2024 is just around the corner, and there's a lot of talk about what's next in tech recruitment. We wanted to understand the current market and what Recruiters can expect in the next months, so we sat down with expert, Hung Lee from Recruiting Brainfood in our recent HR Power Session to get his insights. We also took the opportunity to get to know Hung a little more, learning about his first venture, a tech recruitment platform connecting software engineers with suitable employers. Sound familiar? ;) and how this paved the way to starting Recruiting Brainfood, plus the individuals who have been influential in Hung's career.
2023: A Year of Challenges
2023 has been a particularly tough year, especially for tech recruitment, marking a stark contrast to the hiring boom witnessed at the beginning of 2022. Numerous factors have led to this unease. Economic slowdown, less VC funding, the return to the office, and the increasing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) have all played their part in reshaping the recruitment landscape. Pedro and Hung discuss the main factors that have contributed and share their thoughts on what recruiters can expect in the coming months. Find a snapshot overview and a link to the full session below. 👇
A Snapshot into Evolving Recruitment Trends
- Economic Impact on Recruitment: Compared to 2022, there is significantly less funding for startups and scale-ups which not only directly impacts hiring budgets, but also means there will be higher competition in terms of where investment goes which could indicate a shift towards safer investments over new tech startups. Though hiring activities revived slightly, following the summer this year, they remained shadowed by 2021's highs. As we look to 2024, uncertainties persist, it doesn't look like funding will be coming back anytime soon. However, it's important to point out we are still working in a privileged space, and there is still a tech talent shortage.
- The Shift in Remote Work: The sweeping transition to remote work, initially spurred by the pandemic, is currently undergoing a significant transformation. Many corporations, influenced by economic shifts and the short-lived dominance of the remote work culture, are leaning towards hybrid models or even considering a complete return to traditional office settings. Hung comments if remote work had been given a few more years to truly establish its roots, we might have witnessed a more sustainable and widespread implementation. But the current financial landscape has accelerated the retraction. In terms of the types of companies likely to maintain their remote-first approach, these will likely be smaller companies that have similar types of jobs such as design agencies, recruitment companies, and software houses. This remote-first policy could serve as a competitive edge, particularly when hunting for talent. Larger corporations that have many different departments and require more complex collaboration across teams will likely require on-site presence, albeit with heightened flexibility than before.
Those employees who transitioned to remote setups in the pandemic's early days and have since enjoyed 2-3 years of remote work are less inclined to revert to a full-time office routine. Conversely, the newer workforce, that wasn't working during the pandemic era, might find themselves more anchored to traditional office setups. This shift presents opposing attitudes in the future of work, with seasoned professionals demanding flexibility and newer entrants possibly navigating a more conventional work environment.
- Salaries and the Macro Landscape: 2021 saw increased salaries for many tech roles, including recruiters. In May 2021, LinkedIn published that Tech Recruiters were one of the most in-demand roles. In the last quarter of 2023, we've seen a slight decrease in the mid-senior salary offer in the jobs posted in Circular, the candidate salary expectations have also stabilised this year.
The general consensus is that in 2023, the market has begun to better understand and adjust to what it's willing to pay talent. In terms of what we can expect for 2024, as we previously mentioned, VC money isn't necessarily coming back, however, it is true that, certainly for mid-senior roles the candidate expectation and salaries offered by companies are more balanced.
- The Age of AI in Recruitment: AI is not merely a buzzword; it's the present and future of recruitment. Whether it's handling interview notes, automating scheduling, or enhancing other mundane tasks, AI aims to reduce recruiters' workloads, enabling them to focus on value-added tasks, and diversifying their value to the company. Recruiting will no longer be purely about headcount, but about focusing on value-added tasks such as retention or DE&I policies. If we follow the hypothesis that AI will lead to better productivity, in terms of helping with mundane tasks, there is also a risk factor that the level of trust will decrease. Therefore, recruiters have a responsibility to monitor this through due diligence.
Recruiters: Preparing for an AI-Driven Future
Hung is clear about one thing: for recruiters to stay relevant, they must adapt. Here's the roadmap he suggests:
- Embrace AI: To remain on top of their game, recruiters need to be AI-savvy. Just as Masha Cannon took a 100-day deep dive into AI, recruiters need to invest time in understanding and harnessing AI's capabilities.
- Building Trust and Audience: With the advent of AI-generated content, trust in information will take a hit. It's crucial for recruiters to establish their voice and credibility. Webinars, newsletters, and other audience-building measures are not just beneficial but necessary.
- Community Engagement: In an AI-driven world, human connection remains irreplaceable. Engaging with the community, tapping into collective intelligence, and fostering dynamic interactions are keys to future-proofing oneself in the recruitment space.
Lee's concluding words resonate with a sense of urgency and purpose: "AI enable yourself, build your audience, connect with community." It's clear that while challenges lie ahead, the recruitment industry is poised for an exciting, transformative journey. For recruiters everywhere, the message is clear: adapt, learn, and thrive.
Interested in joining one of our upcoming HR Power Sessions? Keep up to date with all future events as well as daily HR tips and discussions in the Circular Community.