We started NU Creative Talent ten years ago. Like all the best unions, ours began in a dimly-lit basement in a flurry of excitement and naivety about what we were getting into.

So here we are, a decade older and just a little wiser, with 10 changes we’ve noticed in the recruitment industry over the last 10 years.

1. OK Boomer

In 2020, over 50% of the UK workforce is made up of Millennials and Gen-Zs, and successive generations bring new ways of working, expectations and communication preferences…some of which are covered below.

2. Digital

10 years ago, social media was a relatively new tool we were still mainly using recreationally rather than professionally. Over the years, however, social and digital developments have transformed our industry. Facebook, Google Jobs and the ever-dominant Linkedin have shifted the focus away from jobs boards for candidate acquisition, and reliance on programmatic advertising has changed the way we attract candidates in the first place.

3. Communication

It’s easier than ever to leapfrog a good old-fashioned call and lean on social, email, text etc. This has led to an ‘always-on’ culture where people can be in constant communication, no matter what time of day it is. But progress has arguable made recruitment trickier and encouraged a culture of ‘ghosting’, where people simply cut off communication when they are no longer invested in a connection. And, yes, recruiters get ghosted as frequently as dates do…but we don’t do rebounds.

4. Employer branding

It has been with us for many years, but employer branding has never felt as pivotal as it does now. For some companies, ensuring their brand is attractive to both prospective and existing employees is more important than ever; to others, it’s an afterthought. But it’s the companies who don’t prioritise their brand that ultimately lose out when recruiting. There’s no point plastering four overused values on the About page unless they’re ones the company live by. Candidates now expect to be able to find out about the culture they’re joining (hello, Glassdoor), and employees want to feel proud of the company they work for. And, during the hiring process, nothing dents employer brand faster than a negative candidate experience, so it’s essential that companies exhibit their true values from the moment their next potential employee applies.

5. Job-hopping

People change jobs more frequently now than their parents or grandparents did. 10 years ago, a CV filled with roles was a turn-off; today, it’s something that’s accepted and expected. Savvy hiring managers now sometimes factor in the shelf-life of particular roles and look at their replacement pipeline even before their employees resign.

6. Work benefits

Salary is no longer king for many candidates in our sectors. Benefits are more important than ever, but the main determiner when deciding whether to accept a role is often cultural fit. They sense it in their gut, and it’s rare that an extra grand or so makes the difference when candidates don’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling too.

7. Flex working

Talking of benefits, flexible working is the biggest change in candidate expectations that we’ve seen in the last 10 years. Whether it’s working from home, late starts and early finishes to take care of the kids, or just being trusted without having to spend every minute in the office, candidates care more than ever before about how, when and where they can work. The more confidently companies promote their flex work culture, the more attractive they are to candidates…regardless of whether or not they are parents.

8. New tech, new roles

Technology has advanced at such a rate that we have roles that didn’t even exist 10 years ago. And, of course, many other roles are now obsolete. In addition, recruitment has benefited hugely from tech, whether it’s evermore sophisticated (though somehow never flawless) application processes and CRMs, video, or the time-saving rise of automation.

9. Diversity

We’re not saying that diversity and inclusion wasn’t a concern 10 years ago, it just wasn’t as much of a priority when it came to hiring (though we’ve been diverse by nature from day one…). These days, D & I is one of the most important considerations during the recruitment process. No-one should be afraid to showcase who they are, and companies that embrace and take pride in diversity often rank as the best employers to work for.

10. Internal recruitment teams

Ten years ago, a recruiter’s main point of contact tended to either be someone in HR or the hiring manager. That changed a while ago, and now most companies over a certain size have talent acquisition teams or, at least, one person dedicated to their internal recruitment needs. The increase in focus on these internal teams is more than a cost-saving exercise; it shows that over the years recruitment has been taken more seriously by companies who can now benefit from dedicated support whilst also improving their employer brand. This shift hasn’t been too bad for recruitment agencies overall; of course some internal recruiters don’t need or want to work with agencies (which is odd, as we’re lovely), but in our experience the best talent acquisition teams actually strengthen working relationships, ensure robust processes (leading to candidate happiness) and understand exactly when and if an external agency can help them.

Our memories aren’t as sharp as they were 10 years ago. So remind us: what else has shifted significantly in recruitment over the last few years?

Here’s to the next 10!

Dan & Subhan