Can data and insight tackle the skills crisis?

July 3, 2019

Data and insight have long been heralded as critical for organisations to optimise their talent acquisition. As organisations look for any advantage they can get in the battle to attract high quality talent, data can provide employers with a much richer understanding of prospective workers - their working habits, behaviours, interests and aspirations. 

Indeed, business leaders have identified data as one of three key strategic levers as organisations transition from a human to a hybrid workforce, as people increasingly work alongside AI and automation, over the coming years. Earlier this year, we explored the role of digital within talent acquisition as part of this Human to Hybrid journey, mapping out the opportunity for HR and recruitment leaders to deploy digital to drive more personalised, intuitive experiences for candidates, whether within passive talent pools or across the recruitment process itself. 

This month our attention turns to data as we launch our latest white paper, 'The Insight Edge in Talent Acquisition'. Through comprehensive research amongst recruitment professionals, business leaders and employees, we wanted to gauge appetite for, and the potential of greater use of data and analytics within recruitment, to drive better decision-making within organisations and speedier, more personalised experiences for candidates.

The research revealed that the need for increased and optimised use of data is profound - 83% of recruitment leaders regard data and insight as critical for them to improve recruitment and talent acquisition. And given that just one in five is extremely confident that their organisation has access to the skills it will need over the next five years, developing a data-driven approach to recruitment is becoming a major business imperative.

The opportunity for data and insight to transform access to talent is no-doubt monumental; our research shows that senior business leaders believe that more than half of the skills currently missing from their organisations could be addressed by improved use of data.

Most organisations are already attempting to use data within their talent acquisition processes to reduce costs, improve the candidate experience and, most importantly, to increase ‘quality of hire’. However, these efforts to take a data-driven approach have so far largely failed to deliver, held up by technology and data security issues, a lack of skills and an inability to derive meaningful insight from the data they have at their disposal. 

Indeed, most organisations have few problems in collecting data, but many struggle to implement the tools, processes and skills to consolidate, analyse and protect vast pools of disparate data and translate that data into genuinely meaningful insight. 

And if you think the current situation is challenging - the explosion in volumes of data over coming years, driven by wide-scale deployment of IoT devices and insatiable consumer demand for mobile applications, will take this challenge to a whole new level. If organisations are unable to develop and execute the right strategies to handle this data in a compliant, secure way now, then they will expose themselves to significant risks in the future. 

The research exposes a significant split in the way recruitment leaders are assessing current and future skills requirements. Whilst 54% of organisations base recruitment decisions on detailed gap analyses and hard data, the remaining 46% still rely on ‘instinct and gut feel’ when it comes to assessing and identifying skills requirements. This is a staggering statistic, given the levels of data that businesses now have at their disposal. 

Senior business leaders point to HR and recruitment as the single area in which their organisation is worst at collecting, analysing and using data, and as a result, recruitment departments find themselves coming under increasing scrutiny when it comes to data and insight.

HR departments need to make improvements and quickly.  They need to adopt a more targeted approach to data, focusing their efforts on the insights that can really optimise each stage of the recruitment process. This means generating better visibility of their data and identifying the key data points and metrics to track, analyse and evaluate performance across each stage. The focus must be on quality, rather than quantity.

Data is only powerful when it delivers robust and timely insight which drives meaningful action.  Recruitment and HR leaders must develop clear strategies to ensure they can access the data they need, and then equip their teams with the tools, skills, expertise and support to turn this data into the game-changing insight which can drive more informed decisions and deliver better business outcomes. 

Those businesses that can harness data within their workforce strategy and planning will better anticipate skills demands in the business and take a proactive approach to recruitment.

When combined with an innovative digital strategy, data and insight can completely transform talent acquisition, enabling employers to build larger, more agile talent pools, to develop deeper relationships with employees and candidates and, ultimately, to drive real competitive advantage in the employment market.

The full research findings can be found in our new white paper, The Insight Edge in Talent Acquisition, available for download here.

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