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angle-left 2020 workforce programme trends: Beyond the hype


2020 workforce trends

Cast your mind back to the year 2010 and imagine someone tells you by 2020 you’ll be yelling ‘Hey, Alexa!’ to a personal robot in your home- who can do anything from playing a certain song, to turning lights on, ordering that special gift for a birthday tomorrow or, if some reports are to be believed, even predict if your relationship will last. You’d tell them they were crazy. Yet, researchers have been developing speech recognition devices to complete these kinds of tasks as far back as 1952.

As a society we’re obsessed with the latest trends and predictions- and at this time of year we’re all bombarded with the top trends to watch. Many will take years to work their way into the everyday life. Others will become mainstream overnight. Working in innovation and solution development in workforce solutions provides me with constant access to market intelligence and insight, and I find it fascinating which shiny new things make it and which don’t.

Last year I had the pleasure of attending SIA’s Executive Forum which was a great opportunity to validate my interpretation of trends; how organisations are really responding to them, and which are still yet to become a reality. So, for what it’s worth, here’s my take on the real workforce programme trends to watch in 2020.

Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity is a great example of an area where progress is still far short of prediction. In an insightful session moderated by Francesca Profeta, Research Analyst & Coordinator, CCWP, Staffing Industry Analysts the statistics showed progress over the last 5-6 years in driving gender equality in leadership, but the figures are still far short of 50%. With women only making up 17% of start-up founders, 20% of SMR leadership teams and 29% of directors in FTSE100 companies. The evidence was there; commercial reasons over and above the pure common sense of embracing diversity and inclusion at the top of hierarchy. I quote Francesca’s slides here, “Companies with a more diverse management team have 19% higher revenue and inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovative leaders in their markets. These benefits of leadership balance could be driving the force for change, but there is still more to be done.

Access our Diversity & Inclusion report to find out how you can adjust your talent management practices to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Global employment trends

The event offered insight in relation to the MSP market. More companies are outsourcing and turning to MSP but, according to Everest MSP PEAK Matrix Assessment 2019, buyers are looking for more from their provider. In response providers are expanding their offering to include services procurement/SOW and increasing technology leverage in increasingly complex solutions.

Global players are facing conflicting projections with continued appetite for multi-country contracts but an increasing pressure to hire from within geographical boundaries. The results from our latest Hays Global Skills Index highlights the talent mismatch challenge which drives the need to continue facilitation of overseas hiring, particularly in specialist skill sectors.

Return of the job board and rise of assessment

We’ve seen the-re-emergence of job boards as they become hubs that play on not just enabling access to skills but on better validation of them. Given the prolonged industry debate over the decreasing value of job boards in a passive candidate market, this was a significant shift, reflecting the old saying, “necessity is the mother of invention”.

My colleague Jon Mannall mentioned in a recent blog that Recruit Holdings Co. Ltd which includes job boards Indeed and Glassdoor reported 49.6% revenue increases.

Job boards are evolving screening and filtering intelligence to improve user experience and increase value to clients.

As we move away from Advertise & Apply to Find & Engage, job boards are having to engage with this new methodology to enable them to actively find candidates using the power of technology, data science and personalised communications.

Blockchain recruitment platform

In his session on digital transformation, John Nurthen, Executive Director Global Research, Staffing Industry Analysts, looked at the rise of blockchain as a recruitment platform offers greater candidate control in a climate of increasing concern about cybersecurity. We’ve been hearing about blockchain for a while, but it is still in its infancy and therefore it is hard to predict impact.

Positioning is unlikely to be something HR & TA’s will need to focus any investment this year. For those interested here are some early adopters; Aworker, libereka, ScoutChain. Watch this space perhaps?

Rapid rise in automation

Automation is transforming how people hire talent, robotic process automation, chatbots and more.

Those with a passion for robotics might have enjoyed the presentation on the use of AI and robotic engineering, which included Tengai, the world’s first interview bot developed by TNG. The bot has been designed to carry out unbiased interviews, assessing soft skills and personality traits through blind interviews. Having seen a video of the robot at work, I am not sure it will appeal to all candidates group, but the potential is clear.

Prospective employees can now learn about job openings at McDonald's by asking Alexa. Could we see Alexa finding us our candidates by 2021?

Hays is ambitious in this space. Technology evolution is a constant focus - the market is moving fast.

Time to get excited about the possibilities.


Debra Sparshott
Global Solutions Development Director, Hays Talent Solutions

With over 20 year's experience in RPO and MSP operational strategy, Debra has developed her expertise in the development and delivery of recruitment solutions across a wide range of industries.

Her current role enables her to provide the perfect conduit to leverage isolated pockets of innovative brilliance across the global stage, offering our clients direct and rapidly available access to the latest ideas, tools and methodology in resource acquisition and management.