Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus convallis sem tellus, vitae egestas felis vestibule ut.

Error message details.

Reuse Permissions

Request permission to republish or redistribute SHRM content and materials.

2024 Talent Acquisition Trends Led by GenAI, Skills-Based Hiring

Skills are the common thread connecting the high-level trends that will drive talent acquisition in 2024. Employers will invest more in generative AI (GenAI) technology across HR—with recruiting at the leading edge—creating the need for critical new skills. The skills-based hiring movement will continue to gain recognition. And against the backdrop of an expected slowdown in hiring, employers may refocus their new AI tools to upskill and reskill internal talent, addressing the growing skills gap and fulfilling employee expectations for career development.

AI Assist

Business leaders are trying to figure out how GenAI will change the way work is done. That’s true in talent acquisition as well, where it is certain to revolutionize recruiting.

GenAI has already been one of the fastest adopted technologies ever, with ChatGPT alone counting over 100 million active users since it launched in November 2022.

Experts said a significant portion of HR tech investment in 2024 will be allocated toward AI-powered recruiting tools, including candidate relationship management (CRM) systems, applicant tracking systems (ATSs), sourcing technologies, job advertising and onboarding solutions.

GenAI is expected to help generate job descriptions and job ads, draft candidate outreach, identify passive candidates, engage with candidates through chatbots, suggest interview questions, make recommendations for job ad placement, compose offer letters, and more.

Tom Gimbel, the CEO of LaSalle Network, a nationwide staffing, recruiting and culture consulting firm based in Chicago, said the widespread adoption of GenAI is “one of the most significant shifts we anticipate in 2024. Contrary to fears of job displacement, companies are embracing this technology to alleviate administrative burdens, freeing up valuable time for employees to engage in more innovative and fulfilling tasks.”

He added that AI will be used the same way companies use all technology, “which means some will use it well and others will not use it at all, and the remainder will be somewhere in the middle.”

The recruiting industry has been an early adopter of other AI tools, including chatbots and additional ways to help improve the candidate experience and the overall efficiency of the recruiting process, said Jennifer Shappley, vice president of talent at LinkedIn.

According to LinkedIn’s upcoming Future of Recruiting report, 60 percent of talent acquisition professionals say they are optimistic about GenAI in recruitment, but only 25 percent are currently using GenAI in their job.

“GenAI is recognized for its potential, but recruiters are not quite sure how to use it in their day-to-day life,” Shappley said. “There is an incredible opportunity in 2024 to figure out how to unlock GenAI for recruiters to be more efficient.”

LinkedIn Recruiter has been updated with GenAI features to help recruiters source candidates and create personalized messages to save time and increase candidate engagement.

“AI has a lot to offer recruiters,” said Bryan Ackermann, head of AI strategy and transformation at Korn Ferry. “It speeds up processes. It writes job descriptions. It powers prescreening video interviews and assesses candidates to find the best matches for roles. Recruitment chatbots can even answer candidates’ questions in real time. Used in the right way, AI saves money and time.”

A recent Korn Ferry study noted that most recruiters say the benefits of AI outweigh the risks. However, the study noted two big risks exist: the accuracy of results and the potential for recruitment to lose a human touch. 

“Recruiters will be using AI even if they don’t know it,” Gimbel said. “Third-party partners like ATS and CRM vendors will introduce new AI-enhanced modules this year. And employees across the organization will discover hacks on their own to improve their work processes.”   

Gimbel said his recruiters are using ChatGPT to find candidates with specific skill sets in certain geographic areas, to improve job descriptions and to create presentations for hiring managers.

“There’s no escaping the magnitude of the impact of generative AI,” said Kevin Oakes, CEO of the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), a human capital research firm in Seattle.
“In addition to being a top priority of human capital leaders, most also listed generative AI skills as the biggest current weakness in their organizations,” he added, citing the results of an annual i4cp poll.

But Oakes noted that workplace leaders also view GenAI with concern, as it is expected to disrupt current work processes and reduce some jobs in some industries.

“More optimistically, many leaders also expect AI to improve productivity within their teams, address areas of labor shortages and have a positive influence on overall employee experience,” he said.

Jeanne Meister, a global HR consultant and thought leader, said one thing is certain: “Generative AI will drive organizational change, impact workflows, automate some jobs and create new ones. But it will always be humans augmented by machines that will create innovation.”

Ultimately, human oversight will be instrumental in managing an AI-powered hiring process.

“HR will play an integral role in the development and implementation of AI in the workplace,” said Sarah Tilley, senior vice president, global talent acquisition and development for ServiceNow, a digital workflow technology company in Santa Clara, Calif. “New HR roles will emerge as a result to help organizations design and evolve operating models for AI while ensuring the right governance is in place and the experience an employee has with the technology is seamless, trustworthy and productive.”

Hiring for Skills

This year, more employers will start to take tangible steps toward fully implementing an idea that has been a long time coming: hiring for skills.

Skills-based hiring means evaluating candidates for their capacity to learn and acquire new skills, rather than traditional evaluation criteria such as past job titles, education or even work experience.

“HR leaders have talked for years about assessing someone beyond their specific experience, but too often, they’ve relied on traditional methods like academic degrees or job history,” said Fredrick Scott, global head of early in career, emerging talent and campus talent acquisition at ServiceNow. “In 2024, the technology is finally starting to catch up, and generative AI will unlock companies’ abilities for skills-based hiring, especially for early-in-career talent.”

Shappley predicted that in 2024, “we will see more employers lean into more tangible ways to embed skills into their core talent practices. More employers may be able to share how they are bringing skills-based hiring to life and moving beyond high-level discussions.”

Kara Yarnot, vice president of strategic consulting services at HireClix, a recruitment marketing agency based in the Boston area, said  employers used more skills-based assessments in 2023, and fewer employers required resumes as part of the job application. “The move away from resumes is driven by the focus on candidate experience, the rise of mobile-first approaches and the recognition that resumes often emphasize pedigree over skills,” she said.

The “low-hanging fruit” of skills-based hiring—removing college degree requirements from job descriptions—made some traction last year. Various data sources show that employers reduced degree requirements, and the number of job postings without degree criteria has risen, with job ads increasingly listing technical and soft skills instead.

Employers cite several reasons for taking this step, including increasing the number of applicants, wanting to attract a more diverse workforce and recognizing the value of skills over education.

“In 2024, it’s your skills that count,” said Ackermann, who is also a managing partner responsible for Korn Ferry’s Assessment and Succession as well as Leadership and Professional Development portfolios. “It’s a big win for diversity, equity and inclusion. And widening the talent pool will bring big advantages to organizations. With so many skills gaps to close, we expect businesses to focus on the skills they need to bring in and develop.”

But fundamentally shifting how candidates are evaluated won’t be easy. A lot of serious foundational work will need to be done first.

“If you want to hire for skills and want to develop employees with the skills they need for their next role, then you have to know what skills are required today and what skills will be needed in the future,” Shappley said. “That requires a role analysis across the organization and job architecture planning in order to build the foundation for a skills-centric model.”         

Shappley said that having a way to measure progress is another important component of a skills-based future. “One thing we have done at LinkedIn is build a maturity model for skills,” she said. “We looked at all of our talent practices—talent acquisition, development, performance management—and what it would look like to take a skills-based approach and what the different maturity stages would look like, to measure where we are now and where we want to be.”

Yarnot said that an array of AI-driven tools will emerge to help people identify, clarify and validate their skills. “Job seekers will be encouraged to build a comprehensive skills inventory, and platforms like LinkedIn may evolve to offer more guidance on defining skills and making this accessible to everyone,” she said.

Internal Moves

Employee retention will be a top priority in 2024, especially against the backdrop of an expected slowdown in hiring.

“We’ve seen layoffs increase and outplacement services being used again, and we expect that to continue for the foreseeable future,” said Karel van der Mandele, senior vice president for North America at Right Management, an outplacement and career management firm based in Milwaukee.

“That’s not to say that the talent shortage is no longer here and that there isn’t room for companies to focus on internal mobility,” he said. “Unemployment continues to sit at historically low levels, and talent retention continues to be a top priority for many organizations.”

One way to nurture and engage employees is through career development and internal mobility—the growth opportunities an employee can hope to see in their job and the potential for career progression within an organization.

“In 2024, employers will shift from building external talent pools to internal talent pools, and putting methods in place to identify transferable skills that can be boosted to support business transformation,” said Simon Wright, global head of talent advisory consulting at PeopleScout, a recruitment process outsourcing company headquartered in Chicago.

Workers have expressed that they value career development from their employers to help them achieve promotions on their career path or learn new skills and explore new areas.

“Career moves won’t always take a linear path but will weave across departments and disciplines, providing workers with variety and rewarding work,” Wright said. “Organizations must train hiring managers to look at candidates, not just for their fit for a specific role, but for the value they can bring to the organization.”       

Internal mobility will get a substantial boost from skills-based technology. Talent marketplaces have been one of the hottest HR technologies over the last few years, and experts predict that these digital platforms will continue to gain traction. The systems match workers with internal job openings, side gigs or projects; list available mentors; detail learning opportunities that support career paths; and more.

“Internal talent marketplaces have become the way companies connect employees with internal career opportunities and resources to grow in their careers,” Meister said.

However, Van der Mandele warned that an internal talent marketplace will only function well inside a culture that values internal mobility. “Our experience is that internal mobility is an outcome, not a tool,” he said. “Technology is at best an enabler. Organizations have to be willing to invest in that talent, through coaching and development programs, in order to ensure that the talent can grow and succeed. Career development coaching, both for employees and for managers, can then help that talent to navigate their way through the organization to land in the roles that fit them best.”

Shappley said that more organizations will take an interest in the business case for cultivating a continuous learning culture. “Organizations that have treated learning as a perk will switch to thinking about learning as impactful to critical business outcomes, and make sure that the upskilling they provide is focused on driving business strategy,” she said.

Experts largely agree that the pivot toward a skills-first mindset will be essential to prepare the workforce for a future where required competencies for jobs will change by up to 65 percent within the next decade. 

“We are entering a period where career development has never been more important,” Shappley said. “The changes from GenAI will be felt across most of our roles. It’s something that will impact so many of us, and successful organizations will invest in upskilling and preparing their employees for an explosion in new skills, which will put a spotlight on internal mobility and career pathing.”


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.