What came ‘in’ and what went ‘out’ in 2012?

The MD of Ingenium People and prolific HR opinion former, Alastair Cartwright, analyses present and future trends.

It’s a scary thought, but it’s already time to review 2012. And what a year it’s been. Following successive recessionary quarters, the Olympics kick started a wave of positive and the green shoots appear to be sprouting. HR actually expanded in the UK workplace, with more ‘new roles’ created than in any other job function. In fact, salary levels for those in the ‘people function’ now exceed the remuneration of traditionally higher-paid colleagues in the marketing department. The age of human capital seems to have arrived, with both HR and recruitment evolving into more strategically important parts of the corporate body.

All positive stuff. But 2012 has also been a year of contrariness. On the one hand we have the progressive trend towards in-house recruitment, serious investment in more candidate-centred career sites, an intelligent use of talent pooling and a welcome corporate commitment to taking true ownership of Direct Sourcing. On the other hand, the global 2012 HR Beat report showed that HR professionals in the UK are the least likely in the world to use social media in order to identify prospective job candidates (or indeed communicate with employees).

I think this slow uptake has a double edge. The report found that less than half (47%) of UK hiring managers use social media to identify candidates – with 28% using LinkedIn, 21% tapping into Facebook and 12% using CV search sites. At first glance, these are worryingly low numbers. But drill down further and the study shows that 38% employ social media or texting to communicate with potential candidates. For me, that’s actually too high a percentage – for the social approach is fine for raising awareness of vacancies; but wrong in terms of transforming a candidate into an employee. That takes the human touch – the phone call, the listening, the persuading, the relationship-building and personal connection that every job seeker needs. In that sense, 2012 has been a curate’s egg: great progress in terms of more refined recruitment channels, but a negative wholesale reliance on technology to ‘close the candidate’. Let’s make 2013 the year when corporates merge the advantages of technology and well-trained hiring managers.

Likewise, we need to make 2013 the year when we embrace recruiting four generations of employee. With more Millennials coming into the workplace, we need to continue our development of social collaboration (appropriately, of course). That should include companies considering adopting their own social products for internal use. But it’s not just about recruiting Millennials with their penchant for nurture, mentoring and development. Some 40% of Generation X job hunters (those between 33 and 50 years old) are likely to ask for a hike in status and a better job title, while those BabyBoomers (over 50 years old) are most likely to ask for a hiring bonus or flexible work location. On a more general level, various reports this year showed that 89% of job hunters and 83% of employees are looking for non-financial benefits, with 59% valuing flexible working hours and 20% interested in having time off for volunteering work.

If 2012 has taught us anything it’s that every single recruit is a unique individual – and that’s something we need to hold dear.

1 Comment

  1. Andrew November 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Good post Alastair! Thanks.

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