Written by Maciej Szczerba Job Market | Recruiting

Summary of 2021 and trends for 2022 in recruitment

The year of remote working. 2020 exposed most of the weaknesses of companies in the HR area: an initial salary freeze with the rising cost of living, insufficient protection for employees in a pandemic situation, a mismatch in the company culture of employees recruited and working remotely, employee burnout.

So since the spring, we have had what is known as the Great Resignation around the world.

In the United States, 35 million people have changed jobs. According to Microsoft research, 40% of workers in Western economies are now considering changing jobs. It seems that the Great Resignation has already reached the UK and Australia. I haven't found detailed research, but the Great Resignation hasn't knocked on the doors of Europe and Poland hard enough yet. This is not to say that this trend will pass us by. The Great Resignation will probably be delayed until the first quarter of 2022 due to more advanced regulations than in America regarding the termination of employment contracts, especially because of annual bonuses paid at the turn of the year. From our observations, we do not yet see the Great Resignation in the Polish market.

The Great Resignation in Poland is also hampered by the uncertainty of candidates, well-paid professionals, about the tax changes coming into force as part of the so-called "Polish Deal" from the new year. In interviews this autumn, many of the IT professionals we spoke to stressed that for this reason they did not want to change jobs before the new year.

Unemployment has fallen, both globally and in Poland, to a record low, breaking the pre-pandemic level - in a positive sense.

At the same time, since late autumn we have started to face, on a global scale, the record inflation in 20 years. The pressure to increase salaries will continue. In Poland, wage growth is ahead of inflation by less than 1 percentage point.

The third conclusion of 2021 - in the creative industries, and in particular in the IT industry, due to the widespread introduction of remote working, salaries have become detached from the place of work.

Salaries in the IT industry in Poland have virtually equalized between large cities, and the gap between medium-sized cities and small towns has significantly narrowed. Are we already dealing with a global (or at least nationwide / all-European) labour market in the creative industries?

How has all this translated into the recruitment industry offer in Poland?

The demand for employees has increased dramatically since the spring. The recruitment industry has responded on a grand scale with a mini-RPO model. This service is a subscription model and involves charging a monthly fee for the work of a dedicated recruiter (equivalent to the cost of their employment and utilities, with a small margin at most) and a much lower fee for hiring a candidate than the traditional model.
We also noticed in the spring/summer an increase by companies of internal recruitment teams, as well as an increased interest in sourcing topics and courses in this area.

A recent trend worth noting is the increased interest in platforms like hired.com or honeypot.io that automate the recruitment process and advertise the use of machine learning algorithms that automate, in theory, connecting candidates with offers. Such an AirBnB of recruitment.

What conclusions should we draw from all that I have written for 2022?

I am writing this article with the condition that there will not be a 5th, 6th and 10th wave of coronavirus. The year 2022 will be the year when the pandemic is finally extinguished. There are many indications of this. The countries that first decided to vaccinate their populations with the third dose of the vaccine, like Israel, have succeeded in quelling the pandemic to a significant degree. Several major pharmaceutical companies, led by MSD, have developed drugs for Covid that are approved for markets in Europe, the UK and America.

However, we are recruiters, not doctors, and especially not virologists. So we hope for a positive scenario, although whether this one comes true is difficult to judge.

In the positive scenario (no further waves of the pandemic and its gradual extinction by the summer), we expect the following trends in the recruitment market, and in the IT recruitment market in particular:

1. The Great Resignation will reach Europe. Organisations (especially large ones) should set themselves up for a much bigger fight for the candidate than ever before. Remote working, much more independence, flexibility in teams - these are the topics that HR professionals will be focusing on in the first half of the year.

2. Is the answer to the talent shortage further growth of the mini-RPO service and expansion of internal departments? In our opinion, absolutely not. It is a philosophy of "we are not meeting our hiring targets, let's get more recruiters". Why does this philosophy not work? In both cases (internal teams and RPOs) the vast majority of recruiters are young and inexperienced.

3. Modern recruitment is not a simple service, although some see it that way. It is a discipline that requires a range of competencies and skills: advanced sourcing, selling the offer to the candidate (arguing the case for the offer), copywriting, negotiation, recruitment marketing. It is not possible to train a quality recruiter in a short time, as RPO companies promise.

So what is the solution to the institutional problem of talent shortage and retention?

In our view, it is to dramatically increase the quality of recruitment, both agency and internal.

The future belongs to small agencies of a few/dozen people, narrowly specialised both in terms of industry domain and geography.

This trend is clearly visible on the mature markets: British and American. In my opinion, we will see this trend on the Polish market as early as next year. Agencies that have so far specialised in e.g. IT, legal or engineering markets will narrow their market to e.g. recruitment of cloud engineers, in-house lawyers or road engineers.
Such agencies will serve a limited number of clients on the basis of mutual exclusivity - the agency has exclusive rights to the project, but also undertakes to serve bank X, as the only client from the banking sector.

The importance of all kinds of assessment tools will increase:  both those testing the candidate's potential to perform tasks, and those testing substantive skills. It will also shorten the recruitment process to 1-2 stages - a much larger part of the process will be automated through online tools.

Hiring managers want to receive selected candidates who are motivated and suited to tasks. To meet these challenges, recruiters must devote more time and energy to specific recruitment.

Such a quality approach will translate into a better relationship between the recruiter and the candidates. Qualitatively guided and with a guarantee of a smooth process, candidates will be more likely to respond to recruiters and engage in recruitment.

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