The war for talent or the talent crunch — we’ve heard it all before. The ability to find the right talent has never been more difficult. We all thought that the pandemic might restore the balance, but in a way, trends in place before 2020 have become even more entrenched. People crave more flexibility, talent has never been scarcer, the skills mismatch has never been more visible and — as wage inflation shows — the negotiation power in an application process today lies entirely in the hands of talent.

That is a fierce change, a new reality for many companies — our customers. The days of dozens of candidates applying for the same vacancy are over, as are the times that the recruiter was in the driver’s seat during an application process.

The aftermath. Hiring someone new is not just about salary. It’s about flexibility; career options and training; environmental, social, and corporate governance activities; and company culture. Yes, although an attractive salary is still the No. 1 driver for a candidate to take a new job, House of HR research shows that a lot of candidates are quite demanding when it comes to job content, flexibility and remote working hours, well-being, and training programs — and that’s not limited to Gen Z.

Time to adapt. We believe that as an important European HR provider, it is our duty to support and help our customers adapt to this new reality. How do you create vacancies with impact? Where do you find your target groups, and how can you reach them? What should the message be, and how do you organise the application process in the most optimal way?

For example, one of the biggest frustrations candidates have today is never receiving a response to an application. This is not new, but in today’s reality, companies cannot afford to do this. The candidate is too precious for that treatment. Meanwhile, our research shows that the majority of the candidates are open to a company tour or meeting with new colleagues even before they start the job.

Producing a video featuring the building/office space and colleagues or leader helps candidates picture themselves in the new job. The onboarding process has become so important but is still very much an underestimated part of the candidate experience.

Engagement. There are new buzzwords companies need to embrace, such as well-being, happiness and individuality. Being close to your employees and providing a good working environment and work-life balance lead to happier employees who stay longer and will act as true ambassadors for your brand. Many employers still do not realise enough how important it is to treat their existing staff with the utmost respect. The best hires have long been the ones that come recommended via your existing employees.

Development. In a world where it is very difficult to find new employees from outside, it is even more important to make sure your current employees stay on board and have the opportunity to develop and grow within the company. Putting in effort to keep the expertise in-house and to organise training programs to grow your teams will become extremely important in the years to come.

Meanwhile, current jobs are disappearing due to technological evolution and digitalisation, but new jobs that require new skills are popping up in every industry. And for those, many active people require reskilling. So, employers should be looking at ways to upskill and reskill employees to enable them to grow with the company, because new jobs and skill requirements come to the surface that we cannot cover alone with new hires and young graduates — the workforce of the future.

It’s clear that companies and employers need to rethink the importance of their HR department. In boardrooms, finding the right people has become a bottleneck for growth. It’s our duty as HR specialists to help speed up this evolution for our companies, our customers and society.