The View: a search for growth

Search for growth and productivity, and technology is never far away, says Neil Carberry, REC CEO.

We all start the year thinking about growth – and how our market is changing.

Sometimes that is about short-term trends in the economy. I’m sure there will have been a lot more on Brexit between me writing this and you reading it.

But it is equally important for us to think about the big, long-term changes that will affect our businesses and consider how we will react.

One such change is in how we use AI and machine learning.

Our data shows businesses are currently failing to hire the right person for two out of five roles. A poor hire at mid-manager level with a £42,000 salary can cost a business more than £132,000.

As recruiters, if we use technology well, we could help reduce these numbers by more accurately matching talent to the right jobs. And by being early adopters of technological change, we can add value for clients who aren’t as far ahead. As one of our REC Council members, Simon Conington of BPS World, rightly pointed out: “there is a proliferation of new, technology-driven solutions, but nothing is falling from the stack. Recruiters can help identify what works”.

Good use of technology can also help us to be more efficient in our operations. We can better visualise and review key data, and streamline processes. Firms can automate routine sourcing and screening. As a Life Sciences member recently said, AI may well be the new electricity!

For Max Knupfer of recruitment technology firm it’s down to how recruiters spend their time. While a recruiter should be spending most of it on value exchange conversations – where the consultant is adding value to a client or attracting a key candidate in person – only 5% of their time is available to do this because 95% of their time is spent on admin tasks, communications, data entry and searches.

Setting people free to do what they are best at could be a huge productivity boost for the industry – though it will also reshape businesses and career paths. In the future, best in class might look more like a top corporate law firm, where many are already using AI for document review.

As business leaders, our challenge is to think big and be bold. The technology to reshape our businesses to be more competitive and effective is emerging now. I would be interested to hear about your experiences – the REC is keen to support members to grow in this new world.

If you want to keep up to speed with all things recruitment then follow me on Twitter @RECNeil

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