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December 18, 2023

What's Next in Recruitment? 7 Big Predictions for 2024

From fractional workforces to micro-credentialing, the world of hiring is always changing. To stay a step ahead, you need the inside scoop on recruiting in 2024.

We asked a series of business owners, executives, and HR professionals what we can expect next year. In this article, we’ll share their biggest predictions to help you level up your recruitment strategy and hire the best talent for your business.

Recruiting predictions for 2024

  1. Fractional workforces will become the rule
  2. More companies will embrace skills-first hiring
  3. Values will matter just as much as money
  4. AI in recruitment will be business as usual
  5. Micro-credentials will become a thing
  6. Salary discussions will happen earlier
  7. The human touch will remain important

1. Fractional workforces will become the rule

Prediction number one: the fractional workforce is here to stay. 

Data from Breezy’s annual Hiring Challenges Report found that many employers are already tapping into the on-demand talent economy, with 22% of respondents employing a contract-based workforce.

According to experts like David Janovic, CEO of designer furniture and homeware brand RJ Living, the benefits are obvious — especially now.

“We will see a stronger focus on redesigning roles. This allows employers to easily flex and scale their businesses (and expenses) up and down, which is even more important as we face an uncertain economy in the coming year,” David explains.

In cases where the hiring need is temporary, the recruitment process for fractional roles is even more cost-effective. “[This] will help save crucial recruitment budgets that can then be reinvested into landing the best talent for the remaining permanent roles,” says David.

Farhan Siraj, Co-Founder and CEO of workplace safety training provider OSHA Outreach Courses, predicts that more employers will use fractional hiring as a slower and more intentional pathway toward permanent employment.

“Going forward, a number of businesses will be using freelancing platforms to test the expertise of prospects before offering them full-time employment opportunities,” he explains.

This tactic may prove especially useful when hiring for new, emerging, or rapidly changing roles where the talent simply isn’t there yet. “With the increasing demand for roles like AI engineers, where technical skills hold greater significance, businesses are seeing freelance platforms as a better alternative to traditional hiring methods,” says Farhan.

With 69% of business leaders predicting they’ll need different workforce skills to stay competitive by 2030, the fractional workforce could provide a ‘learn and earn’ approach to putting the right candidates into the right roles as they grow their capabilities.

2. More companies will embrace skills-first hiring

Research shows that skills-first hiring can be five times more accurate at predicting job performance than hiring for education. And according to some of our experts, employers are catching on.

“As a society, we have glorified stories of Steve Jobs dropping out of school before starting Apple, and if you look at most tech-focused publications, there is always a story about a Harvard School Dropout launching a new company. These stories are glorified but not as rare as people think,” explains Kristen Shea, president at communications and PR agency Society22.

She believes companies that recruit for skills and experience over degree requirements will have the upper hand in the not-so-distant future.

“By removing barriers to entry, companies will have a much more diverse candidate pool and more skilled talent,” Kristen explains.

Data from LinkedIn offers further proof of this trend, revealing a 36% increase in job posts without degree requirements. This instantly widens the talent pool to include the nearly 80% of workers who don’t have a degree due to financial reasons.

Embracing skills-first hiring could make your workplace more inclusive and dynamic at a time when innovation is critical to remaining competitive.

Breezy’s annual State of Diversity Hiring Report found that sourcing and attracting talent from diverse communities were the top two challenges faced by employers, regardless of size or industry. By eliminating the need for expensive degrees, you can attract more talent from a wider variety of backgrounds and start building a more diverse and productive workforce. 

“Candidates will see more access to opportunities previously unavailable and have more opportunities to move up within their organizations,” Kristen says. “I am excited to see the innovation and change that will come from this shift.”

3. Values will matter just as much as money

After years of lockdowns and layoffs, candidates are getting real about what they want in a job. For employers, this means it’s time to start putting your money where your mouth is.

Experts like Yari Ising, operations pro and CEO at The Ising Agency, believe values and culture are just as — if not more — important for attracting qualified candidates.

“Today’s workers are prioritiz​ing companies that genuinely live their values on a daily basis, rather than only hearing about the company mission once a year at the annual retreat,” Yari explains.

The way she sees it, this shift presents a major opportunity for employers to reassess what really matters in the workplace.

“Given that 64% of employees in the US are unengaged, and just 12% leave for higher-paying jobs, it’s easy to see that money isn’t the deciding factor in where employees choose to work. Instead, job seekers are looking for workplaces where they resonate with the company’s day-to-day values and feel like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves through the company’s mission,” says Yari.

Her advice? Prioritize flexibility.

“To attract and retain quality employees, companies are going to need to be open to remote or hybrid options for their teams,” says Yari. “Workers are opting for other employment opportunities that allow them to retain their freedom and flexibility.”

If you can offer hybrid or remote work in 2024, do it. And don’t stop there. Explore additional ways to add room to your employees’ schedules by eliminating unnecessary meetings and focusing more energy on priority work.

“Companies should consider building a culture of protecting time for deep work and communicating that to potential hires as they’re recruiting. Today’s employees want to see fewer unnecessary calls on the calendar and more time to actually get productive work done,” says Yari.

By positioning your company as a place that values results over busywork, you can attract top talent and ambitious candidates ready to get the job done.

4. AI in recruitment will be business as usual

You knew this one was coming. No matter what industry you call home, you’ve no doubt heard about the rising role of AI.

According to Mark McShane, Managing Director of defibrillator training institute AED Training, generative AI (GenAI) will be increasingly utilized for recruitment purposes next year. 

“Generative AI algorithms are likely to transcend the traditional checklist method of skill and qualification matching: they'll be able to predict a candidate's future performance by discerning patterns and identifying potential skills which could prove advantageous,” he says.

Mark predicts that GenAI will go beyond helping HR and hiring managers draft engaging job descriptions to automatically optimizing job postings to attract candidates from a wider range of backgrounds.

“Instead of crafting job descriptions from scratch, HR will increasingly rely on generative AI, which employs data drawn from prior successful postings—generating optimized versions. More than mere repositories for keywords designed for improved visibility; these reimagined descriptions will employ language that seeks not only to appeal but also diversify the pool of applicants,” he explains.

By using AI-powered tools to optimize the parts of the hiring process that require the most time or guesswork, experts like Mark believe employers can accelerate the recruitment cycle and decrease time-to-hire.

5. Micro-credentials will become a thing

With all this talk about skills and emerging technologies, you might be wondering if there are even enough candidates out there with the capabilities you need. If so, you’re not alone.

“Small yet specialized certifications (called micro-credentials) will be the next big thing in highly technical industries like ours,” says Campbell Tourgis, Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer at electromechanical manufacturer Wainbee.

Whether you’re hiring for a software developer, AI engineer, or industrial designer, the list of required skills is changing faster than you can say “ChatGPT”.

“For jobs in fields like engineering and aviation, having specific skills matters a lot, often more than general qualifications. Companies will start looking more at these microcredentials when deciding who to hire,” says Campbell.

From electrical engineering to 3D modeling, there’s a micro-credentialing option for just about every skill you need. While it may not fully replace a degree or hands-on technical experience, micro-credentials can help employees build expertise in a niche or emerging area.

After all, if you can’t find it, why not build it?

“Companies will work more closely with schools to create these specific certification programs,” Campbell explains. “This makes it easier to find candidates with the exact skills while minimizing the time and money spent on the entire recruitment process.” 

6. Salary discussions will happen earlier

Company values might matter more than ever, but that doesn’t mean employee compensation goes out the window. Amid rising inflation and ongoing debates about the minimum wage, people in this job market want to know upfront how much they’ll make in a given role.

Gillian Dewar, CFO of personal finance resource center Crediful, believes transparent compensation will be key to a successful recruitment strategy in 2024. And those conversations may start happening long before the job offer stage.

“With the astronomical growth in the cost of living, candidates are looking for roles that offer fair pay and financial security. Hiring teams will be revisiting compensation strategies and looking for ways to maximize what they can offer to remain competitive and give talented candidates a great reason to say ‘Yes!’ to their job offers,” says Gillian.

In an effort to keep candidates engaged, she believes recruiters will initiate open salary discussions sooner in the hiring process.

“A transparency-first approach to compensation is the way to gain candidates' trust and prove your organization values the work these candidates will do with adequate pay,” she explains.

7. The human touch will remain important

From gamified candidate assessments to AI-enhanced applications, it feels like the world of human resources is non-stop modernizing.

While progress is always welcome, recruiting and hiring industry insiders like Linn Atiyeh, CEO of industrial recruiting site Bemana, are focusing on maintaining a careful balance between technology and the humans that use it.

“As a recruiter, I'm starting to wonder if we've hit peak technology. I'm personally seeing a return to old strategies like cold-calling, in-person networking, and community events,” she explains.

Linn says she’ll never stop sourcing candidates online, however, she’s taking a more balanced approach in the New Year. “Face-to-face interactions allow a more humane, and I believe, more effective mode of hiring than we've seen recently,” she explains.

Hiring pros like Lou Reverchuk, Co-Founder and CEO of engineering recruiting site EchoGlobal, tend to agree.  “No technology can fully replace in-person interviews, building relationships, and assessing soft skills. The key is finding the right balance,” he says.

In a tech-driven future, embracing a human-first approach to your recruitment strategy may be the secret to securing the best talent.

“These digital platforms should be thoughtfully used as tools but not replace the human recruitment experience,” he explains. “Combined, they give hiring managers unparalleled visibility into the candidate market. But those face-to-face conversations remain essential.”

A recruitment strategy that gets better every year

At Breezy, we know you can face any challenge. But we also know that great hiring isn’t always easy.

With the right focus and strategy, you can navigate the shifts and snap up the best talent along the way. All it takes is an open mind, a clear process, and an understanding of what lies around the next corner.

For more on all things hiring, check out Breezy’s growing library of employer resources. To find out why modern hiring teams love Breezy, sign up for your 14-day trial to get started.