Crystal Balls

Georgia Mandarino & Col Levander of look into and beyond 2021


Just imagine if you had a crystal ball that told you what the business landscape in 2021 would look like, things to watch out for and ways to navigate what’s ahead.

Our blog series will unpack some of the trends, predictions and pitfalls in the staffing & recruitment landscape. Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room which is COVID-19 obviously that threw us a huge curve ball in 2019 and 2020. We are all a bit tired of thinking about it although we do need to keep vigilant from a health perspective, we want to look forward from a business point of view. So what is on the horizon within the staffing and recruitment industry? Knowing what may be in store will allow you to be prepared, develop resilience and manage your business better.

Automation everywhere.

We saw this coming into play before 2020 but now it’s really ramped up.  Business had to adapt quickly to remote working, creating processes online and moving to cloud based programs as well as navigate security and access issues. Being forced into this situation by the pandemic has seen very rapid progress in adoption of technology and ways to streamline and automate processes.

Companies in the past took more time to consider the benefits but when your back is against the wall those decisions are made more rapidly.”

Sometimes automation also leads to displacement. Automation can reduce the need for staff and with job losses due to COVID-19 some industries were heavily impacted, mostly those that were unable to adapt to remote options.  The  McKinsey: The Future of Work in Europe, June 2020 report outlines those hardest hit were:

  • Wholesale & retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Accommodation & Food services
  • Construction
  • Transport & Storage

Staffing will be affected by changes in the job market, restructuring of businesses and fluctuations in the job market as it settles.  The positive here is that automation is making the way staffing & recruitment interact with candidates and clients easier.  Most of the automation is geared towards candidate and worker processing with less emphasis on the buyers or clients however this will also change in the future.  It will be a balancing act between human interaction and streamlining where possible without losing that personable touch.

This is only the beginning of how AI can take information and data, rule based processing tasks and free up time to concentrate on the tasks that require human interaction. Automation and technology for the most part removes human error, bias and in return gives speed, accuracy and time.

Talent Acquisition & Hiring Platforms will flex their muscles.

Related to the increase in automation and technology these platforms usually all perform a similar task which is to facilitate an engagement between a person looking for work or offering skills and those offer work and placement. According to a recent SIA trends report “Temporary Staffing Platforms mostly act as the employer of record and observe relevant temporary agency work legislation in the market they operate in, whereas Talent Platforms mostly take no responsibility for the taxes and social charges of their freelance talent.”

While temp agencies are providing on site workers and talent platforms are offering remote workers one still affects the other. We all know the ‘gig economy’ and platforms that offer skills on a project basis which operate globally is changing the landscape of work.

“No longer just a local but a more global aspect to resourcing.”  

Many larger staffing firms now own talent platforms and have read the shift from face to face interviews to a pool of potential candidates on call.   It is predicted that staffing firms will automate more of their processes, that job boards and online advertisers will move up the ladder away from commoditising job postings, more corporates moving into talent platforms and more players in the workforce solutions ecosystem.

Multi faceted approach to staffing

In the past the tools of the trade were an office to interview candidates and show clients what you had to offer, a phone to arrange interviews, take calls and set up appointments and classified advertising with newspapers/magazines etc. Some of these tools are still around and still important but my how things have changed. If we look forward to 2021 what we anticipate we will see is a multi faceted, omni channel approach to finding staff and resourcing.

Of course, we know the internet has changed everything but now just some of the channels of engagement are:

  • Online job advertising
  • Social media job advertising
  • Talent Platforms
  • SMS & Email marketing
  • Office networks
  • Recruitment Marketplaces
  • Reviews & ratings
  • Employer branding

So one way to stay ahead of the game and moving into 2021 in a way that ensures that you don’t get left behind is to find a balance between the human traditional methods and embrace and utilise the modern tech methods. If you do one without the other you may find 2021 and beyond life in staffing and recruitment gets more difficult and leaves you behind.

These are just three of the trending predictions of the industry looking forward to 2021 and further. We don’t have a crystal ball to give a definite prediction of what will happen but we have enough of a lens on the industry and business to see the writing on the wall. Stay tuned next week for 3 more industry insights into 2021.





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