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thrive or survive? employers urgently embracing AI to address talent scarcity and enhance operational efficiency.

New Randstad Enterprise report unveils top 10 talent trends for 2024, including the growing use of AI to bridge the skills gap and increasing investment in DEI despite recent pushback.

New Randstad Enterprise report unveils top 10 talent trends for 2024, including the growing use of AI to bridge the skills gap and increasing investment in DEI despite recent pushback.

ATLANTA, MAR, 19, 2024 – Randstad Enterprise, a global leader in talent solutions, today released its highly anticipated 2024 Talent Trends Report, revealing crucial insights into how organizations can navigate the accelerating pace of change in the workplace.

Around AI in particular, a clear theme emerged, with data indicating a significant shift towards embracing AI across the talent life cycle to address talent scarcity and enhance operational efficiency. Nearly all (97%) of C-suite and talent leaders agree that adopting technology has enhanced talent attraction, engagement, and retention — an eight-point increase since 2023 and the highest reported value for this response in Talent Trends history.

Among all the technologies organizations are investing in, AI search and match has grown the most year-over-year. Two-thirds (66%) of talent leaders report making such investments — an increase of 14% since 2023. Employers clearly now recognize the critical role of AI in reshaping human intelligence and its productivity across every aspect of the talent life cycle, from talent acquisition, where generating job descriptions with AI is commonplace, to advancing internal talent mobility and skills matching for talent already within the business.

But beyond technology, the two top challenges talent leaders expect to face moving forward are skills-based: increased competition for hard-to-find skills (34%) and growing scarcity of specialty skills (32%). This supports the increasing desire by the majority of organizations (80%) to move to a skills-based hiring approach. This sees employers focus on pinpointing the essential skills needed for a position and selecting candidates based on their demonstrated competencies without prioritizing formal educational qualifications.

Unsurprisingly then, skills-based considerations also top the list when evaluating candidates; the top three for all candidates include the potential to learn to grow (83%), intellectual or personality traits (80%), and personal motivations and aspirations relevant to the position (80%). Critical thinking and emotional intelligence are also highly valued when hiring (82% for senior-level candidates, and 80% for early-career candidates). These traits were more highly regarded than previous employment in the industry and college degrees, indicating that many companies are moving toward a skills-based workforce model. However, just 21% of employers say they’ve been able to build a skills ontology, a crucial step for businesses on a journey to skills-based hiring, into their skills-based journeys.

Mike Smith, chief executive, Randstad Enterprise"We are now in an age in which artificial and human intelligence can together achieve an optimized workforce unlike any before it. Innovation, ideation, and productivity have never been more accessible. But the questions business leaders are asking are: ‘Can we unlock human potential further with AI empowerment? And, how?’” said Mike Smith, chief executive at Randstad Enterprise. "Our research underscores the urgency for businesses to adopt innovative strategies to harness human potential with AI as its co-pilot and ensure agility in a rapidly transforming global employment market."

With responses from more than 1,000 C-suite and human capital leaders across 21 markets globally, the report offers a comprehensive look at the biggest trends affecting their talent strategies — including AI integration, the skills gap, investment and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, and evolving workforce expectations — and the challenges and opportunities they present.

Based on respondents’ input, the report reveals the top 10 trends for talent leaders in 2024, spanning three main areas: the age of human and artificial intelligence, the rise of the beyond-skills talent revolution, and the resulting investments in people experience and culture. The report shows several critical data points across these three areas, highlighting the priorities for talent leaders this year.

key findings

Urgent need for AI adoption: While talent leaders voice some concerns around AI, like a reduced human touch in the workplace (34%) and the risk of amplifying bias or using technology irresponsibly (32%), the benefits outweigh the risks. Overall, 78% say AI can effectively identify opportunities for internal mobility. In comparison, 78% also believe AI is capable of finding needs and gaps within their workforce – a crucial advantage in a highly competitive talent landscape and when transforming to be a skills-based organization.

Maintaining focus on DEI: Recent pushback, including legal rulings in the U.S., have added new levels of adversity against DEI efforts, with 15% of talent leaders already citing this as a concern and 1 in 10 saying they will decrease their focus on DEI initiatives. However, nearly half (48%) say they will improve or expand their DEI initiatives.

Skills gap widens: An alarming 72% of leaders report an increasing skills gap, which poses substantial challenges to organizational growth. Notably, this is the highest score since before the pandemic in 2019, highlighting the importance of rethinking the ways employers attract and evaluate job candidates, train and develop employees, and source skills into the organization.

The rise of skills-based organizations: With 80% of companies moving towards a skills-based model, there's a clear focus on developing a more adaptable and resilient workforce. This approach is seen as pivotal in combating talent scarcity and fostering a culture of continuous learning and development. Cultural Shift Towards Learning and Empowerment: The report emphasizes the necessity of building cultures that prioritize learning, adaptability and employee empowerment. 1 in 4 (25%) of human capital leaders want to invest more in how they articulate strong company values and their value proposition to employees. By doing so, cultivating a motivating environment is key to unlocking human potential and driving organizational success.

Strategic investment in human capital leaders: The evolving role of human capital leaders is spotlighted, underscoring their influence in steering organizations to prepare for the future (90%) by leveraging technology, data, and a people-centric approach. With the skills gap and AI such important factors in workforce planning now and in the future, you’d expect them to be given support to do so, but incredibly, they’re also being asked to do it with fewer resources (64%).

The 2024 Talent Trends Report serves as a road map for organizations worldwide, offering insights and strategies for harnessing the power of human and artificial intelligence, navigating the evolving skills landscape, and building a future-ready workforce. Download your copy here.

additional resources

about the Randstad Enterprise Talent Trends Report

The 2024 Talent Trends research is a survey of 1,076 C-suite and human capital leaders at global and regional organizations across 21 markets worldwide. It is our largest survey in the nine-year history of the Talent Trends Report and is designed to help our clients and the broader business community understand the top HR and talent acquisition trends for 2024. Conducted by a third party on behalf of Randstad Enterprise, survey panels are composed of business leaders who influence both strategic and operational decisions for their organizations. Online surveys were conducted via external panels during Q4 of 2023. Interviews were self-administered and could be taken across devices (including mobile phones, tablets, desktops and laptops).

Markets surveyed: Argentina, ​​Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Nordics, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, U.K. and United States.

about Randstad Enterprise

Randstad Enterprise is the leading global talent solutions provider, enabling companies to create sustainable business value and agility by keeping people at the heart of their organizations. As part of Randstad N.V. — a global talent leader with revenue of € 25.4 billion — we combine unmatched talent data and market insights with smart technologies and deep people expertise. Our integrated talent solutions — talent acquisition (RPO, MSP, services procurement/SOW and talent BPO) delivered through Randstad Sourceright, and talent development and transition (talent mobility, career coaching and outplacement) delivered through Randstad RiseSmart — help companies build a skilled and agile workforce that moves their business forward.

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James Warnette
director of External Communications and Social
Randstad Enterprise