Here at Tradewind, we like to kick off the New Year with the top recruitment trends we expect to see for the social services industry. In 2023, we predicted a focus on candidate respect and acknowledged the exponential increase in demand for social services jobs.
As you’ll see from this year’s list, the market is still going just as strong but there may be a few twists and turns ahead as AI and automation firm their grip on recruitment processes and new workers enter the market.
Here are the top recruitment trends we expect to see in 2024 for the social services industry.
The Role of AI and Automation
The year 2023 marked a significant turning point for the recruitment industry as AI, epitomised by the unprecedented success of ChatGPT, took center stage. AI seamlessly integrated into various facets of the recruitment process, transforming the dynamics between recruiters and hiring managers. This technological evolution empowered Hiring Managers to effortlessly compose candidate emails, generate compelling job descriptions and ads, coordinate interview schedules, and efficiently shortlist candidates.
On the flip side, candidates harnessed the power of AI to refine their cover letters and resumes, with some cautiously navigating ethical boundaries by seeking assistance with technical tasks. Fortunately, within the social work industry, the prevalence of such practices was relatively lower due to the industry's inherent emphasis on soft skills.
As we stride into 2024, there is no indication that this AI-driven trend will slow down. However, both recruiters and candidates are expected to become increasingly astute about the role of AI in the recruitment landscape. This heightened awareness may manifest through the establishment and communication of standards between the two parties before embarking on a recruitment journey. Furthermore, there exists a prime opportunity to showcase the tangible benefits of AI in recruitment, including the mitigation of biases, enhancement of the candidate experience, and the overall streamlining of processes. Embracing this shift towards a more AI-savvy approach holds the potential to elevate the recruitment experience for all stakeholders involved.
Employers in the Driver’s Seat?
After many years of candidates being in control, we’ve heard a lot of talk about employers taking back the wheel. Instances of poor candidate experiences and ghosting by hiring managers are commonplace on LinkedIn. However, we believe that in a candidate-short market such as social services, jobseekers will still have an advantage.
Social Workers were still listed as one of the top 20 occupations in demand by the Australian Government in 2023. We’ve also seen a range of different initiatives launched this year to address this shortage, including universities launching new courses and encouraging high school students into social work career paths.
From our perspective, it’s important for hiring managers to clearly define what they’re looking for in a candidate and ensure the hiring process is streamlined and pleasant. For jobseekers, it’s about putting their best foot forward and showcasing their skills and experience to their prospective employers.
This is a trend that hit Europe in 2023 and we will be watching to see if there is a knock-on effect here in Australia. In April, the Pay Transparency Directive was adopted in an attempt to strengthen the principle of equal pay for equal work between men and women.
Under the new rules, EU companies will be required to share information on salaries and take action if their gender pay gap exceeds 5%. The directive also includes provisions on compensation in the cases of pay discrimination as well as penalties and fines for employers.
Closer to home, at the end of 2022 Australia banned pay secrecy clauses in employment contracts. These clauses, prohibiting employees from discussing their salaries, became null and void on 7 June 2023.
We see this as the first step towards Australian companies becoming more transparent and open about employee salaries which ultimately can help both Hiring Managers and jobseekers.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Diversity, equity and inclusion will continue to be a top priority for HR professionals, as well as Hiring Managers and jobseekers. By creating a culture of fairness and inclusion of all people regardless of their gender, religion, disability or ethnicity, employers will benefit from improved innovation and productivity as well as employee engagement.
This is not a new focus in 2024, but an opportunity for organisations to ensure their policies and programs are in full effect. Existing initiatives should be evaluated and improved to ensure they align with organisational goals and employee needs. New programs should be piloted to fill any gaps or needs.
Each year, more Gen Z’ers are entering the workforce and could equate to up to a quarter of all employees in the coming years. Any industry experiencing candidate shortages will know by now that Gen Z expects equity and diversity to be embedded within the culture of their workplace and consider it a major factor when deciding on whether to apply for a role.
Contact Us to Find Out More
Our team here at Tradewind are specialists in social services recruitment, and can help prepare you for the year ahead. Whether you’re an employer looking to bring fresh talent into your team or a jobseeker looking for your next opportunity, contact us to see how we can help.