Based on insights from 17 global experts, Futurestep, a Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) company specializing in high-impact recruitment solutions, has revealed its predictions for the recruitment and talent management industry in 2014.

“2013 was a difficult year for many businesses, with the economy forcing many to reassess their spend in all divisions, including recruitment and talent management,” says Byrne Mulrooney, CEO of Futurestep. “It was a year that saw a focus on internal training – with the ageing workforce an issue that divided industry opinion, and globalization a key aim. In technology, it was mobile that emerged as a clear frontrunner to take the industry into the future. And it’s technology as a whole that is setting the agenda in 2014 too, particularly in the areas of data and social media. We expect innovation within recruitment to gain greater momentum this year, widening its remit to drive change, improvement and forward thinking.”

The trends that Futurestep believe will shape the recruitment and talent management industry globally in 2014 are:

  • Business will start hiring for tomorrow – not just for today
  • Mobile recruitment will finally take off
  • Big data will drive real decision-making
  • Smarter sourcing will win the day
  • Expect more globalisation – but more localisation too

Business will start hiring for tomorrow – not just for today 

As economic recovery kicks in and the pace of change increases, forward-thinking companies are already realising that hiring for today’s skills means workforces could become quickly outdated. 2014 will see a focus on not just hiring for the job at hand, but preparing for what is needed next. This means taking stock of the company’s current talent inventory, and increasing the emphasis on skills auditing to seek out ‘hidden talent’ within the organization. To build the kind of dynamic workforce that holds its value even when deluged by new challenges, organisations need to develop a 21st century competency framework. This is especially relevant in economies where the challenge of finding specialist skills is felt most acutely. Every business needs to ensure they have the human capital in place to drive growth. 

“Unless a sizeable investment is made in training, workers’ skills will be outdated within a year or so as each industry continues to evolve rapidly. Employers need to ensure they are hiring for tomorrow’s skills and future-proofing their workforce, or else face an uncertain future in a competitive economy.” Jeanne MacDonald, Chief Sales Officer, Futurestep

Mobile recruitment will finally take off 

In recent years, ‘social, mobile, local’ has become something of a marketing mantra. But of all of these, it is mobile that’s about to become big news. In 2013 we witnessed the emergence of many companies serving the mobile space. In 2014, we will see the larger ERP players develop their own innovative solutions – and many of those smaller companies look set to be bought up. As mobile computing goes from strength to strength, this sector within recruitment will inevitably continue its growth, with more and more applications and functionality related to talent management becoming available on these devices.

“In many ways it’s surprising that it’s taken this long to get real momentum in the mobile space. It seems like every year for as long as I can remember has been the ‘year of mobile’. Yet, for the recruitment sector, it simply hasn’t taken off in a big way. I think the tipping point is approaching though. Watch this space in 2014 for some genuinely transformative products and services launched to the market.” Neil Griffiths, Global Practice Leader, Talent Communications & Employer Brand, Futurestep

Big data will drive real decision-making

Much like mobile, big data has been hotly tipped as a key trend for several years. Yet for all the talk, the real impact has yet to materialize. Now though, new services are emerging that can analyze and sort the mass of data held within the world’s biggest companies – meaning big data can start to play a grown-up role in the world of recruitment. For 2014, the challenge and the opportunity will not be around collecting big data, but using it to inform strategic business decisions and demonstrate the ROI of recruitment activity. 

“In the same way that marketers use loyalty data for targeted marketing, recruiters will begin to use it to find talent. Companies can figure out what type of data is relevant so they can gather the right information to make decisions; this will evolve the recruitment function from reactive to proactive, and ensure it is best aligned with the business strategy. There are several interesting start-ups in this space that I expect to make an impact in the coming year.” Bill Sebra, President, Futurestep North America

Smarter sourcing will win the day 

For a long time, many businesses have simply challenged recruiting teams to ‘find me more people’. But 2014 is likely to be the year when more organisations wake up to the possibilities offered by the many sourcing tools and tactics that are open to them – and start to develop sophisticated approaches about when and how to deploy them. Leading companies are already doing much more than simply focusing on active candidates. Targeting top-tier passive candidates is increasingly recognised as a priority for the modern talent function, a fact which drives home the need to develop strong employer branding and build engaging talent communities. By understanding the sourcing channels, budgets and ROI available, organisations can better reach the desired talent for a particular role, sector and geography.

“Companies are beginning to see the importance of investing in a multi-channel approach to sourcing and securing top candidates. From the use of talent communities for educating and inspiring potential candidates, to developing a compelling employer brand and adopting mobile and campus outreach programs to attract Millennials, CHROs will look to enhance and expand their recruiting strategies in a bid to create a highly effective and targeted approach to talent acquisition.”  Sue Campbell, Vice President of Talent Solutions, Futurestep APAC

Expect more globalization – but more localisation too  

In 2014, globalisation will become increasingly important for businesses that recognize the benefits (and threats) that come from the connected world we inhabit. With this, there is a move towards full service providers who can deliver a complete package that combines the benefits of both a global perspective with local market knowledge. Where some organizations try to roll out a ubiquitous approach to all offices around the world, many are seeing the benefits of tailoring processes to suit the diversity of each region they are present in.

“Businesses are thinking more globally. We are more connected than ever before so we want a global infrastructure that supports it from a recruitment point of view. Customizing global solutions based on the organization’s global structure does not always mean one holistic approach to hiring, and for some businesses a regional strategy to recruitment may be preferable, adapting procedures as particular regions mature.” Jonathan Brown, Vice President of Global Solutions, Futurestep