We know that writing a list of any upcoming trends for 2023 seems foolish. After all, enough of us had “Travel more!” on our 2020 list of New Year’s Resolutions to know that predicting the future is a tricky business.
However, we’ve paid enough attention to hiring trends in 2022 that we think we know what’s on the horizon.
Don’t get us wrong – it’s not that we think we can’t be surprised this year. Rather, we think that the legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of recruitment trends is the adaptability we’ve developed – and we’ve identified the key areas in which recruitment practices will continue to evolve in our ever-changing world.
In this post, we’ll run you through the 12 biggest recruitment trends 2023 has in store. All of these hiring trends help foster agility in organizations and enable leaders to anticipate and manage change.
Here’s how forward-thinking recruiters will attract motivated candidates in 2023.
12 talent acquisition and recruitment trends in 2023
As we mentioned briefly above, adaptability is the name of the game for hiring trends in 2023. This is because businesses want to invest in their employees to prevent a repeat of 2020’s Great Resignation.
Here’s what these trends in recruiting look like in practice.
Recruitment trends 2023: Summary table
Short on time and want to get straight to work applying these hiring trends? Here’s a quick summary.
|Recruitment trend 2023||How to get started|
|Improving retention through internal mobility and upskilling over external hiring||Implement upskilling programs to give employees a path to promotion|
|Embracing automation to increase efficiency||Automate menial tasks and reskill workers whose roles are most at risk|
|Embracing flexible working||Adopt a compressed working schedule such as the four day work week|
|Tackling e-presenteeism||Provide employees with clear guidance for when to take sick days and mental health days, even when working remotely|
|Focusing on overall employee wellbeing||Take a holistic approach to employee wellbeing initiatives, improving employee satisfaction in and out of the workplace|
|Switching to proactive recruiting||Conduct a skills gap analysis to identify which roles you’ll need to fill in the near future|
|Building your employer brand||Create social media content about what it’s like to work for your company|
|Engaging your teams in a collaborative hiring process||Use employee referral programs to tap into your employees’ networks|
|Testing out project-based hiring||Consider using short-term workers for time-bounded projects like setting up a new office|
|Working to attract Gen Z candidates||Prioritize flexible working policies and offer freelance project work|
|Welcoming back boomerang employees||Post opportunities on returnee-specific job boards, for instance, for moms re-entering the workforce|
|Improving your candidate experience||Streamline the application process with skills testing and short application forms|
1. Improving retention through internal mobility and upskilling over external hiring
There’s long been a window-shopping mentality in HR: If a business issue needs to be solved, the assumption is that the best solution is to hire new talent to tackle it.
That’s shifting in 2023.
We predict that after the upheaval caused by the pandemic and the Great Reshuffle, companies will shift focus to retention over external hiring, choosing first to upskill their existing workforce before looking elsewhere.
Indeed, a 2022 report by PwC found that 40% of companies are currently upskilling employees and projected that this will rise as organizations respond to ongoing economic uncertainty.
This increase in upskilling will go hand-in-hand with a greater focus on internal mobility: Employees either climb up the hierarchy in their current career or move laterally within the organization using their transferable skills.
Companies that offer these opportunities to their employees see a distinctly positive outcome with retention. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that employees who were promoted within three years were 70% more likely to stick around, and those who moved sideways into other roles weren’t far behind.
As well as aiding retention, promoting and hiring internally benefits your bottom line, as it reduces the amount of money you spend on hiring activities. This is especially useful considering that the average cost per hire in the U.S. is almost $4,700.
2. Embracing automation to increase efficiency
Much of the hysteria around robots and artificial intelligence taking human jobs is overblown. As the Brookings Institution pointed out in their 2019 research on automation, machines substitute for tasks, not jobs.
Most jobs, therefore, are not likely to be replaced by automation – but enhanced by them. Take recruiting automation software: It doesn’t replace skilled human recruiters. It just helps them do their jobs faster.
In fact, Brookings Institution’s research indicates that a quarter of all jobs have high automation potential – in other words, a high percentage of tasks that a machine could complete. Here’s a breakdown from the report:
|Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders||100%|
|Food preparation workers||91%|
|Payroll and timekeeping clerks||87%|
|Light truck or delivery services workers||78%|
|Computer network support specialists||62%|
Of course, a quarter isn’t an insignificant number. That’s still one in four jobs. However, the World Economic Forum predicts that while they will certainly replace many jobs, machines will also create as many as 58 million new ones.
Employers should therefore look to enhance as many jobs as possible with automation and reskill those whose roles are at risk of replacement.
Believe it or not, we’ve seen this happen before. Just look at spreadsheets and bookkeeping software: Far from encouraging everyone to roll up their sleeves and do their own accounting, the accountancy industry is booming. The accounting services global market value was $544.06 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $735.94 billion in 2025.
3. Embracing flexible working
We’ve come a long way from those hazy days in 2020 when we all thought we’d be working from home for “just a couple of weeks.”
Most workplaces have embraced the shift to working from home for at least some of the time. Business travel company TravelPerk found that 76% of companies planned to stick with their hybrid working models after the pandemic, with most employees splitting their time between remote and in-office work.
However, the same research found that 63% of offices had not adapted their working quarters to keep up with this change. This makes enforcing flexible working policies a key area for employers to differentiate themselves from the competition in 2023. These policies can attract the best talent by showing that you:
- Care about your employees’ work-life balance
- Are willing to experiment with how you conduct business
- Give your workforce autonomy and empower them to direct their own work
There are loads of flexible working policies your organization could adopt. One example is giving your employees unlimited vacation days; another might be adopting a compressed working schedule, such as through the 9/80 work schedule or the four-day work week.
Especially when combined with robust diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, flexible working policies can open up your talent pool to a diverse range of job applicants and enable your employees to work in a way that benefits their mental and physical health as well as their overall performance.
The key is to make sure that if you embrace remote or hybrid working policies, you seek out remote work skills in your employees and think tactically about how and where to deploy your policies to ensure the best outcome.
4. Tackling e-presenteeism
“Presenteeism” refers to the pressure that employees feel to be present in their physical workplaces, even if they’re feeling unwell, usually for fear that if they take time off to recover, they’ll be accused of slacking.
Researchers have found that presenteeism is commonly caused by factors that include:
- Poor mental health
- Workplace bullying
- Financial pressures
- Being subjected to unrealistic time pressures at work
E-presenteeism simply refers to how this phenomenon translates in a remote or hybrid working environment. It may even be worse than in an in-person office: 77% of HR experts surveyed in 2021 said they had observed presenteeism while working at home, which was 2% higher than in the workplace.
This is perhaps due to the commonly-held belief that remote work requires less energy, prompting many workers to work at home when they’re ill rather than take a sick day to recover.
Workers may also be anxious that the proximity bias of managers who work permanently in-office could stall their progression unless they go above and beyond the call of duty. They’re not entirely wrong – 42% of supervisors say they sometimes forget about remote workers when assigning tasks.
2023 will see organizations tackling e-presenteeism as a matter of priority in order to prevent employee burnout and create a positive working environment for all employees. You might start by:
- Providing clear guidance for when to take sick days and mental health days
- Setting specific policies around sending emails out-of-hours – and ensuring that your senior management role model these
- Embedding good habits in employees, like guidance around how frequently to take screen breaks and when to disconnect from work channels
5. Focusing on overall employee wellbeing
This specific focus on tackling e-presenteeism will come as part of an overall effort to improve employee wellbeing in 2023.
Employee wellbeing is about more than just how your employees feel when they’re on the clock. Employers also need to support their employees to thrive in their personal lives by promoting good mental and physical health outside of work, positive lifestyle choices, and full social lives.
We’ve already touched on the fact that remote and hybrid working is here to stay for the long haul. While this benefits employees through flexibility and autonomy, it can also bring challenges, such as social isolation and a less active lifestyle.
These challenges might build up to culminate in the phenomenon known as working-from-home depression.
Businesses should also be aware of other mental health issues, such as trauma, that could affect employees’ wellbeing at work.
It’s not only HR leaders who need to pay attention to this: Employee wellbeing should be considered part of a holistic strategy for business growth. A Glassdoor study found that every one-star improvement in a company’s employee satisfaction score corresponded to a 1.3-point improvement in customer satisfaction scores.
6. Switching to proactive recruiting
You’re sensing the overall pattern here, right? 2023 will be a soul-searching time for most companies as they take advantage of skills-focused hiring and development techniques to look inward at the talent they already have in their workforce.
This increased understanding of their employees’ skills and personalities will have huge benefits when they actually do have to make an outside hire. Chief among these benefits will be the ability to engage in proactive hiring.
Traditional recruiting is reactive: You’re hiring a new employee as a reaction to the loss of an old one or to alleviate pressure on your teams.
Proactive recruiting is the opposite. Employers use a skills gap analysis or similar methods to anticipate a need before it arises while sourcing and attracting candidates to fit it.
It’s a less stressful experience for you (think of it as the difference between leaving the party you’re hosting to buy snacks versus buying them beforehand after anticipating demand), but it’s also:
- Less stressful for the team – no one has to take on anyone else’s work as a stopgap
- Cheaper – you’re not losing any efficiency while you search for somebody’s replacement
- More effective – you can identify the skills you need the new hire to have ahead of time and use skills testing to identify them in your candidates
7. Building your employer brand
Another element of recruitment strategy that is on the rise in 2023 is employer branding.
Employer branding is about defining how potential candidates perceive your business: what you stand for, what it’s like to work for you, and what they stand to gain by throwing their skills behind your company mission.
Google has one of the strongest employer brands out there. It’s known for creativity, learning, and innovation, so even before applying, candidates know to expect:
- A rigorous selection process
- A fast-paced working environment
- Working with highly qualified and creative colleagues on innovative projects
- Opportunities for learning and development
- A flexible working culture
Google broadcasts its brand in numerous ways, such as through its “Life at Google” YouTube channel, where it posts videos on topics including the hiring process, the impact that individual “Googlers” make, and “Ask A Googler” series.
While you may not have the resources to create a whole YouTube channel dedicated to your employer brand, it’s a necessary area to pay attention to. The Edelman Trust Barometer study found that 60% of people would choose a place of work based on their beliefs and values.
That means that when top talents choose between your offer and a competitor’s, the decision may come down to your reputation and values.
It’s also important for attracting candidates to your company in the first place. If you’re well-known for giving employees ample upskilling opportunities and promoting from within, ambitious candidates are likely to look out for job postings from your organization.
8. Engaging your teams in a collaborative hiring process
Sometimes known as team-based hiring, the collaborative hiring process involves a whole team in hiring rather than leaving it all up to one hiring manager.
This allows for a more agile hiring approach since the new recruitment process can be tailored to the specific requirements of the open role. It also reduces bias because it brings a range of perspectives to bear on candidate selection.
Here are examples of how teams can get involved at each stage of the hiring process:
|Hiring stage||How the team can get involved|
|Preparation||Team members who know what’s required from the role can help define the candidate persona for the hiring manager; Quotes from them about their favorite parts of their job can be used in the job ad|
|Finding candidates||Employee referral programs can tap into their networks|
|Attracting candidates||Use team photos and testimonials to demonstrate the positive experience available in the role|
|Selecting candidates||Team members can outline what core competencies should be tested for and identified at interview|
|Hiring||Employees can give you their informed opinions on which candidate to choose based on data; Team members can meet final-round candidates|
|Onboarding||The team can create a welcome video introducing themselves ahead of the new employee’s start date; Different team members can take on responsibility for different elements of the onboarding process|
9. Testing out project-based hiring
We’ve spoken extensively about a renewed focus on retention and investing long-term in employees. However, there’s always an exception that proves the rule.
In 2023, while existing employees will be given development opportunities to reduce a company’s need for project-based hiring, we expect to see organizations experimenting with it when forced to make new hires.
Project-based hiring is when an organization hires workers to complete a specific project rather than taking them on as full-time employees. These projects are usually clearly defined both in terms of timeline and deliverables, and there’s not always an expectation of a continued working relationship after completion.
Reasons you might consider project-based hiring include:
- You’re launching a new product or products
- You’re opening new offices around the world
- You have a project that spans a wide area – for example, several locations scattered across the United States need new tech, so you hire one company to complete this project
This approach is cost-efficient because you don’t have to pay taxes or benefits for project workers. Also, because they’re not permanent hires, you can cut your losses more easily if the partnership doesn’t work out.
Project-based hiring is also a great way to stimulate the flow of fresh ideas and perspectives through your organization. By bringing in project workers to collaborate with permanent employees, you’re introducing new expertise, not all of which will leave when they walk out of the door at the end of the project.
10. Working to attract Gen Z candidates
Understandably, given that they’re the demographic now aging into the workforce, attracting Gen Z workers will be top of the priority lists for most businesses in 2023.
Defined as the generation born from 1997 onward, “zoomers” have a reputation for being digitally savvy, having grown up with technology and social media and pursuing personalization in their careers.
Many of the recruiting trends we’ve discussed above can be used to attract Gen Z candidates, particularly by implementing policies such as flexible working. Workplace flexibility has been proven to be of particular importance to Gen Z, engaging them at a rate of 77% compared to just 30% of Millennials.
Project-based hiring is also likely to appeal to Gen Z since 50% of Gen Z freelance at least some of the time, which primes them for deployment on short-term, project-based work.
11. Welcoming back boomerang employees
Way back at the start of this list, we mentioned the Great Reshuffle: a phenomenon prompted in part by the Great Resignation that followed the first wave of lockdown orders during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Well, we’re ready to call it: Businesses are seeing a Great Return as people who have perhaps resigned during the Great Resignation return to the workforce, whether in their old jobs or new careers entirely.
These are often called “boomerang employees,” and they made up 4.5% of all new hires at companies on LinkedIn in 2021, up from 3.9% in 2019.
According to SHRM, boomerang employees usually return to the workforce for one of a few reasons:
- Traditional, when they seek a better position in another company and return later for higher pay
- Life event, when they leave for reasons outside of their control, like the relocation of a spouse
- Planned or seasonal, such as summer workers at a vacation resort
- Opportunistic, when they leave to try out a different career path
However, the changes wrought in the post-pandemic business world mean that we can add factors like the requirement for flexible working, trying out self-employment during the lockdown, and retraining in a new career to this list.
Boomerang employees bring many benefits to your organization, including their existing institutional knowledge and the signal they send to others that yours is a company worth coming back to. You might attract them by posting jobs on returnee job boards, such as for caregivers and new mothers re-entering the workforce.
To find out the full pros and cons of re-hiring employees who have previously quit your workforce – and how to ensure that history won’t repeat itself – read our guide to re-hiring boomerang employees.
12. Improving your candidate experience
Finally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, we expect to see employers treating candidates more like customers in 2023. That means crafting a positive candidate experience from when a candidate learns about your business to when they leave after a long and happy employment.
Some examples of best practices that create a great candidate experience include:
- Streamlining the application process so that the application form is as short as possible
- Including the salary range in the job ad
- Giving candidates regular updates and detailed feedback at each stage of the application process
- Being as flexible as possible when it comes to interview times
This is a smart tactic that supports many of the other recruiting trends we’ve already spoken about on this list, particularly your employer brand. Did you know that almost 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience in the past and that 72% of them shared that experience online or with someone directly?
It also supports your strategies for re-hiring boomerang employees since a good candidate experience fosters a culture of respect that employees will want to return to.
Get ahead of 2023 recruiting trends with skills-based hiring techniques
Now you know the top 12 recruiting trends 2023 has in store. There’s no bad place to start – whether you kick off by tackling e-presenteeism in your remote teams or by implementing pre-interview testing to improve your candidate experience, any one of these initiatives can help you stand out to top talent.
Wherever you start, skills-based recruiting tools can help you get off the ground. In fact, three-quarters of businesses are already using them, according to our 2022 State of Skills Based Hiring report.
Read our blog to learn more about implementing skills-based hiring practices in your organization.
If you’ve realized you need to call in reinforcements to take advantage of our recruiting trends forecast, use our HR Fundamentals test to hire the best human resources experts.
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- Maurer, Roy. (September 23, 2015). “Attitude on Rehiring Boomerang Workers Changing”. SHRM. Retrieved February 13, 2023. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/rehiring-boomerang-workers.aspx