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2024 Hiring Trends From Inside the Staffing Industry

Ardent Partners, one of the most trusted names in staffing research, recently held their annual Future of Work webinar series, briefly sharing some of the signature research that makes them one of the most revered firms in our industry.
Lana Steiner

The preview highlighted these top survey results:

  • Increasing demands for workforce flexibility and scalability (81%)
  • Lack of candidates with required skills (80%)
  • Need to build deeper talent pipelines (74%).

As a company whose tagline reads hire specialized talent, on demand it probably goes without saying that team Worky was especially excited to see these insights. We’ve literally founded our business on these insights, down to the pipeline where we conduct technical assessments, language and behavioral analyses, so you don’t have to.

In short, we keep the pipeline full, test for skills and offer both scale and flexibility against very tight timeframes. Our own pride aside, here are some of the highlights from the Future of Work discussion that stood out to us, along with a broader view from the industry at large as well as some key client feedback since we launched less than 6 months ago.

Purpose-built skills assessment via AI

AI can tailor assessments to specific job requirements, weeding out generic tests and ensuring candidates demonstrate the most relevant skills for the position. AI also removes human bias from scoring, leading to fairer and more accurate evaluations. Of course, automation of scoring and analysis saves time among other resources. Collecting rich data on candidate strengths and weaknesses doesn’t just enable better hiring decisions, it’s the first step toward a truly personalized talent development program.

Examples might include coding challenges that adapt to a candidate’s skill level in real-time, writing samples analyzed for both SEO and brand style guides, and design prototypes evaluated for user experience (UX) and an understanding of the technical considerations.

The benefits are clear:

  • Improved candidate selection, leading to better employee performance and retention.
  • Reduced costs and time spent on recruitment, which inherently means faster decisions for all.
  • More diverse and inclusive talent pools – an unexpected diversity, equity, and inclusion benefit.
  • Data-driven talent development strategies for new hires (and existing hires too).

For instance, if a well rounded full-stack developer demonstrates a range of technical proficiencies, a collaborative working style, a personality that fits the team, and a passion for the project at hand but they lack a hyper-specific skill set among the job requirements, it’s likely worthwhile to see if they are willing to train in that one area before ruling them out as a candidate, especially for a full-time hire.

In the future, we can readily expect AI-powered skills assessments to become even more sophisticated, incorporating elements like gamification for increased engagement, virtual reality (VR) simulations for job-specific skills evaluation, and continuous learning and feedback loops for personalized development.

AI can also be helpful regarding compensation. One of Worky’s top AI talents, Dr. Richard Kerr, is currently the tech advisor for WellPay, an AI-powered compensation and total rewards service that gives HR teams the insights and analysis they need to attract and retain top talent, reduce turnover, and create thriving workplaces, all from a singular dashboard. WellPay’s core service is compensation consulting, reducing turnover by undercompensation and gaining efficiency by not overpaying people.

The Extended Workforce Strategy

Remote work still fuels so much of our economic growth, which might include retiring boomers who come back on projects, younger people who often prefer project-based work, and those who prefer to simply fill in the growing shortages among certain skills, as outlined in the survey data at the top of this article – all of these factors drive toward an on-demand extended workforce. In fact, having a pointed extended workforce strategy is now essential, it is no longer supplemental.

The extended workforce encompasses all workers outside of an organization’s core, full-time employees:

  • Independent contractors: Freelancers, consultants, and solopreneurs providing specific services.
  • Temporary workers: Staff hired through agencies for short-term projects or peak periods.
  • Contractual employees: Part-time or full-time workers on fixed-term contracts.
  • Gig workers: Individuals paid for individual tasks or projects, often through platforms.
  • Outsourcing partners: External companies providing specialized services like IT or HR.

Companies are increasingly using an extended workforce for flexibility, access to specialized skills, and to mitigate both risk and cost. Online platforms and talent marketplaces are making it easier to find and manage extended workforce members. The demand for specific skills, not just job titles, is driving the need for a diverse and flexible extended workforce. The more common this practice becomes the more blurred these boundaries become, given that hybrid and remote work models are also predicted to rebound in 2024. There are other management challenges to consider, as many managers are still accustomed to assigning tasks and less comfortable with asynchronous working models, but if we adjusted to a pandemic, we can certainly adjust to these new practices as the emphasis is shifting from traditional employment models to measuring contributions, completed projects, and results.

Again, the benefits are clear around agility and scalability, quickly adapting the workforce to fit changing business needs speaks for itself. Accessing a wider range of talent beyond geographic limitations while filling skill gaps without the commitment of full-time hiring.

The extended workforce is expected to continue growing and evolving, playing a crucial role in how organizations operate. Managing this diverse workforce effectively will be a key to success in the future of work.

Evolution of MSP

MSP models have evolved in recent years, after bringing analytics to the table to look at good turnover versus bad turnover, as well as total cost versus perceived cost savings. Clients are also asking MSPs for more strategic consultative services, from good basics like taxonomy in job descriptions to sitting in on sprint planning sessions in order to buttress any skills deficits.

Traditional Managed Service Providers (MSPs) acted as an extension of your internal IT team, managing and delivering a defined set of IT services and solutions. MSP hiring models refer to the strategies they use to source and onboard these professionals. The choice of model depends on sliding set of factors like client needs, budget constraints, and capabilities which means these relationships vary based on where the administrative burden and control lies, either staying with the client or transferring to the vendor. This mostly depends on a given client’s preferences.

Scaling trends among MSPs include an ever deeper focus on specialization – like, we’re looking for a product manager with fintech experience, especially where the app connects to user bank accounts through Plaid – and global talent pools, offering clients a wider range of talent and compensation ranges.

Worky was founded with a deeper appreciation for these models, especially where talent onboarding, supervision, accountability and support are concerned. These are all optional in our working model with clients. We can even build out entire remote teams for project-based assignments as well as ongoing needs. We simply rescale as we go.

Staffing Ecosystem Approaches

Ecosystem approaches to staffing go beyond traditional recruitment methods and agencies, as staffing and procurement come closer together, focusing on building a network of interconnected talent sources to meet an organization’s workforce needs. This ecosystem can include internal talent pools, gig platforms, local universities and community partnerships, and freelance/contractor networks.

Current trends in this space include:

  1. Rise of the talent cloud: Platforms are emerging to connect organizations with a wider range of talent sources within their ecosystem.
  2. Focus on skills and competencies: Matching skills and needs rather than relying solely on traditional job titles or qualifications.
  3. Data-driven talent management: Utilizing data analytics to track talent trends, identify skill gaps, and optimize talent acquisition strategies.
  4. Emphasis on agility and flexibility: Building resilient talent ecosystems that can adapt to changing business needs and market demands.
  5. Prioritization of diversity and inclusion: Expanding talent pools to include underrepresented groups and fostering inclusive work environments.

Another common, similar term that continues to gain traction is “total talent.” But it’s tough to build this type of ecosystem or total talent pool. And, it’s worth emphasizing, it’s far more difficult to maintain this type of ecosystem in a way that is sustainable, meaning that the talent stays engaged and responsive to a company’s needs over time, not to mention available at the time a need arises. Having built such a community of professionals at Worky, we know first hand this not only requires an extensive talent pool but a full team to test, verify, update, and manage these relationships.

Additionally, there are data privacy and security issues to contend with, standardization and quality control concerns. In short, this is achievable, even if it’s not directly owned by the hiring firm.

Green jobs boom

The green job market is expected to expand in 2024, driven by factors like increased focus on sustainability, renewable energy adoption, and climate change initiatives. This wouldn’t necessarily be on the short list of trends above, but certainly makes our internal lists here at Worky.

This is just a glimpse into the fields and opportunities that will trend upwards in 2024:

  1. Renewable Energy: Solar and wind technicians, installation specialists, grid modernization engineers, and renewable energy project managers will be in high demand as countries transition to cleaner energy sources.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Building retrofits, energy auditors, green building designers, and sustainability consultants will be crucial for improving energy efficiency in homes and businesses.
  3. Circular Economy: Jobs in waste management, recycling, upcycling, and resource recovery will grow as we move toward a circular economy that minimizes waste.
  4. Climate Change Adaptation: Professionals in resilience planning, flood mitigation, drought management, and wildfire prevention will be needed to address the impacts of climate change.
  5. Sustainable Agriculture: Jobs in organic farming, precision agriculture, agroecology, and soil conservation will be crucial for building sustainable food systems.
  6. Green Finance: Green investment analysts, carbon footprint auditors, and sustainable development specialists will be needed to support the growing green finance sector.

We even covered mining and seismic monitoring systems as an in-demand area for developer talent this year.

Of course no list could possibly be complete without mentioning Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, but this certainly is not a new area of focus for most firms, and we plan to do a more in-depth analysis into the topic early next year as we continue to round up the data.

DE&I Hiring Trends for 2024

Of course no list could possibly be complete without mentioning Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, but this is not a new area of focus for most firms, and we plan to do a more in-depth analysis into the topic early next year as we round up the data.

As the world increasingly embraces DE&I as core values, and recognizes many of the inherent benefits herein, 2024 promises significant shifts in hiring DE&I hiring practices.

1. More data-driven decision making: Gone are the days of gut-based hiring. Companies will increasingly leverage data analytics to identify and eliminate unconscious bias in recruitment processes. From analyzing job descriptions for bias to tracking candidate pipeline diversity, data will drive fairer and more inclusive talent acquisition.

2. Focus on skills, not degrees: Traditional emphasis on educational pedigrees will give way to skill-based assessments. Blind resume reviews, skills-based testing, and portfolio evaluations will take over, opening doors for candidates from diverse backgrounds and non-traditional educational paths.

3. Prioritizing neurodiversity: Recognizing the strengths of neurodiverse individuals, including those with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia, will lead to more inclusive work environments. Companies will implement hiring practices that cater to different neurotypes, unlocking unique talents and perspectives.

4. Embracing remote work: Remote work, a game-changer for accessibility and talent pool expansion, will remain a cornerstone of DE&I strategies. This opens doors for geographically diverse candidates, caregivers, and individuals with disabilities, fostering a more inclusive workforce.

5. Building talent pipelines: Proactive engagement with underrepresented communities will be crucial. Partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and community organizations will build diverse talent pipelines early on, fostering long-term success.

6. Prioritizing pay equity: Recognizing and addressing pay disparities will be integral to DE&I efforts. Regular pay audits, transparent salary structures, and equal compensation for equal work regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity will be critical for building a truly equitable workplace.

7. Microaggressions training: Companies will invest in training to identify and address microaggressions, subtle discriminatory behaviors that create hostile work environments. This sensitivity training will build a more inclusive culture where everyone feels valued and respected.

8. Measuring progress: DE&I is not a one-time effort but an ongoing journey. Companies will implement robust metrics to track progress on DE&I goals, from the diversity of interview panels to employee retention rates. Regular evaluation and data-driven adjustments will ensure continuous improvement.

By embracing these trends, companies in 2024 can attract and retain top talent from diverse backgrounds, fostering innovation, creativity, and a more equitable and inclusive culture.

Honorable Mentions

We recently covered building and hiring a Revenue Operations (RevOps) team as an area of focus too, and expect that this will be a big point of emphasis across industries in the year ahead. Expect to hear more about GenZ this year than ever before.

As companies continue to scratch the AI itch, in search of all manner of operating efficiencies, these are the topics (above) that we see the most interest in among our peers in the talent and staffing space, while also reflecting on the requests we receive from our most innovative and thoughtful clients. The last topic to mention here is speed, not only because the world of business seems to only accelerate, but because today’s trending topics are tomorrow’s table stakes.

From all of us at Worky, we wish you a very happy new year and toast to your continued success in 2024!

Diversity Equity & Inclusion
Extended Workforce
Green Jobs