Inform your talent acquisition strategies for the year ahead, with these research-driven recruitment trends for 2017…


It’s always important to find out where your organisation stands in comparison to your competitors, both locally and in a global setting. A recent multi-national study by LinkedIn surveyed close to 4,000 talent assessment and acquisition specialists at a management level or higher, with the goal of capturing their top priorities, concerns and focus areas for 2017.

This report provides a snapshot of the study’s most important findings. These data-driven insights will help you as an HR professional, manager or employee to gain an oversight of the latest trends, and to apply these effectively to your own business.

The top challenges that recruiters face

The picture in 2017 is very similar to 2016. The top concern of talent acquisition specialists and recruiters worldwide is the competition for scarce talent, with large companies having more spending power in their HR departments and salary pools to attract the best employees.

Together with this challenge is the concern that hiring budgets are just not sufficient. 35% of respondents feel that budget limitations are one of their biggest challenges for 2017.

With 23% of respondents feeling that high turnover is a challenge, talent retention needs to become an area of focus to reduce further strain on the recruiting budget.

Where are the biggest talent gaps?

When asked which roles were the most crucial for the year ahead, the answer was overwhelmingly sales. There is a huge demand for sales talent in global organisations, most likely because these employees drive business and profit into the future. Other high-demand roles are engineering staff and IT professionals.

Finding the right tools to identify talent in these areas is the first step in reducing the costs of hiring, firing and re-hiring, especially considering the high failure rate and turnover within sales departments. The second step is focusing on employee engagement and in-house development initiatives to ensure that existing talent in these roles is in a position to mentor others in the organisation.

Measuring success in recruitment

How do recruiters measure the success of a new hire? Interestingly, the size of a company has an impact on how recruitment quality is measured. Large-scale organisations predominantly measure success on how quickly a gap is filled (time to hire), while smaller companies are more focused on long-term retention of their new employees.

Talent specialists report that their top quality hires come from employee referrals (48%), who are reported to work harder, be more successful and stay longer. 46% feel that online job boards offer a high rate of success, while only 28% state that internal hires are their top source when looking to fill a gap.

The budget situation

The good news is that 83% of respondents felt that talent is the number one priority in their business. The bad news? Budgets are not keeping pace with the demand for talent interventions.

In South Africa, only 45% of recruiters say that their budgets will increase in 2017. This means that 55% are dealing with the same budgets they had in 2016.

Respondents report that the majority of their budget goes towards online job posts and recruitment agency costs. However, if budget constraints were not so tight, more than half of respondents would invest more money into employer branding, with a widespread recognition that this is crucial to the success of talent acquisition and retention initiatives in the future.

Recruiters also see the value of investing more money into new technology and new ways to assess talent in their organisation.

Employer branding is still crucial

83% of respondents state that employer branding has a massive impact on the success of their recruitment strategy, and will continue to affect their ability to attract top talent. However 9% of the sample stated that no one is working on this in their organisation, and 13% stated that one person is working on it part time.

When asked in a different LinkedIn survey what their biggest deciding factors are for accepting a job, candidates ranked company culture first, salary and benefits second and the vision of the organisation third, further demonstrating the importance of an effective employer branding strategy.

Trends for 2017 and beyond

When adopting a longer-term focus, talent acquisition specialists felt that five areas would shape the future of recruitment in years to come.


  • Diversity in the workplace, and recruiting more diverse candidates around the world
  • The need for more widespread usage of talent assessment tools, including soft skills assessments.
  • The use of more innovative interview methods and tools.
  • A move to talent analytics and big data to drive decision making.
  • Embracing the company mission and vision to differentiate an organisation from its competitors.


For more articles from HFMtalentindex South Africa, visit their website. If you’d like more information, contact them here.

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