2019 HR trends: predictions from the experts

Last updated:
January 15, 2021
December 18, 2021
min read
Adrie Smith
Table of contents

You’re sick of seeing the same old “trends” floating around year after year. And you don’t think 2019 HR trends will be any different. How is it a “trend” if it hasn’t changed from the year before? Well, these 2019 HR trend predictions are the result of reaching out to the experts. We asked them to come up with something unique. Something innovative. Something that they believe will actually change the way you go about your recruitment in 2019.

Here are 2019 HR trend predictions:

“In 2019, we’ll begin to see strong differentiation in the effectiveness of machine learning in HR Tech. If 2018 was the year where everyone went “all in” on AI, I expect to see HR and Talent professionals get more sophisticated about what solutions to procure, when, and for what class of problems. Rather than relying on something just because it’s associated with buzzwords, I hope we’ll see thoughtful implementation that leads to meaningful changes in things like performance, learning, and belonging.” – Aubrey Blanche

“Not sure if this is my prediction or just my grownup Christmas wish, but I sincerely hope that we get out from behind our computers, stop using technology to separate us from others, and embrace it to connect us. I hope we spend more time having coffee and lunch with those that need our help when there is absolutely nothing in it for ourselves. I hope 2019 is the year of meaningful connections and helping others.” – Nicole Roberts

“One of the big trends I expect to see in 2019 is a demand for more practical examples of AI applications in HR technology. In my new book, Artificial Intelligence for HR, I point out some of the key use cases for how AI can support hiring, training, and engaging the best talent. So far a lot of the AI conversation has been overhyped; it’s time to get practical with how this can support employers, candidates, and the workforce.” – Ben Eubank

“There are 3 umbrella trends that we see:

  1. People: Engaging all candidates – Leading companies are aligning their talent acquisition and wider human capital strategies. There is a gap between external sourcing and internal career progression and it will be the focus of many C-level HR executives in 2019. This means that extensive internal talent mapping projects are being rolled out, good news for everyone building a career in a corporate environment. Diversity and bias are the two topics that we will hear a lot more about next year, as well as employee wellness. 2019 will represent another step towards truly focusing on people and enabling them to be the best version of themselves (and in turn, enabling companies to be the same).
  2. Technology and Data: Insights into data and technology as an enabler will advance all areas of HR. We will see a growing number of practical applications of AI, automation and intelligence solutions. This is a maturing market with a number of market leaders emerging.
  3. Learning and Development: Skills mapping and gap analysis is something we are hearing more and more about: from academic institutions to multinationals and governments. Data insights will inform learning gaps and paths at an individual level as well as a macroeconomic level. This is a very interesting area, it includes skill quantification and transferable skill mapping.” – Andreea Wade

“There has never been more technology than today. So 2019 will be another year of struggle for HR departments especially when it comes to implementing HR technology to recruit or engage. The smart companies would be wise to hire more technologists to help implement new software. The profession now requires a digitally savvy worker, so be prepared for what’s to come.” – Chris Russell

“I have one of the largest recruiting groups on Facebook – “Recruiters Who Actually Make Placements”. We share all sorts of industry stories – mostly day to day “real life” situations. One thing that is certain – the frequency of counter offers being given when “in demand” candidates turn in their resignations is on the rise. In fact, most of us are seeing them far more than we’ve experienced, even in previous “tight” markets. It seems rather apparent the “taboo” nature of accepting an offer to stay is no longer there.  So, that’s one trend I see: Companies giving – and candidates accepting –counter offers.”Jerry Albright

“As we enter 2019, I believe video will become an even more important component of recruitment branding.  Telling your company’s story through your employees is incredibly powerful and can be very compelling. With the ongoing challenges to attract candidates of all types at every level regardless of industry, video messaging available across platforms will benefit your recruiting strategy greatly.” – Jon Thurmond (learn more from the HR Social Hour Podcast)

“In 2019 you will see more companies combining their ATS and CRM systems allowing for better content to improve employment branding. Though this isn’t a new idea, there have been significant improvements in technology along with a mindset shift to combine marketing and HR teams to attract talent in a highly competitive world.” –  Joe Burridge

“The war for talent is over: talent won. Every company in 2019 should be focused on hiring the best candidate (not the best applicant). To achieve this goal, waiting to get a professional to apply to your job is not an option. You need to have specialists (Talent Sourcers/Sourcing Recruiters) do target group research, proactively and personally approaching potential candidates. Get them to respond and make sure they get interested in your company, for the short term (get them hired right away) or long term (building talent pools).”- Marcel Rietveld

“AI for hiring will finally shift to a focus based on selecting candidates who have the best skills to those who can not only excel at doing the work but who also will see the opening as a great career move. This will increase the odds offers will be accepted for the right reasons. If this shift doesn’t happen, recruiters will still be seeing and hiring the best candidates not the best and most diverse talent available. Worse, these candidates will accept offers that pay the most not those that offer the best career opportunity. Even worse, few will wind up being great hires.” – Lou Adler

“I just wish more companies would make the experience less painful for candidates. I am sure there will be software that comes out to do that. But the more companies can be real and human and upfront the better. I hear from friends searching that companies still interview them 5 times, lead them on and then send a templated email rejecting them. Brand is everything these days. The minute your company gets a bad rep the best talent leaves. Facebook is going through this right now. These bad experiences while talented leaders are trying to join leaves a bad taste, and talented people hang out with other really talented people. Word of mouth travels [quickly], and soon you’ve turned an entire community sour to your opportunities. Next thing you know the best in the industry [are] joining your competitor and helping them scale. Just be real and honest and human as much as possible. You can’t hire everyone but work on scaling the unscalable as much as possible.” – Kameron Kales

“The top HR trend in 2019 is the to move from ‘talent acquisition’ to ‘talent allocation’. The workforce is undergoing a period of transformation. Enabled by technology, it’s driven both by demand from the workers for greater flexibility, autonomy and ownership AND from employers who want a more scalable method of resourcing. The result is the inexorable rise of ‘non-traditional’ working patterns.

HR [is] traditionally focused on managing permanent, onsite, full-time employee population [but now] has the opportunity to become the full-service provider of ‘talent solutions’ to the business. We’re already seeing leading companies do it; in 2019, we’ll see it mainstreamed.” – Hung Lee

“More recruitment teams are going to start gravitating towards becoming more data-driven. I’m not just talking about looking at your metrics and tracking certain hiring KPIs. More along the lines of taking these numbers and this information, processing it, assigning a real experiential value to it, in order to start impacting their hiring results.” – Adrie Smith

“Innovative HR leaders and early adopters in recruiting are moving away from selecting the best applicant – based on traditional methods such as resumes and (unstructured) personal interviews – to hiring the best candidates based on predictive, fact-based methods using smart technologies (such as AI, chatbots, online assessments, video, automation, etc).” – Jacco Valkenburg

To recap, your 2019 hiring trends are likely to include:

  • Practical implications of recruitment AI;
  • Less merit to “buzzwords”;
  • Separating the good offers from the convenient;
  • The actual use of data-driven methods to improve hiring results;
  • Hiring for the long-term with targeted research;
  • Using videos across channels for employer branding;
  • Flexible work options (in-demand and offered);
  • ATS and CRM combinations;
  • A rise in counter-offers (offered and accepted);
  • Demand for the digitally-savvy worker;
  • A merge between people and tech;
  • And, simultaneously, a switch to using tech to connect rather than disconnect.

What do you think? Will 2019 hiring trends change the game? Follow along on the Recruitee blog to see what is the most talked about in 2019. We can advance recruitment together.

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