Today’s topic

UK recruitment expert offers three predictions on the future of recruitment

future of recruitment predictions

It’s hard to believe that there was a time in recruitment where we placed job ads in newspapers and waited for applications to arrive in the post. The world of recruitment has changed drastically since then. 

Inevitably, this change is welcomed by some and rejected by others who are more suspicious of the technological advances the hiring community has made in recent decades.

But one thing is for sure. The future is pushing us to develop new skills, measure new metrics, adopt new tools, and rethink how we work. Read on for a snapshot of three predictions on the future of recruitment.

#1 More power to talent acquisition teams, less power to hiring managers

In a time where a tight labour market is making it extra challenging to hire the right people, and where three in ten new hires don't work out, the time for a talent culture change may be upon us. With limited resources, companies are becoming more intentional about who they hire, and at what capacity.

On that note, is the era of hiring managers coming to an end?

According to Hung Lee, hiring managers will play less of a centralised role in hiring.

 'I think the talent acquisition function will make the decisions in terms of who are the sorts of people that we want within our business, and not have the hiring managers do that sort of role. If you want to genuinely improve the quality of the people you bring into the organisation, you do have to centralise it somewhat and take it away from line management.'


The optimal future would be for recruiters to have more responsibility for talent acquisition, but that's a prediction that will take time.

The HR community is playing catch up already, with LinkedIn's latest report highlighting how talent acquisition's role in navigating the pandemic and Great Reshuffle has earned them a meaningful seat at the table and more influence in the C-suite.

What organisations could move toward:

  • Expand the scope of the talent acquisition function.
  • Renegotiate internally who actually owns the hiring decisions—hiring powers shouldn't have to rest on one person alone.
  • Prepare recruiting teams for the unknown, including investing in scenario-based planning.
  • Make every hire count and explore other avenues of hiring like internal recruitment, tapping into gig workers, and pausing full-time hiring activities.

#2 A flexible economy will overshadow full-time employment

Historically, temporary workers and seasonal hires were meant to cover the occasional spikes in demand or holiday retail season.

However, the rise of the flexible economy has meant that, increasingly, companies are moving toward hiring contract workers for certain tasks or projects, seeing it as a more cost-effective, efficient option for fulfilling their business needs. 

Case in point: Uber revolutionised how it hired people, using staffing algorithms to predict the amount of labour needed during any given time range. 

There's a new school of thought within the HR community that challenges the very concept of full-time employment, arguing that we'll see less of this going forward.

Looking at the current macroeconomic climate, we're already seeing many companies pause their hiring activities or lay off employees.

According to Lee, organisations will continue in this trajectory.

 'Companies will not grow to the size and scale they have done in the past. The component of labour that comes into the organisation that is off payroll will increase as organisations try to create a more flexible workforce. They try to marry supply and demand internally in terms of labour and supply and demand. And that ultimately means less full-time employees.'


So what does this mean for recruiters? Lee believes that recruiters will either stick to following a traditional hiring structure or they will expand their scope and take into account the supply and demands of an organisation, and tailor their hiring processes accordingly.

In theory, this sounds interesting, but how would it work in practice? 

Hung's suggestions include:

  • Creating variable ways of assessing and processing candidates depending on the conditions of the employment of the person that's brought in.
  • Introducing metrics to understand the level of performance and how best to marry supply with demand internally.
  • Absorbing and expanding the scope of talent acquisition, with the understanding that at times borrowing talent—not acquiring it— is the most optimal way to use resources.

#3 The rise of AI in recruitment

It’s been scientifically proven that a hundred percent human-managed recruitment process is bias-ridden. While none of us wants to be biased, unconsciously or otherwise, it's important to acknowledge that bias occurs and affects our hiring decisions.

So what would a future look like where AI was more involved in the recruitment process? Would it spell an end to bias? 

Most probably not. Yet interestingly, Hung Lee doesn't think AI is more biased than a human. 

Lee comments: "We've already seen that human beings are less efficient and as biased as any AI. So when it comes to implementing AI, I would defend it on that basis. The benchmark should be flawed human beings, not pristine human beings. Fundamentally, I think AI is the inevitable future for how a lot of decision-making is going to be made."

What AI is already bringing forward is optimised data, with recruiters increasingly applying data-driven insights when considering candidates for roles. In fact, today, organisations are already using technology to optimise their ability to mine data for potential employees, using tools like ATS to keep track of incoming applications and candidate assessment platforms to evaluate candidate role fit

It's only logical that our tech advances will grow more sophisticated in the future. 

Final say

Finding and hiring great people continues to be an uphill battle. And given the tight labour market, evolving employee expectations and a shortage of people with the right skills, companies must adapt if they want to survive and thrive. In effect, it’s the organisations who pay attention to upcoming trends and that are open to growth, innovation, learning and self-improvement that will come out on top. 

The How We Hire podcast

Every other week, How We Hire podcast host, Linnea Bywall talks to Europe's leading HR practitioners about the joys and challenges of recruiting. Tune in for some brilliant conversations around hiring tactics and strategies to help you thrive.

We recently discussed where recruitment is heading with one of Britain’s foremost recruitment specialists, Hung Lee, in our How We Hire Podcast. Lee is also the  editor of the popular Recruiting Brainfood newsletter. He offered some unusually interesting perspectives on how the hiring landscape will change in the coming years and what the future holds for HR professionals.