The Scoop: Recruitment Trends & Industry Insights | May 2021

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Here is your May guide to the latest trends impacting the world of work. Every month, we provide perspective on the biggest news affecting the industry and explain what to expect as new trends continue to emerge.

In a Free Market Living Wage Will Drive the End of the Labor Shortage

While there are a host of reasons for the current talent drought – including safety, childcare and vaccination rates – there has also been speculation about the extent to which the current pandemic unemployment benefits disincentivize unemployed Americans to reenter the workforce. The thinking there is that the current increase in benefits exceed the wage rate many manual labor employees would otherwise earn. 

The current administration’s push to increase the standard minimum hourly rate to $15 an hour across the nation has been met with push back. Proponents cite the lag in cost-of-living increases over the year to keep up with inflation. Opponents cite the financial strain on businesses and the additional cost burden on consumers. 

Twenty-five states have planned an increase in minimum wage in 2021, with only Washington D.C. hitting $15 an hour mark. This debate is visible enough that the majority of Americans are aware and 62% support the increased wage for hourly workers. 

Public awareness and conversation about minimum wage may also factor into job seeker calculations about when to return to the workforce and may be a driver of higher salary expectations. Hourly workers are weighing the opportunity costs of holding out for better conditions.

Read more: [Pew Research]

In this climate, big business is stepping in where the government is slower to move. More employers, from food service to finance, have announced an increase to their minimum wage. This month, Chipotle and McDonald’s announced an increase to $15 an hour minimum wage and Bank of America announced a minimum hourly wage of $25 an hour by 2025, up from $20 instituted last March.

However, economists suggest job seekers holding out for higher wages may miss the window. As a growing number of governors are ending the additional unemployment benefits and the supply-demand of the labor market evens out, there will be a decline of companies positioning salary as an incentive.

Read more: [VOA News]

Improving the Candidate Experience Could Require Lifting the Curtain on AI-Driven Decisions

You may have seen one of the many articles that equate dating with job hunting. Let’s assume that parallel holds true; new research examining the impact of AI algorithms on decision making in the realm of politics and dating align with how employers promote, and candidates evaluate, job opportunities. 

The experiment presented candidates (political and dating) and boosted some over others by suggesting higher compatibility or increasing the number of times certain candidates were presented over others in the set. Results show that participants were influenced differently depending on the type of decision. 

The researchers speculate these results might reflect people’s preference for human explicit advice when it comes to subjective matters such as dating, while people might prefer algorithmic advice on rational political decisions.

Applied to recruitment marketing, this could look like testing to understand if job seekers are influenced to apply based on perceived match or fit using a Job Matching function in a CRM tool, for example. And frequency is more similar to the basic tenet of advertising – seeing an ad multiple times before taking an action – which can be accomplished with programmatic media. As we make our way out of the pandemic and deal with the new challenge of the current limited pool of active job seekers, algorithmic influences on the candidate decision process may become more common. 

But it is a double edged sword; coming at the time when there is greater focus on equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI) and enhanced public education around automation bias – the risk of defaulting to the judgement of AI. 

Read more: [SciTechDaily]

While societal trust in institutions has waned in the current climate, trust in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to be smarter than human instincts or intuition hasn’t abated. The ability to consume more information (data) from which to make decisions, engenders greater confidence in algorithmic guidance…even about ourselves. 

Efforts aimed at reducing the blind-reliance on algorithmic decisions focuses on actively introducing more distrust into systems. If we think about it similar to any other type of learning (conditioning), it will require understanding the point at which the end-user has experienced the expected outcome and decides to trust the system entirely going forward. At that point, a pause is interjected to break the trust pattern. Another attempt at remediation relies on explainable AI, informing the end-user of why the decision is made and some uncertainties inherent to the decision-making process.

A correlation to recruitment would be providing job seekers with a job match score, with information about how the algorithm arrived at the match and possibly additional information that might improve the prediction. Reducing bias may require having more trust in humans to participate in processes that impact their decisions.    

Read more: [MIT Technology Review]

Entering the Job Market during a Pandemic Recession, College Graduates Look to TikTok for Guidance

This time last year, hopes were high that the graduating class of 2021 would not befall the same fate as the class of 2020. The latter spent the spring semester attending school remotely, successfully matriculated only to enter a stalled labor market. 

As we approach graduation season, not fully clear of the pandemic and with the economy not yet fully revived, it is clear that Gen Z college graduates are navigating a job market unlike what had been experienced during past recessions. 

Read more: [Pew Research]

While unemployment is still high, this recession has impacted some occupations harder than others. The need for knowledge workers with in-demand skills, in areas such as tech, has not subsided. To meet this workforce need, employers must attract recent college graduates. Reconfiguring their approach to account for fewer campus visits and reimagining how to communicate the value-add of company culture as remote is reshaping what that looks like.   

While Instagram and Snapchat currently have more users, employers looking to engage with Gen Z should consider TikTok. Driven in part by dance challenges and a need for a creative outlet, TikTok saw a growth of 180% among Gen Z users after the pandemic broke out. 

The popularity of the platform goes beyond entertainment for this audience. For Gen Z, TikTok is a place to discuss politics, societal issues of importance and even provide career advice, resume reviews and interview tips. 

From career coaching to how-to videos using the hashtag #careeradvice (which grew to more than 80 million video views a day by mid-February 2021), the platform has become a support network for young job seekers. 

Read More: [Washington Post]

Recognizing the value of career support for its users, TikTok is moving into the recruitment tech market. The company is currently beta testing a new space – linked to from the platform, but not built into it – for job listings. The new section will also include video resume functionality and allow users to link their resume to their profiles on the main platform. 

Read more: [Axios]


  • In case you missed it: Basecamp, a company known for writing the book on company culture (literally), recently decided to pivot 180 degrees away from most other companies who are enhancing Inclusion, Belonging and Wellbeing policies and practices. In response, many of their employees quit. What remains to be seen is if this is a one-off or if more employers will start to eschew stronger DEI efforts in favor of just focusing on the business.
    Read more: [The Verge]
  • Last year, Coinbase made a similar decision to “just focus on the work” eschewing the types of policies and practices that are lauded today in support of a workplace where everyone feels free to be themselves. However, the company is focused on policies that drive equity; recently announcing that it would do away with salary negotiations and instead normalize a standard salary for each role reducing the initial variance that often results in women making less than their male counterparts.
    Read more: [Business Insider]

About Jahkedda Akbar Mitchell

Jahkedda has many years of experience providing strategic guidance, data, and insights on job-seeker trends in support of Radancy and its clients. She has also worked in-house on the candidate attraction team for a large fortune 500 company. Jahkedda has a passion for psychology and storytelling; understanding why we do what we do and how to change behaviors...only using her powers for good. Jahkedda is a member of Radancy Labs: a design thinking focused innovation lab.

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