18 November 2016 | By Nigel Heap Community

An agile approach

Agility is essential if we are to benefit from digital innovation, not only in the recruitment industry, but in all of the sectors recruiters serve

The digital skills revolution requires all of us to become more agile - as individuals, employers and indeed as recruiters. The jobs we have and the skills needed to do them are evolving at a rapid pace, and by resisting change individuals and companies risk falling behind in the productivity race.

For most industries digital is the overarching cause of this change, but this one word is a vast over-simplification of some fundamental changes to the world of work and skills. These changes may be most obvious in technical fields such as IT and engineering, but digital disruption is also high on the agenda for everyone from accountants to HR departments.

Changing skill sets

Across all sectors we recruit for at Hays we are seeing an immediate need for experts in new technology, and shifts in some of the core skills needed to harness the opportunities that technology brings. For example, while employers need data experts with the analytical skills to find the gems of insight in a mass of Big Data, they also need good communicators who can explain what this data means, and who have the commercial nous to discern profitable insight from background noise.

When recruiting today, our clients tell us they are not just looking for someone who knows their way around the latest technology. They want people with the innovative approach and creative foresight to identify its useful application for their organisation - people who can see past the latest buzzwords and short-lived trends to identify true innovation amid the noise and successfully execute it.

Enduring goals

This is exactly what we see in our own business – new technologies come and go but we remain focused on our overall business strategy. We look at how we can work with the new channels to deliver an engaged pool of candidates who meet our clients’ requirements. The rise of professional networking sites such as LinkedIn have been perceived by many as a potential threat to the recruitment industry, but by strategically embracing the opportunities offered by these platforms we have been able to find new and improved ways to engage with our customers. The fundamentals of recruitment have not changed, and the human element is still essential, but technology offers us new ways to more quickly and efficiently find the best person for the job.

In order to harness this new technology we’ve also found that it is critical to establish a deeply embedded culture of innovation. This takes time and investment, and needs to be led from the top down if it is to be successful. At a time when our fast-changing political and economic environment makes it essential for organisations to be able to adapt quickly to change, companies need to be able to foster an entrepreneurial culture, which drives innovation, in order to remain competitive.