Recruitment Trends in 2023 [That a Freelancer Must Know]

The ‘workplace’ is no longer what it was five years ago. Technology and innovation inspired by challenges like the coronavirus pandemic have opened up new opportunities and choices for employees in how they want to work.

Demand for top talent continues to rise while talent shortages are at a 10-year high. In addition, employees’ expectations and needs are changing, and they don’t want to compromise. As we approach 2023, here are some top trends in recruitment that job seekers should keep an eye on.

1. Remote and Hybrid Work

In a recent report by Accenture, 83 percent of 9,326 employees surveyed said they prefer the hybrid work model, where they work remotely at least 25 percent of the time. In fact, more than half of job seekers said they’d want to continue working fully remote post-pandemic, according to a FlexJobs survey. Currently, most employees have developed an affinity for remote-work flexibility, which has grown into an expectation for the future.

Considering these facts, attracting and retaining top talent amid the ‘Great Reshuffling’ of the workforce will require addressing the remote and hybrid work issue. Employees are seeking opportunities that allow them to adopt a hybrid approach to work or work fully remotely.

Employers, on the other hand, are shifting to the digital platform where hiring, onboarding, training, and exit are taking place virtually.

2. Candidate-Centric Recruitment

The recruitment scenario is becoming more dynamic and challenging for the human resource department. And as the war for talent continues to rise, recruiting managers must adopt a candidate-centric approach to win.

They must understand that candidates will choose companies that provide more than just a good salary. As Christie Smith, Senior MD – Global Lead of Talent & Organization states:

“It is critically important to understand what matters to your employees, because 9 times out of 10, your employee is also your customer.”

The latest trends in recruitment include using creative hiring strategies that keep candidates in the spotlight. For example, employers can focus on employee health, on-the-job training, remote/hybrid work opportunities, and work-life balance among others.

3. Employers Will Seek Freelancers with Specialized Skills

In recent years, we’ve seen acceleration in the adoption of new technologies. This means in-demand roles like software and application development, big data, AI and machine learning, and IT security will continue to be in high demand.

As such, companies are leaning toward freelancers and contractors to fill the growing skills gap around big data, artificial intelligence, encryption, and the Internet of Things. This gives freelancers and contractors with these skills ample opportunity to pick up contract work to fill these gaps.

According to LinkedIn market research, the top job sectors with the greatest potential in hiring trends include:

  • Software development in roles like JavaScript, Cloud Engineer, Back End Developer, Cybersecurity Specialist, UX Professionals
  • Digital Designers, Digital Content Creators, Digital Marketing Professionals
  • Data science, with emphasis on Full Stack Engineer, Data Engineer, Data Scientist

These are just among the fast-growth job areas that are an indication that candidates need to refine their skills to stay relevant.

4. Upskilling Employees

Studies indicate that 66 percent of employees believe gaining new skills is crucial in allowing them to stay employable in the years ahead. Employers know that investing in training and developing existing workers gives them a competitive edge. For starters, upskilled employees will be more productive, and the company will attract new talent.

Yet, research by Gartner shows there is a significant skills gap where 64 percent of managers don’t think their employees can match the skill needs. While reskilling the workforce will help employees keep pace with future skill needs, employers will be more interested in hiring workers who already possess those skills and will be willing to pay a premium.

In other words, highly skilled professionals will have more opportunities to choose job roles and organizations.

5. Talent Acquisition and Retention

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in October alone, four million Americans quit their jobs. That figure remained abnormally high in the subsequent months. Going into 2023, acquiring talent has shifted for many companies toward project-based or freelance hiring.

Employers will be looking for functional skills like coding, online teaching, brand marketing, podcasting, investment banking, and affiliate networking.

6. Remote Recruitment Processes

As you are aware, most organizations were forced to rethink their approach to remote work and allow employees to work from home. This working model is here to stay, and while it posed many challenges to recruiters, it opened the door to hiring top talent remotely regardless of their location.

As a result, companies are looking for knowledgeable workers wherever they can find them. This means recruitment will be conducted remotely, with the help of technology. As a freelancer, you’ll gain a competitive edge by learning about virtual interviews, virtual communication software, applicant tracking systems, and remote work etiquette.

7. Emphasis on Employer Branding

Some time back, companies could get away with minimal online presence for attracting top talent. But a lot has changed over the last couple of years. Today, 86 percent of passive candidates take their time to research an organization’s credibility, culture, company policies, and corporate social responsibility initiatives before applying.

Recruitment teams are now focusing on creating a strong brand identity to support better recruitment results from internal referrals. It goes without saying that future candidates will be drawn to companies with recognized brands as this will make them feel proud to be associated with a reputable business.

8. Employers Are Targeting Candidates with Resilient Personalities

Return to normalcy in the workplace will take longer than expected, with the Covid-19 pandemic still affecting various parts of the world. Amid all those challenges posed by the virus, in addition to the economic and political crisis, business leaders are now seeking resilience traits in candidates.

As a freelancer, you must be prepared to demonstrate this personality trait during the recruitment process, as employers prefer people who can quickly adapt to changing workplace situations.

9. Businesses Are Leveraging Team Members for Recruiting

Freelancers should always be on the lookout for new recruitment trends to empower them to land better jobs, and social proof is an effective one. This strategy has been part of marketing for a long time, and in 2023, it will turn into a recruitment trend as leaders use their current team members to source potential candidates.

Businesses have realized that marketing how great a place is to work is more powerful if it is coming from people who already work there. Therefore, expect to see an organization’s team members post job openings, videos, articles, and photos related to their work.

10. Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) in Recruitment

We can’t talk about new trends in recruitment and fail to mention the role of augmented reality and virtual reality in the workplace. AR and VR have the potential to change the way people work and the technology is already being implemented by the military and other tech companies.

Using VR and AR is now being applied in the recruitment process to build engagement and streamline recruitment. A case in point is Walmart, one of the biggest private employers in the US, which uses VR to hire and train associates. This technology is proving valuable in training and learning since it allows recruiters to simulate, evaluate, and enhance a candidate’s skill set.

Organizations are also using AR/VR technology to create virtual tours where job applicants can see and feel the office culture and experience a life-like simulation of what a typical workday looks like. Candidates get a clear picture of their future work environment, allowing them to make up their minds about the job offer.

Freelancers will be expected to know how virtual reality and augmented reality work, and be prepared to meet their recruiters “in person” via VR.

11. The Gig Trend

A recent survey by Mastercard suggests that the gig economy is set to be worth $455.2 billion globally by 2023. This shows that the ‘gig trend’ will continue to be among the most important trends in recruitment in 2023. The gig economy offers flexible work opportunities, allowing workers to set their own schedules and working conditions.

As more and more people are quitting their permanent jobs to pursue their dreams on their terms, freelancing and contract work are gaining more prominence. This work arrangement benefits both the workers and the company: gig workers are available whenever they are needed, and companies will spend way less time and money by not having to conduct full-time recruitment.

12. Social Media Recruiting

Reliance on social recruiting is among the top recruitment trends we expect to continue in 2023. A recent survey by Infinity Social Media and Jobcast revealed that:

  • “94 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social media for recruiting”
  • “70 percent of recruiters plan to increase their investment in social recruiting”
  • “49 percent of employers who use social media found improvement in candidate quality”

Companies are targeting potential candidates through popular social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, where they have hundreds of thousands of followers. They are sending targeted advertisements to potential recruits when vacancies arise.

For example, if a company is looking for IT people in California, and they are targeting female employees between 25 and 30, it’s possible to push a job advertisement to that specific group. The use of social networks to proactively seek potential candidates is one of the most popular trends in recruitment today, and job seekers should be on the lookout for such opportunities.

13. Appealing to Generation Z

Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, a Pew Research Center analysis indicates. While generation Z is joining the millennials in the world of work, they are still considered entry-level.

But this is about to change as more than 60 million young and talented job seekers are expected to enter the job market in the coming years. This group wants to work in purpose-driven companies that align with their values and are looking for employers who offer flexible work arrangements.

Freelancers in this age bracket are attracted to technologically advanced workplaces, and employers are implementing the latest tools and technologies to make the workplace more appealing.

14. Pay Transparency

Pay transparency, while not a widespread practice, is slowly catching on. As the battle for talent continues to rage, companies are adding salary to job postings as a strategy to attract top talent.

Some states, like New York and Colorado have even passed laws requiring employers to post salary ranges on job descriptions. Soon enough, salary will no longer be a secret that will only be revealed in the offer letter. This trend will save freelancers from wasting time on opportunities that aren’t a financial match.

15. Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives remain the most crucial recruitment trends in 2023. Studies have shown that a company’s bottom line can benefit significantly from the inclusion of diverse workforces.

In most job posts, employers are promising to provide equal opportunities for all employees, and do their best to create a work environment that’s free of victimization, harassment, bullying, and unlawful discrimination.

Deloitte reported that 47 percent of candidates actively pursue organizations that value diversity and inclusion. The same research shows that 83 percent of millennials are more engaged in an inclusive work environment.

No wonder companies are striving to recruit international teams. Now, people from all parts of the globe, including those that were never considered before, have equal work opportunities with those from developed countries.

Recruiters are now reviewing their recruitment practices and deploying innovative candidate evaluation tools and programs designed to eliminate bias in recruiting and hiring.

Summing Up

2021 has been an interesting and exciting year for recruitment as we witnessed various recruitment trends take shape. Evidently, employers are moving away from traditional methods of hiring potential candidates, and these trends are likely to continue in 2023, while new ones are also bound to emerge.

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