The Future of Talent Acquisition & The Talent Acquisition Leader

The rapid pace of technological advancement is transforming talent acquisition and the entire HR & TA landscape.

Discover how Talent Acquisition leaders can adapt to structure their function for success and carve out an influential role at the highest level. 


Adapting to the Pace of Change

In today’s environment, the skills and roles businesses need to succeed are constantly changing. While the TA team of the past could rely on a clear hierarchical structure and stable roles, the picture today looks very different.

The digitisation of work has touched every sector and department, increasing the need for highly skilled data analysts, developers, and communicators. This demand shows no signs of stopping, and while the rise of AI is threatening some roles, it is also creating new ones, including a new requirement for those who understand the inner workings of the technology and those who can use it effectively.

Meanwhile, technological advances and the push to remote work during the pandemic have removed the geographical barriers to work for many roles. While this has the advantage of broadening the pool of available talent, it also presents the operational challenge of effectively managing and engaging remote workers.

The combination of economic instability and the pace of technological change has resulted in a significant restructuring of the job market, as the skills employers are looking for shift dramatically. Competition for the right talent is fierce, so the pressures TA teams face to attract and retain are increasing.

TA leaders have a new strategic role: shaping their people strategy to attract talent and ensuring that their employer brand helps rather than hinders.

Are you ready for the challenge?

73% of recruiters say hiring based on skills is a priority.

The Future of Recruiting 2024, LinkedIn

Changing Business Needs

While the role of TA professionals was previously driven by transactional, operational tasks, the scope has grown increasingly complex. Organisations need a TA function that works strategically to keep pace with changing needs and gives the organisation a competitive advantage to attract the best people.

This includes adapting to new technology, optimising the candidate experience, embedding diversity and inclusion in the TA process, and using data to guide individual offers and the overall talent acquisition strategy.

Skills-based hiring

The pace of technological progress is challenging the traditional credential-based approach to recruitment. Organisations need help to keep their people up to speed. So many are shifting the focus to skills and core competencies to bridge the skills gap and identify those who have the means to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing environment.

A skills-based approach also has the benefit of opening the door to a diverse range of talent by removing the need for a traditional educational background. Platforms such as MeVitae and Applied provide options to reduce bias in the recruitment process by anonymising CVs and shifting the focus to interview-style questions to test skills at the outset. Reports suggest this pivot to skills-based hiring can increase the talent pool by a factor of 10.

The focus on skills is mirrored across organisations, with skills mapping programmes to identify potential gaps and internal moves.

Pivoting to skills-based hiring can increase the talent pool by a factor of 10.

Source: LinkedIn

AI and the human connection

Much has been said of the impact of new technology on talent acquisition, with automation saving time and the potential use cases for AI only just being discovered. Research shows AI supports hiring in one in four businesses, and in operations with over 5,000 employees, this increases to 42%.

Use cases include the creation of job adverts, screening and shortlisting tools, creating dynamic job offers based on publicly available information, and automated candidate communication. We discuss the pros and cons of each use case in our guide to The Role of AI in Talent Acquisition.

The main benefit of this technology is that it frees up time for human interactions that AI can not replicate. This plays out in time spent building relationships through meaningful time with candidates and in time invested in collaboration and improved communication across the business. It can also allow TA leaders to take a more strategic role, operating as advisors on people strategy, which leads us to the next area.

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Data-driven insight

TA professionals can offer valuable insight into how the business is viewed externally, particularly in regard to how it is seen as an employer. These first-hand interactions are particularly powerful when backed by the data offered by Talent Intelligence, helping you create a strong case for changing policies and making decisions which impact TA. 

On a more granular level, talent intelligence can be used to benchmark the offer for individual roles. Our salary benchmarking service takes a holistic approach, evaluating total reward alongside the scope of similar roles and uses a mix of primary and secondary research to give you a comprehensive picture of the market. 

Promoting Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion remain major business priorities, with the benefits evident in business outcomes. The requirement for transparency on diversity is set to increase. The talent acquisition function is pivotal in ensuring that recruitment practices are fair and equitable and that every effort is made to remove bias from the process.

This includes using blind or anonymised CVs, using inclusive language in job adverts, implementing skills-based hiring, reviewing how and where roles are advertised and removing requirements for degrees where they are not a necessity for the job at hand. For more on this topic, download our guide to Diversity and Inclusion

Candidate Experience

With high competition for talent, the candidate experience is crucial to securing the best hire. From the advertisement and application process to the interview, communication and feedback, employers must be mindful that they are also being assessed.

Research shows that candidate abandonment rates can be as high as 65% with the main reasons including poor communication, a mismatch in expectations and values and a drawn-out process. This can include complex or repetitive application processes, screenings or tests that take an unreasonable amount of time to complete, differences in salary expectations, last-minute or repeated rescheduling of interviews, long waits between stages, offers taking too long to materialise and a dislike of the culture shown through the interview process.

TA leaders should look to implement a candidate feedback loop to evaluate the process, identify areas of improvement, and ensure they value the candidate's time and effort throughout the journey.

  • Are candidates kept up to date with consistent communication?
  • Are they made aware of the steps in the hiring process?
  • Are candidates aware of the salary range for the role when applying?
  • Do you provide feedback on assessments, even when a candidate is not successful in reaching the next phase?
  • How long does it take to issue written confirmation of interviews and offers?
77 percent of global workers feel a company’s values and purpose (including sustainability, diversity, and transparency) are important when selecting an employer
72 percent of candidates say the smoothness of an interview process would affect their final decision on whether or not to take the job
92 percent of candidates who click apply don’t go on to complete the application

The Employer Brand

While HR teams are focused on improving the Employee Experience, TA teams are dialled into the employer brand and Employee Value Proposition (EVP). A well-crafted employer brand outlines your purpose, values, and what you offer to employees in several key areas. These include career path, flexibility, compensation, working environment, culture, and community. We dive into the details of each area in our guide to The Employee Value Proposition. Crucially, the claims made here must align with what is delivered to employees, or this may cause issues with retention and damage the employer's reputation. 

65% of candidates report they have withdrawn from a hiring process due to an unattractive Employee Value Proposition.


The TA role traditionally ends at the point of offer, but this can lead to a communication gap that has the potential to increase post-offer dropouts. In the gap between offer acceptance and the all-important first day, the TA team can help smooth the transition from candidate to employee by making introductions, ensuring all relevant checks and documents are underway, and providing a consistent point of contact to keep the new hire engaged in the lead-up to day one. 

AI and Automation

The impact of AI and automation on businesses is only beginning to be understood, and the skills gap is widening. Only a small subset of workers have the skills and expertise needed to utilise these innovations fully. 62% of full-time employees believe they don’t have the skills to effectively and safely use generative AI, and almost half of leaders anticipate skill gaps as their workforce adopts AI.

Although concerning, this provides leaders with a huge opportunity to guide organisations through the transition. Helping leaders build a picture of how the organisation can benefit from the technology, defining the skills and capabilities needed to succeed and creating a strategy to acquire or upskill talent accordingly.

Our guide, The Role of AI in Talent Acquisition, explores the recruitment use case in detail, recommending organisations adopt a cautious approach to implementing automated screening processes. While blind CVs and skills-based testing can encourage diversity, there are many instances where the technology has inherited bias from the data it is trained on. AI is not yet advanced enough to identify the potential of an applicant who has taken a non-traditional route, so using AI without oversight can inadvertently narrow the talent pool.

Of course, there are many time-saving use cases beyond screening, from scheduling interviews and providing reports to surveys and automated updates. Leaders should ensure that time is reinvested into the human connection and that this element is preserved in the surge towards greater efficiencies. This entails more face-to-face engagement, whether in person or via video link, to build better relationships and a more rounded view of the candidate and provide more opportunities for feedback throughout the process.

TA leaders should also note that they are not the only ones with access to AI. Candidates also use this technology to help them through the application process, from writing cover letters to answering skills questions. The issue is so prevalent that some employers are asking candidates to confirm they are not using AI tools in their application and highlighting that they risk being removed from the process if it is suspected they have.

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The Talent Acquisition Leader of the Future

As the role of the TA leaders evolves, so must the characteristics of the TA leader. Here are the elements that take today’s TA leader from a support function to a leading voice in shaping the business's future.

Represents the people strategy at the highest levels

Ensures that decisions that impact talent acquisition can be informed and challenged where necessary.

Champions the company's purpose and values and leads the process of defining them where they don’t exist or aren’t fit for purpose.

Employees are looking for more than just a job; they want an organisation that shares their values and gives them a strong sense of purpose. What may have once been a footnote is now a cornerstone of the talent attraction strategy employers must take seriously, from communication to upholding the values across the organisation.

Values and solicits candidate feedback

Provides candidates with multiple opportunities to give feedback on their experience of the recruitment process, from the point of application to the first day.

Leans on data and insight

They measure the acquisition pipeline from awareness to applications to qualified candidates, listen to and respond to candidate feedback, and use talent intelligence to benchmark roles and guide strategic decisions.

Focuses on the quality of hire

Valuing long-term impact on the organisation over short-term seat filling.

Champions change

They can inspire and showcase what is possible, bring people along, and shift mindsets from the executive team to the frontline. They create a culture of continuous improvement and embrace new technology.

Bridges the gap between TA & HR

Works collaboratively with HR colleagues to transition new hires into the business and develop an employer brand and EVP that is true to the employee experience. 

The Best Approach For Your Business:

If you’re looking to shape a talent acquisition team fit for the future, we can provide the data and insights to help you choose the right path.

We can uncover a wealth of information and insight to guide your journey and assist with your Talent Acquisition needs by providing access to:

  • Employee insights, understanding how they perceive your offer and what they value most
  • Competitor insights, such as benchmarking and hiring activity
  • Candidate motivations to understand whether your offering meets their needs, values and preferences
  • Employer brand perception externally
  • Labour market insights, employment statistics and salaries
  • Best practice, helping you understand the strategies of other businesses, either competitors or market leaders
  • Location insights to guide decisions about relocations, new offices or facilities or switching to remote or hybrid working models


  • Talent Mapping services to help you understand the available talent for specific role families.
  • Proactive Talent Searches for specific roles
  • Longer-term Talent Pipelining to prepare for future growth

We work in partnership with our clients to ensure that we uncover the insights you need, but our extensive experience means we can also guide you about the key metrics that will have an impact internally. We use a mix of primary and secondary data to ensure our insights are robust and reliable.