As we kick off 2024, the world of talent acquisition is buzzing with new challenges and emerging trends, and there’s no better barometer for this than the insights gathered from our recent RallyFwd™ Virtual Conference. Practitioners across recruiting, HR, Recruitment Marketing and employer branding came together at RallyFwd to hear innovative strategies from expert speakers while also voicing their own experiences, concerns and predictions for how their jobs could change in the coming year. The poll conducted at the conference is more than just numbers and percentages; it’s a narrative of the collective pulse of our industry, revealing the hurdles we face and the innovations we’re steering towards.
In this blog post, we unpack these insights and what they mean for your recruiting plans in 2024 amid the fierce competition for top talent, ongoing resource constraints and rapid technological shifts. More than 300 practitioners answered the poll questions at RallyFwd on December 6, 2023. The results indicate that many of us are wrestling with defining clear recruitment strategies, while others are navigating the complexities of outdated tech stacks in an increasingly digital landscape. Budget forecasts remain uncertain, yet in order to attract top talent we must continue to invest in promoting our jobs and employer brands through new channels.
If these challenges sound familiar, then join me as we dive into the poll results, examine what these trends mean for us as professionals and look at how all of us in the Rally community can adapt, innovate and thrive in the face of these external and internal dynamics.
Rally Note: You can watch RallyFwd On Demand to see 7 presentations from industry leaders at companies including Booz Allen, ChenMed, Qualtrics and more covering the latest innovations in talent acquisition, Recruitment Marketing and employer branding, plus access our exclusive technology showcase featuring Appcast, Ph.Creative, Talent Solutions RPO by ManpowerGroup, Clinch, iCIMS and Rally Inside with Rally AI.
Top 3 Challenges in Talent Acquisition for 2024
Talent acquisition and Recruitment Marketing professionals are navigating many challenges in today’s dynamic recruiting environment, including adapting to new technologies, new channels and new strategies that are reshaping the way we attract, engage and recruit talent. At RallyFwd, we asked attendees to share their perspective on the top challenges they’re facing in their roles. Here’s what they said:
- Resource and Budget Constraints: 56% of practitioners indicated that limited resources and budget are a major hurdle. This challenge underscores the need for more efficient and cost-effective recruitment strategies and processes. In 2024, TA leaders and their teams will need to work smarter, not harder, leveraging new AI tools to assist them in getting more done faster with fewer resources.
- Urgent Hiring Needs: 49% of participants expressed concerns about not being able to hire talent quickly enough. This is an ongoing challenge facing employers in recent years that economists say won’t improve in 2024.
- Business and Hiring Alignment: 39% report that their 2024 recruitment plan is still unclear going into the new year, while 41% can’t measure the effectiveness of their strategy in order to make data-driven decisions. These issues highlight multiple challenges facing recruitment teams. One challenge is that many C-suites are grappling with ongoing economic uncertainties and may be unable to commit to a firm hiring plan for the year. A related challenge is that when hiring demands surge, TA leaders are unable to respond quickly because they lack data to recommend the best course of action. The lack of clarity and a misalignment between the business and talent acquisition can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities in attracting top candidates.
Recruiting Budget Trends for 2024
The poll results from the last RallyFwd offer a fascinating glimpse into the budgetary expectations of practitioners for the upcoming year. With 12% of attendees anticipating an increase in their budget, there’s a sense of cautious optimism, possibly reflecting a belief in the growing importance and strategic value of our work to our business partners. This increase, albeit modest, can be seen as a recognition of the critical role that talent acquisition, Recruitment Marketing and employer branding plays in driving business success, especially in an increasingly competitive labor market. However, the 13% who expect a decrease in their budget are facing a more challenging scenario. This reduction could be indicative of the broader economic pressures or shifting organizational priorities mentioned previously. These teams will need to find innovative ways to optimize their existing resources, streamline processes and perhaps rely more heavily on AI technology and automation to maintain, if not improve, their recruitment outcomes.
On the other hand, the largest group of poll respondents – 46% – foresee their budget remaining the same as 2023. This suggests a significant portion of the Rally community is expected to navigate the complexities of the coming year without additional, much-needed resources. Sigh. If you’re one of the practitioners who will be forced to maintain the status quo this year, you’ll be under even greater pressure to be resourceful and to make your budget stretch.
The fact that almost one third (29%) are unsure about their budget outlook points to a prevailing sense of uncertainty in our community as we head into 2024. This uncertainty could stem from various factors, including fluctuating economic conditions, changes in organizational direction or the unpredictable nature of the job market. It underscores the need for flexibility and adaptability in recruitment strategies, as everyone in the Rally community must be prepared to pivot and adjust their tactics in response to changing business constraints and opportunities.
The Opportunity for New Recruiting Technologies
The uncertainty about hiring plans and recruiting budgets in 2024 means that half of talent acquisition teams are unsure whether they will implement new recruiting technology this year. RallyFwd poll respondents said:
- 29% of practitioners plan to implement new technologies.
- 20% have no such plans.
- A significant 51% remain unsure.
The irony is that this year, perhaps more than ever, will require us to leverage AI technology and automation to work smarter, not harder.
The 29% of respondents who plan to implement new recruiting technologies are positioning themselves at the forefront of innovation within the talent acquisition field. This forward-thinking group is likely driven by the desire to enhance efficiency in their hiring process, improve their candidate experience, invest in employer brand awareness and gain a competitive edge for top talent. Conversely, the 20% who have no plans to adopt new technologies might reflect a satisfaction with their current toolset, or the reality of budget constraints or their inability to convince leadership about the potential benefits that modern Recruitment Marketing tools could bring. If you’re in this group, you might be at risk of falling behind as the industry evolves, especially as your talent competitors leverage new technologies such as specialized AI tools to optimize their recruitment processes.
However, the most significant insight comes from the 51% who remain unsure about implementing new recruiting technologies in 2024. Rally Recommendation: Push your leaders to lock down your budgets this January in order to solidify plans for upgrading your recruitment tech stack, especially given the rapid innovation happening right now in talent acquisition. We know it can take several months to procure and deploy new tech, and you need these new tools asap. At the same time, recruitment technology vendors have a substantial opportunity to guide and influence this undecided majority towards making informed decisions that could reshape their recruitment strategies for the better.
The Need for AI Adoption in Recruiting and Recruitment Marketing
It was just over a year ago that ChatGPT came onto the scene, changing the world forever. Yet, AI adoption in recruiting is already falling behind. Just one-third of RallyFwd poll respondents said they regularly use generative AI tools like ChatGPT or Google Bard, whereas 31% have tried gen AI only a few times, and 35% haven’t used these tools at all.
We’re all aware that the HR and recruiting department isn’t known for being on the bleeding edge of technology adoption. But this is THE time to step up! I believe that every practitioner must become AI-Ready. Otherwise, the hesitation or slow pace in adopting AI technologies in recruiting could have serious implications for your company to stay competitive in your recruitment strategy, not to mention put you in the unfortunate position of falling behind in your career. TA teams that lag behind in the AI revolution will risk being overshadowed by more technologically agile talent competitors, potentially leading to a weaker position in the fiercely competitive market for top talent.
One reason that TA teams may be lagging behind in AI adoption is their lack of confidence in using digital tools. When we asked RallyFwd attendees about their knowledge and skills in AI, here’s how they responded:
- 57% have little or no AI knowledge.
- 32% possess some AI know-how.
- Only 11% are confident in using AI for their job.
These results point to a significant opportunity for professional development in AI. It’s why we’re committed to upskilling our community with the AI know-how to incorporate AI tools into your daily work and so that you can lead the AI transformation in your organization. We’ve created a new virtual course, called “Practical AI for Talent Acquisition, Recruitment Marketing & Employer Branding” that launches on January 22, 2024. You’ll get hands-on training (from me!) with generative AI using our own Rally AI tool, preparing you to integrate AI into your professional toolkit, skillset and mindset, and positioning yourself at the forefront of this rapidly evolving field. Learn more about our Practical AI course here >
Companies Are Accelerating their Employer Branding Journey
One encouraging trend revealed by our RallyFwd poll is that more companies are investing in employer branding, yay! We asked: “Where is your company on your employer brand journey?” The results:
- Well-established (37%), Refreshing (32%), Developing (20%): Most companies are actively engaged in building or maintaining a strong employer brand. This indicates a widespread recognition of its importance in attracting and retaining talent (finally!).
- Interested but Haven’t Started (8%), No Plans (3%): These companies are falling behind.
It’s exciting to learn that so many practitioners across our community are gaining traction with their employer brand strategy. Finally, business leaders are understanding that a company’s employer brand is a critical component of their talent strategy. However, there is still a segment that either hasn’t embarked on this journey or doesn’t see the immediate value in it. This highlights an opportunity for us to continue evangelizing and educating our organizations about the benefits of a strong employer brand. Overall, the trend is clear: employer branding is gaining traction as an essential element in attracting the right talent, with most organizations either firmly on board or starting to recognize its importance.
Of course, an increase in employer branding investment wouldn’t be possible without support from the C-suite. 61% confirmed that their CEO knows what an employer brand is. Keep advocating everyone—we’re making progress!
Social Media is Required in Every Recruitment Marketing Strategy
Here’s one more sign of progress: Just a year and a half ago, at RallyFwd May 2022, 62% of poll respondents said they use social media to promote jobs and company culture. That percentage has been steadily increasing, and at our most recent RallyFwd, it reached 87%! It’s clear that social media is now a must-have channel for every company’s Recruitment Marketing strategy, as well as for the strategies of individual recruiters and sourcers. It indicates a broad recognition of social media’s reach and impact in attracting and engaging talent across every job function and every industry.
However, if you’re among the 13% not utilizing social media for recruiting, you’re missing out on a powerful channel to get in front of candidates with your employer brand and job opportunities, particularly passive candidates who aren’t hanging out regularly on job boards.
Among users of our Rally® Inside™ Recruitment Marketing & Analytics Platform, the top social media channels used for recruiting are LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram (in that order) with X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok at a very distant fourth and fifth. Whichever social channels you use, the key is to have the right content for that platform’s audience, to commit to creating high-quality posts frequently and to have the tracking in place to ensure you can measure your results. A helpful Rally Resource is our Webinar On Demand: Track Your Way to Recruitment Marketing Success.
Looking Ahead: Staying Agile and Adaptive in 2024’s Talent Market
Wrapping up, it’s clear that the findings from the RallyFwd Virtual Conference poll paint a picture of a recruitment landscape in flux. Practitioners face significant challenges such as budget and resource constraints, an ongoing competitive labor market and the need to align their hiring plan to changing business priorities. However, there are exciting opportunities for practitioners to take their strategy (and their career) to the next level in 2024. Embracing new AI-driven technologies, putting measurement and analytics systems in place and developing a strong focus on employer branding are all areas where forward-thinking talent acquisition and Recruitment Marketing leaders can stand out.
The role of generative AI tools and the development of AI skills will be crucial in 2024, indicating a future where technology plays an increasingly central role in effective and efficient talent acquisition strategies. At Rally, we’re excited to help you become AI-Ready through our Rally AI tool and Practical AI virtual course. Be sure to check them out, and keep your eyes open for more AI resources coming soon!
As we look towards 2024, it’s clear that we will all need to be agile, adaptive and ready to embrace new tools and strategies to stay ahead in a competitive and ever-changing talent market. We look forward to supporting you as you take on the challenges and opportunities of the new year!
Thank you once again to our amazing speakers at RallyFwd and to our sponsors: Appcast, Ph.Creative, Talent Solutions RPO by ManpowerGroup, Clinch, iCIMS and Rally Inside. We couldn’t bring our community together without all of you! Our next RallyFwd Virtual Conference will take place on May 8, 2024—be sure to save the date >