6 Insights From Tipping Point Recruitment Leaders 2018

What do you get when mix top recruitment leaders with important industry topics, ranging from the impact of new technologies to the rising gig economy? A boatload of insightful content, of course!

After attending this year’s Tipping Point 2018 recruitment leaders event, we’ve put together some useful Q&As on the key topics discussed, combining our own knowledge with insights picked up on the day.

Should we be concerned about the impact technology will have on our jobs?

As Lord Holmes put it in his talk on People, Technology & Society, this is the topic of our time as we’ve reached the 4th industrial revolution with Artifical Intelligence (AI), big data and other technological advances.

As with previous industrial revolutions there has been resistance from the people fearing that jobs will be lost – such as the Luddites of the 19th century who destroyed weaving machinery in protest, out of fear they would be replaced.

However we don’t need to start from a position of fear with AI. As Kevin Blair from IMB stated – “Technology has not led to a decline in workforce, it’s led to a change in workforce”. Whilst specific AI is impressive to a task (such as IMB’s Watson beating chess champion Gary Kasparov), general purpose intelligence (think Arnie the terminator!) is still a long, long way off, according to London’s Deep Mind organisation.

We need to embrace technology and work with it because it can solve some significant problems. In particular with recruitment, we need to ensure these new technologies are both enabling and including, and that biases are removed so the talent pool is not only increased but that everyone has a fair chance to be recruited for a role they’re suitable for.

Will technology replace recruiters?

The short answer is no.

Whilst new technologies can certainly remove tasks from our work life, allowing us to both work faster and reduce costs, it shouldn’t be at the expense of the human element which is still vital in a successful recruitment campaign.

Utilising new technologies – such as the i-intro profiling technology we personally use – allows us additional time to evaluate suitability of a hire better and provide a much improved experience for our customers. (We have a 100% customer satisfaction rating from over 300 customers surveyed in March.)

The candidate experience is hugely important. Current technologies where the whole recruitment process is automated can work at lower level, high volume recruitment, but in more specialist or senior hires people expect a more inclusive, personal process.  To us a candidate is more than just what’s on their CV and taking time to understand them is vital for us to do the right job and a requirement for top candidates.

Job matching technology also doesn’t account for those who aren’t actively seeking a new role but who could be potentially swayed with the right opportunity. This is something only a recruiter can negotiate – going after the hidden talent that doesn’t always have a large digital footprint.

How do you ensure technology doesn’t become more important than people in recruitment?

As discussed above it’s important to focus on the candidate experience.

Candidates and clients need to be guided through the technology change, i.e through demonstrations. Regular engagement (such as phone contact) must also remain a key strategy, rather than leaning too heavily on technology.

How do you effectively manage technology changes in your business?

Stephen Jolly, MD of MCSaatchi, deliverd a talk on Managing Tech Driven Culture change, where it was stated that 70% of transformation projects fail. He explained this is largely because there is failure to recognise the human needs of those being transformed.

In order to make change happen successfully, you have to first understand how the thing you are wanting to change is perceived by your audience – which can often, but not always, focus on their fears and frustrations.

A good case study Stephen used for this was his previous experience with UNICEF, who were struggling to understand why 65% of births were not being registered in South Sudan – which was effectively preventing them from understanding how much aid needed to be provided to the country.

Once a team was hired to get to the bottom of this they uncovered two important issues. 1, that the families struggled with illiteracy which made the registration process difficult and 2, they uncovered a much deeper concern that the people didn’t actually trust UNICEF. As it turned out, this was due to the truck drivers who weren’t a part of UNICEF but who delivered the aid. Their behavior was not in line with the charity values. Once these issues were uncovered they were able to work with the people to resolve the issues and increase registrations – resulting in better lives and helath for the people of Sudan.

A second good case study was when Siemen’s took over a Danish wind company. There was an unacceptable level of health and safety incidents. After investigating, Saatchi identified that the reason behind the injuries was due to the pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines which manifested into the workers compromising on safety.

So the sentiment is, if you get under the skin of the workforce or audience and understand how the change is perceived, then you’ll stand a much better chance of making the change work.

Are we seeing the end of the perm job?

The rise of the gig economy – another hot topic in the industry. We attended an interesting debate on this where it was stated that 162 mill people in the USA and EU are now in flexible work. In some areas that is a 66% growth from 2005.

Whilst we haven’t seen this trend so much in the sectors we specialise in, what we have seen is an increase in the number of CV’s of people who stay at a company for 2-3 years before wanting to move, when historically people have been employed for at least 10-15 years. It seems a job isn’t a job for life anymore.

In our industry, these people can often be misinterpreted as ‘job hoppers’ who aren’t worth the time investing in, however we take the time to understand their reasons for leaving and ensure these are genuine. Often, their need to move is centred around them wanting to learn more and have more experience.


Employers therefore need to ensure they have effective training and career learning opportunities in order to retain employees. A key insight that Stephen Sidebottom (Global Head of Standard Chartered) gave which we really liked was ‘Invest in training not just to attract people to a company, but to retain them.’

You can read more about this in our recent blog post on employee retention.

What can be done about the shortage of talent in the industry?

There are fears over a shortage of talent in the industry due to the ageing workforce, lack of skills and geographic mobility.

What employers need to do is to start looking at how people’s skill sets can be transferable and applied in other sectors, rather than having a rigid approach to recruitment.

A high quality candidate might not have worked on a company’s specific product, but may be operating in a closely related discipline or industry and have all the complementary skill sets that make them a great match for the role.

A good example of how this approach has worked well is with a candidate we placed for a Chief Technology Officer within a global lubricants manufacturer last year. Whilst he hadn’t worked in the lube industry specifically, he knew how to come up with new strategies, new revenue streams and how to solve problems and manage projects, which has made him thrive in his new role. The company is now benefitting from the fresh perspective offered by an industry outsider.

Try not to discount someone just because they’ve not worked in your ideal companies, they might just be your next best investment.

Thanks for reading. Got any recruitment or job needs we can help with? Get in touch today.