That One Story You Didn’t Want To Read

If I told you what this story was about you wouldn’t click it

• Britain leads the world in hiring AI brains. But it is our universities – not our industries – that are snapping them up the fastest.

• Attract candidates by tapping into their personal aspirations. New data from Australia could give your insight a useful starting point.

Are businesses battling Brexit fatigue?

There is one news story which routinely performs worse than any other among our readership. If you had not guessed by now what that topic is, then it is – of course – Brexit.

Despite the scale of changes likely to affect our industry after Brexit, recruiters themselves seem turned off by the topic. But, as the deadline date approaches, is it still fine to just ‘sit it out’?

In Northern Ireland – the front line for border and tariff disputes – Brexit is beginning to affect business spending and planning. Last month, the Irish Times reported that growth and investment had hit a five year low. Survey data from InterTrade Ireland has found that businesses are adopting a “wait and see” approach before moving forward with their own objectives. With no promise that circumstances will improve after the deadline, this might not be the most constructive approach.

Meanwhile, across the whole of the United Kingdom, workforces are apparently battling to cope with the pressures of exiting the European Union.

A study by Automatic Data Processing (ADP) warned that Britain’s workers may be heading for a crisis.

The ADP Workforce View in Europe report measured optimism, stress and confidence in skills – across three years and 1,500 companies. It found a six per cent fall in optimism since 2015. Among young professionals, the figure was higher – at eight per cent.

Skills confidence has fallen along similar lines. Today, one in five UK workers do not believe they can succeed with their current skills. In 2015, just one in ten felt in a similarly precarious position – suggesting that doubt has doubled in the past three years.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, workplace stress is also on the rise. Today, 20 per cent of the workforce is stressed, compared to just 11 per cent three years ago – again, an almost doubling. The ADP report concluded that employers are not taking action to reverse the demoralisation of Britain’s workforce.

Which all creates a very negative picture. In fact, as doubt and uncertainty become the “new normal” for post-Brexit recruitment, maybe “Brexit fatigue” is the only rational response?

Universities lead in recruitment of artificial intelligence Brains

Artificial intelligence skills are among recruitment’s hottest properties right now – and the UK is a world leader in hiring. But a new report from suggests that it is education – and not industry – that is attracting most of the talent.

The online recruitment giant looked into its AI jobs listings for the past twelve months. It found that British universities accounted for four of the top six recruiters of artificial intelligence skills. Tech giants Amazon and IBM also featured among the top six places. But it was Imperial College London that proved itself the single largest recruiter of AI experts – netting 7.4% of recruits.

According to Indeed, the UK leads the world in AI hiring. Demand has trebled in the space of three years; while application rates have doubled.

Indeed Prime manager Shawn Bose commented that “the chance to develop transformative technology” was attracting top professionals to the UK. However, he concede that: “it’s striking how many AI jobs are being created by universities.” He said that, with AI technology in its infancy, academic researchers “are racing to discover its full potential”.

How to attract candidates in Australia?

Attracting the best candidates is a point of pride for every great recruiter. When your shortlists are filled with quality talent, your clients are delighted every time. But winning top candidates requires more than the best recruitment software and good networking skills. It needs a bit of market insight, too. Understand the aspirations of your candidates as individuals, and your outcomes improve. So what are today’s applicants looking for in a role? In Australia, it is flexibility and clear career progression that attracts the top talent.

Research for the Hays Salary Guide 2018 found that flexibility in working arrangements was top of the agenda. Aspirational Australians also saw career progression (72 per cent of respondents) as vital to any new role. More than half (59 per cent) felt that an opportunity to learn was vital for any placement to be appealing.

This contrasts with some of the stereotypical answers you might expect to score highly. Less than a third (28 per cent) of respondents would be attracted to a role because it was offering 20 days’ holiday or more. Just 15 per cent felt health cover and wellness programmes were a selling point for a job.

Why is flexible work so appealing to this generation of young, aspirational professionals? Perhaps because 70 per cent of respondents said they already enjoyed some degree of workplace flexibility. This would suggest that, once employees have had a taste of workplace freedom, they don’t want to lose it.