New talent acquisition trends to watch in 2024

Talent acquisition trends

Events from 2023 have shaped the key talent acquisition trends that we are already observing in the first quarter of 2024. At the beginning of 2023, most economists were predicting a recession that never really materialized. In fact, the White House reported stable and steady payroll increases, steady average earnings, significant drops in inflation, and a consistently low unemployment rate in 2023.

Yet prominent companies like Amazon, Apple, Bumble, X (formerly Twitter), and Google laid-off significant numbers of workers — in Bumble’s case a third of all staff including the CEO. This all makes for a tight job market in 2024, particularly in digital jobs. How should organizations respond in order to attract top talent this year? Our list of the six latest talent acquisition trends is the perfect place to start.

An employer’s market

Some experts are predicting an employer's market in 2024. Obviously, with an abundance of top-tier candidates available, employers can be picky. If you’ve spent any time boosting your employer branding you are already seeing the floodgates open. But this market comes with its own set of challenges. Sourcing top talent in a sea of applications requires diligence and attention to detail. Decisions can be tough. Then screening, hiring and retaining that talent may be more labor-intensive than when the pickings are slim.

What other element is affecting the market in a major way? AI. Generative AI was thrust into the forefront of discussions about the labor market when Open AI released its current version of ChatGPT last June. AI technology has far-reaching and transformative potential across all jobs as well as hiring and recruitment.

PowerToFly conducted research into what diverse talent wants in 2024. The findings indicate clear trends from candidates on a variety of issues from upskilling, career paths, salary, and benefits. Let’s take a look at how all these elements are driving the dominant talent acquisition trends in 2024.

1. Learning and development

In PowerToFly’s research, one key priority that emerged was the desire among diverse professionals for more learning and development. A full 91% of respondents said they want to see more upskilling from employers in 2024.

The last few years have seen rapid changes and instability through a pandemic as well as social, economic, and legislative tumult. Employees have been left wanting stability and security that leads to growth within an organization. With the arrival of user-friendly generative AI, 78% of survey respondents want more AI training and resources this year so they can be more efficient in their roles.

Upskilling workers through learning and development programs is one way to provide stability and grow talent from within your organization. Employees can acquire knowledge and skills through both formal and informal activities. Learning and development isn’t just training. There are a lot of activities that can help employees develop such as mentoring and coaching that are invaluable in building the kind of leadership abilities that employees crave.

2. Salary transparency

When it comes to salary for diverse professionals, our research demonstrated a clear difference in sentiments towards salary when broken down by racial identity.

  • About 44% of White respondents were either very or somewhat dissatisfied with their salary,
  • 64% of Black respondents also reported this dissatisfaction,
  • 54% of Asian respondents reported being dissatisfied, and
  • 46% of Latino respondents felt the same way.

Clearly, racial pay gaps continue to be a challenge for underrepresented identities in the workplace.

Salary transparency is a simple, straight-forward solution. It quite literally makes salaries more visible in talent acquisition. Salary transparency is one of those talent acquisition trends that has disrupted the old-school way of doing things. The demand for transparency confronts an age-old practice of pay secrecy. Whether informal or formal, companies have long used pay secrecy to prevent employees from discussing salary openly, which has led to discord and sometimes discriminatory practices like gender and racial pay gaps.

In Europe, the new EU Pay Transparency Directive was enacted in June 2023. In a short time, we will have insight into what legislated salary transparency might look like. Watching how EU organizations handle new legislation will help us to see the benefits of the practice and how to beware of pitfalls.

Whether willing (or legally obligated) to embrace it, the practice is expected to improve a variety of employer branding aspects: pay equity, trust, productivity, talent acquisition, and retention. Salary transparency is becoming law in many states. Since Colorado blazed the trail in 2020, nine other states and/or cities have legislated pay transparency into law.

3. Reworking the candidate experience

About 64% of employees in our study reported having a negative candidate experience (CX) that hurt their relationship with a company long-term. 27% of those said they would neither apply to that company again nor be a customer. Other research has emphasized the broad-ranging and long-term effects of negative CX.

One Korn Ferry talent acquisition trend for 2024 was to simply show “empathy.” They define empathy as “Having the ability to sense others’ feelings and how they see things. You take an active interest in their concerns.” From an organizational standpoint, we would class this as the active result of belonging (the B in DEIB).

Empathy can easily be felt through improved candidate experience. Candidates want interactions that feel personal and tailormade. By making communications, interviews, and other touchpoints feel unique and customized, candidates will be more engaged and interested from an early stage. This achieves a sense of belonging throughout the process, even if an applicant isn’t hired.

There are plenty of steps companies can take here. Make it easier to apply by removing lengthy applications and requirements for candidates to create accounts on your specific ATS. Implement paid skills tests. For other ideas, check out our super simple recommendations for improving CX.

4. AI in talent acquisition

Generative AI is a hot potato from 2023 that HR departments are still unsure how to handle. The emerging technology is so new that companies haven’t kept pace in terms of policy, use guidelines, and training. That said, incorporating AI is a talent acquisition trend that you cannot ignore in 2024.

In terms of talent acquisition, AI’s vast potential lies in its ability to automate labor-intensive and time consuming tasks. Sourcing candidates using AI tools is faster and has laser accuracy. AI is great at creating Boolean search strings for recruiters and talent acquisition specialists to drop into LinkedIn or even general Google search fields.

Recruiting Chatbots automate some of the candidate process such as generating interests, fielding basic questions, initial screenings, and helping candidates to complete job applications in a friendly and casual manner.

Bots connect to hiring managers and automatically schedule interviews on both ends. Some even help with the basic onboarding process once an offer has been made. Many of the top AI recruitment software platforms, like Fetcher and Paradox, incorporate an AI chatbot. As mentioned above, anything that an organization can do to reduce repetitive tasks and inject some humanity into the candidate experience, will help.

5. Stay flexible

In 2023 there was a move towards stricter back-to-office mandates. The hope was that an in-office presence would return us to the “old normal” and better facilitate collaboration and productivity. The number of all-remote positions available on Linked reduced last year from a high of 20% to less than 14%.

But there is resistance. Our report on DEIB considerations with the hybrid work model told us that where employees work matters less to diverse professionals than when and how.

Our study also found that respondents were divided 50/50 on whether a no-remote option was a deal-breaker for a job. Yet when it came to a choice between a 5-hour workday, 4-day work week, and a fully flexible 40-hour schedule, nearly half (45%) chose the latter.

The key talent acquisition trend for 2024 that we garner from this feedback is to remain flexible. Whether it’s remote work or flexible schedules, set clear expectations, but don’t fail to provide the right tools for a flexible work model.

6. Doubling down on DEIB

We’ve seen anti-diversity legislation being passed and come into law in many states in the U.S. such as Florida. As a result we’ve also seen DEIB programs eviscerated in academia. Recently the University of Florida eliminated their entire DEIB office.

While some organizations may hold their breath and put a pause on DEIB efforts, now is the time to demonstrate bold leadership. In a September 2023 PowerToFly forum for executives, 56% said they were either maintaining or increasing DEIB spend in 2024, while just 9% said they were decreasing it.

With 76% of employees saying DEIB is an important factor in whether or not they’ll work with a company, it remains a critical factor in talent acquisition.

What’s more, PowerToFly research has shown that diverse employees are experiencing actual negative outcomes as a result of this reactive attitude. Diverse professionals reported discrimination in a variety of ways:

  • receiving few professional development opportunities
  • fewer promotions
  • fewer raises
  • microaggressions
  • job insecurity

To set your organization apart, don’t let a sensational headline lead you astray. The research shows that DEIB strategies remain a crucial part of an attractive candidate experience.

Be the future of talent acquisition

Talent acquisition trends in 2024 are rooted in both recent changes — like the advent of generative AI — as well as longer-standing tendencies reaching back to pre-pandemic days. Staying on top of these trends doesn’t have to be complicated or resource-draining. There are small, impactful changes that talent acquisition specialists and HR professionals can make today in order to stay ahead of the curve and remain an attractive employer, even in a saturated talent market. Staying flexible, keeping DEIB at the forefront, and automating time-consuming tasks will bring hiring managers back into human-facing relationships. That human element encompasses so much of the talent acquisition trends in 2024.

Remember: Diverse teams perform better. Let PowerToFly help build yours.
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