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| 3 minutes read

Preparing talent acquisition for the next hiring surge in EMEA

With the current state of the global economy and the drop in hiring numbers, it’s difficult to imagine that a hiring surge might be on its way. The LinkedIn Global talent trends report states that France has hired 17% less in 2023 than in 2022, with Germany at 18% less and Spain at 20% less. But recruitment is cyclical, and the uptick will come – not necessarily because of an improvement to the economy.  As we’ve seen in recent years, political, health, technological, and cultural factors can all play a part in demand for talent and roles.  

Whilst TA leaders may be used to fluctuations in talent demand, the scale of disruptions these days make hiring surges more and more difficult to deal with. 

Pressures building in the workforce

Younger workers want to work where they choose, in the way that suits them. Money isn’t always the driving factor behind who they want to work for, and they prefer to move jobs frequently. In contrast, economic uncertainty means some people further along in their careers are averse to moving to new employment for fear of putting their stability at risk. 

It means more choice for the mobile, and fewer candidates for the best jobs, a tension that’s building in the workforce. TA professionals need to be prepared to pivot and scale with speed against this backdrop. 

What can TA teams do to prepare?

Over the last few years, we’ve seen TA leaders navigating wild extremes. Some markets have swung from ‘no hiring’ to ‘accelerated hiring’ and back again.  During the last hiring surge, TA leaders hired recruiters however and wherever they could. Recruiters were at one point more sought after than software engineers, and we saw average salaries driven up. 

For many companies, a way of introducing stability has been to keep their in-house TA teams ‘topped up’ to a certain level in preparation for the next upswing. The lack of flex brings cost implication, and inconsistencies in process make it hard to scale TA models from there. 

So, what steps can TA take today? Here are some pointers.

Talent pooling and strategic talent sourcing

One solution is to start building a talent pool in advance of the next surge. It’s a discreet piece of work that you can outsource to a dedicated team, leaving your team to focus on business as usual.

Experience tells us that candidates who are being contacted early and engaged with are more likely to step into a role with that company when the time comes. So, if you know the skills you will need but you don’t know how many people you’ll have to hire, then finding the right people and keeping them warm and engaged with your brand makes sense.

Outsourcing and blended models

An additional approach is to build scalable resources into your team by outsourcing tasks you don’t need to hold on to in-house. Time-consuming but essential responsibilities like writing job ads, applicant screening, interview scheduling, candidate support and expense management can be passed to qualified professionals, giving your TA experts more time to dive into your business needs and be ready to accelerate when the time comes.

Checking your value proposition

Working on your employee value proposition ahead of time is another measure you can put in place. Look at the candidate experience before, during, and after recruitment, and consider the different needs of internal and external candidates. Think about how you communicate your organization’s values and culture to different target groups, and whether you come across as authentic and effective throughout the candidate journey through your hiring process. 

Workforce strategy and planning

Being close to your company strategy is essential, so that you understand the business challenges, as well as the skills you’re going to need. Concentrating on building up an effective bank of data on the skills within your business will be an enabler for both technological intervention and insight for you. There may also be work you can do to identify where else you might potentially find candidates: not just across sectors, but through looking closer and cross functionally at internal mobility, upskilling, location strategies and considering skills-based hiring. 

Working with a talent partner can help you build a blended and scalable model that will put you on the front foot when the surge happens and save you money in agency fees for direct external hires, in hiring manager time, and in retaining high numbers of recruiters in-house. Outsourcing is about providing talent teams with valuable quality outcomes, with scalability, and with flexibility to pivot and always be ready for what’s next.


candidate attraction, talent acquisition