This is the most recent question put to me by the BB team, and it is a big one!
I have been in the industry for >20 years now, although it doesn’t feel like it, and things have clearly changed a lot in that time.
Some areas are unrecognisable from when I started, particularly the increase in recruitment technology that we now have access to as an industry. I don’t suppose we discussed our tech stack in 2000 although in my first 3 months, our clients were obsessed with Y2K (there’s one for Google or Siri!). Other elements of the role are very similar and are often a theme in my blogs – we are still a people industry, people are the most important asset to all organisations and therefore relationships are absolutely key. Our customers often engage through technology and use it as part of any recruitment process but ultimately still want personal interaction and contact – most people still want to meet their employer, feel the culture and experience the environment they will be a part of.
So how might things be different in the 2030s?
Clearly, technology is here to stay and will continue to play a really important role in the industry. The amount of channels we now operate through has ironically made the consultant less productive and often too fixed to the screen. With our customers being in multiple different digital spaces it can make the landscape actually quite difficult to manoeuvre through. A consultant might use 8+ channels to reach a candidate for every role, this is completely different to methods used previously where there might only be 1 or 2.
Automation will start to play a bigger part in the sector to help with this productivity challenge. Whilst many elements of the tech stack provide some form of automation and AI, none so far have truly solved the problems faced, but they will.
Many industries fear the growth of AI and we often read that the role of recruiters is highlighted as one that will disappear because of it. For me, this doesn’t have to be the case, if our industry uses it in the right way it will significantly increase our productivity and create time that can be utilised to invest in relationships and provide the consultancy that our customers still want. We need to embrace this challenge and lead the evolution rather than fearing it.
Technological advancements have been massive in the last 20 years and the industry has embraced them and continues to provide the value our customers want and need. We have not been replaced by technology because we have used it in the right way to be an enabler. The next ten years will be the same, new technology, changes in the landscape, and a return to better productivity, but what will remain is the need to keep it a people industry and relationships will always be key. People will always be the most important asset to an organisation.
It will be an exciting time as we evolve and embrace the future just like we have embraced the challenges of the past.