Global Survey Identifies Key Hiring Trends


By Bill Leonard July 16, 2013
Two key recruiting trends identified in a new global study could indicate that, as competition for highly skilled workers continues to heat up, employers are putting more effort into developing internal talent pools.

According to the 2013 Global Recruiting Trendssurvey released by LinkedIn Talent Solutions in June 2013, not surprisingly, three of five top trends are related to social media and rapid changes in technology. The remaining two trends, however, reveal a renewed emphasis on internal hiring and building company brands.

“Internal mobility is increasingly top of mind for recruiters, and that’s why it has become one of the top five global talent acquisition trends for 2013,” explained Leela Srinivasan, who oversees content and social media marketing at LinkedIn Talent Solutions. LinkedIn researchers interviewed more than 3,300 talent acquisition leaders, asking about hiring and budgeting trends and key sources of quality job applicants.

The survey revealed that 92 percent of companies plan to invest more or at least the same in internal hiring efforts than they did in 2012.

Here are the top five trends the study identified:

1. Social media networks are affecting the quality of hires.

2. Employer branding is both a competitive threat and a competitive advantage.

3. Data are used to make better hiring and branding decisions.

4. Companies are investing in hiring internally to stop their most talented employees from walking out the door.

5. Companies are figuring out the mobile-recruiting terrain.

According to the respondents, the top challenges corporate recruiters are facing are recruiting/sourcing skilled talent, improving quality of hire, pipelining talent, improving sourcing techniques, and organizational branding. One way employers are addressing these challenges is by focusing on, and dedicating more resources to, internal hiring initiatives.

“Employer branding is strongly linked to a company’s talent management programs,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of the Chicago-based outplacement and management consulting firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. “And employers are looking to hold on to, and better develop, the talent they now have.”

Srinivasan agrees, saying that businesses are more eager than ever to retain their best performers. “Internal candidates are typically higher quality; plus their skills, performance and cultural fit are known. That’s why 67 percent of companies surveyed say the reason they invest in internal hiring is to retain their best performers.”

According to Srinivasan and Challenger, stronger talent branding is a key byproduct of the heightened emphasis on internal hiring. Research by LinkedIn and other organizations has shown that companies with stronger employer brands tend to have both much lower turnover rates and costs per hire.

“Internal hiring helps advance the careers of high performers and increase positive sentiment, Srinivasan said. “As a result, they’re more likely to say good things about their company, improving its talent brand, which, in turn, attracts higher-quality candidates.”

A shortage of skilled workers and an improving job market are two factors contributing to the interest in internal-hiring initiatives. Challenger’s firm tracks planned corporate layoffs, and the recent trend has led to fewer large-scale reductions-in-force as the economy continues to recover. Challenger said this is leading employers to look more carefully at their current workforce and talent “bench strength.”

“Employers are definitely focusing much more on succession planning and most effective ways to deploy the talent they have,” he observed.

Businesses are looking to invest more in training and leadership development as one means of improving their internal-hiring efforts. In addition, employee engagement has become a hot-button issue as companies look for ways to keep their talent from jumping ship to a competitor.

“For many companies, opening up the lines of communication will be a key investment,” said Srinivasan.

Fifty-one percent of survey respondents said they need to increase candidate awareness of relevant in-house opportunities, while 38 percent need to update employees’ information to get a better picture of their internal talent pool and pinpoint the right candidates.

“To make this happen, companies must leverage the right tools and invest the time and energy required to drive two-way communication around internal opportunities,” Srinivasan said.

Bill Leonard is a senior writer for SHRM.

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