Research shows challenge of creating ‘hybrid’ workforce.

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Research from Capita Resourcing has found a growing concern within UK businesses that skills shortages and recruitment challenges are going to become even more severe. The report is based on interviews with 350 HR and recruitment specialists, 500 business leaders and more than 2,000 employees. 

It shows that as skills shortages reach a critical level within many industries, two thirds (65 per cent) of recruitment and HR leaders expect candidate experience to become a key differentiator within business over the next five years. Indeed, 69 per cent believe that candidates will come to expect the same personalised service that they get from consumer brands such as Amazon. As a result, 70 per cent plan to accelerate the digitisation of recruitment in their organisation in order to compete effectively. Capita believes businesses in the UK are set to ramp up their use of digital, including new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR), in an effort to deliver a better job candidate experiences and attract high quality talent.

Overall, more than two thirds (67 per cent) of recruitment leaders fear that the shift from a predominantly human workforce to a hybrid workforce, where humans will work alongside robots and AI, is likely to make recruiting high quality talent even more challenging over the next five years as competition for those skills hots up.

Digital is viewed as critical to unlocking many of the elements that combine to deliver a great candidate experience, providing speed, personalisation and a seamless user journey across channels. More than a third (35 per cent) of organisations are already deploying chatbots to answer candidates’ questions, 28 per cent are using Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and 20 per cent are integrating AI into their systems for sourcing and advertising jobs. The research shows that adoption of these newer technologies is set to soar in the next five years, with a further 57 per cent of organisations planning to integrate AI into their recruitment processes and 43 per cent planning to implement RPA.

However, the research reveals that current efforts to digitise recruitment processes are failing to meet expectations and only 14 per cent of recruitment leaders describe the digitisation of their HR function as ahead of others or driving best practice.

“Candidates and employees now expect the same level of experience and service as they would get when dealing with a global, consumer-facing brand outside of work,” says Geoff Smith, executive director of Capita Resourcing. “That means a simple, seamless user journey, real-time responsiveness, compelling information and content across channels, and engaging communications at every stage.

“Getting this right isn’t easy and most organisations still have a long way to go, but HR and recruitment professionals should regard enhanced candidate experience as the lens through which all decisions are made, particularly when it comes to technology adoption. That means ensuring they have a trusted technology partner helping them deliver a robust digital strategy which aligns with and supports the organisation’s overall workforce and digital transformation strategy, rather than operating in a silo and making one-off indiscriminate investments in technology which invariably encounter integration problems and have little impact.”

The research also highlights a range of issues with digital implementations within recruitment, with 44 per cent of respondents reporting problems with technology integration and 43 per cent citing difficulty in finding suitable technology partners. Other barriers to effective digitisation include a lack of digital skills within the recruitment department and the level of investment required.

However, despite these challenges, recruitment leaders still believe that their organisation can derive significant advantages if digital is deployed in an effective way. Nearly nine in ten (87 per cent) think that they can dramatically speed up the time it takes to recruit skilled people into their business and 76 per cent point to digitisation as being a springboard for transforming the HR and recruitment function itself.

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