The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

Four ‘Ones to Watch’ in 2016


It’s that time of the year when we struggle to fill the gloomy January days with visionary light.

So I’m thankful that Mark, Rachel, Chris and the folks at Recruitment Buzz have asked for my take on what will happen in 2016.

It’s got me thinking of what my own team at 52N team have seen, heard and helped deliver ‘out in the field’, over the past 12 months.

And one thing is certain: this is going to be ‘some’ year ….

The Candidate Finally Becomes Customer.

This cute little alliteration has been around since the last century. But I genuinely believe that most organisations now understand that ‘candidates’ present both an opportunity and a threat to profitability and growth. ‘Talent Strategies’ are now beginning to feature in Annual Reports.  Questions around ‘Employer Brand’ are being asked by investors at FTSE AGMs – and ADP’s new employer brand shows how a sustainable relationship can be built with both potential customers and talent. Talent pooling technologies mean that the ‘C’ in CRM can now be ‘Candidate’ as well as ‘Customer’. The transparent Candidate TripAdvisor that is Glassdoor couldn’t have come at a better time: The Candidate is now The Customer.

Video Shapes The Whole Recruitment Process.

Video is ‘old’. But more sophisticated hardware, more powerful software and greater broadband width means that video can take the lead and become ‘the recruitment medium’. And I really do mean ‘the medium’ – not just in attraction and initial screening, but even in the most prosaic corners of the process. What better way to convey a dry and probably meaningless Job Description, than through a video from the Line Manager, explaining in simple human terms what the job is, what the team is like and what the candidate can expect? 35 years after video supposedly killed radio, the time has come to take centre stage.

Consolidation and Disruption make comfortable bed-fellows.

Market consolidation, such as Capita’s inspired acquisition of 33 and Work Communications, will gather pace as RPOs, RMAs and HRMCs look to unleash their heavily accrued M&A war chests. As some mighty oaks look set to grow, most icebergs will continue to melt. Campaign RPOs ( will sit alongside – and probably deliver greater ROI than – established PSLs. ‘New & Now’ Generation systems and plug-ins such as Jobvite ( will enhance ineffective but entrenched recruitment technologies, as well as create game-changing standalone solutions. For the first time since inception, Job Boards will at last look to move their model. Unsettled by a growth plateau and diminishing stakeholder returns, as well as the aggregator challenge of Indeed, Job Boards will look to become employer branding vehicles or direct sourcing streams, as well as what they currently are (CV data warehouses). It’s going to be a year of changing shapes and new equations.

Talent Acquisition Becomes Talent Management.

This one is for 2016, 2017 and for a long time thereafter. Unthinking and wholesale adoption of the Ulrich model has led us into a right old mess. We all ‘know’ that the demographic time-bomb, effective de-skilling of our workplaces and failure of the UK education system has produced a deep, deep hole. ‘Candidate Market’, ‘Skills Crises’, ‘War for Talent’, call it what you will, but it’s not going to get better any time soon. And yet … with very few exceptions, HR as a function has not even begun to produce ‘the response’. After 25 years of talking to people about their work and enjoying a humbling and privileged access to some of the most extraordinary ‘people departments’ in the UK and beyond, it’s pretty clear to me that a large part of the answer is not in external recruitment. It’s in the ability to identify, nurture, develop and retain the talent you have – through intelligent workforce planning and a structured approach to talent management. There, said it.


Steve has over 25 years’ experience in recruitment marketing and employment communications. During that time he has won 36 CIPD and RAD Awards, for clients who include Accenture, Aviva, British Airways, Deloittes, IBM, Nestle, Oracle, Pepsico, PwC, RBS, Tesco and Xerox. As Global Executive Creative Director of Euro RSCG Riley (now Havas People) Steve built a 50+ team of creative, digital and brand planning professionals; whilst personally leading EVP projects on a national (B&Q), European (Airbus Industries) and Global (Pfizer R&D) level. As Founder and CEO of the Diversity & Inclusion Consultancy, ’Equality Law’, Steve has also worked with clients on a wide range of inclusion projects, including leading and managing the ground-breaking Inclusive EVP project for Rank Group plc.

Steve manages the team and works closely with client organisations to help create ’Heart, Mind & Soul’ engagement solutions, as Managing Partner and Employer Brand Leader of 52˚N.


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