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Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

The Recruitment in 2019 study was carried out in the second half of 2008. It provides a number of predictions on where the recruitment market is likely to evolve over the next decade. These predictions are based on areas of broad consensus across a panel comprised of recruitment media and technology business owners, academics with expertise in the labour market, HR professionals, members of the recruitment consultancy industry, and specialist recruitment market commentators, as well as specialists in general web technology and futurology.

The economy
Some of the predictions made in this study are heavily dependent on the state of the economy in 2019 particularly where they relate to the balance of power between candidates and recruiters. The current global financial crisis, however, has made trying to forecast economic conditions unfeasible, and we have had to make the (potentially massive) assumption that we will have returned to economic normality by 2019.

Our key predictions

This aside, the main predictions we are making for recruitment in 2019 are:

Increasing fragmentation will make recruitment more complex by 2019

One of the defining characteristics of the recruitment environment in 2019 will be the increased level of fragmentation faced by recruiters. This fragmentation will be generated by the changing demographic balance of the UK particularly the number of older workers; the increasing stretch in rates of adoption of new technologies by candidates; growing flexibility in employment packages; and the changing nature of company operations. It will have a significant impact in many areas of the market including limits on recruiters use of new technologies and channels, the increasing consumerisation of recruitment marketing, enhanced relevance for intermediaries such as recruitment consultancies, and increasing complexity faced by HR in the recruiting process.

Power will shift towards candidates by 2019

Economic conditions notwithstanding, there will be a shift in power towards candidates and away from recruiters. This will be driven by a range of overlapping factors including the war for talent in key markets, a climate in which candidates are increasingly accustomed to shaping their own employment offers, candidates control over how recruiters employ new technology, and fundamental problems with developments that have the potential to shift power in favour of recruiters. An important effect of this will be a contrast between minimal change in how candidates market themselves to recruiters and significant evolution in the ways recruiters market themselves to candidates.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

Jobboards and publishers will remain a key force but their hold on the market will be draining
The recruitment media market will be in a state of flux by 2019, with the current dominant recruitment media model the publisher/ jobboard besieged on all sides by the rise of new models. A number of factors, including increasing fragmentation in the candidate market, jobboards ability to be a key driver of innovation themselves and significant weaknesses inherent in new models, will work in jobboards favour. However, recruiters increased willingness and confidence in experimentation, combined with the sheer diversity of new models coming onto the market will see a continuing portfolio-isation of recruitment media with new models taking an increasing share of the market.

Recruitment technology will be used routinely by all types of recruiters, but companies will
become increasingly aware of its limits
The number of organisations utilising recruitment technology will continue to expand through to 2019, a change driven by increased expectations from candidates, the growth in technology supporting new recruitment channels and growing technological confidence amongst recruiters. However, there will no longer be a drive to increasingly automate all parts of the recruitment process rather, in many areas there will be a backlash against this for reasons of recruitment effectiveness, diversity of candidate reach and employer brand implications.

The recruitment consultancy model will enjoy renewed strength

The concept of disintermediation a key theme the past decade, with the rise of direct digital recruitment channels threatening intermediaries such as recruitment consultancies will be on the wane by 2019. Although smaller, technology-resistant, non-specialist agencies will face serious challenges; changes in the market will create a new era of opportunity for recruitment consultancies.

Management of the recruitment process will become increasingly difficult for HR

Most developments taking place in the recruitment market by 2019 economic conditions aside will mean the task facing the HR function in relation to the broad area of recruitment will have increased significantly in complexity, difficulty and scope by 2019. These include the fragmentation of the candidate market and the growth of flexibility in the employer offer, as well the growing emphasis on the employer brand experience in both internal and external employment communication. The realisation of the limits on how far it is desirable to increase automation within the recruitment process will add to this, increasing the responsibility for HR to develop human decision-making systems. These predictions are covered in more detail in the following report.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

Our approach
The Recruitment in 2019 study, carried out in the Autumn of 2008, is a look at some of the key areas in which the recruitment market may evolve over the next decade. The study was based on the views of a panel comprised of a range of experts in the field of recruitment covering media and technology business owners, academics with expertise in the labour market, HR professionals, members of the recruitment consultancy industry, and other specialists in the recruitment arena. Our aim in carrying out this study was to build a collaborative picture of how the recruitment market may look in a decades time. We adopted a methodology loosely based on the Delphi approach. The study comprised three stages, and was carried out entirely online. The findings from each stage were used to shape the questioning in the subsequent stage. The first stage of the study looked at the potential recruitment environment in 2019. Participants were provided with a series of predictions made by organisations ranging from the Chartered Institute of Management and the Treasury to the Wall Street Journal and Personnel Today. These predictions covered a wide range of areas directly relevant to the recruitment market including the composition of the labour force, the economic climate, new technologies and attitudes towards them, the nature of work, recruitment channels, and the internationalisation of labour. Participants were asked to rate how likely they thought these predictions were to occur, as well as the level of impact they would have on recruitment in 2019 if they turned out to be true together with their own thoughts relating to each prediction area. The second stage of the study looked at how key developments identified in stage one may have affected by 2019 some of the main players in the recruitment market: HR professionals, recruitment agencies, recruitment media, recruitment technology providers, and the candidates themselves. Participants were provided with two different statements outlining different futures for these players. They were asked which they considered most realistic and their reasons why this was so. For the final stage, participants were asked to identify key areas where they believed their own ideas of change were at variance with what they see as the perceived wisdom amongst recruitment industry experts. This variance was in terms of both where they believed a specific area of change was overhyped and where they believed most informed commentators are failing to appreciate an area of change seen as significant by the participant. The findings from these three stages have been collated to produce this report. Pulling together participants responses across all stages, we have identified a range of key areas where there appeared to be significant consensus on the direction of change by 2019. These key prediction themes form the basis for this report.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

A caveat - the economy

Predictions for the state of the recruitment market in 2019 are as all of our participants have stressed during this study heavily dependent on the state of the economy. At the time of carrying out the research for this study, the scale of the economic downturn associated with the credit crunch was nowhere near as clear as it is at the time of writing this report. In fact, Treasury forecasts in summer 2008 used as part of this study were predicting steady and uninterrupted economic growth averaging out at around 2.5% per annum. Our panel was largely non-committal as to whether they believed this forecast would turn out to be true and obviously, in the short term the forecast has turned out to be wildly inaccurate. Currently, the UK is deep in recession and it is widely accepted that the downturn will continue at least into 2010. However, there is little consensus as to how long the climb out of recession will take with parallels being drawn to Japans lost decade or even the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is beyond the scope of this study to pin down a robust forecast for the state of the UK economy at a time when economists, banks and governments are struggling to understand the nature of the unfolding crisis. We are, therefore, for the purposes of this study making the assumption that the current economic downturn doesnt mark the collapse of the western capitalist model, the start of a lost decade or any of the other more gloomy predictions currently in circulation. Rather, were assuming rightly or wrongly that the next decade will see a return to a more business-as-usual economic environment.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

Our key predictions

Prediction #1
Increasing fragmentation will make recruitment more complex by 2019
One of the defining characteristics of the recruitment environment in 2019 will be the increased level of fragmentation faced by recruiters. This fragmentation will have a significant impact in many areas of the market. These encompass limits on the use by recruiters of new technologies and channels, the increasing consumerisation of recruitment marketing, enhanced relevance for intermediaries such as recruitment consultancies and increasing complexity faced by the HR function in the recruiting process. These are looked at later in this report. The sources of this fragmentation will overlap on a number of levels. Broadly, however, they will include:

Fragmentation caused by demographics particularly in

relation to age
There will be an increasingly diverse workforce by 2019, which will see for example women outnumbering men for the first time, a significant increase in the numbers of older workers and a growth in the proportion of minority black and ethnic workers. A key effect of this will be a move away from a one-size-fits-all approach, for example in areas such as the way job offers are structured with flexibility in terms of hours, remuneration, work location and role becoming increasingly prevalent (though by no means the norm across all areas of the market) and an increasingly important source of recruitment competitiveness. There will also be a growing need to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach in the way employers communicate with all their different target audiences. This encompasses how brand and employment messages are deployed, the ways in which candidates are processed and the channels the employer uses to reach different candidate groups. Arguably, the most important effect the ageing of the labour market will have on recruitment channel choice will be the ever-increasing stretch between those favoured by more technologically savvy younger recruits and those needed to reach the less technologically-focused older generation.

The increasing diversity of the UK needs to be considered in future strategies. The old model... will have to adapt to reflect the changing structure of society and the individual modus operandi of employees. Flexibility is key.

This, through the generation effect, is probably the most significant change to future working life and it has the potential to create a generational divide in terms of the utility of communications technology.

So far employers have not grasped the fact that they need to do different things in order to attract and retain older workers and in some cases to attract and retain women.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

Although the rise of digital recruitment has meant that the ways people think of looking for work has entered a period of continuous change, it will become increasingly apparent by 2019 that this change is highly inconsistent across different audiences and age ranges. This lack of consistency will be a key and growing challenge faced by recruiters needed to appeal across all sections of the population.

Fragmentation caused by attitudes to technology

Exacerbating the fragmentation of recruitment channel use along demographic lines, will be a backlash against the increasing pace and range of new technology development amongst clusters of candidates in all parts of the labour market. This will further complicate the task faced by recruiters in reaching the whole population. While there will be large numbers of candidates who use the full range of technologies open to them to market themselves in the recruitment arena, there will be others who for a variety of reasons ranging from growing concerns about privacy in the postFacebook generation, to an antipathy towards increasing levels of automation refuse to do so. The ability of recruiters to understand and appeal to candidates across this spectrum will be a crucial success factor even though this will add complexity and cost and will force recruiters into using a wider range of channels and approaches than might appear optimally efficient.

Fragmentation caused by peoples views of work

There will be a further level of fragmentation in the recruitment market based on the need to appeal to candidates with increasingly different views on why they work, how they work and how they are rewarded for it. Part of this will be generated by practical limitations particularly looking at older workers unable to commit to a traditional 9 to 5 existence, or the rise in women in the workplace with needs for flexibility for childcare. However, a large part of it will be due to candidate attitude driven particularly by sections of the labour force where there will be strong competition for candidates. Although lifestyle flexibility will by no means be accommodated across the board by all employers for all employees, the effect of its use in specific demographic and hard-torecruit markets will increasingly spread to other areas.

Once Gen Y and Gen X, to some extent, realise how in-demand they are on a global basis, I believe many of the norms in employment will be redefined around their aspirations.

To address this, there needs to be more emphasis on segmenting the workforce in terms of their needs for rewards, working patterns etc, so that employers can offer packages that are attractive to everyone

People will continue to be more demanding about how they work, e.g. flexible working, and companies will have less power in this than now.

Companies would lose out on significant talent if they only considered what was pushed under their nose (he who shouts loudest etc).

Individuals are beginning to realise the importance of their digital footprint for their reputation. I would suspect not only a backlash in this area but the rise of consultancies helping people to manage their digital reputation.

I think this is really important recruiters need to be confident that they are reaching the whole labour market, regardless of class, generation etc.

This presumes the current generation in turn wont be old and out of touch with what replaces the internet. The grid at 10,000 times faster will spawn new experiences which might be as alien to those 30s in 2019 as the iPod is to octogenarians today.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

Fragmentation caused by the changing structure of company
Another level of fragmentation will be generated by two trends that will continue to increase in importance through to 2019 the increased internationalisation of the potential pool for direct hires (particularly on a pan-EU basis), and the continuing growth of the outsourcing and offshoring model. In terms of internationalisation, while this will allow recruiters to source candidates from an increasingly wide labour pool, it will also create challenges. These include the need to work through a growing range of international recruitment channels, the complexity of managing the employment brand pan-nationally and the need to frame recruitment messages to work effectively across different cultures. On the international level, there will also be an additional challenge in tying in corporate recruitment messages with nation employment brand messages. These will become an increasingly prevalent feature of the international employment market as nations become more pro-active in building their reputation as a desirable place to work and live. The continued growth in outsourcing and offshoring will also create challenges in terms of the development of the employer brand. The outsourced parts of a companys operation will increasingly be brought within the wider remit of the employer brand, and the most successful brands will be those that encompass the external workforce as well as the internal one.

National brands and their reputations will become more and more significant... This level of brand engagement is essential to allow competition for the highest quality recruits and needs to be recognised within corporate strategy as intrinsically linked to the maintenance of organisational HR assets and culture.

People need to feel valued, whether outsourced or contingency workers or not. They need to feel part of a greater goal, sense of purpose and have a clear direction of what part they play. They want to be valued for their contribution no matter how short term. The best outsourcing work is achieved when the Business Process Outsourcing employees feel part of the overall team/purpose than merely those of the BPO.

Prediction #2

The consumer is king; power will shift towards candidates by 2019

As mentioned above, the state of the economy will be the principal determinant of the relative power balance between candidates and recruiters, and our panel was very uncertain as to whether 2019 would see a period of relative growth or downturn. However, taking the (massive) assumption that the current economic crisis will abate and the economy will return to business as usual within the next decade, there is a strong belief that there will be a shift in the balance of power towards the candidate by 2019.

The main forces driving the shift in power towards candidates

There will be a number of forces driving this shift in power towards candidates, including:

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

The primary source of the shifting balance of power will be the war for talent, driven by demographic changes taking place in the market, coupled with increasing awareness of gaps in the availability of sought-after skills. Although the effects of this will vary across markets and target skill sets talent shortages, in terms of both hard technical skills and softer skills, will become increasingly apparent and recruiters will be pressured to raise their game across the board to reach out to the best candidates.

Candidates will have increasing power as talent shortages become increasingly apparent over the next decade

Increasing flexibility
Secondly, and linked to this, is likely to be the extent to which the candidate market will be increasingly accustomed to the concept of flexibility in working practices, remuneration packages and career paths entrenched in many areas by legislative changes. This will be both a result of a shift in power towards candidates and a self-generating source of further shifts in power. Although by no means universal in its application, this will serve to create a general climate in which expectations are set by the behaviour of the most competitive employers, who are willing to offer the most attractive range of recruitment packages. The concept of a one-size-fits-all employment offer in which only salary is open to variation, will increasingly be eclipsed by a pic n mix approach, with the candidate in a far stronger position than at present to determine the precise nature of their own package.

Candidates control over the rate of adoption of new

Thirdly, the rate of adoption of new recruitment channels and technologies will be determined by the willingness of candidates, rather than the wishes of employers. However efficient new processes may potentially be, they will be ineffective if they do not appeal to candidates across the board. By 2019 the concept that the consumer is King will increasingly form a key tenet of recruitment marketing and process development with consumer insight rather than the drivers of organisational demand being at the core of the development process.

The consumption of and speed of access to online processes is entirely in the control of consumers and this shift is destined to continue. There is a potential for a road crash if processes do not consider carefully the linkage between the left hand of consumer need states and the right hand of recruiting targets.

People will continue to be more demanding about how they work, e.g. flexible working, and companies will have less power in this than now.

The war for talent

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

Problems with developments potentially shifting power to
Also, a potential source of a shift in the balance of power towards recruiters the ability to access detailed behavioural information on candidates (for example, based on their online and other behavioural activity) will have limited practical impact in the market. Increased awareness of privacy issues, the ethics of accessing information not specifically sanctioned by the candidate as part of the recruitment process and the reliability of the data, will create a barrier to recruiters using this tool to its full potential.

[There may be a] backlash around the human element of feeling uncomfortable about this and increased legislation around privacy would be brought to manage that discomfort so whilst the information may be available recruiters may be unable to use it effectively.

Although I agree the availability of such information will exist (and is useful) the ability to actually use it will be severely restricted (or use with risk!).

The effect of shifting power balance on recruitment communication

One important upshot of this changing balance of power will be the asymmetric development of recruitment communications over the next decade.
Already, businesses are entering the e-resume market. I have concerns about this, in terms of objective selection decision-making and diversity issues. Also, the e-resume market is focused at generation Y and maybe X, so is in direct conflict with the need to attract baby boomers back to the labour market.

On the candidate side, although there will be tools available for the most sophisticated candidates to market themselves, the impetus to adopt these new approaches such as e-CVs and multi-media profiles will be muted. With the emphasis for recruiters being on appealing right across the fragmented candidate pool, such developments will not become mainstream. It would appear that in 2019, candidates may essentially still be sending in good, old fashioned CVs much as they do in 2008 with use of the full range of tools on offer remaining a minority pursuit .

As for building multimedia profiles... I think that while we can, the advent and development of technology in recruitment is all about streamlining the process and making it more efficient. Including video/audio etc may not result in this often it will have the opposite effect.

On the recruiter side, the situation could not be more different. The demands placed on them by the fragmented market, the opportunities opened up by the development of new recruitment channels and the increasing sophistication of the employer brand will see a dramatic evolution of employment communications from the perspective of the recruiter. At the brand and communications planning stage we will see recruitment communications approached more and more in the same way as consumer marketing is approached, with increasingly sophisticated market research, segmentation and testing widely employed. This will be necessary to ensure that core brand messages work to their best effect across disparate audience groups.

Recruiters will identify the passive job seeker long before he or she applies. They will track his interest and maintain a lighttouch relationship, keeping him up-to-date on company news. Their sensitive search engine will match him to jobs as they come up, and let him know theyre interested in his application. When he is ready for a change, he will log his interest with them and they will respond. This is more than a quick transaction, it is a relationship built up over time, based on mutual interest and understanding.


There needs to be more emphasis on segmenting the workforce in terms of their needs for rewards, working patterns etc. Employers will need to focus on creating an employer brand that is attractive to all, as many currently focus on the younger gen X or Y population.


Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

Similarly, significantly more effort will go into integrating recruitment messages and the nature of the employment brand experience across all recruitment channels. Ultimately, recruiters will see the very nature of recruitment communications subject to significant levels of overhaul by 2019, with the introduction of technologies such as passive matching underpinning a radically different approach to how an organisation communicates with its potential candidate base.

Prediction #3

Jobboards and publishers remain a key force but their hold on the market will be draining away
The recruitment media market will be in a state of flux by 2019, with the current dominant recruitment media model the publisher/jobboard besieged on all sides by the rise of new models. The principal theme of the recruitment media market over the past decade consolidation will very much be a thing of the past. The extent to which the publisher/jobboard will succumb to this will be determined by the relative strength of the forces driving and opposing the encroachment of new models.

Factors working to the advantage of the publisher/jobboard model

There are a range of strong factors favouring the continued dominance of the publisher/ jobboard model beyond 2019, despite the evolution of existing new models and the rise of models yet to make their arrival in the market.

The growing stretch in the rate of adoption of new


between early adopters, non-adopters and resisters previously mentioned. With recruiters needing to appeal right across the spectrum of a fragmented candidate audience, the publisher/jobboard offers a tried and tested solution, which for both recruiters and candidates is well-established, easy to understand, easy to use, and which presents no privacy or ethical concerns. This will favour jobboards in general, but will specifically benefits jobboards with a print or recruitment consultancy element to their business.

Jobboards will be a primary source of innovation themselves

Whilst we still have an active generation of people who have always, and will always want to read a newspaper/ magazine etc, then even print will not die. The media landscape will change, but just not as quickly as a number of people in online keep predicting

One primary block on the market decline of publisher/jobboards is the growing stretch

This point is really based on the diverse nature of your candidate audience. Not everyone is going to be an adopter when it comes to social media, or mobile channels.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

A second major block is the scope for jobboards to be primary drivers of technological change themselves. There remain significant areas of technological development still to be exploited within the current model. As highly innovative businesses in their own right and with increasingly established brand strength and existing mass market audiences to draw on, jobboards will be ideally placed to respond to market changes and potential threats. They will be able to co-opt the most successful new technology models within their current business to maintain their relevance across the broadest possible spectrum of the recruitment market especially those with a linked print or recruitment consultancy offering.

Inherent weaknesses in the new models

There are also a range of weaknesses in potential new models over and above the difficulties faced in terms of adoption rates by candidates. These include growing privacy concerns, which are likely to impact the scope of development of social media models, and the continued lack of suitable mobile recruitment offerings at a conceptual level. Until new channels are able to replicate the conceptual simplicity, from both recruiter and candidate perspectives, ease of use and low cost, the jobboard model will continue to be extremely competitive.

Although the current technology is sufficient to move from E to M media I believe that people will not wish to use such media as means for seeking employment. The technological enhancements available with the jobboard will match the M opportunity but are easier to use. Significantly, [the jobboard] combines ease of use and confidentiality and overpowers [new mobile and social channels] in this respect, both of which are imperative (and will continue to be so).

Factors working against the publisher/jobboard model

Similarly however, there are seen to be a range of factors working against the continued dominance of the publisher/jobboard model.

Recruiters are increasingly used to taking new models on

By 2019, recruiters will be accustomed to operating in a fast changing media environment. Whereas the transition from print to jobboards was a relatively slow process, given the length of time print had been the primary recruitment medium, recruiters will find the transition from jobboards to new models simple and painless. Recruiters will also be increasingly familiar with continual experimentation and very receptive to testing out new ideas. This will significantly reduce barriers to new channels gaining a foothold in the recruiters armoury.

An employers fear of doing something different will have gone as there will be a clear history of the positive brand impact early adopters achieve

Any job board/media worth its salt will have monitored the market trends, adapted its service delivery and product to react to the market usage.

I think the jobboard model still has some way to grow. Now established as a good idea and method of finding staff... I dont think that we should assume it will need to change greatly.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

Furthermore, in certain important markets, recruiters failure to remain at the cutting edge of recruitment media evolution will be heavily punished in terms of both the negative effect on their brand perception and their ability to reach key audiences as effectively as possible.

The scope of new models on offer

Another factor working against the jobboard models continued dominance will be the sheer range of new recruitment channels establishing themselves in the market. These new channels will add to the level of competition coming from established social and professional networking and mobile services. Platform convergence with, for example, the boundaries between TV/radio/online blurring may have significant impact and at the very least will add an additional element of competition that will further erode the jobboards market dominance. Finally, the rise of new in all likelihood permissive passive matching technologies not yet developed will be starting to present the ultimate threat to the jobboards. Potentially, this may entail the demise of the concept of the job advert entirely. However, by 2019 this will still be in its early stages. In 2019, rather, we will see the portfolio-isation of the recruitment media space, with a continually revamped jobboard losing overall market share to a wide range of new social media, permissive and cross platform models.

The advent of web 2.0 social marketing will be the first of many new stages of digital development, which gives consumers more control of their online activities. Platform merges between some of the communications monoliths (TV/radio) into the digital space will seriously shape consumer behaviour.

Technology will exist that will ultimately put the jobboard model out of the frame. This is likely to be anonymous systems which automatically match passive candidates and alert them to opportunities.

There is an assumption that users will always need to be provided with some form of vacancy consolidation platform. While this may be the case, I would suspect that the whole candidate/employer relationship, communication and interaction will be much more direct

Prediction #4

Recruitment technology is used routinely by all types of recruiters, but companies become increasingly aware of its limits
By 2019, we will be aware of the limits on how far recruitment technology can and should be applied within the recruitment process. This does not mean that the number of organisations using technology within their recruitment processes will be limited. On the contrary, it seems that diffusion of fairly advanced technology will be widespread across organisations of all sizes and types. This widened use will be driven by a number of factors including:

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

Increased expectations across all parts of the candidate
Candidates will have become accustomed to user-friendly and efficient online processes both from encounters with recruiters who have spent time and effort in developing this area and from their experience of high quality online consumer processes. This will raise the barrier for all recruiters. Candidates will have high expectations of all organisations they encounter to operate a seamless recruitment process with fairly rigorous minimum hygiene standards. Recruiters not meeting these hygiene standards will risk creating strongly negative perceptions of the quality of their organisation, which will be particularly damning at the critical initial stages of the process.

New channels create new support technologies

The increased fragmentation of recruitment media will also spur the widespread adoption of recruitment technology amongst recruiters. The increasingly wide range of media channels available will be accompanied by a wide range of technologies available to recruiters to support them. This will be in terms of both the back end systems of the channels themselves and third party systems used to simplify the management of activity across multiple potentially very diverse channels. The concept of what is recruitment technology will also broaden encompassing, for example, new uses for mobile and video within the recruitment and interview process, as well as recruitment uses emerging from a range of technology developments.

Growing technological confidence amongst recruiters

All these developments will be facilitated by a general rise in levels of technological competence and confidence across the board amongst recruiters. However, while there will be no barriers to the increasing spread of recruitment technology across all types of recruiter, we will come across significant barriers to the deeper integration of technology within the recruitment process.

More organizations will become more proficient in using these new communications technologies

The limits on deeper applications of technology throughout the recruitment process

Although technology will continue to be introduced to replace human activity along the

We will use alternate channels to communicate over the next ten years, presence computing, SKYPE, Virtual world interaction, immersive engagement software, holograms, automated avatars etc.

I think we will see more organisations using technology for recruitment as they are forced to do so by the fact that their target labour market expects it.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

recruitment chain, this will largely be focused on increasing the efficiency of transactional processes and the ability to link up stages in the recruitment process. There will, though, be an increasingly widespread acceptance that continually expanding the role of technology in an attempt to replace human decision making is neither practical nor desirable for a number of reasons.

The complexity of decision-making in successful recruitment

A large part of this acceptance of the limits of technology within recruitment will come from within the recruiting organisation itself, driven by recognition of the weaknesses of technology in the complex decision-making inherent in successful recruitment.

In addition, the substitution of technology for human involvement will increasingly be seen as a potential negative in terms of perceptions of the organisation at a time when the importance of brand is on the rise.

This concern over negative perceptions of the organisation created by the overapplication of technology will be reinforced by attitudes amongst key parts of the candidate audience. The need for recruiters to appeal to all parts of a fragmented candidate audience will act as further brake on the extent to which technology will be implemented.

In 2019, therefore, there will be pressure on all recruiters to get the technology basics right and those organisations that dont will suffer both from missed opportunities to streamline processes and from negative candidate perceptions. There will also be a wide range of new technological opportunities open to them in all areas of the recruitment process. However, strong as the temptation may be to adopt them, there will also be equally strong forces pushing in the opposite direction.

Organisations will have to accept and adopt the latest technologies where appropriate, whilst all the time being mindful of the wide candidate base who may not want to use the latest technology... Just because a new technology exists, and is right for some people, does not necessarily mean that it is right for all

Human beings will strongly resist a machine making judgements about them in particular if union power increases again (as it is currently threatening to do), there is a moral and ethical question that people will expect to be considered here!

The need to appeal to all sections of the candidate audience

I... suspect that there may be a backlash against the impersonalisation of services during the next ten years and people promoting their USP as the fact that they do provide a personal service.

Potential for negative impact on the employer brand

As much as companies wish to totally automate the process of resourcing this will not be entirely possible. Technology will only enhance the process not take the place of it. At the relevant point, recruitment is all about judgement, which non-human decision making will never replace its never going to be intuitive enough.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

Prediction #5
The recruitment consultancy model will enjoy renewed strength
A key theme of the past decade has been the concept of disintermediation the rise and accessibility of direct digital recruitment channels threatening the position of intermediaries such as recruitment consultancies. This has not happened and our study suggests that the next decade will, by and large, bury this concept. We will, rather, see a potential renaissance for intermediaries such as recruitment consultancies and also recruitment advertising agencies.

Recruitment consultancies under threat

This is not to say that potential threats do not exist for the recruitment agency in the period leading up to 2019. The extent of the threat will be proportional to the extent that an agency fits the profile of: being small offering no specialism operating at the lower end of the market lagging in their adoption of new technologies.

The increased diffusion of recruitment technology, coupled with an increased range of available recruitment channels and competence in their use by recruiters will boost the number of direct hires in less competitive candidate markets. These will be achieved by a displacement of hires from agencies unable to add value in competition with the direct approach. In addition to this, smaller agencies with lower levels of resource and those unable or unwilling to capitalise on the potential created by new technology and a fragmented candidate and media landscape will find it most difficult to make the most of the opportunities arising between now and 2019.

New opportunities for recruitment consultancies

However, there are a wider range of changes taking place in the market that will create new opportunities for recruitment consultancies.

There will still be those who reject the adoption of new platforms and services, but these organisations will more likely struggle longer term.

I think the role of smaller agents will diminish the complexity of maintaining share of market in the digital space should not be underestimated.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

The fragmenting media and candidate market
The fragmenting candidate and recruitment media environment is undoubtedly one of the key areas of opportunity for recruitment agencies. This is for two reasons. Firstly, there will be an increased demand for specialists who add value through their understanding of this increasingly complex environment and through their implementation of that knowledge deliver the most effective results for their clients. Secondly, agencies willing and able to develop specialist knowledge of the fragmented candidate and media landscape will be presented with significant opportunities to enhance the performance of their own businesses at the expense of their slower and less innovative competitors.

Opportunities created through new technology

The ability to innovate in the implementation of new technology also presents opportunities. A main focus of these opportunities will be in the use of technology to enhance the candidate relationship process widely seen as one of the key areas of failing amongst recruitment agencies at present. CRM technology will allow agencies that implement it effectively to excel at the long term management of candidate relationships on their own behalf and on behalf of their clients in a way that does not massively impact their bottom line.

The war for talent

However, the key area of opportunity for recruitment agencies lies in the war for talent, with competition for scare hard and soft key skills sets placing the knowledge and abilities of specialist recruiters at a premium. This will apply equally to major employer brands, who will be under pressure to use all available channels to secure the best employees ahead of their competitors, and to SMEs for whom the recruitment agency will be a crucial ally in their competition for talent against well resourced brands investing heavily in the recruitment market.

The renaissance of recruitment advertising agencies

For the other key intermediary in the market the recruitment advertising agencies the future up to 2019 also looks promising. Much of this is due to reasons similar to those driving a renaissance for recruitment

SMEs in particular will continue to depend on their services.

Employer brands are becoming more important, (star) employees are more choosy about who they work for or who is on their CV this is as now whereas in the future this will become more prevalent as there is less talent to fight for. Employers look now for agencies to be an extension of their brand and to advertise their brand well, so why would this not be enhanced and expected in 10 years?

Whilst stronger brands fare well given the volume of direct applications from high calibre talent, less strong brands may still rely on the selling power of the RCs to source the talent they need.

The role of the specialist recruiter will likely be enhanced as the competition for scarce high level skills is sought throughout the world.

The successful online recruiting consultancies will be the ones who are able to replicate their current offline processes in the digital space.

Rec Cons will be able to use the channels to grow their strength, define their proposition and value-add services better and hopefully provide a better experience for their candidate base directly reflecting well on their clients.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

consultancies the fragmenting media market boosts demand for specialists amongst employers developing their direct channels and the need to understand diverging candidate expectations increases the need for experts with a more consumer marketing mindset. Additional to this, the increased importance of the employment brand and the need for this brand to be seamless across all channels and throughout all processes will raise the importance of experienced brand specialists. Like recruitment consultancies, the services offered by advertising agencies will widen and evolve rapidly, with a far stronger focus on brand in a deep sense which will encompass experience, usability, and reputation management rather than advertising. However, although this transition will not be painless, with the less adaptable agencies falling by the wayside, the difficult change in the advertising agency model decoupling from a commission based revenue structure is already underway.

Recruitment advertising agencies have HAD to adapt to service our clients differently moving away from a simple commissionbased model to more of a consultancy/servicebased model. With the advent of further new technologies, new platforms and new working practices, rec ad agencies will have to diversify further and offer expertise and insight into how these platforms/technologies can be best used for clients specific needs.

Prediction #6

Recruitment management becomes increasingly difficult for HR

In one respect, changes taking place by 2019 will help to simplify the role of HR in relation to recruitment. The growing use of technology will help reduce some of the workload for managing lower level roles and will help make transactional processes easier and more efficient. However, most developments taking place by 2019 will mean the task facing the HR function in relation to the broad area of recruitment will have increased significantly in complexity, difficulty and scope by 2019. These include:

One of the key sources of significant challenges for HR will be the increasing fragmentation in all areas of the recruitment market covered at length in this study. The increase in the range of potential recruitment channels available will generate significant media choice issues. Increased diversity of the recruitment pool and increased flexibility of employment packages will generate the need for HR professionals to build the level of knowledge and ethos traditionally found within consumer marketing functions. The increasingly modular nature of organisations, encompassing remote workers and outsourced operations will add to this complexity.

They will need to understand and identify the correct channels for their requirements. However, their reliance may not be on one or two products/platforms, as it often is now. Instead, they will need to identify more efficient, appropriate channels to reach specific audiences and make best use of these.

Recruitment in 2019: A Jobsite Delphi Study

The growing importance of the employer brand
Coupled with this, will be the complexities associated with the development in importance of the employer brand. Not only will this require high level input to develop it in line with corporate brand and digital strategies, it will also require the seamless integration of the employer brand across all channels and throughout all recruitment processes.

The growing role of employees in influencing brand

It will also require the management of the employment brand more intelligently throughout the workforce both internal and within the wider outsourced network. Management of the employment brand within the organisation itself will be increasingly critical as the role of employees in building or damaging the brands reputation through their engagement in social networks grows. The difficulty for HR will be that this is not something that can be micro-managed or policed. Rather, it will place an increased onus on HR to ensure that the working culture really does reflect brand values, it will raise the importance of soft control within the brand communication process and will blur the boundaries between internal and external transmission of the brand.

The freedom of the digital space is such that employees themselves have an important voice in social networks and monitoring this space is hugely complex given 400+ social networking environments with over 25m active UK users, this should not be underestimated.

The need to continuously innovate

In addition to the increasing complexity of the recruitment environment in which they operate, there will be additional pressure on HR to continuously innovate. The fear of doing something different will be very much part of the past.

The limits of technology

Finally, the key skills within the recruitment function are not automatable technology may be used to manage the time-consuming transactional part of the process and to enhance decision making, not replace it.t

HR strategy and digital strategies must strive to be more convergent; linked ultimately with corporate brand strategies. There is likely to be less space for parallel strategic planning and I believe more emphasis on integration

HRs role within the business will be much more important, as recruitment communications will be much more closely linked with the overall brand messaging and distinctions between an employer brand and a consumer brand will be less obvious.