LinkedIn Surveys Talent Around the Globe

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As the premier social recruitment source, LinkedIn takes its responsibilities seriously: and this is demonstrated by its 4th annual LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends report. To quote its authors:

“To win in 2015, talent acquisition and business leaders need to stay ahead of the latest recruiting trends.”

To monitor these, LinkedIn’s team surveyed 4,125 talent recruiting decision makers in 31 countries. The UK was very well represented, with only just less respondents than in the USA.

I am here providing an edited digest to the points that, as a consultant and adviser to organisations on the best use of social media in recruitment, I believe to be salient and worthy of your attention.

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Goodbye to the old school tie?

The inside track that friends, family and the right school connections once provided in promoting companies to potential new hires is perhaps becoming a dead end. 2013 was the year in which LinkedIn and other professional social networks overtook ‘friends/family & word of mouth’ as a named prime channel for promoting companies as a brand. The company website remains the number one conduit, but it is in slow decline while LinkedIn et al have climbed from 48% to 61% in just two years. Small wonder that such social networks are the greatest increasing factor named by employers when they look into 2015 and beyond.

The survey identifies how social media have brought with them the ability to:-

• Access more talent
• Segment and target that talent
• Reach the targets via mobile devices
• Use automated techniques to match jobs with the right demographics
• Allow search experts to use ‘big data’ processing to strategically support business

Hirings rise: Budgets don’t

An encouraging 63% of recruiters increased their hirings by number in 2014, the first time in 4 years that a significant majority reported an upward trend. The less good news is that budgets for hiring only increased in 46% of organisations, so the recruitment industry is having to cope with doing more for less. Looking ahead, only 39% of senior hirers expect staffing to increase in 2015, and the weaknesses in the Eurozone are given as a factor.

Unsurprisingly, recruiting highly-skilled talent is the most important issue, quoted by 46% of leaders. The same proportion identified competition for candidates as their biggest obstacle to hiring. Large businesses rank speed of hiring second, while smaller operations are much less concerned with this, ranking it behind ‘hiring manager satisfaction’.

Employees average 4 years at each company.

Sourcing Methods

Three quarters of employees describe themselves as passive possibilities for a change of role, but only 61% of companies seek to recruit from this passive pool. (This falls to 57% in the UK: China and the US are far more advanced in this respect). The survey points out the opportunity for employers to close this gap, to their advantage.

Mobile recruiting has been spotted as a big growth area and it is forecast to continue to be an increasing trend in 2015.

‘Social professional networks’ are now in a firm second position behind internet job boards as a source for ‘quality hires’. Their volume has increased by a huge 73% in four years. The UK is unusual in having third party agencies still more or less tracking social network usage at just over 50% of firms.

The survey’s compilers recommend the combining of three strands – social professional networks: internet job boards: and a company career website – to achieve the best return on investment. With 64% of leaders reckoning they are not tracking their ROI, this is probably good advice. Small businesses are currently more prone to relying on job boards, and the study cautions about the quality shortfall that may exist if one uses this route too heavily.

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The personal element

One very interesting set of statistics for me was the one that showed how small businesses are significantly more prone to measuring staff not only on performance but also on their cultural fit and the time they take to reach genuine productivity. This demonstrates a concern for the individual and for the team that large employers would do well to seek to replicate, difficult though it may be in their more impersonal environments. Consider the more egalitarian, flexible social job market that is emerging, and ask yourself how your firm measures up for the new breed of worker.

Small businesses also shine when it comes to recruiting from the student population – large firms lag behind them in this respect too, which is surely an opportunity that is being missed. The UK (at 72% of firms) is, sadly, below the global average of 79% in this respect.

This leads me on to the last major issue, that the survey describes as the ‘talent brand’ – i.e. what people think about you as a potential employer. A prior LinkedIn survey is quoted thus:
“A strong talent brand reduces cost per hire by over 50% and lowers turnover rates by 28%.”
Three quarters of employer respondents agreed that this factor significantly impacted their ability to hire good talent.

Overall, this survey has some important findings and anyone responsible for hiring will do well to heed the above issues. I will be delighted to discuss them, and the necessary action points, with firms who wish to lead rather than lag behind the trends.

Colm Hannon is CEO of Hannon Digital, a digital consultancy working closely with LinkedIn London.