Top recruitment trends for 2024

Top recruitment trends webinar recap

Every year, Bullhorn surveys global recruitment professionals to find out their top priorities, challenges, and predictions for the year ahead and publishes the results in the annual GRID Industry Trends Report.

The following are some of the key findings, along with recommendations for how to act on these insights. Listen to the Top Recruitment Trends 2024 webinar for the full discussion.

Most firms express cautious optimism about 2024

2023 was a difficult year, with a little less than half of staffing firms reporting revenue growth — down from 68% in 2022. In spite of that, nearly two-thirds of firms predict they will see revenue growth in 2024. More than one-third expect growth of more than 10%. 

Heading into 2024, most list gaining new customers and increasing placement volumes as their key priorities. Macroeconomic uncertainty, hiring freezes, and the ongoing talent shortage top the list of challenges firms face — followed closely by a rising concern about competition from gig and freelance platforms.

In a tight revenue year, successful firms relied on technology to drive productivity and efficiency

65% of firms that saw revenue growth in 2023 placed candidates in less than 20 days—and this was largely true across regions and verticals. These firms achieved this level of efficiency in part by automating key tasks like candidate screening and candidate intake.

In fact, top-performing firms were 2.4 times as likely to have automated gathering client requirements. Overall, firms that saw the most revenue growth were around 30% more likely to have automated top-of-funnel activities to drive candidates through the process faster and ultimately drive more placements.

Putting it into practice

Optimizing your talent funnel begins with capturing reliable data and making it readily accessible across the organization. 50% of firms say they don’t trust the validity of their data for making decisions. To realize the productivity and efficiency benefits of automation, firms need to capture reliable, standardized data from the beginning and centralize that data. 

Once that foundation is laid, firms can really unleash automation to drive productivity. Real-time data and analytics can be available on a self-service basis to track productivity and unlock efficiencies. And AI can be applied to handle low-value, repetitive tasks, streamlining workflows. This adjustment can give recruiters back time while simultaneously reducing the possibility of human error.

Successful firms are addressing the talent shortage head-on

43% of firms cite the ongoing talent shortage as a top challenge for their business. However, the most successful firms are investing in technology to improve the candidate experience through tailored engagement and outreach, better search and match, and faster conversion rates. They are 50% more likely to say they can rely on their databases and are using analytics to better understand job classifications and talent pools. 

Putting it into practice

Identifying and plugging gaps in candidate data makes it possible for recruiters to take advantage of automated sourcing tools that will improve job matching and speed up the placement process. This “database-first mindset” enables your team to easily and quickly search across all candidate sources or take advantage of AI to handle the initial search for candidates without fearing missed opportunities. Right now, 70% of placements are typically made with candidates sourced outside of the firm’s database — and 66% of those externally-sourced candidates already existed within the database, creating a completely unnecessary delay and duplication of effort.

Additionally, firms should focus on mapping out a communication strategy to optimize candidate engagement. Automation can track and prompt candidate communication to ensure there is consistent communication, as well as tailoring communication channels according to candidate preferences. Firms that don’t automate typically only engage with about 10% of the candidates in their database, leaving a huge missed opportunity. And Bullhorn’s GRID 2023 Talent Report found that frequent communication is a significant driver of candidate loyalty.

Some firms had success at winning new business in 2023 in spite of the economy 

Some firms were able to continue attracting net new clients even as the staffing industry slowed down considerably in 2023. What did they do differently? 

In keeping with the focus on productivity and efficiency, these firms were able to spend less time supporting current clients and more time acquiring and nurturing new ones — 70% of these firms said their recruiters spend less than 50% of their time working with existing clients. This isn’t because they are neglecting them, it is because they have automated their workflows to allow them to provide excellent service and value with less human effort. The firms that were the most successful at winning new business were three times as likely to offer self-service tools to clients and candidates. And they were 44% more likely to have automated new lead engagement, helping recruiters focus their efforts on the best, most viable leads.

Putting it into practice

Centralizing and cleaning up the database makes it easier to serve up data and insights that help recruiting and sales see how to make an impact fast. They can see who can be redeployed, which jobs have no activity, and which leads have no calls. Automation can search for job leads in the background, only notifying team members when it is the best time to take action, improving sales percentages and limiting wasted effort.

AI adoption and investment was linked to revenue growth

This year’s GRID Industry Trends Report showed a strong correlation between those firms that are investing in AI tools and those that saw revenue growth in 2023. They were significantly more likely to be experimenting with AI for tasks like shift scheduling, onboarding, and gathering client requirements. Interviews with Bullhorn customers made it clear that the best way to enable recruiters to take advantage of AI tools is to have them embedded directly in the ATS. 

The data and automation strategies discussed here are all crucial to laying the foundation for a successful AI strategy.


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