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| 4 minutes read

Embracing the power of AI: A reflection on talent acquisition in APAC

As the Regional Managing Director of APAC for AMS, I have seen many of our clients across the region struggling to secure candidates with the required skill set. While it is widely acknowledged that recruiting talent is becoming increasingly difficult, research from The Josh Bersin Company confirms that this challenge will only intensify in the future.

To delve deeper into this emerging paradigm, AMS Singapore recently hosted a conversation with Bill Pelster, Co-founder of The Josh Bersin Company, where we discussed insights on the evolving talent and technology landscape, with a focus on the impact of AI.

Setting the stage, I cited insights from the latest PWC Global CEO Survey, which found that 63% of Asia Pacific CEOs lack confidence in their company‚Äôs long-term viability. Despite viewing recruitment as inefficient and transactional, prioritising candidate experience is crucial. Recognising the importance of effective recruitment and talent acquisition for enhancing performance highlights the imperative to refine these organisational processes.


Impact of AI on talent acquisition

During our discussion, we delved into the transformative potential of AI in unlocking individuals' potential beyond traditional limits. Bill highlighted a striking parallel: just as spreadsheet technology revolutionised data processing, AI has the power to revolutionise recruitment by freeing up recruiters from mundane tasks. This enables them to have more meaningful discussions with clients, focusing on tasks that leverage their strengths.

Bill also cautioned that in today's recruitment landscape, overlooking AI's potential or failing to adapt would inevitably result in trailing behind innovative competitors. There is a palpable shift towards prioritising interaction quality and experiences, recognising their profound impact on outcomes.

By utilising platforms that streamline processes like sourcing tools and appointment scheduling, recruiters can devote more time to crucial tasks such as assessing cultural fit and tailoring communication to individual preferences.


The rise of skill-based hiring

I took the opportunity to underscore the increasing focus on skill-based hiring, a trend that is reshaping traditional HR practices. Many organisations are now prioritising tasks based on required skills and capabilities rather than solely on job roles, reflecting a dynamic and evolving approach.

During our discussion, Bill shared an intriguing concept: 5-12-15. Research indicates that for every five skills known about an individual, approximately 12 more can be inferred, along with an additional 15 adjacent skills. This expands our understanding of individuals' capabilities, offering insights for internal mobility or strategic hiring decisions. It underscores the intricate depth of human potential, highlighting the importance for organisations to adopt a holistic view of skills and capabilities.


The rise of skills technology

The emergence of skills technology provides invaluable insights into current workforce skills and emerging trends. Bill highlighted organisations like White Castle, formerly MC Burning Glass, as exemplars of this approach. They meticulously tracked "Help Wanted" postings across the US, enabling them to discern shifting priorities and identify emerging skills crucial for strategic workforce planning.

He also emphasised platforms like SeekOut and Eightfold AI, which provide industry insights that empower strategic decision-making and keep organisations ahead of the curve. For example, the hotel industry's rapid adoption of social media underscores the need to explore new promotional channels. By understanding competitors' strategies, such as Four Seasons' customer-centric approaches, organisations can enhance talent acquisition and business planning, securing their competitive advantage.

In essence, these evolving technologies provide valuable insights into the changing job and skills landscape, enabling organisations to drive innovation and maintain competitiveness in dynamic markets.


The role of TA

In today's competitive job market, where opportunities outnumber available talent, our clients are increasingly prioritising efficient talent identification and recruitment. This focus aims to enhance current business operations and anticipate future needs. With mounting productivity pressures, our clients face an urgent need to fill roles promptly. Regardless of the recruitment methods employed, the primary goal remains to swiftly secure suitable candidates, whether through internal hires, temporary placements, or project-based assignments.

Bill highlighted a notable transformation in today's post-industrial era: a shift away from traditional job titles towards placing greater importance on skills. Consequently, swiftly identifying the necessary skill sets to meet evolving organisational needs is crucial. For further insights, I recommend exploring the Talent Climate Series, a collaborative effort between AMS and The Josh Bersin Company.


Ethical dilemmas in using AI

Despite the progress made in AI, ethical concerns continue to be a pressing issue. During the event, one participant highlighted concerns regarding resume fraud, emphasising the necessity of human oversight in final verification and decision-making processes.

TA leaders also expressed concern about the influx of AI-enhanced resumes, making it challenging to identify exceptional candidates, especially in large-scale recruitment drives targeting early-career candidates. To address this challenge, Bill recommended that recruiters gather insights beyond resumes through direct interactions, observations, and testimonials. This holistic approach would enrich evaluations and reduce reliance solely on written credentials.

Additionally, Bill discussed the geographical differences in regulatory attitudes towards AI from a macro-regulatory perspective. Europe leans towards imposing stringent barriers. In contrast, the US takes a more balanced approach, promoting innovation while regulating responsibly. Meanwhile, Asia's relatively open stance offers opportunities for swift AI advancement.


The future

Looking ahead, organisations must prioritise agility and leverage internal skills to remain competitive. This involves reevaluating leadership paradigms and implementing systemic adaptations within HR functions to adapt effectively to these evolving demands.

To navigate this tough talent market successfully, companies must adapt and innovate. This includes integrating skills-based approaches and internal mobility into their hiring processes, optimising their tech stack, outsourcing where necessary, and empowering recruiters to act as strategic advisers.

Despite the daunting challenges of talent acquisition in APAC, all event participants reached a consensus: embracing AI and prioritising a skill-centric approach present promising paths to success. As leaders, it is imperative that we seize these opportunities to drive innovation and maintain competitiveness in dynamic markets.