Did our 2018 predictions come true?

Last year, our Essential Recruitment Planning Guide predicted that five key themes would arise in the hiring landscape in 2018; including candidate diversity, employer branding, artificial intelligence, continuous learning and remote working. We explored our expectations and discovered whether or not our predictions came true. Have a read below to find out if we were right…

Diversity of Candidates

Last year, we predicted that inclusion and diversity would continue to be a key theme in the hiring landscape. As research continues to flag the discrepancies in the hiring of minority groups, a new report from Ascend Leadership concluded that equal racial representation is now a greater problem for tech firms than gender – with Asian, Hispanic and African-American women being denied opportunities for advancement.

We encouraged companies to embrace diversity and implement processes to minimise bias in their recruitment process. So, following years of debate around the diversity of candidates, does the battle for equal gender representation and opportunity in the tech industry continue?

We have been operating in the technology and engineering space for over 10 years and have seen many efforts in equal gender representation transform the hiring space, however, are there still underlying issues? What’s changed in the last 12 months?

According to Information is Beautiful, here is what has changed in the last 12 months as of their last update (April 2017):

  • Facebook, Apple, eBay, and Microsoft all had their ratio of women increase by 1%.
  • LinkedIn had their ratio of women increase by 3%.
  • Google’s gender ratio stayed the same.
  • Microsoft increased the ratio of non-white employees by 3%, and Facebook by 2%.
  • Google, Apple, and eBay increased ratio of non-white employees by 1%.
  • LinkedIn lost 3% of its non-white employees.
  • Asian staff accounted for the majority of increases in ethnic diversity, while the ratio of Hispanic employees remained static.

Here is what one of our top software development recruitment consultants has to say on the matter based on their hiring experience:

“Throughout my time recruiting within the tech world there has been a lot of talk about trying to increase diversity across Software Development, in particular getting more females into coding. Whilst there haven’t been any noticeable changes in my view from the candidates that I have been placing, I think it’s still important that this first step of talking about it is happening and will benefit companies aim for diversity in the long run.”

Employer Branding

Last year, the LinkedIn 2017 Global Recruiting Trends Report stated that 80% of companies agreed that employer branding had a significant impact on their ability to hire. The same report asked companies to predict the trends of 2018; 33% said employer branding would be key. Based on this, we expected there to be a significant increase in tech businesses investing in promoting their employer brand.

What we see across many start-ups and tech SME’s is a struggle to balance their operations and project management, whilst not only hiring but also marketing their employer brand. For many businesses still fostering ‘the founding few’ culture, it can be difficult to allocate time and resource to such functions. However, we believe that following the strong body of evidence we reported in our recruitment planning guide, that investing in your employer brand is key to winning top talent in this candidate-driven market. Candidates are spoilt for choice in the tech and engineering industries, especially when they possess sought-after niche skillsets. So it’s critical that smaller businesses that cannot sway candidates with hefty benefit and salary packages, focus on identifying and selling the benefits of their employee culture.

Artificial intelligence

What does it mean? How does it relate to recruitment? Artificial intelligence (AI): Artificial intelligence is the umbrella term. Put most simply, it is a branch of computer science that involves computers doing things normally done by people. Examples of this include Siri.

AI is already playing a role in our recruitment landscape and is set to continue. AI can be used in the recruitment process to automate certain tasks E.g. automating sourcing, screening and scheduling of interviews. Unilever is an example of a company who has embraced AI technology to hire entry-level employees. Unilever amongst others have reported AI has increased diversity and reduced costs.

So, what does this mean to you and your business? That’s entirely down to you. Whether you choose to embrace this technology now, decide you don’t need it at this point, or flat out hate the idea – it’s something you need to be aware of.

Keep in the loop – Listen to how companies are integrating AI into their recruitment process and the impact it has on their business. Even if you’re not wholly convinced, with the rate at which technology is advancing its worth keeping up to speed with developments.

Following our predictions for AI in our Essential Recruitment Planning guide last year, we have seen a fantastic rise in the use of AI in SME’s hiring processes. As discussed in our blog which outlined the top 5 uses of AI in recruitment, we saw the introduction of chatbots (AI powered assistants), designed to improve the candidate experience: Two examples include ‘Mya’ and ‘Olivia’. Mya is designed to manage sourcing, screening and scheduling and uses natural language and machine learning to create candidate profiles, shortlist applicants and pick up on details in chatbot conversation. Olivia, on the other hand, engages with candidates via the web, various mobile platforms and/or social channels. Both of these bots are largely improving candidate experience by making sure applicants get regular updates about the status of their application, feedback, and are always available to answer questions.

AI is also being used to improve candidate relationships with machine learning. This has helped companies identify priority (passive) candidates and even suggest the best times to reach individual candidates. Although a highly refined piece of technology one can’t help but agree that this particular use of AI is creating stronger relationships with candidates by treating them like its most valuable customers – something that perhaps often gets lost in the rush and hurry of recruitment and the prioritisation of clients and candidates by recruitment consultants.

We have also seen a vast use of virtual interviews using video platforms such as Odro. These have been offering companies the opportunity to sample a candidate face-to-face without having to invest the time in interviewing them until they reach a final stage interview. This saves hiring managers a wealth of money and time in the earlier stages of screening and helps their clients identify the strongest candidates to shortlist much earlier on in the process.

Remote Working

remote working technology engineering jobs in london jobs in bristol AiWe have seen an increase in the introduction of remote working across the industry, namely the start-up and scale-up space where large salary packages aren’t always a viable option to sway candidates. To replace this, we encourage clients to focus on their strongest offerings such as working culture, flexible hours and remote working. One of our top consultants in the Infrastructure and DevOps space reported the following based on his experience in the industry:

We are often seeing companies turn to remote working as an option for employees. This action from the company often reflects a change in work patterns with employees looking for more flexibility and better work-life balance than the traditional 9-5 model. I am seeing a vast improvement in the candidate experience when it comes to attracting and engaging top talent for my clients, particularly when flexible options and remote working is included in their offering.”

We have been impressed by the standard of offering amongst the SME’s we have worked with so far this year, and as you can see there are various avenues for you to improve your employer brand. These range from using AI to improve candidate experience, through to promoting your culture and benefit packages in a way that suits the audience. To read our blog on the top five uses of AI in recruitment, click here. You can also download the Essential Recruitment Planning Guide which we released last year, for free by clicking here:


If you are interested in finding out more about ISL and what makes us different to other recruitment companies, contact us on 0117 428 0600!

Engineering, Information Technology