbeing. Regardless of the segment of your employee population that they represent, ERGs provide employees with the unique support that only those with shared experiences can provide.  

According to Bernie Wong, manager of research and design at Mind Share Partners, MHERGs are “an effective resource that reduces mental health-related stigma through an evidence-based model of social contact, peer support and education.” Further, Wong believes that MHERGs should be open to the general employee population and that participation should be encouraged for all employees—regardless of their mental health needs—so that belonging to the group doesn’t “out” someone as having a mental health issue. This also ensures that membership doesn’t violate employee privacy rights.  

At PeopleScout, our Healthy Minds Collective is an ERG that “inspires individuals to enrich their mental health and wellbeing by enhancing the mind, body and spirit connection.” Additionally, our team in the Europe/Middle East/Asia region (EMEA) also created a group called “Here For You.” This team of volunteers received the training and certification* required to serve as “Mental Health Responders” to provide employees with a confidential channel for reporting mental health concerns and share valuable resources with employees. 

Even if employees choose not to participate, simply making employees aware of ERGs such as these and openly communicating about group activities and discussions can go a long way in normalising mental health in the workplace, which helps foster a culture of inclusivity and emotional wellbeing. 

* Level 2 Award in Mental Health: Workplace Responder qualification from St. John Ambulance service 

Employee Assistance Programs 

In addition to employee resources and training, comprehensive health benefits that include mental health services are quickly becoming a requirement, not a perk, according to Corporate Wellness Magazine. These benefits (or lack thereof) are influencing employees’ decisions about staying in their current job versus looking for a new one. For instance, in Lyra Health’s 2022 State of the Workforce Mental Health, it was reported that 84% of employees surveyed indicated that it was important that a prospective employer offer “robust and comprehensive mental health benefits,” with 29% saying it was “very important” and 55% saying it was “somewhat important.” 

During COVID-19, many companies added or expanded their Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to help employees cope with the added stress, uncertainty, personal loss and safety concerns associated with the pandemic. However, as we’ve learned, heightened mental health issues aren’t dissipating anytime soon. Therefore, providing employees with access to quality, convenient and affordable mental health care is more important than ever.  

Encouragingly, many employers are catching on to the need for comprehensive health benefits to attract and retain employees, as well as improve employee satisfaction and experience. As an example, Kara Hoogensen, senior vice president of specialty benefits at Principal Financial Group, said EAPs, telehealth and mental health programs were among the top benefits that employers planned to increase in 2022.  

Employers across the globe are recognising the importance of supporting and protecting the mental health of their employees as a vital component to the future success of their business. However, although we saw a rise in conversations around mental health during COVID-19, the stigma still remains. Therefore, above all else, practice normalising conversations about mental health and creating a safe space to raise and address issues. Additionally, encourage employees and managers to openly use the term “mental health” and integrate associated language into corporate training, company newsletters, meeting agendas, and more to make it clear that your workplace acknowledges and prioritises mental wellbeing. Finally, practice self-care at all levels of the organisation—in a visible way—to assure employees that they can and should do the same. 

Global Hiring and Labour Market Trends Affecting Recruitment in APAC 

At PeopleScout, we’re committed to providing you with information to help guide your talent acquisition decisions across the globe. This article is part of our series identifying talent trends across the globe. 

Asia Pacific (APAC) is home to more than 4.7 billion people, as well as some of the largest global economies. And, because it’s made up of more than 50 countries and territories with varied cultures, languages and job roles, it’s impossible to leverage the same talent acquisition strategy across countries.  

APAC by the Numbers 

global hiring

However, according to the International Monetary Fund, APAC is also the fastest-growing region in the world and, as such, represents a huge opportunity for global enterprises to capitalise on this diverse talent pool. For this reason, it’s imperative for organisations to understand the skills shortages, demographic gaps and pandemic recovery challenges throughout the region.  

In this article, we’ll cover some of the labour market trends in APAC. We’ll also point out what multinational organisations should be aware of when it comes to immigration, education and diversity, as well as their effect on talent acquisition in the region.  

Pandemic Recovery Continues to Vary Across APAC 

The COVID-19 pandemic recovery continues to lag behind in Asia. For instance, China is still enforcing its “zero-COVID” policy, while Shanghai and Hong Kong are dealing with spikes in infection numbers and deaths, which is delaying border openings and stifling employment recovery—particularly in economies that are dependent on tourism. 

Meanwhile, other countries in the region are showing greater resilience. Compared to other parts of the world, the Great Resignation had been a step behind in APAC—but, as of March 2022, it seems to be in full swing. In fact, 58% of workers in Australia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia are planning to leave their current job. The motivations behind these moves seem to be on par with workers in the West; some of the top reasons cited are lack of growth opportunities, salary dissatisfaction and concerns about their wellbeing.  

In Australia, the unemployment rate is at a record low of just under 4% as of May 2022, and it’s expected to drop even lower. However, the country is also experiencing an acute labour shortage: The closure of Australian borders during the pandemic meant that overseas migration to the country was negative for the first time since 1946. Pre-pandemic, one in 10 workers in Australia was on a temporary work visa. Then, as lockdowns went into place, hundreds of thousands of workers with temporary visas had to depart Australia—leaving a record number of jobs vacant. Accordingly, with only the local labour pool to pull from, unemployment dropped and vacancies soared, tripling in the retail and manufacturing sectors from 2020 to 2021.  

Then, in December 2021, the country’s borders reopened to students and migrants with visas, which is helping to fill positions—especially among casual jobs in retail and hospitality. Now, many Australian organisations are looking to new talent pools, including tapping into globally dispersed talent. As an example, PeopleScout recently helped a hospitality client take advantage of a visa strategy introduced to attract chefs to Australia’s tourism industry: Through a Recruiter On-Demand solution, we were able to source chefs in the United Kingdom who were willing to relocate.   

With a large and complex country, the knock-on effect of the pandemic on the Australian labour pool is still yet to be seen. Yet, CEOs in the country are optimistic, with 88% expecting growth in the Australian economy

Global Hiring: Key Takeaways for Employers 

Shifting Demographics Affecting Talent Pools and Global Hiring   

Across APAC, many countries are facing labour shortages due, in part, to aging populations and the accelerated rate of retirement during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Gen Z makes up 25% of the APAC population—and they’re keen to have an influence. 

At the other end of the spectrum, a 2021 study from the Japanese government revealed that more than 40% of workers aged 60 and older wanted to continue working, with many citing their desire to stay busy and give back. Even so, experts project that Japan will face a labour shortage of 1.5 million workers by 2030, despite expanded workforce participation and advancements in automation.  

Meanwhile, in another part of Asia, India is experiencing a talent surplus: While most countries have seen a post-pandemic drop in unemployment, India is experiencing a decline in jobs, with an unemployment rate of more than 7.8% in April 2022. At the same time, the Indian workforce grew by 8.8 million people in April; so, even with unemployment dropping, available jobs are still not enough to satisfy the demand for work.  

In 1991, the Indian government made sweeping reforms to its industrial and trade policies, which led to greater foreign investment due to its youthful population. As a result, India went from a primarily agricultural economy to a services-led economy with a boom in IT-related jobs. Consequently, there are now fewer lower-skilled jobs to absorb the large number of unskilled or low-skilled workers.  

Moreover, the vast majority of jobs in India are informal: Just more than 2% of Indian workers are in secure jobs with access to benefits like retirement savings and healthcare. Therefore, these high unemployment numbers could be influenced by the number of educated young people who can afford to remain jobless while they find desirable work, rather than take low-paying positions. On the other hand, the poor—who have limited access to education—are forced to take any work they can get, which often involves pursuing unstable, daily-wage labourer roles in manufacturing and construction. 

Key Takeaways for Employers Exploring Global Hiring and Recruitment

recruitment agencies in australia

Tech Investment is Up, but Women are a Missed Opportunity 

The technology sector is having a significant influence on talent trends in the APAC region: India is home to the largest tech companies, like Wipro, Infosys and HCL. The growth of the Indian IT industry has also created more than 16 million jobs that drive the digital transformation for global enterprises offshoring their IT and R&D functions to take advantage of India’s less-expensive software talent. To keep up with the demand for tech talent, STEM university grads have more than doubled in India. Yet, despite IT being a top interest for 21- to 25-year-olds, there’s still a talent shortage.  

What’s more, with global enterprises embracing Indian talent, the country has also become a gateway to other markets in Asia. Now, $1 of every $2 in global investment goes to companies in Asia, some of which is fueling their own talent pools. For example, tech giant Apple has committed to building three Developer Academies in Indonesia, which will each produce 200 iOS developers annually. 

Meanwhile, as a long-time leader in innovation, Japan’s high-tech and renewable energy sectors are the most profitable industries in the country. As a result, the Japanese education system is now adjusting to keep up with the demand for digital and software skills: In 2020, computer programming languages were introduced to elementary curricula. However, not all countries in APAC are stressing technology education. In Australia, only 3,000 to 4,000 IT graduates enter the workforce each year, which won’t meet the need for 156,000 new technology workers by 2025 to ensure that economic growth is not stalled by skills shortages. 

Any company looking to remain competitive—especially those in the manufacturing or technology sectors—must emphasise becoming a top employer in APAC. And, one talent pool they could look to attract in Asia is women. Diversity and inclusion is one area where the wide variety of cultures across APAC shows itself, but the region scored highest on the importance of maintaining gender roles. Of course, it varies from country to country but, in patriarchal societies like Japan and China, females are often underrepresented in the workplace due to traditional views about women taking care of the home, rather than contributing to the household income.  

Unfortunately, the tech sector will suffer the most from this, with men making up 84% of STEM graduates in Japan alone. Conversely, companies that invest in reskilling and upskilling women—while also providing flexible work arrangements—will reap the rewards when it comes to attracting and retaining female talent. Indeed, research from McKinsey shows that Asia Pacific could add $4.5 trillion to annual GDP in 2025 by closing the gender employment gap.  

Key Takeaways for Employers 

RPO in APAC 

Despite the challenges of COVID-19 and changing demographics, corporations in the APAC region have showed resilient, expanding profits throughout the last decade. And, enticed by the global hiring and labor market trends, leading organisations are investing in the talent pools of APAC as a means of future-proofing their workforce.  

However, the complexity of the region also means that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for recruitment in APAC. So, increasingly, global enterprises are turning to recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). According to Everest Group, Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region for RPO and is set to make a swift recovery; finding the right RPO partner in APAC can help you navigate the region’s unique talent market conditions—and capitalise on the growth it offers.  

Learn more about how RPO can support your global talent acquisition strategy, download our free Definitive Guide to RPO.

Ghost Hunting: How to Keep Candidate Engagement Alive After Offer Acceptance

Candidate engagement after extending a job offer is now more important than ever, as employers across most regions are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of new hires who are ghosting on their first day: Data from Robert Half shows that 28% of professionals have backed out of a job offer after initially accepting it, thereby costing employers time and money on a job offer ghosted. 

In today’s candidate-driven market—and with the major influence that the pandemic had on the way people view work and personal life—it’s no surprise that candidates are receiving multiple job offers and thinking critically about what they truly want in an employer.  

Top 3 Reasons Candidates Backed Out of an Offer They’ve Already Accepted

Job offer
Source: Robert Half

With candidates in the driver’s seat, employers need to do everything they can to keep new hires from taking an early exit. So, in this article, we offer actionable strategies for your organisation to do just that. 

Why Do Candidates Ghost?

With record numbers of job openings, job-seekers are more empowered than ever to be picky about the company they choose to work for. This means that candidates are likely interviewing with multiple companies at the same time—and they may not disclose it.  

At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for an immense digital transformation of the recruiting process, with everything from phone screens and interviews to offers and onboarding being conducted completely online. Of course, while this has made it easier and faster to apply to jobs (with “easy apply” options and text interviews the norm), it has also informalised the process and made it feel less personal than a face-to-face hiring journey.  

As a result, employers who rely solely on these technologies without establishing a human touch might struggle to build a more personal connection with candidates. Furthermore, because the majority of the hiring process now takes place online from behind a screen, it can be difficult for recruiters and candidates to build the same rapport that they would have when communicating in person; when you remove the investment that comes from traveling to meet someone in person and replace it with a simple click, the entire process can start to feel more transactional and less human. 

All of this can lead to poor communication overall, leaving candidates feeling like they might not need to provide any formal closure. According to Indeed data, here are some of the consequences of ineffective communication with the recruiter or hiring manager:

Candidate engagement

And, not only is ghosting happening, but it also appears to be a rapidly growing trend: According to a 2021 survey from Indeed, 28% of job-seekers have ghosted an employer—a 10% increase from 2019 data—and 57% of employers believe it’s more common than ever before. 

It’s important to note that the same Indeed survey found that ghosting in the workplace is a two-way street, with 77% of job-seekers saying they’ve been ghosted by an employer. So, while ghosting has become a normalised part of the hiring process (with employers starting the trend and candidates catching on), there are some actionable steps that employers can take to avoid ghosting on both ends and help combat this rising trend.

Strategies to Keep Candidates Engaged After Job Offer Acceptance 

In addition to the increasing likelihood that candidates will renege on an offer, employers should also keep in mind the various notice period requirements in countries around the world, which could be anywhere from two weeks to six months, in some places. Clearly, half a year is an incredibly long time to keep someone engaged and excited about your business, especially when that candidate is exploring other offers and evaluating the benefits of each. So, how can you do it? Consider the following: 

Focus on Employer Brand 

It should come as no surprise that keeping candidates engaged after they accept an offer starts with the work that’s done prior to them even applying; maintaining a powerful employer brand is key to keeping candidates with you throughout the entire hiring process. More precisely, when a candidate receives a competing offer or a compelling counteroffer from their current employer, is what your company offers going to be enough to keep them from changing their mind?  

To that end, it’s important that your organisation presents itself—on social media, employer review sites and your careers site—in a positive light. You’ll want the candidate to be reminded of the value you offer—whether that’s in the form of benefits; flexibility; growth opportunities; diversity and inclusion initiatives; or otherwise—everywhere they look. The mental picture a candidate keeps of you in the back of their mind (or when someone mentions your company’s name) is make or break when it comes to them following through on an offer acceptance and showing up for day one. 

Make Open Communication Standard 

Lack of communication is one of the top reasons candidates ghost after accepting an offer, so establishing strong, open lines of communication from the start can make a huge difference in how the hiring process plays out. For example, encourage recruiters and hiring managers to communicate with candidates frequently by keeping them informed of their application status, providing updates on next steps and simply checking in to see if candidates have any questions. This can help build a sense of familiarity and rapport that is often lost when recruiters only communicate when absolutely necessary. 

Your organisation can also stand out from others by candidly asking candidates where they are in the hiring process with other potential employers. Then, depending on your recruitment timeline, you can adjust key interviews and deadlines to avoid losing your candidate to a competing job offer. A personalised offer letter for job candidates will place you ahead of competitors. This will also help you get an idea of whether your candidate is entertaining other offers that they may be more interested in overall; then, even if they do accept an offer from you, this can help you be better prepared for the possibility that they’ll renege and accept a position elsewhere. 

Finally, the key is to maintain that line of communication even after the candidate has accepted an offer; if you ghost your brand-new hire, they’ll be more likely to ghost you in turn. 

Get the Offer Out Fast 

The more time your hiring process takes, the more time candidates have to consider taking other jobs. You’ve received a verbal offer acceptance; that’s great. Now, the time it takes for you to get official paperwork out and signed is critical. Engagement levels are highest at this point, and it’s critical that you get the offer out before the candidate has the chance to get cold feet.  

If possible, get all of your organisation’s internal approvals finalised prior to your verbal offer so that the official written offer can be sent almost immediately. If your organisation has a lengthier process that cannot be shortened, then be sure to communicate that to the candidate so their expectations are set accordingly.  

Utilise Thoughtful Touchpoints 

Perhaps most important, maintain frequent communication with the candidate during the period between offer acceptance (whether verbal or written) and day one. This can include messages of congratulations from the hiring manager and anyone else they may have met and interviewed with during the hiring process. 

Additionally, consider pairing your new hire with a current employee who can help them prepare for their first day. Or, in smaller organisations, set up a one-on-one meeting with a key leader to welcome them to the company. This can help the candidate feel connected to the team before they’ve even officially started—and will help keep the organisation front of mind. 

Redefine Onboarding & Start Immediately 

When competing with multiple offers and long notice periods, beginning your onboarding process before the new hire officially starts can be a great way to keep them engaged and feeling like they’re a part of the team. For instance, if you’re in an office, consider sending your new hire a video tour or inviting them in for a real one. Or, if your team is planning to get together for an in-person or virtual happy hour, invite the new hire to join. 

You can also send your new hire more information about your company, culture, employee resource groups and more to help them start feeling like a part of the team. Plus, what better way to foster a sense of connection and pride than by sending a welcome kit and some company swag? Finally, encourage the new hire’s colleagues and manager to reach out frequently to check in and express excitement for them to officially get started on the team. 

The Whole Job Offer Package 

Essentially, candidate experience is really about the whole package—from establishing a strong employer brand all the way to onboarding. How you present your organisation—as well as how it’s perceived by the public—is paramount. Moreover, remaining front of mind for candidates throughout the entire hiring process (and especially post-offer) is critical so as not to lose them to competing offers or a change of heart. In today’s market, employers can’t afford to slip and miss any opportunity for communication, connection and engagement. 

Evolve Your Recruitment Program with Globally Dispersed Talent 

As organizations continue to adjust to changes caused by the pandemic, access to skilled talent remains a key factor preventing them from accelerated recovery and growth. However, with work-from-home and hybrid models becoming the new norm, organizations have the unique opportunity to expand their talent network across borders. And, for workers looking to relocate for greater job prospects, crossing borders for work is becoming easier than ever for both employees and employers: According to Harvard Business Review, “Many countries have now put the legal framework in place to hire and relocate global talent at a cost and speed that is broadly comparable with hiring domestically.” 

Furthermore, in a 2021 survey by Boston Consulting Group and The Network, about 50% of respondents were either already working abroad or willing to move abroad for work. Moreover, 57% of respondents said they were willing to work remotely for an employer that didn’t have a physical presence in their home country. 

global talent management

In this article, we’ll share the benefits of a global talent program; highlight considerations to keep in mind; and offer strategies for attracting and recruiting talent around the world. 

Benefits of Globally Dispersed Talent 

The global talent pool is growing and ready to work—regardless of location—and it’s up to employers to seize the moment. Consider the benefits of leveraging globally dispersed talent: 

Expanded Talent Pool 

Many organizations have been struggling to fill open roles because they’re unable to find the talent they need in local searches. But, by expanding your search across borders, you can expand your search for the skills the role requires in a larger talent pool. Plus, you can also start these workers out in remote and contract roles to test whether they would be a good fit.  

Greater Diversity 

It’s no secret that having a diverse team yields better business results due to high levels of creativity and innovation. Consequently, by hiring people from different geographies, you can tap into the knowledge of people from different backgrounds, cultures, educations and more.  

Increased Reach 

When operating in different regions, you have greater access to new markets, as your dispersed team can help build your brand recognition and reputation with new customer bases in their respective locations. Additionally, having teams across various regions may also enable you to expand your business hours so you can improve productivity and be available to customers no matter where they’re located. 

Cost Savings 

Labor costs vary across countries, so it’s often cost-effective to move certain business operations to countries with lower labor costs. For example, many companies offshore manufacturing, call center and IT operations to places like Mexico, India and the Philippines. Doing so lowers the cost of operations and, therefore, lowers the cost of products for the consumer.  

And, because commercial real estate policies and prices vary from country to country, you can also reduce costs by implementing a remote work program in other countries before deciding whether a physical office space will be necessary in a given region. 

Considerations for a Global Talent Management Program 

Before diving into a global recruitment program, it’s important to consider the key differences between recruiting in different countries. For instance, cultural nuances, policies and legislation will likely be different from your organization’s primary country and can make or break the success of your global recruitment and employment strategy. Consider the following examples: 

Workforce Planning 

As you plan your hiring in new geographies, it’s important to be aware of the length of the statutory notice period, as requirements vary widely from country to country and can make hiring timelines longer (up to three to six months, in some cases). For example, in the U.S., there’s no legal requirement to provide notice, but it’s customary for employees to give a two-week notice to aid in the transition. Conversely, in Japan, there’s a fixed notice period of 30 days—regardless of the employee’s years of service or seniority. In other countries, an employee’s notice period depends on the terms of their employment contract and may be connected to the number of years of service to the company. 

In places that require longer notice periods, candidate communications are even more essential in order to keep those candidates engaged and to set expectations on next steps. For this reason, incorporating transition timelines into your workforce planning is crucial so you don’t reduce productivity while waiting for your new hire to start in their role. 

Recruitment Marketing 

Notably, if you’re using the same recruitment marketing tactics in every country, you’re missing a trick. Take social media, for example: Different networks work better in different markets. While LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are popular in the U.S., WeChat (a mobile app that focuses on messaging, social media and mobile payments) is heavily used in China. Similarly, XING and Viadeo are popular alternatives for career-oriented networking in Germany and France, respectively. So, understanding social media preferences in each country will help you promote your job ads in a more effective manner.  

Granted, social media and digital advertising may not be the best fit for all roles in all places. In fact, even within a single country, there are nuances to consider. For instance, PeopleScout leveraged physical advertisements at bus stops in the smaller European cities where an RPO client in the manufacturing sector was hiring because we knew that it was less likely that blue-collar candidates in these areas would have internet access at home.    

And, localization is key—not just in digital channel usage, but also in language and imagery. For example, while an image of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed worker would resonate in North America, the same type of image would not be as well-received by candidates in Asia. In addition, candidates in Europe are more likely to be multilingual, so testing recruitment marketing techniques in a few different languages might prove to be useful when recruiting in that geography.  

Mobile-Friendly Candidate Experience 

A mobile-first candidate experience is more important than ever. In the U.S., approximately 15% of adults are “smartphone-only” internet users, meaning that they access the internet only through their smartphone and don’t have an internet connection at home. And, by 2025, nearly three-quarters (72.6%) of internet users—nearly 3.7 billion people worldwide—will access the web exclusively via smartphone.   

Regardless of where they are in the world, your potential candidates are looking and applying for jobs via their mobile phones. So, consider how your recruitment tech stack supports a mobile-friendly application process to future-proof your global talent acquisition program. 

Regulations & Compliance 

Due to varying laws and regulations, recruitment processes can’t be the same in every country, and it can be difficult for enterprises to navigate the requirements in each market. For example, in Sweden, you don’t need to establish a legal entity to hire employees in the country, whereas you do in Singapore. Furthermore, statutory requirements for notice periods, probationary periods and permitted pre-employment checks all vary from country to country. In fact, in 22 countries, it’s mandatory to organize a medical exam prior to hiring someone. In any case, it’s imperative that you understand employment law in each country you’re hiring in so you don’t violate your new employees’ rights.  

Granted, the employment law landscape is constantly changing, making it increasingly difficult for multinational companies to stay compliant and avoid damages to the organization’s finances and reputation. Fortunately, a global RPO partner can support you with global and local expertise to ensure you stay on top of regulations in each country you’re hiring in. 

Strategies for Recruiting Globally Dispersed Talent 

So, how can you overcome these challenges to realize the benefits of expanding your recruitment program to globally dispersed talent? Here are some actionable ideas to help you adjust your recruitment strategies: 

Map Each Labor Market 

Before you start recruiting in a new market, it’s important to understand the lay of land. Specifically, delving into the talent landscape and competition in each area—not just your direct competitors, but any organization hiring for the roles or skill sets you’re seeking—can inform your recruitment strategy and compensation packages. In this way, investing the time to map the labor market upfront is invaluable for creating a competitive advantage, especially when it comes to new geographies or remote workers. Then, armed with this data, you can create offers that reflect rates in the new hire’s area and boost your acceptance rates in the meantime. 

As an example, PeopleScout recently helped a manufacturing client recruit engineers in an area in the north of the Czech Republic, where the available talent pool for the skills they needed was low, but the competition was high. After completing a labor market analysis, we advised the team to expand their search area across the border to Poland (where the talent supply was larger) to find talent that would be willing to commute or relocate. By doing so, we were able to fill business-critical automation engineer roles that saved their productivity levels.   

Adapt Your EVP to Your Audience 

Your employer brand—an individual’s perceptions and lived experiences of what it’s like to work for your organization—helps you attract and retain the right people to help your organization succeed. According to Gartner, organizations that effectively deliver on their employer value proposition (EVP) can decrease annual employee turnover by 69%. And, in today’s ultra-competitive, candidate-driven market, a strong employer brand can also help you stand out in a sea of job openings

Specifically, companies that attract top talent will be those that have invested in developing messaging pillars that allow their employer brand to flex and resonate with talent audiences across the globe. For example, PeopleScout helped global law firm Linklaters revamp and tailor its employer brand to support hiring across 20 offices in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, while simultaneously boosting its Glassdoor scores and increasing global applications from female lawyers.  

So, to truly understand your ideal candidate, do your homework for every position type in each market and adapt your brand messaging and attraction strategies accordingly. In particular, a candidate persona profile is a great way to capture each position’s requirements, motivations and expectations so you can design your recruitment marketing content around messages that will truly resonate. 

Invest in Your Recruitment Tech Stack 

Investing in standardizing your recruitment technology across geographies offers a litany of ways not only to streamline the candidate experience, but also your internal program management efforts and reporting, as well.  

Plus, nowadays, candidates expect a tech-enabled recruitment experience that enables them to search for jobs on the go—and a whopping 89% of candidates think mobile devices play a critical role in the job-hunting process. Therefore, looking for ways to make your application process more mobile-friendly—including leveraging “quick apply” features in your ATS—will pay off in application volumes.  

What’s more, hiring in new geographies or for remote workers will almost certainly involve virtual interviews. Thus, investing in a virtual hiring solution can help you hire the talent you need quickly and with a seamless candidate experience. Unlike typical video meeting tools, modern virtual interview tools offer options like on-demand phone interviews and text/SMS interviews, as well as live and pre-recorded video interviews

However, one consideration to keep in mind when selecting technology for global recruitment is where the data will be stored and processed. Regulations (such as GDPR in Europe) limit the amount of data that can be processed in the U.S. So, look for tools that are SOC 2-certified, and assess any vendor’s information on security policies, procedures and practices. 

Put Your Global Talent Program in Action 

If your organization is new to global talent acquisition or if you haven’t expanded business operations very far, the considerations and strategies highlighted above can seem daunting. But, the good news is that a global RPO partner can be a valuable partner to help guide you through your global talent acquisition challenges. Moreover, with a wealth of knowledge and experience gained through working with clients spanning a variety of industries and countries, an RPO partner can also help you navigate the complex compliance and cultural issues that accompany a multi-country recruitment program. 

So, what should you look for in a global RPO partner? Well, you’ll see the greatest benefit from a provider that is able to offer a customizable solution that’s flexible enough to support everything from your niche hires and short-term needs to your high-volume roles and full-cycle recruitment processes. 

Learn more about how to find the right global RPO provider in our ebook, The Buyer’s Guide to Global RPO