Recruiting and HR will not evolve independently of global events and pressures. Geopolitical issues, energy, global warming, rapid industrialization, demographics, immigration, and the constant invention of new jobs and disciplines will always drive the day-to-day realities of recruiting and HR.
A key driver of the evolution of recruiting and HR is the amount of growth in the economy and in a specific business. Recruiting for new roles is significantly different than recruiting to replace. The more clearly a role is understood and documented, the more the market behaves in competitive fashion. Once the new role is completely commoditized, it’s easy to talk about job descriptions, resume analysis, and community development. As long as the role represents growth and innovation, it is hard to characterize, and recruiting involves more intuition.
Status also makes a difference. Methods and processes used for recruiting and HR vary on two dimensions: level of compensation and the degree to which the job involves intellect. When compensation is low and involves brute force, the issues revolve around safety and reliability. When the questions involve enormous fees and lots of conceptualization (and notably, few real safety issues) the game is very, very different.
The following brief scenarios will give you some idea of the way that talent acquisition and management could evolve given a shifting landscape:
A: Oil Prices Move to $200/barrel a Year From Now
Globalization, food prices, and the way we all get to work all share one common underpinning. Each relies on the continued availability of cheap energy. At $200/barrel, the economics of the later 20th century change dramatically. In the first years of the transition, things that once were disposable (electronics, for example) become extremely expensive. The ability to “leverage” wages in other parts of the world depends on the ability to transport finished goods at inexpensive rates.
Spiraling ever higher, energy prices bring changes to local economies. Television repairmen become vogue. The maintenance of now-expensive luxury objects becomes the fastest-growing vocation.The automotive industry collapses (even further), displacing millions in the supply chain. Food prices skyrocket.
As work returns to the mother ship from outsourced destinations, a huge imbalance between available and needed skills develops. Recruiting grows in size and complexity as companies rush to train workers to do tasks that once were completed in other countries. Interestingly, the need for immigrant labor grows tremendously, as does the requirement for training of those guest workers. This is a future in which “competency management” is in the ascendant, where recruiters can translate a resume into the necessary competencies and make a decision. Education, credentialing, and structure become essential elements of an employee portfolio.
(If you’re interested in learning more about this possibility, Read “Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and The End of Globalization and watch this video)
B: The Downturn Is Followed By Sustained Growth
There are plenty of good reasons to believe that conventional wisdom (the recession marks a permanent lowering of expectations) is off base. Global economic growth has persisted over a very long time period. The United States has a tendency to take a dour look at its prospects. The geopolitical reality is otherwise.
In a world of continued growth, population issues take the front seat. All of the Western industrialized countries will be competing for the hearts and minds of immigrants. While the United States has an advantage, other players are already beginning to compete and will be better at it. Government subsidies for guest workers will be common.
In the future with enduring economic growth, global warming is mitigated by the slowing rise of population while the energy shortage is solved by a range of innovations including the wireless broadcast of energy. Recruiting, in this scenario, is focused on the complex process of finding the right people to work in and lead new endeavors. Skills and predispositions are the central facets of recruiting in this future. Workers aggressively exploit their leverage in relationships with multiple employers.
(If you want to know more about this scenario, read The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century and watch this video, Part 1 and Part 2)
C: More of The Same: Growth Slows to a Permanent Crawl
This is the Eeyore scenario.
As happened in Japan, investment moves away from aging population centers and toward youthful countries. In essence, the flow of capital moves toward the southern hemisphere. The North is left to deal with aging and the associated health problems. Auto aftermarkets shift from a technological focus to seat padding and comfort. Attempts to build economic momentum seem sabotaged by a series of natural and unnatural disasters.
Housing sits vacant even as prices fall through the floor. With no growth and no means to attract immigration, the housing stock is 30 percent too large. As tax revenues continue to fall, the stress between regions results in a crumbling of large national identity in favor of small regions.
Young professionals learn to hang on to a job, which is the only meaningful asset. The corporate attrition problems goes from “too much” to “not enough.” Recruiting becomes exclusively about filling empty slots while corporate mobility and development are in the ascendant.
(If you want to learn more about this scenario, read the paper and watch the network news.)
In the next four scenarios, we’re going to concentrate on the evolution of recruiting and it’s impact on the market segments we identified last week.
What should be clear from this short example is that the future of recruiting and HR are extremely dependent on the way that the world evolves.
This research is sponsored by Pinstripe Talent.
To read the rest of the series: