IrishJobs Reveals Top Five Industry Predictions for 2024

Sam Dooley, Country Director of The Stepstone Group for Ireland, with responsibility for IrishJobs, has revealed his top five industry predictions for 2024. The experienced recruitment leader is forecasting that new developments in AI and automation will have a significant impact on the recruitment landscape over the coming year.

Despite a softening in the labour market over the past few months the competition for talent is set to continue into 2024. Recent data from IrishJobs showed high levels of demand over the past twelve months for professionals in sectors including construction, engineering, and healthcare.

Revealing his industry predictions for 2024, Sam Dooley, Ireland Country Director of the Stepstone Group with responsibility for IrishJobs, commented, “With 2024 on the horizon, Irish businesses will continue to face challenges in a tight labour market and skills shortages prevailing across a number of sectors.

“To support organisations across Ireland navigate a recruitment landscape that is being transformed by technology, we’re outlining our five predictions that we expect will shape talent strategies by businesses over the next 12 months as the focus remains on attracting and retaining talent.

“Like all sectors technology is playing a huge role in how we recruit talent.  Employers need to embrace this and be proactive in adapting to innovation and a changing labour market. With skills shortages across a number of sectors, taking a skills-focused approach to hiring can support more employers secure talent in the months ahead. AI and automation will also play a more significant role in recruitment. Harnessing AI tools can help increase the efficiency of existing recruitment processes for many businesses and I look forward to seeing how this technology evolves and responds to sector needs in the coming year.

“By looking forward and identifying key recruitment trends, The StepStone group wants to help both talent and companies across Ireland to better connect and prepare for the changes that will shape the jobs market in Ireland in 2024.”

Top Five Industry Predictions for 2024:

Prediction 1: AI and automation to increase recruiter efficiency

2024 is likely to be a pivotal year for the adoption of AI and automation technologies in recruitment. These technologies can play an important role in automating administrative aspects of the recruitment process, freeing up recruiters to focus on more strategic work. Research by The Stepstone Group shows that 63% of recruiters who have adopted automation report increased efficiencies, with common tasks automated including screening application documents and scheduling interviews. With many HR departments under pressure to manage recruitment in a highly competitive labour market, early adopters of AI in recruitment are likely to see significant productivity gains in the months ahead.

Prediction 2: AI to transform candidate recruitment process   

The impact of AI is not only limited to tools used by employers in recruitment. Many job candidates are already using large language tools, like ChatGPT, to craft cover letters, conduct research and prepare for job interviews. For that reason, a shift in emphasis away from traditional elements of the recruitment process such as cover letters or take-home assignments where AI can augment performance is necessary. Many recruiters and employers will likely put an increased focus on human led evaluation, in the form of personal meetings or structured interviews, to get a more accurate sense of candidate performance earlier in the process.

Prediction 3: Importance of skills-based hiring will accelerate

This year, some major US companies including IBM and Accenture looked to reduce degree requirements, marking a significant departure from the conventional hiring paradigm. Employers have traditionally relied on criteria such as education or years of experience to indicate whether a candidate can perform a job. Skills-based hiring aims to look beyond those traditional markers and screen for specific competencies, focusing on the skills that are applicable to the role.

Research from global consultancy firm McKinsey has indicated that hiring for skills is five times more predictive of job performance than hiring for education and more than two times more predictive than hiring for work experience. With ongoing challenges in competing for talent, a skills-focused approach can better enable employers in Ireland to secure suitable candidates for roles. This approach also enhances employer attractiveness, as candidates are more inclined towards opportunities that offer ongoing career development and employability.

Prediction 4: Employee experience to continue rise in Irish employer agenda    

With businesses across Ireland facing a highly competitive labour market into 2024, the importance of employee experience in attracting and retaining potential talent is set to continue. Employers are increasingly taking a holistic approach to the journey of their people within the organisation, from recruitment and onboarding to professional development – recognising that a healthy workplace contributes to employee well-being.

Research from Universum shows that 78% of HR leaders believe employer branding is critical to remaining competitive in a period of slowing growth. Given the importance of employee advocacy in building and reinforcing employer brand, businesses are focusing on talent strategies that foster a more engaged, healthy, and resilient workforce.

Prediction 5: Increased focus on supporting age diverse workforce

With increased life expectancy, Ireland’s labour force is getting older. According to the ERSI, the proportion of the workforce aged 55 and over doubled across the two previous decades to 2018 and continues to rise. Recognizing this, HR professionals in Ireland are placing an increased emphasis on fostering an age-friendly work environment. The advent of new and emerging technologies like AI means that an increased focus on upskilling and lifelong learning will be important to provide employees with the digital skills to thrive in a changing workplace.

Employers are also beginning to understand the importance of enhancing cohesion within multigenerational teams to support better collaboration and success. Encouraging managers to articulate a shared objective in teams and emphasize the importance of diverse expertise and experience will play a key role in preparing for these changes.