9 Workforce Trends In 2024 And Their Impact On Recruitment

By Rachel Hill

February 26, 2024

As we begin 2024 it's good to touch base on the latest workforce trends and the impact these will have on your Recruitment Practices. As always Recruitment needs to stay flexible and vigilant as to what is happening in the marketplace. What is going to attract (or turn off) candidates and what are also the employee expectations in terms of on-the-job needs and wants, job roles, salaries, benefits or values etc, for what can be used as a retention tool.

As we in Recruitment and HR also know all too well, having the right talent in the right roles, with a good fit to the role and organisational culture will make or break an organisation. Having the right talent will seriously impact your ability to deliver services or impact your company’s bottom line if NFP or government, service or mission delivery.

The Latest Reports And Data

I’ve scoured the internet and found some of the latest reports and pulled these together in terms of trends and themes – and then tried to summarise what they will mean for HR, Culture and Recruitment teams in 2024. We will need to adapt to stay ahead of the competition.

I looked at several insightful articles about workplace trends from 2023 and early 2024 that will be impacting organisations in 2024 and beyond.

Workforce Trends

Gartner’s annual list of future work trends provided the biggest insights to navigate workplace transformation effectively. Key trends from their 9 Future of Work Trends for 2024

  1. The Cost of Work Crisis Reaches a Breaking Point
  2. AI Creates, Not Diminishes, Workforce Opportunity
  3. Four-Day Workweeks Go from Radical to Routine
  4. Employee Conflict Resolution Is the Next Must-Have Skill for Managers
  5. GenAI Experiments Will Yield Hard Lessons and Painful Costs
  6. Skills Overtake Degrees as the Paper Ceiling Crumbles
  7. Climate Change Protection Becomes the New In-Demand Employee Benefit
  8. DEI Doesn’t Disappear, It Becomes the Way We Work
  9. Career Stereotypes Collapse in the Face of Workforce Change

The Gartner report was written by Jordan Turner, based on the research by Emily Rose McRae, Gartner’s Senior Director Analyst, and published by Gartner on their website. The full report can be found here:

Identification Of 4 Key Themes:

1. Shifting EVP (Employee Value Proposition Needs)

  • Four-day workweeks go from radical to routine. A talent shortage is making it more difficult to attract and retain employees, and organisations are evaluating whether shifting toward a condensed workweek will meet growing employee expectations for flexibility.  In fact, 63% of candidates rated “four-day workweek” as the top future of work offering that would attract them to a job
  • The cost of work crisis reaches a breaking point. Employers are mandating remote employees return to the office, but after years at home, these employees now have a sharper awareness of what coming into the office costs. Many ask "Why return to the office?" Which will remain contentious
  • Climate change protection becomes the new must-have employee benefit.  Organisations will seize the opportunity to make their response and employee support plans more explicit and transparent

2. New Manager Skills & Necessities

  • Employee conflict resolution is the next must-have skill for managers. With upcoming USA elections, geopolitical crises, labour strikes, climate change and pushback to DEI efforts, the environment is ripe for differences of opinion. Managers need to manage, rather than silence, interpersonal conflict among employees
  • DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) doesn’t disappear; it becomes the way we work. There has been a growing sense of disillusionment with DEI efforts. Given the leadership commitment to these programs and initiatives, companies will begin to pivot from DEI existing solely in a silo to embedding it throughout the organisation

3. The Collapse Of Career (Qualification) Assumptions

  • Skills overtake degrees as the “paper ceiling” crumbles. College degrees are the top requirement listed in yesterday’s job descriptions. In response to the tight labour market and declining undergraduate graduation rates, organisations are shredding the “paper ceiling” Organisations are now welcoming workers with alternative credentials
  • Career stereotypes collapse in the face of workforce change. Atypical career paths are going mainstream with rising retirement ages, mid-career breaks, shifts across industries, and embracing contingent work and other nontraditional employment models. In light of this, past assumptions on skills and qualifications that underpin many organisation's career paths or hiring practices are now out of date

4: AI Reshaping Work

  • AI creates, not diminishes, workforce opportunity. Despite anxieties that AI will result in workforce cuts, Gartner foresees AI enhancing workforce opportunities
  • GenAI experiments will likely yield hard lessons and painful costs — at least without sufficient risk management. GenAI outputs are hardly error-free, creating a strong need for data governance, quality control and good employee judgment

So, The Impact For Recruitment Practices?

1.      Revisit Your EVP And Employer Branding Messages And Flexible Work Arrangements

Consider if you are being flexible enough on hours, days and or remote working. Four-day weeks are even more attractive to many candidates.

Hybrid work arrangements are likely to continue and be in demand, organisations will need to optimise their hybrid workplace offerings. Successful implementation of hybrid work requires well-thought-out strategies for communication, collaboration, and culture-building.

Values matter, and so do your culture and corporate responsibility statements or climate change messages and sustainability initiatives. Gen Z and beyond are actively seeking out organisations that make their actions explicit and transparent re climate change.

2. Soft Skills Of Leaders Become Even More Paramount In Hiring Practices

Do your new hires and internal leadership promotions can resolve conflict resolution in their teams? Do they have the soft skills to have difficult conversations? Consider building this into your leadership recruitment assessments or leadership training programs.

Many leaders of yesteryear may be technically brilliant but not so good in sticky conversations….

Are your hiring managers trained in Diversity and Inclusion? and how does this impact their current hiring practices, thinking, shortlisting, interviews etc? Are managers aware of their own unconscious bias? As we know, diversity is not only about hitting quotas but also are people recognising different skills, and having a broader view of “talent”. Are you new hires made welcome and allowed to bring their whole self to work? Think about inclusivity and cultural safety when they start on the job as well – as this will be key.

3. Collapse Of Paper-Based Qualifications

If degrees and paper-based qualifications count for less. Think of transferable skills when hiring, focus more on competence and behaviours, and be open to those changing industries. Interview against “lived experiences” not just qualifications. Again, you may need to train your hiring managers to re-consider “what talent looks like?” Do they need a degree? Can you hire from outside of the typical job role or a different industry, and then provide them with skills and training once on board? Think build versus buy.

Apprentice schemes, Traineeships and those wanting a career change will become more prominent in 2024 as employers need to be less “picky” on the qualifications and meeting “set selection criteria” and more open to and focus on an individual’s transferable skills and behaviours or their propensity to learn/pick up new skills.

4. AI Reshaping Recruitment Practices

Not only do we need to revisit many roles and the ways of working across all industries – with AI helping automate many tasks. What does this mean for Recruitment Processes? Are you using new AI in your ATS, job advertising campaigns, screen tools and assessments? Are your recruiters up to speed with the latest tools and technologies?

Candidate applications (cover letters and CVs) may become obsolete or will also change with AI. Does it matter? As long as candidates have the right skills and behaviours that you are looking for.

Once in the job will candidates have free reign on AI tools. Or be trained on how to use them. Just like social media policies, will we have rules around AI? I can see a whole new field of quality control or audit checking that “things” (documents, contracts, marketing materials, articles) are fact-checked and correct. Will employees know the errors? As Gartner says there will be a much stronger need for data governance, quality control and good employee judgment when using these tools.

Other Trends And Reports Worth Mentioning Include:

  • Worker stress remains high, especially in recruitment! So organisations need to manage this to maintain employee engagement and burnout
  • Maintaining a sense of connection to the organisation’s mission and purpose is crucial for employee loyalty and retention. How do we do this with remote and hybrid employees?
  • Trust in organisational leadership is recovering but remains relatively low
  • Managers need more support as are stressed themselves, given their role’s importance in employee engagement
  • Managing change effectively will also be a priority for organisations to combat change fatigue
  • The rising cost of living may impact retention and require a focus on employee well-being
  • Tapping into underrepresented groups will become essential for talent acquisition and diversity
  • Training and development programs must adapt to accommodate remote, hybrid, and non-remote workers

The above eight points from and with thanks and attribution to research and article by Matt Manners from here. Also Summarised and Sourced from articles published by Gallup which identified six workplace trends that leaders should watch in 2024, and 8 Key trends from Key Workplace Trends of 2024 Affecting Talent Development Written by John Hackston, and published in the Association for Talent Development.

In Summary

So, 2024 looks like it will be full of new challenges for Recruitment teams and HR. Maybe less of an evolution of the function but more the revolution in the way things are done! These trends or wants and needs of candidates and technologies have been coming for a couple of years now, but I can see an acceleration of pace in 2024. The need to adapt recruitment practices in a candidate-tight market will be paramount. The above will certainly have an impact on hiring manager skills and new ways of recruitment or more flexibility and openness to different ways of working/different candidate profiles created within organisations.

Where To Begin?

Work with me! If you would like some help, I'm always here and happy to have a free initial 30-minute chat about your recruitment strategy, Operations and TA modelling and AI tools.  Especially the use of AI tools in recruitment and or separately the need to train your hiring managers in Diversity and Inclusion. Please feel free to contact me at Rachel Hill.

Is your recruitment strategy in place? Just download the Recruitment Audit Compass and Model.