Building a Business Case for RPO

Amidst the most turbulent labour market in recent memory, talent acquisition leaders and procurement professionals alike are turning to partners for creative, agile and adaptable solutions for their current and future talent challenges. Because recruiting touches the whole organisation, stakeholders across the business will have opinions on the benefits and drawbacks of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) as well as unique ideas about the best approach. The process to secure buy-in and budget doesn’t have to be difficult. By having a few conversations with the right people in your organisation and gathering some information around current recruitment processes and costs, you can present a solid business case for RPO to your leadership team and create a path forward to an effective and resilient talent acquisition program.

What is RPO?

First things first—what is recruitment process outsourcing? Recruitment process outsourcing, abbreviated as RPO, is a type of business process outsourcing in which an employer transfers some or all portions of the recruitment process to an external service provider. These facets may include job postings, sourcing, screening, assessments, offer management, background verifications, some onboarding elements and more.

RPO can support hiring for high volume or niche professional roles and often involves technology and talent advisory consulting—including employer branding. An RPO provider embodies the best of your culture, employer brand and values in all the activities they perform on your organisation’s behalf, while integrating with your systems, processes and people. Plus, your RPO team brings new ideas, innovation and expertise to bolster your talent strategy and plans. They may sit on-site, work remotely, work offshore or a combination, and they typically take on your company name and email domain as an extension of your organisation.  

RPO can be leveraged to augment existing in-house recruitment teams and can complement your current recruitment program by taking over recruiting for specific job groups, locations or business units. Moreover, across your enterprise, you can leverage different RPO models to maximise the benefits.

When evaluating whether RPO is right for your organisation, it’s important to determine which RPO blueprint is the right one. As you speak to stakeholders, one key challenge you may run into is that stakeholders have different views on what you mean by RPO. In your business case presentation, you’ll want to compare different models—and clearly define them—in order to help the decision-making process.

Benefits of RPO

RPO engagements are not only about outsourcing your recruiting but also about finding the best partner to help manage the people, process, technology and strategy of your talent acquisition function. There is no single best option, only the option that best aligns with your organisational needs.

You should focus on finding the solution that provides the most value for your investment. RPO will create benefits that will be felt across your organisation in terms of both cost and operational efficiencies.

Cost Benefits of RPO

Whether through direct or indirect cost savings, RPO can provide advantages that impact your bottom line. As you prepare your business case for RPO, here are some cost benefits to keep in mind:

  • Reduced Time-to-Fill: The longer a position goes unfilled, the more likely your business is to experience productivity loss—and loss of revenue. RPO teams find candidates and fill roles faster through talent pipelining.
  • Lower Cost-per-Hire:  RPO offers cost efficiencies by shortening hiring timelines and improving the quality of your talent, while also lowering recruitment marketing spend. By streamlining and optimising recruitment processes, improving time-to-hire and retention rates, RPO increases your return on investment and delivers savings to your bottom line.
  • Reduced Agency Spend: A huge benefit of RPO is the reduced reliance on disparate third-party staffing agencies. By consolidating recruitment under a single partnership, you reduce agency usage and make your recruitment costs more predictable.

👉 Learn the top differences between an RPO and a staffing agency.

Operational Benefits of RPO

In addition to the cost benefits of RPO, there are operational benefits that can be felt across your business, including:

  • Elevated Role for HR: Leading RPO providers can provide labour market insights, talent intelligence and benchmarking data. With access to these insights, you have the data you need to support your workforce strategy as well as tactical business decisions. You can capitalise on the latest market analysis, thought leadership and competitive intelligence to inform your talent strategy. Your RPO partner can provide analytics to help you understand what’s working so you can maximise your ROI. Your RPO partner should also be able to give insights into how your organisation is perceived as well as tactical steps to fundamentally change perceptions through your employer value proposition (EVP) and employer brand and even recruitment marketing and media purchasing services.
  • Improved Candidate Quality: As skills gaps and talent scarcity becomes more challenging, having an RPO team digging into passive sourcing to access niche skills sets will expand your talent pool and improve quality-of-hire. RPO providers leverage their comprehensive talent networks and effective screening and assessment tools to produce stronger candidates and more diverse talent pools.
  • Better Candidate Experience: You want your recruitment process to leave every applicant, regardless of whether they get the job, with a positive experience. Your RPO partner can advise on ways to improve the candidate experience including career site audits, job application recommendations and how to leverage technology to speed up the process and reduce friction.
  • Improved Hiring Manager Experience: Your RPO team reduces the administrative burden on your hiring managers by taking over résumé and CV screening, assessment administration, interview scheduling, candidate communication and feedback tasks. RPO teams prepare hiring managers for interviews, provide them with feedback and identify any candidates at risk of dropping from the process so managers can make informed decisions.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Through experience collected over many client engagements, RPO teams are knowledgeable about enhancing your employer brand for wider audiences and expanding your talent attraction efforts to new job boards, social media groups, online forums and events to target more diverse candidates.
RPO business case

3 Steps to Building Your Business Case for RPO

RPO solutions are designed to provide transformative recruitment strategies that are flexible enough to help you achieve competitive advantage at a predictable cost. Let’s explore the steps you can take to gather the information you need for your business case.

1. Engage Internal Stakeholders

Before embarking on your business case, it’s essential to engage the right stakeholders from the beginning. Human resources (HR), procurement, hiring managers and the C-suite will all have different pain points, desires and recruitment costs impacting their budgets. Their support will be crucial for not only securing resources but for the overall success of the RPO program.

👉 Create buy-in with our conversations guide for RPO.

By understanding what each stakeholder cares about, you can show how RPO can provide the solution for their challenges. Plus, once you’ve secured budget and selected an RPO provider, these stakeholders will be more open to change to make your RPO program successful.

The goal in this step is to be able to define current pain points and desired future outcomes so you can address these issues through an RPO solution.

Here are 10 questions you can use as conversation starters to uncover your organisation’s biggest challenges:

  1. Do we have the talent we need to achieve business goals now and into the future?
  2. Are we attracting quality talent with the right mix of skills, experience and cultural fit?
  3. How are we doing with our diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) goals? Are we attracting and hiring underrepresented candidates?
  4. Is our talent acquisition program able to respond quickly to changes in the market (i.e., easily and quickly scale up or down)?
  5. Are we providing an excellent candidate experience consistently?
  6. Are hiring managers getting the support they need to fill their vacancies?
  7. What recruitment technology are we currently using, and is it sufficient for our needs going forward?
  8. Do we have the data and insights we need to do effective workforce planning?
  9. How much are we spending annually on talent acquisition? Are we getting the best value for money?
  10. What are the differences in recruitment strategies between different countries or regions?

2. Assess Your Current Recruitment Landscape

As part of your engagement with stakeholders, it’s important to understand the current lay of the land when it comes to your talent acquisition program. You’ve got to know where you’re starting from in order to improve it.

This may seem like a straightforward question if your company has one in-house recruitment team. However, things get more complicated when there are separate in-house teams sitting in different regions who are using different processes or different local third-party agencies. Worse yet, individual departments and hiring managers may be handling their own recruitment. Ask around and get it all down on paper.

Metrics to help measure your recruitment process:

  • Applicant-to-hire ratio
  • Interview-to-offer ratio
  • Time-to-hire and time-to-fill
  • Time-in-stage or hiring velocity
  • Offer acceptance rate
  • Cost-per-vacancy

Sourcing & Attraction

Who sources candidates for your organisation? What channels are you using to get in front of candidates? Are you attracting lots of active candidates, or are recruiters having to engage mostly passive candidates? What are the average costs associated with attracting active candidates versus sourcing passive candidates?

What are you doing to attract candidates to your job ads? Who manages this budget? Are you using any suppliers like creative agencies or advertising platforms (e.g., LinkedIn, Indeed, industry publications, etc.)? How are these channels performing?

Screenings, Interviews & Assessments

Beyond sourcing candidates, who reviews résumés and CVs? Who manages the interview process? How many interview or assessment steps are currently required for each role type?

Are there any delays or bottlenecks that are contributing to longer hiring cycles, poor candidate experiences or increased candidate drop-off rates?

What role is technology playing at each stage? Is there opportunity to build more automation into your processes?

Offers & Negotiation

Once you get to an offer stage, who signs off on offers? What is your offer acceptance rate? If it’s lower than you’d like, is there something about the candidate experience that’s turning them off?

Are you leveraging candidate surveys? What is your candidate Net Promoter Score (NPS)? What are your ratings on review sites like Glassdoor?

It’s also worth looking at attrition and tenure metrics to identify any issues causing new hires to leave soon after joining.

Uncovering this information will help you understand your gaps and opportunities. An RPO provider will be able to develop customised solutions to address your unique challenges.

3. Calculating the Cost of Talent Acquisition

Now that you understand what goes into your recruitment efforts, you can assess how much the overall talent acquisition program will cost to run. It’s preferrable to understand how your staffing spend has changed over the last three to five years.

Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as asking HR for their budget details. You’ll want to incorporate both direct and indirect costs when assessing your talent acquisition program costs. Let’s break this down.

Understanding Direct Costs with Cost-per-Hire

A great place to start to understand your direct costs is with your cost-per-hire (CPH). This is the average cost you incur to hire a new employee. This includes total internal expenditures and external expenditures divided by your total number of new hires. You can calculate cost-per-hire using a monthly or annual measurement period.

cost per hire = total external costs + total internal costs / total number of hires

Internal costs include things like:

  • In-house recruiter salaries
  • Training costs for recruiters or hiring managers
  • Salary costs of time invested by hiring manager and other employees
  • Employee referral awards

External costs are any expenses incurred from external vendors, like:

  • External agency fees
  • Recruitment marketing and advertising costs
  • Assessment costs
  • Fees from drug tests and background checks
  • Technology costs
  • Hiring event and career fair spend
  • Candidate travel and lodging
  • Relocation expenses
  • Visa expenses
  • Signing bonuses

It may be useful to look into the differences in CPH for each job function, experience level, candidate source, geography and labour market. This may mean doing several calculations to capture these categories.

Keep in mind, cost-per-hire doesn’t capture quality of hire or take into account the costs of making a bad hire. If your cost-per-hire is low, but your new hires are leaving quickly or don’t pass their probationary period, is that really an advantage? On the flip side, a high cost-per-hire that brings in new employees that are engaged, productive and invested in your organisation is worth the expenditure. Ultimately, your talent acquisition program shouldn’t focus solely on cost but should concentrate on creating more value for the business.

Sussing Out Indirect Recruitment Costs

There are also indirect costs around recruitment that can be more difficult to measure and present in hard numbers. These could include:

  • Loss of productivity due to vacancy
  • Cost of overtime to cover vacancies
  • Impact on employee morale
  • Customer churn
  • Knowledge loss from turnover (and subsequent training costs)
  • Reputational damage from bad candidate experiences
budget for RPO

Presenting Your Business Case for RPO

Now that you’ve gotten to the bottom of your current recruitment efforts and the associated costs, you can present the business case for the RPO models that will address your challenges. Don’t be afraid to reach out to RPO providers for help with this step. By providing them with the information you gathered in the previous steps, they can provide a breakdown of the services they offer and how they could address your unique needs.

How you go about putting your business case on paper will depend on your organisational requirements and personal preference. We recommend getting everything onto one page. This gives C-suite leadership an easy-to-digest snapshot of your recommendations. While there is often a need to present high-level decisions in hard financial terms (e.g., ROI, NPV, IRR), presenting the business case simply will also help garner expert support to create any detailed financial assessment needed. You can always link to additional documentation to back-up your presentation (e.g., a flow chart of the current hiring steps, a SWOT analysis, etc.).

Your business case one-pager should consist of the following:

  1. Options: These are the solutions you’ve identified as best at addressing the pain points you uncovered in your conversations with stakeholders. Keep in mind that staying as-is is always a viable option. It’s also essential both to include your current situation as a contrast to the new RPO models and ensure each option is adequately described (for example, in supporting documents) so decision makers understand what is being compared. 
  2. Benefits and Drawbacks: These are the positives and negatives you could gain with each option. These should be aligned to the pain points identified by your stakeholders. The risk section (see number 4 below) is the place to capture any uncertainties about the expected benefits. Cash and non-cashable savings can be highlighted here, though most should be covered in the Costs section below.
  3. Costs: This should be both the direct (monetary) costs as well as indirect costs (like investments of time) and should be profiled to cover the whole life of each option (i.e., implementation, operation, close). A leading RPO provider should offer consultation that will help you complete this section.
  4. Risks and Opportunities: By showing the risks for each option, you give leadership the confidence that you’ve explored all the issues when coming to these conclusions. It also helps everyone make more informed decisions. Risks and opportunities are not guaranteed to happen, and in all cases should be evaluated both by likelihood and by impact. They are entirely future focused, so if you have a current issue, it should be listed as a drawback (see above).
  5. Assumptions: Explaining any assumptions you’ve made while preparing this document, helps you acknowledge any possibilities that might impact recruitment plans but that are out of your control or that could change in the future. For example, you could document current plans around mergers and acquisitions or geographical expansion. If there’s anything you want to exclude from the scope of your RPO engagement, you’ll want to document this here too.  

On the next page we’ve included an example of a business case for RPO created for a client who was hoping to move away from a combination of in-house recruiters and staffing agencies to an RPO solution.

Example Business Case for RPO

example business case for RPO

The Business Case for RPO

Going through the steps we’ve detailed in this guide will arm you with everything you need to prove that an RPO partner will create measurable value for your organisation. Presenting a winning business case for RPO—that depicts the process and cost efficiencies in an easily digestible document—will help you to secure budget and buy-in and put you well on your way to achieving talent advantage.

Countdown to Skills Crisis? What Our Latest Research Tells Us About Skills Gaps

By Simon Wright, Global Head of Talent Advisory Consulting

The workforce skills landscape is transforming at blinding speed. Automation, AI, sustainability initiatives, demographic shifts—global forces are conspiring to make skills gaps and talent shortages more acute by the day. Don’t think it’s moving that fast? Well, the World Economic Forum predicts that a jaw-dropping 85 million jobs could sit vacant by 2030, resulting in $8.5 trillion in lost revenue.

The very meaning of “skills” is shifting beneath our feet. Skills requirements have already changed 25% since 2015, and experts forecast 65% more change by 2030. However, companies still rely heavily on degrees and experience over skills when it comes to making hiring decisions. No wonder we’re careening towards a global skills crisis.

PeopleScout partnered with skills-based workforce management platform provider Spotted Zebra to survey over 100 senior HR and talent acquisition leaders globally, plus over 2,000 employees worldwide, to compare perspectives. Our new research report, The Skills Crisis Countdown, maps the skills landscape and diagnoses the disconnects between employers and their workforce.

Read on for some key findings from our report.

HR Leaders are Ill-Prepared for the Skills Crisis

According to a study by PwC, 40% of global CEOs believe their business will be economically unviable in 10 years unless they reinvent for the future. Our study revealed that nine out of 10 HR leaders believe that up to 50% of their workforce will require new skills to effectively perform their job in the next five years. Yet, when asked if they are currently undergoing or planning a workforce transformation initiative in the next three years, nearly half (45%) of HR leaders admit to having no plans to undertake one.

So, in other words, half of employees will soon be underprepared for the future, but most companies have no strategy in place to address the issue.

According to LinkedIn, 84% of members are in occupations that could have at least one quarter of their core skills affected by generative AI (GAI) technologies, like ChatGPT. So, how are HR leaders preparing for this digital transformation and the AI era? Shockingly, a full third (34%) say they have no preparations in place to prepare for new technologies. Those who are preparing emphasise bringing in outside talent rather than reskilling existing employees.

Industry Composition by GAI Segment
Percentage of LinkedIn Members by Industry

impact of GAI on workforce skills
(Source: LinkedIn Economic Graph Research Institute)

This is likely because they lack an understanding of the skills they have within their existing workforce. Our data revealed that 68% of organisations identify skills from manager feedback, which is highly subjective. So, it’s no surprise that 56% of employees think their skills are underutilised in their current roles, and 61% think there are other roles in their organisation where their skills could be utilised.

An unprecedented skills revolution is barrelling down the tracks, but companies are fast asleep at the switch. It’s time to wake up and get employees future-ready or risk a global skills crisis and talent scarcity for decades to come.

Digital & Tech Skills Gaps are Widening but Tech Skills are Viewed as Unimportant

Both employers and employees dangerously underestimate the importance of tech and digital skills. In our survey, both parties listed tech and digital literacy skills with low importance. With the skyrocketing demand for tech and digital talent, this does not bode well.

skills in the workplace

Mobile apps, ecommerce and digital transformation have made technology integral to every corporate strategy. However, supply isn’t keeping up with demand. McKinsey analysed 3.5 million job postings in high-tech fields and found there’s a wide divide between the demand for tech and digital skills and the qualified talent availability. The most sought-after skills have less than half as many qualified professionals per posting compared to average global figures. 

No wonder 63% of HR leaders in our survey admit they struggle to recruit the skills they need. Closing tech and digital skills gaps through recruitment alone is no longer sufficient. So, we were concerned when our research showed that 73% of the workforce haven’t been offered opportunities to reskill.

Organisations must invest in helping their employees evolve their skills via reskilling and internal mobility to cultivate digital and tech literacy across their entire workforce.

Case Study: Reskilling in Action

The Challenge:

A large global financial services company needed to undertake a major digital transformation program. The organisation needed to acquire key digital and tech skills while leveraging the existing company knowledge of employees in declining customer service roles by reskilling them.

Previous efforts by the organisation to assess employees’ suitability for reskilling were led internally and included multiple, time-consuming line manager interviews. Of even greater concern, around a quarter of those who began the reskilling program dropped out.

The Solution:

The bank worked with their long-time RPO partner, PeopleScout, and Spotted Zebra to assess customer service staff in bank branches and call centres to find ideal candidates for its tech and digital skilling program. Skills profiles were created for tech roles, which employees were assessed against to find the best fit.

The Results:

  • Redeployed 150 people, saving over $2.5M in exit costs
  • Saved over $350,000 in training and development costs
  • Reduced time investment by hiring managers
  • Reduced the reskilling cost-per-person by 70%

Employees Don’t Feel Confident in their Skills for the Future

A third (34%) of workers have doubts about how their skills will keep pace with new technology and automation. Meanwhile, just 17% of organisations are offering targeted reskilling programs for existing employees.

Where are HR Leaders Deploying Skills-Based Practices?

Skills-Based Practices
(Source: PeopleScout and Spotted Zebra)

This imbalance spells disaster. As change overwhelms existing skill sets, most workers will begin to feel unsure of their career paths or left struggling to stay relevant.

Investing in reskilling makes solid business sense. We must bridge the gap between workers anxiously facing uncertainty and leaders failing to invest in their resilience. HR leaders who empower their workforce with adaptable skill sets today will drive continued success in times of swift and sweeping change.

Finding a Talent Partner to Support Your Skills Transformation

The agility to match emerging skill requirements will soon become a competitive necessity. If you haven’t started your skills-based transformation, now is the time.

In our survey, one in two HR leaders admitted to a lack of understanding of skills-based practices. If you’re struggling to understand how to take advantage of skills-based practices in your organisation, PeopleScout is here to be your guide.

As a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner, we can help you understand the skills within your existing workforce as well as the external market supply and demand. We offer solutions across the skills agenda, from skills-based talent intelligence and market insights, building skills frameworks, and creating skills-based success profiles to redesigning recruitment processes, skills-based hiring strategies, and helping you maximise the potential of your existing workforce.  

To learn more about PeopleScout’s skills-focused talent solutions, get in touch.  

The Skills Crisis Countdown: The Clock is Ticking on Tackling Skills Gaps

The Skills Crisis Countdown: The Clock is Ticking on Tackling Skills Gaps

Our latest research reveals, nine in 10 HR leaders believe that up to 50% of their workforce will need new skills to perform their jobs in the next 5 years. Yet, only 7% say they are actively investing in reskilling programs, and 45% admit to having no plans to undertake a workforce transformation initiative to prepare for the changing skills landscape.

PeopleScout partnered with skills-based workforce management company Spotted Zebra to survey over 100 senior Human Resources and Talent Acquisition leaders from organisations around the global and 2,000+ employees globally to compare perspectives on workforce skills. The resulting research report, The Skills Crisis Countdown: The Clock is Ticking on Tackling Skills Gaps, provides a detailed picture of the current skills landscape and the disconnects between the perspectives of employees and businesses.

Download our free report for the latest research exploring:

  • The current state of skills in the global workforce and outlook for the future
  • How HR leaders are preparing for the impending skills crisis
  • How employees expect their skills will need to adapt to new technology or automation.

Plus, you’ll get a roadmap of actionable steps to help your organisation become more skills-centric.

Talent Predictions: How Talent Acquisition Will Navigate 2024

By Simon Wright, Head of Global Talent Advisory Consulting 

We are in one of the most transformative periods in the history of work. Between technological disruptions, societal shifts and global events, the talent landscape five years from now will likely look very different than it does today. However, even in times of uncertainty, we can discern key trends that will impact the way organisations source, recruit and retain talent. 

As a leading talent solutions provider, PeopleScout has a unique vantage point to view the forces shaping the future of work. Based on our experience and industry insights, we believe there are eight core areas talent acquisition leaders should embrace in 2024 to up-level their strategic importance within the business.  

1. Talent Leaders Will Look to New Models to Ride the Economic Waves 

The power balance has now shifted back to the employer amidst a tight labour market, fewer vacancies and a cost-of-living crisis. But if you think it’s time to pause investment in your talent programs, think again.  

Talent acquisition teams shrunk during COVID-19 and then grew quickly as part of the bounce back only to shed jobs again this past year. With continued uncertainty, TA leaders must showcase the value they bring to business by minimising the impacts of economic fluctuations.  

It’s time to leave behind the boom and bust and embrace agility through a strategic approach to workforce planning and forecasting. Talent solutions like recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), including modular RPO solutions, offer responsiveness to help stabilise operational delivery amidst unpredictable economic waves.  

2. Business Transformation Will Shape the Workforce 

The specific skills and capabilities companies need are shifting rapidly, which means the jobs and roles employers need to fill are changing too. According to McKinsey research, one-third of new jobs created in the U.S. in the past 25 years were types that barely existed previously, particularly in high-demand areas like data analytics, software development and renewable energy. According to Totaljobs, despite a general slowdown in hiring, the demand for green jobs continues to go up, skyrocketing by 677% between 2019 and 2023. 

However, this business transformation is being hampered by the lack of talent and relevant skills. Economic, social and labour market changes are evolving faster than workforce training and development systems can keep pace. There simply aren’t enough workers with experience in emerging fields and new technologies.  

TA leaders must work proactively to build the reputation and influence of their employer brand with potential talent now—ahead of the hiring they need to do in the future. This means being able to recruit the best talent in the market, not just the best talent in your pipeline. Investing in candidate nurturing and employer branding strategies now will ensure organisations can hire first—and fast—when the time comes. 

3. Employees Will Continue to Reevaluate Their Relationship with Work 

TA leaders must be the eyes and ears for their organisation, tuning in to the candidate market and shaping the employer value proposition (EVP) to meet the changing needs and expectations of candidates. Today’s employees are demanding more, and the one-size-fits-all EVP approach must evolve to keep up.  

Organisations that refresh their EVP with a more human-centric approach that recognises employees as people, not just workers, will go beyond traditional offerings to provide exceptional life experiences that match employee needs. Delivering a positive emotional connection will be crucial for improving retention, overcoming the productivity vacuum and attracting quality talent in 2024.  

4. Data Will Be the Key to Overcoming Talent Scarcity  

The labour market has shrunk due to the retirement of Baby Boomers, and companies face an enormous brain drain of institutional expertise. Not only is the upcoming population smaller and not replacing the Boomers who are leaving the workforce, but they lack the some of the soft skills of the departing generation. With this double depletion at play, organisations will need to work hard to attract and train Gen Z in order to keep their workforce development on track for the future. 

Additionally, long-term illness, including lingering complications from COVID-19, has sidelined many working-age adults. The latest ONS data shows that the number of people economically inactive because of long-term sickness is now over 2.5 million in the UK alone. 

The key to reducing the impact of talent scarcity in 2024 is data. It’s time for TA leaders to treat talent intelligence as business intelligence, bringing it to the C-suite to drive decision making and inform strategy. Organisations must leverage data to understand both internal and external talent pools, maximising ROI on talent attraction and retention efforts. 

Talent Acquisition Predictions

5. Skills-Based Practices Will Take Centre Stage 

In order to keep pace with changing roles and dwindling talent pools, leading organisations are taking a proactive and holistic approach to adapting their workforces. They are investing in upskilling and reskilling programs while also leveraging RPO partners to find professionals with the most in-demand and future-proof skills. 

More organisations will look to expand candidate pools and tap into diverse skill sets through skills-based recruitment. To do this, organisations must evolve their candidate assessment practices to focus on skills rather than credentials or pedigree. We’ll see more organisations follow the likes of Google and drop their university degree requirements. This will have the added benefit of promoting greater diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace.  

6. Internal Mobility Will Receive Big Investment 

More than a third (36%) of HR professionals surveyed identified employee retention as a priority in 2024. Internal mobility will become the key to retention as well as filling open roles and skills gaps. Focus will shift from building external talent pools to internal talent pools, putting methods in place to identify transferable skills that can be boosted to support business transformation.  

We saw an uptick in labour hoarding in 2023 talent trends. In 2024, organisations must invest in transforming the skills of the workers they’ve kept on board in order to ensure they’re ready for what’s on the horizon. 

In 2024, career moves won’t take a linear path but will weave across departments and disciplines, providing workers with variety and rewarding work. Organisations must train hiring managers to look at candidates, not just for their fit for a specific role, but for the value they can bring to the organisation.  

7. Long Overdue Tech Upgrades Will Happen for HR 

The Josh Bersin Company estimates the HR technology is a $250 billion market. 2024 will be the year of recruitment tech stack upgrade.  

Organisations will look to capitalise on AI-powered features to do the heavy lifting so their teams can focus on more valuable recruiting activities. TA leaders should look to technology to augment human touches throughout the candidate experience, to identify opportunities for streamlining through automation, and to help them better interrogate data for a more agile resourcing model.  

This is also an opportunity for TA leaders to demonstrate they can deliver digital transformation and deliver ROI from these investments. This has been a criticism of talent acquisition and HR in the past, and it’s time to dispel that narrative.  

8. AI Fever Will Hit an All-Time High 

And finally, it wouldn’t be a 2024 talent acquisition forecast without a mention of AI. Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) tools, like ChatGPT, were on the tip of our tongues in 2023. As organisations grapple with the ethics of AI, most will succumb to the transformative potential and begin to test and experiment with how AI can benefit their workforce and operations in 2024.  

The role of technology will keep evolving within talent acquisition, but it’s primed to have a pivotal role in streamlining recruitment tasks and improving efficiency in everything from screening to assessments to interview scheduling.  

Organizations should take a principled approach to leveraging AI and automation to augment recruiting, while ensuring human oversight and care for people remains central. Starting with a small project or two will clear the mist so you can see clearly where AI will add value to your recruitment tech stack and candidate experience. 

The Importance of the Right Talent Partner to Help You Ride the Waves 

The future of work holds exciting potential, but also some uncertainty. However, while individual trends are difficult to predict, TA leaders that embrace agility, skills practices and tech innovation will find themselves in a strong position to prove their value in driving business performance. As your talent partner, PeopleScout will be ready to support, challenge and inspire you for whatever lies ahead. 

By staying on top of key shifts like these and working with an expert talent solutions provider like PeopleScout, companies can build workforces with the skills, mindsets and diversity of experiences to thrive in the next era of business. 

Talent Trends: 2023 in Review

By Simon Wright, Global Head of Talent Advisory Consulting  

Earlier in 2023, we highlighted six key areas that would impact how companies attract, retain and develop talent. With the year wrapping up, we’re revisiting these critical topics to examine what transpired in the talent landscape and what may be on the horizon for 2024.  

From closing persistent skills gaps to offering more work flexibility, companies continue to face pressing talent challenges. Economic fluctuations have led some employers to pull back on hiring and remote work, while others doubled down on upskilling programs and expanded their talent pools.  

In the following review, we trace how the 2023 predictions played out amidst an uncertain economy and ever-evolving workplace. 

1. Closing Skills Gaps 

What We Said: 

With rapidly evolving technologies requiring new skills, companies are making upskilling and reskilling their workforce top priorities. Most employees feel unprepared for future jobs, so it’s important for organisations to invest in development to retain employees, build confidence, and help them adapt to changing business priorities. 

What We Saw: 

Skills gaps, and the upskilling and reskilling that must happen in order to close them, are still very much top of mind for HR leaders. The economic slowdown has increased candidate availability, so in the short term there has been more tech talent available, for example. But long term, there is still a skills crisis, and organisations are largely yet to shift to skills-based practices. 

We’ve seen front-runner organisations investing in skills development initiatives to grow the workforce they need. For example, Amazon’s program Career Choice is part of a wider initiative to invest over $1.2 billion by 2025 to provide 300,000 U.S. workers with the training they need to pursue careers in whatever field they choose.  

The average shelf-life of skills is now less than five years. So, the skills conversation is only going to get louder. If the World Economic Forum’s prediction is correct that over 85 million jobs will go unfilled by 2030 due to a lack of skilled talent, resulting in $8.5 trillion (USD) in annual lost revenues, then this is the most pressing issue facing talent leaders today.  

2. Offering More Flexibility 

What We Said: 

Amidst the acceleration of remote work, companies are facing mounting pressure to offer greater location and schedule flexibility to attract and retain talent.  

What We Saw: 

The return to the office debate is still raging. Employees want greater flexibility, but more and more employers are pulling people back into the office. Even Zoom, the video communications company that helps us all work from home, announced in August that it will start tightening its restrictions on remote work. Amazon, Disney and more have all reduced remote-work days. 

While power has shifted back to the employer, this issue won’t go away. If you really think your employees love coming to the office just because you’ve introduced free snacks, you don’t understand what flexibility means to your workers. Flexibility is not just about where you work. True flexibility is about giving more autonomy to your employees about the kinds of work they do and when and where they do it. 

3. Shifting to Contingent Workers 

What We Said: 

As the desire for work flexibility drives more professionals into freelance and contract roles, organisations are increasingly utilising these temporary workers to fill pressing skills gaps and specific project needs while maintaining financial and strategic workforce flexibility. 

What We Saw: 

The economic uncertainty this year has made organisations less likely to make permanent hires. Plus, freelancers, consultants and contractors have developed into an essential part of the workforce as skills requirements become more complex. Maintaining a mix of traditional and flexible talent is crucial for businesses to stay ahead in today’s dynamic climate. 

With the enormous interest in ChatGPT and generative AI, it’s not a stretch to think the pace of business transformation will only accelerate in 2024. And demand for contingent workers will continue to rise. Indeed, according to Ceridian, 65% of organisations plan to increase their reliance on contingent workers in the next two years. 

Talent Trends 2023

4. Tapping into New Talent Pools 

What We Said: 

Facing workforce shortages, organisations are expanding their applicant pool by targeting untapped talent like Generation Z, unretiring Baby Boomers and boomeranging ex-employees.  

What We Saw: 

In 2023, the UK government launched a “returnership” initiative to inspire those over the age of 50 to come back to work. The goal is to help older workers retrain and learn new skills, providing them with a roadmap back to the workplace and encouraging organisations to hire them.  

We also saw organisations turn their attention to the talent pool sitting right under their noses. Internal mobility was a hot topic for talent leaders in 2023 as recruiting new talent became more and more challenging and costly.  

We were also reintroduced to the concept of labour hoarding, a term coined in the 1960s. This practice refers to organisations forgoing head-count reductions now, so they’re prepared when business picks up. In an era of labour shortages, organisations are keeping their workforces to avoid the risk of losing good talent to a competitor and to skip the costs associated with hiring again. 

5. Rallying Around the Mission 

What We Said: 

Our Inside the Candidate Experience research revealed that for 50% of candidates, an organisation’s mission and purpose are a key influence on their decision to apply. Yet, when evaluating career sites, we found details on the mission or purpose of the organisation less than half (48%) of the time.  

What We Saw: 

Employees are more dedicated than ever to finding an employer that shares their values and offers them a sense of purpose. However, workers within organisations that lack a sincere commitment to improving the community and supporting climate initiatives often report disengagement.  

According to Gallup data from June 2023, 59% of global workers say they’re not engaged at work. This is worrying as we move into a labour market that favours employers, as they will inevitably become less motivated to keep their employees engaged. Yet, a key reason why someone quiet quits hasn’t changed—and it’s down to a lack of connection to the company culture and purpose. 

A lack of engagement in the workforce is a leading factor in the productivity vacuum. Going into 2024, my hope is HR leaders will go beyond simply thinking about wellbeing to view their employees as whole people—not just workers. Updating your employee value proposition (EVP) to be more human-focused can help strike the right balance between compassion and business interests. Shifting to a Personal Value Proposition (PVP), and customising offerings so that each employee feels valued as an individual, can help in fostering a positive emotional connection. 

6. Engaging Outside Talent Acquisition Solutions 

What We Said: 

Despite economic uncertainty, business leaders foresee revenue growth in the coming year, but may need flexible and agile workforces achieved through contingent staffing to meet their top challenge of filling critical roles amidst a shifting talent landscape. 

What We Saw: 

We saw an increase in talent acquisition teams looking for quick wins. At PeopleScout, we are investing heavily in talent solutions designed to boost agility for employers of all sizes and across all industries. This includes offerings like our Amplifiers and PeopleScout Accelerate solutions launched this year. 

Amplifiers provide modular, targeted recruitment process outsourcing tailored to specific hiring needs. Clients can implement RPO support for just part of the talent acquisition lifecycle, whether that’s filling the top of the hiring funnel with high volumes of qualified talent or gaining deeper insights to guide strategic workforce decisions. This “as-needed” model is ideal for companies that want to remain nimble. 

Additionally, our PeopleScout Accelerate technology-enhanced RPO solution is purpose-built for fast-scaling organisations that need to ramp up recruiting quickly. We can implement PeopleScout Accelerate in just two weeks, providing access to our proven recruitment methodologies and our industry-leading Affinix talent acquisition technology suite right out of the gate. 

As we close the books on 2023, it’s clear the talent landscape continues to shift in new and uncertain directions. In the coming year, agile organisations that invest in the longevity of their workforce and truly connect with their people on a human level will maintain an edge. Rather than recoiling from change, forward-thinking talent leaders have an opportunity to guide their organisation’s evolution. Now is the time to build workforces that can pivot on a dime while staying true to their purpose. 

CSR and ESG: How Markers of Sustainability and Social Responsibility Transform Talent Acquisition

Amid the alphabet soup of corporate jargon, buzzwords, and acronyms, you’ll find CSR and ESG. Respectively, the two stand for corporate social responsibility and Environmental, Social, and Governance. These concepts have been around for years but have been growing in importance. Now, CSR and ESG impact talent acquisition in new ways. As candidates become more knowledgeable and passionate about social responsibility and sustainability practices, employers need to respond. The issue is particularly salient for Gen Z, where 87% say it is important to work at a company that aligns with their values.

Job seekers want to work at organisations with values that match their own, with as many as 80% of workers in some industries saying that ESG issues play a role in whether they will resign from or remain at certain organisations.

So, how do CSR and ESG impact talent acquisition? In this article, we explore their impact and outline strategies to help talent leaders incorporate these concepts into their recruitment strategies.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

According to the United Nations, corporate social responsibility is “a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders.” CSR focuses on issues including environmental management, eco-efficiency, responsible sourcing, stakeholder engagement, labour standards and working conditions, employee and community relations, social equity, gender balance, human rights, good governance, and anti-corruption measures.

CSR has been growing in importance over the last several decades, according to Harvard Business School, and has led to specific designations like B Corporations (B Corps), social purpose corporations (SPCs), and low-profit limited liability companies (L3Cs). But for many organisations, CSR is simply a self-imposed regulation. Employers can express it through initiatives and strategies and often report back their results through corporate social responsibility reports.  

What is Environmental, Social, and Governance?

According to Gartner, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is “a collection of corporate performance evaluation criteria that assess the robustness of a company’s governance mechanisms and its ability to effectively manage its environmental and social impacts.”

Each pillar of ESG includes different criteria. McKinsey outlines environmental criteria as relating to how much energy a company takes in, how much waste it produces, what resources it requires and how that impacts life around the world. Social criteria address the relationships between an organisation and the institutions and communities where it does business. Finally, governance represents the internal procedures and checks and balances an organisation uses to make decisions and govern itself.

How CSR and ESG Impact Talent Acquisition

Once little-known terms, these markers of corporate responsibility and sustainability now play a role in job seekers’ decision-making.

One survey found that more than half of employees would not work for a company that doesn’t have strong policies addressing social or environmental sustainability issues. Additionally, 74% of employees said their job is more fulfilling when they’re given the chance to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues, and 70% indicated they’d be more loyal to a company in which they can help contribute to solutions.

The changing environment and increasing pace of climate-related disasters plays a role. Compiled data shows that Google searches for sustainable companies have been growing rapidly since 2016, reaching the highest volume yet in 2023, with no signs of slowing down. In that time, a number of environmental events have dominated headlines, from the devastating 2017 floods caused by Hurricane Harvey in the U.S. to the disastrous 2019-2020 Australian bushfires and 2023 Canadian wildfires. Spikes in searches often follow global climate meetings like the United Nations Climate Change Conferences.

Job seekers are paying attention, and employers can only expect that interest to increase. One survey found that 40% of Gen Z and millennial employees have changed jobs or sectors due to climate concerns or plan to in the future. Additionally, 60% of respondents reported feeling anxious about the environment over the past month, and more than 70% said that they are actively trying to minimise their impact on the environment.

3 Approaches for Including CSR and ESG in Your Recruitment Strategy

To stay ahead of the competition, talent leaders should include CSR and ESG in their talent strategies. Below we outline three approaches.

1. Build a Responsible, Sustainable Employer Brand

Your employer brand is your most powerful tool in attracting top talent, and your ESG and CSR initiatives should be featured throughout your branding materials. Think about your efforts to reduce carbon emissions, support local communities or promote diversity and inclusion. You may measure or report on progress of these initiatives for investors, so consider sharing with candidates as well. Even if you haven’t reached your goals yet, being transparent about your progress can demonstrate to candidates that these initiatives are genuine—not just lip service. Share your next steps and the strategies you have in place for reaching these goals.

There are several ways to showcase your progress to candidates:

  • Highlight ESG initiatives in your job descriptions
  • Create an ESG page on your career site
  • Leverage social media to share your progress toward ESG goals
  • Tap into current employees who can share their experiences
  • Train recruiters and hiring managers on ESG initiatives

2. Get Employees Involved

Your social responsibility and sustainability goals should be at the core of your culture. Make your goals and initiatives a regular part of conversation rather than distant promise. This will not only help retain top performers but will also help engage candidates.

You can get your employees involved in reaching your CSR and ESG goals by communicating progress and adding performance targets where appropriate. You can also consider benefits that align with your goals so that employees feel as though your commitment to social responsibility and sustainability are part of your DNA, not just marching orders.

Here are a few strategies you can employ:

  • Communicate updates on ESG initiatives regularly, like in team meetings or all-company updates
  • Encourage leadership to display day-today behaviours that align with goals
  • Add ESG-related performance goals
  • Consider ESG-related benefits, like days off for volunteer work, a cycle-to-work scheme or vouchers for public transit
  • Recognize employees for ESG-related contributions

3. Avoid Greenwashing

As you focus on and promote your social responsibility and sustainability work, avoid falling prey to greenwashing. Greenwashing happens when an organisation spends more time and money showcasing sustainability initiatives than actually performing them. It’s often seen as a marketing gimmick, and consumers and candidates are growing more savvy in recognising it. To maintain a positive reputation and brand perception, ensure that your organisation lives up to the values you’re advertising from the top down.

Here are some tips to avoid greenwashing:

  • Avoid overly flowery language
  • Don’t use dishonest imagery
  • Ensure your business practices reflect your marketing promises
  • Be honest, even if you aren’t perfect
  • Share real data
  • Make concrete claims

A Sustainable Future: CSR and ESG in Talent Acquisition

As we move toward a more sustainable future, your CSR and ESG initiatives are important factors for job candidates. The right RPO partner can help you communicate the environmental work you’re already doing to attract top talent. The desire for sustainable employment isn’t going anywhere, and employers should only expect it to get stronger.  

Check out our predictions for the future of work in our ebook, Destination 2030: 10 Predictions for What’s NEXT in the World of Work.

future of work

DESTINATION 2030: 10 Predictions for What’s NEXT in the World of Work

Attracting Older Workers to Retail and Hospitality Jobs

Around 3,547,000 people between the ages of 50 and 64 are currently economically inactive, or not working, making older workers one of the most in-demand talent pools for employers today. It’s crucial for retail and hospitality employers to know how to entice older workers back to work and to make the most of their valuable talent.

In the UK, the government launched a ‘returnership’ initiative to inspire those over the age of 50 to come back to work or to seek a career change. This scheme involves three programmes that help older workers retrain and learn new skills, providing workers with a clear roadmap back into the workplace and encouraging organisations to hire them.

Known as the ‘sandwich generation’—defined by caring for their elderly parents and also dependent children or grandchildren—these older works have a strong work ethic. Customer facing and front of house roles enable them to fit work around caring for family and other responsibilities.

Our recent webinar with Personnel Today featured a panel of HR and talent acquisition experts discussing the wants and needs of older workers and how best to utilise this talent pool’s experience. Keep reading for key insights from our panel discussion and get the latest research to understand exactly what older workers want and what retail and hospitality organisations can do attract this in-demand demographic.

What Do Older Workers Want?

What do over 50s want and need from an employer? Does your organisation know how to attract and engage this older workforce and how to hire and retain them?

Flexibility

Unsurprisingly, monetary concerns are coaxing older workers back into the workplace due to the cost-of-living crisis. However, when it comes to choosing an employer, flexibility takes precedence over money.

Hospitality roles typically attract a younger demographic of workers. However, the flexibility offered by these jobs also appeals to the older working generation. Given that the over 50s are the largest age group with caring roles, flexible and part-time work is a powerful motivator for them to fit a job into their routine.  

As well as permanent roles, seasonal and flexible roles are available within the hospitality and retail industries, which can be more attractive to the older working community. Working harder in those seasonal months creates work-life balance, allowing older workers to take time off during quieter periods to recover and be with their friends and family.

Sense of Belonging

Workers in this age rage are still searching for rewarding work. Older workers wish to find a place where they can feel a part of their local community and give back. Over 50s enjoy creating social connections that a customer-facing job in a restaurant or supermarket can provide.

Customer-facing roles in hospitality and retail give individuals the chance to serve and connect with their community. For older customers, seeing employees in shops and restaurants that represent them can boost the customer experience. 

Myths About Older Workers

There are plenty of misconceptions out there from employers and colleagues about hiring and working with older workers. Consider these myths busted.

Myth 1: Older Workers are Resistant to Technology

Certain words can be viewed as a turn off for an over 50s audience, including “tech-savvy”, which some see as a way to ward off older candidates. There are older people who will feel excluded because others wrongly perceive that they’re less capable with technology, when in fact they are part of a generation that has seen huge advancements in technology. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is in his late 60s, and Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple is in his early 60s.

Recognise that all colleagues work differently with technology, so you must be thoughtful in your use of training. In hospitality and retail, workers are likely to be using tills and sales computer systems. Regardless of whether a person struggles with technology, an organisation should have a strong programme in place to support workers as they learn how to use these tools. For example, consider implementing a buddy system of workers and leaders who will happily help new employees in their first few weeks as they learn point-of-sale systems.

Myth 2: Absences are Higher Because of Health Issues

As people get older, their health can decline. However, this doesn’t mean that absenteeism is higher amongst older workers. In fact, older workers are more likely to have higher everyday attendance rates due to their strong work ethic. When you do see sickness or absence, it is typically in the form of long-term leave, rather than the odd day here and there.

Myth 3: Older Workers are Less Productive Than Younger Workers

A study demonstrated that there was no different between younger and older workers in terms of productivity. This study found that with their years of experience and memories, older people perhaps dismiss new information when they process things and instead use past information. It’s therefore important to acknowledge that older workers aren’t doing things worse, they just do these things differently through their years of experience.

What Can Organisations Do to Attract Older Workers?

So, how can retail and hospitality organisation tap into this hard-working talent pool? Here are four questions to ask to ensure your talent acquisition programme is over-50s friendly.

Are Your Candidate Attraction Materials Inclusive for Everyone?

To attract older workers, you must think more creatively and broadly.  Use community-based websites to engage with people who live close to your locations. Show how the job will fit into their lifestyle and what it would be like for an older person to work there, rather than a generic message. Create testimonials from your current employees to support this.

Make sure that your imagery is diverse, featuring people of all ages. Look at your marketing materials and ensure that it reflects the community so that over 50s can see that jobs in hospitality are here for them. Take advantage of local community-boards in village halls and supermarkets.

How is Your Candidate Experience?

Retention and attraction are very different. Employers can encourage people to apply for jobs through their advertisements, yet ultimately, it is down to the experience the candidate has during the recruitment process, induction and beyond. The candidate experience is what will make them accept the position and stay at the company. 

When younger workers leave education, they’re taught how to answer competency-based interview questions and how to write a CV. The older generation of workers likely won’t have a CV and may not have experience with this kind of interview. Is your interview process age inclusive and relevant to them?

Are You Giving Them What They Want?

Now that we’ve shared what older workers want, is your organisation serious about flexible shift patterns? Over 40% of the part-time workforce is aged over 50. Not only does this part-time schedule work in hospitality, but also in retail, in which the holiday season creates a huge demand for workers.

Different shift patterns in retail can support individuals in their family commitments and lifestyle. Look at your employees’ caring responsibilities, for partners, for children, for elderly parents, and take this into account when creating your shift offerings.

But what else does this generation want from you? Everyone responds well to positive feedback. Both the retail and hospitality industries are great at celebrating successes, shown through brilliant behaviour and examples across organisations.

Finally, show that your organisation values them by offering benefit packages. Health is a priority for everyone as we get older, and health benefits can help to attract them to your organisation.

Does Your Anti-Bias Training Include Age?

Ageism usually gets the least amount of focus across the DE&I plan. Train your leaders and hiring managers on unconscious bias particularly as it relates to age. Ensure there are no biases lurking in the recruitment process to open up talent pools instead of closing them down.

Interested in learning more about engaging and attracting older workers directly from HR and talent acquisition professionals? Check out our on-demand webinar recording with Personnel Today and a panel of experts from Tesco, Fuller’s, Rest Less and Bourne Leisure.

FUTURE OF WORK

DESTINATION 2030: 10 PREDICTIONS FOR WHAT’S NEXT IN THE WORLD OF WORK

Green Jobs, Green Skills: Hiring for a Renewable Future 

The future of work is green. According to the United Nations, the global economy is undergoing a “greening,” as industries like energy, transportation and construction adopt more sustainable practices. That process could create 24 million more jobs globally by 2030, putting workers with green skills in high demand.  

However, supply has not kept up, even as the need for green skills spills into other industries like economics and finance, security, market and geopolitical analysis, communications, social sciences, and legal.  

In this article, we’ll explore the drivers for green jobs and the need for green skills, which green skills are in the highest demand and how employers can find and hire top green talent.  

What are Green Jobs? 

So, what qualifies as a “green job?” According to the International Labour Organisation, “Green jobs reduce the consumption of energy and raw materials, limit greenhouse gas emissions, minimise waste and pollution, protect and restore ecosystems, and enable enterprises and communities to adapt to climate change.” 

Demand for green skills is outpacing the supply. According to LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report, between 2022 and 2023, job postings requiring at least one green skill rose 22.4% while the share of green talent in the workforce only grew 12.3%. 

hiring for green skills is growing fast

What’s causing the shift? According to the World Economic Forum, many countries are working to achieve net zero by 2050. This means that both governments and businesses are driving the green transition.  

green job growth

So far, the majority of green job growth has come in some of the highest polluting industries, such as energy and transportation, and in some of the countries that produce the most greenhouse gases.  

The U.S., Germany and India, countries that emit some of the highest amounts of greenhouse gasses, are leading the way in green jobs. According to the World Economic Forum, Germany is adopting more green skills in the manufacturing industry, and the U.S. and India are outpacing other countries in both oil and gas and mining.   

120 

For every 100 workers who leave the renewable energy sector, 120 join. (LinkedIn) 

 

10X 

There were 10 times the number of green jobs in the U.S. compared to the fossil fuel industry by 2019. (Source) 

 

16.5M 

There are now 16.5 million electric vehicles on the road. (LinkedIn)
(Source: LinkedIn, Global Citizen, LinkedIn)

But the need for green jobs goes beyond installing solar panels and building electric vehicles. According to LinkedIn, one of the most important sectors in sustainability is finance, and it is lagging behind. In the fight against climate change, huge investments will need to be made in things like wind farms and electric vehicle charging stations, and financial professionals will be in the spotlight. Despite that, only 6.8% of finance workers globally have green skills. However, there are signs of change. Between 2021 and 2022, the percentage of green jobs in finance grew 17%. 

With increasing competition for green talent, employers need to have an in-depth understanding of the most in-demand green skills and how to attract, hire and train top talent.  

What are Green Skills?  

It is easy to mistakenly associate certain green skills to specific industries. Unlike the ability to set a broken bone, which will qualify a worker for a job in healthcare but isn’t relevant if they’re applying for a role with a law firm, green skills are different.  Think of green skills more like tech and digital skills in their ability to be applied across a wide range of industries. For example, carbon accounting, or estimating the carbon footprint of different organisations, can play an important role in a variety of industries, from consulting to waste management.  While there might be a concentration of workers with green skills in green industries, those skills are in demand across the global economy.  

According to LinkedIn, the fastest growing green skill in the EU is climate action planning. A climate action plan is “a framework document for measuring, tracking and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and adopting climate adaptation measures.”  

Climate action plans exist for a variety of organisations. For example, they exist at the government level, for international organisations like the World Bank, Fortune 500 companies and more. This means employers are competing for candidates across industries.  

There are many green skills that are required for jobs in industries not considered green. For example, according to LinkedIn, a knowledge of energy efficiency could be necessary for roles like a plumbing engineer, utilities manager, vice president of facilities or HVAC specialist.   

So, what are the most in demand green skills? It depends on where you are. In the U.S., carbon accounting, drinking water quality and energy engineering are seeing some of the fastest growth. While in the EU, sustainability education and carbon emissions round out the top three after climate action planning.  

fastest growing green skills in the eurpean union

How to Hire for Green Skills  

To meet their own hiring and sustainability goals, employers need to understand where to find candidates with in-demand green skills, how to attract them and how to train green-adjacent workers to help fill skills gaps. Here, we cover three options for employers struggling to fill green roles.  

1. Skills-Based Hiring  

Skills based hiring sounds simple—hiring people based on skills rather than previous job titles. However, according to SHRM, it requires a commitment to change. Traditionally, many jobs list requirements like specific degrees or years of experience that are used to determine if candidates are ready to take on a role.  

According to one survey, more than 80% of employers believe they should prioritise skills over degrees. Yet, 52% are still hiring from degree programs because it’s considered a less risky choice. This means that especially in entry- and mid-level roles, candidates with the right skills could be overlooked for failing to meet these specific requirements.  

Research shows that adopting a skills-based hiring strategy can yield significant improvements to an organisation’s talent acquisition program—increasing quality of hire, expanding the talent pool, increasing diversity and improving employee retention.  

Transitioning to a skills-based hiring process requires a culture change, a transformation in thinking from the top down—from senior leadership to hiring managers—and updates to many aspects of the recruitment process.  

One of the most important steps is updating the screening or assessment process. Rather than eliminating candidates who lack certain degrees or years of experience, develop criteria and assessments that objectively measure the skills necessary for the job. Then, screen candidates in rather than screening them out. An RPO provider with talent advisory capabilities can assist organisations moving to a skills-based screening and assessment strategy. 

2. Green Adjacent Skills and Gateway Jobs 

Additionally, employers can build gateway jobs and look for candidates with green adjacent skills.  

Gateway jobs are roles that can serve as steppingstones and give workers the opportunity to gain the green skills they’ll need for a green career. According to the LinkedIn report, one example of a gateway job is in supply chain management. As the industry looks to reduce its carbon emissions, workers are developing the green skills to do the job, even though they may not have had them when they were hired. In fact, 41% of workers who move into gateway jobs have no prior green experience.  

An effective strategy for hiring candidates for these gateway roles is looking for green adjacent skills. These are skills that don’t necessarily fall under the green umbrella but would give the candidate the ability to do many functions related to the role. For example, candidates with STEM and digital skills can go a long way toward helping an organisation reach its sustainability goals. Also, experience in industries currently undergoing a green transformation, like utilities, mining, transportation and agriculture can be applied to green jobs.  

How much more (or less) likely are workers who move into green and sustainability-related jobs to have certain skills?

To find these candidates, employers need a robust souring strategy to identify those with adjacent skills. The right technology solution can identify both active and passive candidates with specific skills, expanding the talent pipeline and predicting factors such as cultural fit, willingness to change companies and future tenure potential. 

3. Reskilling and Upskilling  

When hiring candidates with adjacent skills, employers must implement reskilling and upskilling programs to fill the skills gap.  

According to the World Economic Forum, nearly half of young workers believe they don’t have the right skillset to guarantee them an adequate job over the next decade. On top of that, sustainability transformations happen quickly, and without ongoing training, older workers could be left behind. The good news is that according to PwC, 77% of employees are ready to learn new skills or completely retrain in response to new technologies in the workplace.  

Reskilling and upskilling can happen at a few different levels, from government programs to higher education and private employers. However, organisations shouldn’t just rely on external programs. By building effective reskilling programs, businesses invest in services tailored to developing their own workforce while also assisting the global need for more sustainable work.  

A Renewable Future 

Setting up a green, sustainable future is everyone’s responsibility. As the demand for green skills increases, employers need effective solutions for finding, hiring and training top green talent. RPO providers, especially those with talent advisory services, can be a valuable resource for talent leaders looking to revamp their recruiting programs for a renewable future.  

For more insights on green skills in the energy sector, download our ebook, The Recruitment Handbook for Energy and Utilities.

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

Apprenticeship Recruitment: The Key to Future-Proofing Your Talent Pipeline?

Apprenticeship recruitment has taken on more importance in early careers programs in recent years. In the UK, there was a 22% increase in interest in apprenticeships from young people in 2022 according to UCAS. In Australia, the number of organisations employing apprentices and trainees is at its highest level in over a decade with seven of the 10 fastest-growing jobs in Australia now accessible via an apprenticeship pathway.

Organisations and employees alike are waking up to the fact that many skills can be learned on the job—and that this is often more relevant training than a university degree. Whilst providing opportunities for hands-on experience and training, apprenticeships also help businesses to develop a talent pipeline that is equipped with future-ready skills.

Whether for workers just starting out or those changing careers, apprenticeships help people gain valuable skills and on-the-job experience as they move toward a career in their field. For employers, field and business apprenticeships are one of the best ways of engaging early careers talent or career changers.

In this article, we’ll explore how designing and offering apprenticeship programs can be a smart way for organisations to create their own talent pipeline, close their skills gaps, and diversify their workforce.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is paid employment that offers on-the-job training and is often accompanied by classroom-based learning. Some employers may offer their own in-house training while others offer it in association with a college, university or other training provider. An apprenticeship must last at least a year but can go as long as 5 years. Through in-depth, job- and industry-specific skills training, apprentices gain a nationally recognised qualification or certification upon completion.

Apprenticeship programs are a great choice for individuals who are early on in their careers, who are looking to upskill or who are exploring a career change. Employers are responsible for ensuring that apprentices work with experienced staff, learn job-specific skills and receive time off from work to complete their classroom training.

Different countries have different laws and regulations around apprenticeships including wages and working hours. There are also various funding programs and government schemes available to encourage both workers and employers to embrace apprenticeships. For example, the UK Government introduced the (controversial) apprenticeship levy in 2017 which uses business taxes to fund apprenticeship training. The Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program gives eligible employers in priority list occupations (ranging from aged care and dentistry to various engineering roles) wage subsidies for offering quality apprenticeship training programs.

Manufacturing Recruiters

Types of Apprenticeships

Types of apprenticeships differ from region to region. In the UK, a common misperception is that apprenticeships are just for manual or skilled trade jobs. Whilst there are many apprenticeship programs in the skilled trades, there are also apprenticeship opportunities for all kinds of careers from actuaries to arborists. For example, our client, National Highways, offers apprenticeship opportunities for project management, business administration, legal, surveying and data analysis.

In Australia, apprenticeships are offered for skilled trades, whilst traineeships are for other vocations in sectors like hospitality, digital media and financial services. Organisations are increasingly embracing corporate apprenticeships and traineeships as a means of diversifying their workforce and creating opportunities for social mobility.

There are different levels of apprenticeship including degree apprenticeships which correspond to an equivalent education level. In the UK, completing a Level 2 apprenticeship is the equivalent of completing a GCSE, and a Level 7 apprenticeship is the equivalent of completing a master’s degree. In Australia, apprenticeships are typically delivered through Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and State or Territory Training Authorities and span levels from Certification II through to advanced diplomas.

Benefits of Apprenticeships for Employers

Apprenticeship recruitment can be an effective way of growing and upskilling your workforce. Here are just a few of the benefits for employers.  

Building a Talent Pipeline

Companies in a variety of industries can build their own apprenticeship programs to help talent see the rewarding career opportunities available within their sector. As apprentices gain experience, organisations establish a pipeline of prospective employees.

Early careers employees see apprenticeship programs as proof of an organisations investment in their success and are more likely to stay with an organisation after completing the program. In fact, 90% of qualified apprentices stay on with their employers upon completing their training, and 69% of organisations say that employing apprentices has improved retention. Clearly, apprenticeship recruitment is an excellent way to “grow your own talent” and reduce attrition.

Closing Skills Gaps

According to McKinsey, a whopping 87% of organisations are aware they already have a skills gap within their workforce or will experience one in the next few years. Apprenticeships offer a way to develop a new generation of workers to help your organisation succeed into the future. A structured apprenticeship is an effective way to get a leg up in recruiting and retaining sought-after talent like software developers, data analysts and engineers. Indeed, 86% of employers said that investing in apprentices helped to develop relevant skills for the organisation.

The digital skills gaps alone could cause 14 G20 countries to miss out on a staggering $11.5 trillion USD in cumulative GDP growth. In the UK, companies like Dyson are partnering with the University of Warwick to offer apprenticeship training in agile software development, data science and machine learning. Meanwhile, automotive giants Ford and Enterprise are joining forces to offer technical engineering focused apprenticeships.

Boosting Diversity & Social Mobility

A third of employers agree that apprenticeships have helped improve diversity within their business. They are particularly effective for creating career opportunities and boosting earnings for workers from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

As more people struggle financially with student loans and education costs, apprenticeships have become an accessible career path for workers of all ages and backgrounds and give participants a shot at career success. They allow workers from underrepresented groups to increase their earnings potential—to work and earn money in the field while they learn. If your company cares about being a catalyst for sustained change in the community, apprenticeships are a great way to achieve this.

RPO + Apprenticeships

As a leading recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider, PeopleScout helps organisations to obtain the talent and skills they need to succeed into the future through early careers recruitment solutions covering interns, graduates and apprenticeship programs. Unlike apprenticeship recruitment agencies, as an RPO partner our expertise in talent acquisition strategy and workforce planning means we’re better equipped to successfully integrate apprentice programs into your overall talent attraction and training strategy. Plus, we have experts on staff that can design an assessment centre that evaluates apprentice candidates against your organisation’s values, culture and other requirements.

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ASSESSMENT STRATEGIES FOR TOP EARLY CAREERS TALENT