New year, new job: recruitment trends to be aware of in 2022

Advice on which recruitment trends employers should be aware of this year, as organisations seek to compete for talent in a jobs market in which candidates call the shots.

Soaring demand for talent: This isn’t necessarily felt across the generations and, the Office of National Statistics reports that young people (those aged 16-24) have been particularly affected by the pandemic, with the employment rate decreasing and the unemployment and economic inactivity rates increasing by more than for those aged 25 years and over. Bloomberg (December, 2021) reports that unemployment has fallen and the number of advertised jobs has surged. The UK alone had a record 1.22 million job vacancies through November, 2021. This means that employers are no longer in the driving seat and, candidates, particularly those with key talents, are in high demand. 

Recruitment transparency: Employers need to ensure their hiring processes are robust and fit for purpose. Is the process free of bias? Is it transparent and clear? Can all candidates access the processes? Does it unfairly favour any gender, race or background? Is required experience truly necessary? Never has it been more important to ensure that hiring is fair and equitable. The bottom line being that those businesses that are truly diverse deliver better profits for their organisations.

Hybrid working: The pandemic has reset the need to be physically present in the office 24/7 and as the vaccination programme is rolled out, many employers have reverted to a hybrid working model with employees fulfilling their roles in a split remote/office pattern. Businesses that wish to compete for talent must be aware that many candidates seek to continue with this new way of working, which offers more flexibility and empowerment for them to do their jobs when and where they wish. In turn this opens up a bigger talent pool for businesses that may want to tap into a previously untapped candidate market in which physical location is no longer a barrier to entry.

Harnessing the power of social media: There’s no ignoring the fact that recruiters need to go where candidates are and, for many, that means on social media. Platforms including Facebook now have options to search for ‘jobs near me’. Employer branding and storytelling can also be delivered with videos, podcasts and social media messaging. Recruiting hashtags is another important part of recruitment marketing in today’s world. 

Employing artificial intelligence: AI is readily becoming a tool for savvy recruiters to eliminate bias during the hiring process. Applicants can also interact with the employer with chatbots and create a two-way dialogue that is open and transparent. It’s a tool that most recruiters will agree needs to be used hand-in-hand with human application and interaction but used appropriately it can cut down on manual processing and ensure that discrimination is eliminated.

Championing soft skills: Candidates must be recruited for purpose, yet soft skills remain a desired commodity. Collaboration, ability to form relations, creativity, flexibility, negotiation skills, empathy, teamwork and adaptability can be as important as the technical expertise required to do the role. Recruiters that ensure these skills are readily assessed will capture the right person. 

Meaningful benefits: According to Bloomberg, overall pay growth slowed in the three months through October to 4.9% from 5.9% in the quarter through September. That’s above the 3% prevailing before the pandemic. While pay is a crucial part of the employment contract for many, other benefits are the winner that keeps them on board. What we may see in this new year is that opportunities for continued remote working, relaxed holiday allowances, compressed hours or flexible working prevail to be as or more important that increased salary allowances. Recruiters that tap into what candidates truly want will win in the war for talent. 

Read more about how to rethink your employer brand in this free downloadable ebook: Employer Branding Reboot: A guide for employers throughout the pandemic and beyondNeed advice or help building your employer brand? Get in touch with Wonderful Workplaces on [email protected] 


Annie Hayes is a specialist HR, skills, careers and L&D writer with 19 years experience in the sector. 

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