As U.S. job growth picks up, the War for Talent is on – prompting employers to consider even more strategies to win over the best, according to Randstad’s report, “Six Workforce Trends That Will Dominate 2018.”

“The spread of technology and digital platforms across the enterprise is fundamentally changing the way companies and their employees work,” the authors write. “In 2018, business leaders will need to adapt and evolve alongside these changes, applying new tools and strategies to every phase of the employment lifecycle.”

Among the six workforce trends to prevail next year are several “age-old challenges,” as well as emerging trends among digital, artificial intelligence and “all things data.”

No. 1: Money still talks — and employers will finally start listening.

“Wage growth, while still rather anemic, will gain momentum in 2018 due to the intense hunt for talent,” says Jim Link, Randstad’s chief human resources officer. “Those wishing to hire will need to offer strong pay packages to attract the best talent.”

No. 2: The growing importance of flexibility in the attraction and selection process.

“There’s a misconception that, in order to attract the best candidate, you must limit your search to hiring a full-time, permanent employee,” says Graig Paglieri, president of Randstad Technologies and Engineering. “However, as we know from our Workplace 2025 study, more companies are expanding their use of agile talent to fill one-time temporary resources, seasonal staffing needs, or bringing in highly-specialized consultants to tackle critical enterprise initiatives. The fact is, many workers are seeking project or consultant-based work, with as much as 61 percent of the workforce choosing agile careers by 2019.”

No. 3: Upskilling will help solve the STEM skills gap.

“When you broaden the scope of STEM to look at specific skills, and not jobs, the true scale of the skills gap becomes even more evident,” Link says. “Upskilling your existing employees to address STEM skill deficiencies is beneficial on many levels. Tapping into your existing team means they already have knowledge and insight in to your organization and have proven their value to the company.”

No. 4: Automation will help humans — not replace them.

“Automation should be viewed as an enabler, not a detractor, for employees and organizations,” Link says. “In fact, automation will create opportunities for employees to be more effective and efficient in their current roles. If anything, automation will highlight the need for stronger STEM knowledge within the global workforce.”

No. 5: Advancements in technology will drive demand for soft skills.

Several industries, including health care, will rely even more on finding hires with the right blend of technical and soft skills.

“Hard skill sets are critical for healthcare jobs, but the soft skills are playing a bigger role as the industry adopts a value-based care system,” says Abigail Tremble, president of Randstad Healthcare. “The healthcare industry is becoming more of a service industry, particularly given the increase in patient access and choice. Given that, every job in the industry is a service job that requires a high level of interpersonal skills that make all the difference in the patient experience.”

No. 6: People and predictive analytics will move beyond HR-specific data.

“Historically, HR has been at the tail end of digital innovation. But as talent becomes a hot button issue for the C-suite and unemployment levels drop to record lows, HR leaders are now exploring where to invest in emerging technologies,” says Alan Stukalsky, Randstad’s chief digital officer. “These investments are moving beyond the traditional scope of reporting, engagement and retention. Now it’s more about how to build better teams, make more processes agile and using data to truly predict the output of cross-functional teams.”

The report concludes by emphasizing that it’s “imperative” to identify, study and apply the digital trends that stand to have the biggest impact and ROI.

“But no matter what changes come in 2018 and beyond, one thing will remain constant: HR is the link between talent and corporate profitability,” the authors write. “The competitive business landscape will be dominated by organizations making investments for talent attraction, upskilling and training, team-building, engagement and those who embrace an agile workforce model.”


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