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Jane & Harriet 
As we start what will hopefully be a happy and healthy year, it seems right to reflect on what we might expect from Talent Acquisition in the months ahead. What did we learn in 2021? And what should we be prioritising in 2022? 

Expect competition to be fierce 

2021 saw labour shortages across many sectors, with employers facing acute hiring challenges. The increased competition has made it difficult to both hire and retain employees. Hiring will remain competitive throughout this year. 
Talent Acquisition played a valuable part in 2021, following 2020’s talent downturn. In April 2021, talent and recruiter opportunities surpassed historic pre-pandemic levels. While the platform has seen unprecedented growth across the entire job market in 2021, the demand for recruiters on LinkedIn has out-spiked them all with a staggering 680% rise between July 2020 and July 2021. Of course, this serves as an indicator for overall market growth. 
In a natural labour market, job seekers are expected to search and apply for jobs, requiring time and effort. A recent survey via LinkedIn reported that on average, recruiters and talent professionals are getting 3.21 inbound solicitations from employers offering new opportunities, weekly. Do you have the competitive edge? 

Be creative  

Employers will need to look at ever more ingenious ways to attract and retain workers, such as Amazon’s recent £3,000 joining bonus and enhanced and ever more flexible benefits – tickets for a ride to the moon anyone? 
Companies will need to widen their reach and seek out new pools of talent. These include overlooked employee groups, including those seeking part-time hours, recent retirees, ex-forces populations, those outside of sector, neurodivergent individuals and those with disabilities. 

Think about your employee offer 

Last year, it was reported that 1.3 million Londoners are prepared to ‘quit their job’ due to their commute and a third of UK workers would take a pay cut to work from home permanently. The desire for remote work is also generational – those early in their careers are more likely to want to spend time in an office environment. They are acutely aware of the importance of osmotic knowledge transfer and the value of building a network. If veteran workers have had enough of the office, those at the start of their careers can’t get enough of it. So, if you can commit to an in-office offering, you should consider entry talent that seeks to work in this mode. 
Don’t underestimate the importance of recognition. Don’t forget that individuals have different drivers. Review and refresh your reward and incentive offerings. Ensuring employees feel they are supported and set up for success through strong career progression is an often-undervalued benefit. Internal mobility should be encouraged. 
To “speak to and touch” the most suitable talent, employers will have to align their EVP to their target audience. Companies wishing to attract the best and most desirable talent will need to rethink their route to market and tailor their messaging to resonate with an individual’s values and behaviours. It’s time to re-evaluate your value proposition, to be selective and hire those who will thrive in and enrich your culture. You then become an employer of choice. 
It’s a two way process! Candidate experience is of critical importance. Don’t overlook how individuals are treated during the hiring process. It’s simply not just about the job. Business priorities, environmental impact and people-first initiatives are of equal importance to job seekers and should be clearly communicated throughout hiring processes. 

Focus on culture 

Employers need to prioritise their D&I actions and accountabilities. After 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests in the USA, many put in place new commitments around their DEI agenda. How many of those have made tangible progress and can evidence real action and change? The law doesn’t yet require any demographic reporting beyond the Gender Pay Gap. Maybe that’s something businesses should look to do proactively in 2022? 
Values based hiring will be a priority. Companies will look to focus their hiring around seeking like-minded individuals to expand their corporate family, taking great care to select talent with the right behaviours and attitudes. This extends to supporting employees to build work into their lives and creating principles where personal and professional development fuse, such as through volunteering. These organisations will recognise corporate citizenship and positive behaviours alongside performance. 
Finally, in 2022 a strong company culture will be less about making the office a fun environment and more about ensuring employees, regardless of location, feel seen and heard. In short, companies with clear values and a concerted plan around employee engagement are the ones who will thrive in a competitive market. 
The world of talent is about to get a lot more thrilling. Those who experiment and lead will see just reward! 
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