To start the new year on the right foot, we want to share an overview of the Recruitment industry’s highlights in 2023 and offer some insightful predictions for what lies ahead in 2024. 

Let’s talk about 2023 numbers! 

Let’s start with a brief overview of the Dutch labor market for the end of the last year, 2023. According to the data provided by Eurostat, for Q2 of the year 2023, the Netherlands had one of the highest job vacancy rates among EU Member States, standing at 4.7%.  

We also have statistics provided by the UWV (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringe), who is the Employee Insurance Agency in the Netherlands. For the second quarter of 2023, the total number of estimated vacancies open at the end of the quarter reached 441,150, showing a steady increase in terms of demand for talent. Additionally, the job market has seen the creation of 376,450 new vacancies within the same quarter, underlining the dynamic and evolving nature of the Dutch workforce. 

In October 2023, the online job market showed its strength, with a total of 207,499 online vacancies. This emphasizes the modern and digital aspects of the job search process, as a significant portion of opportunities is accessible through online platforms. 

These statistics collectively position the Netherlands as a steady and leading job market in the European Union, with a broad number of vacancies available and a consistent trend of creating new job opportunities. It’s not new to say that job seekers in this country are lucky to have access to a diverse range of options, and same for the employers that are actively seeking qualified candidates to contribute to the continued growth of the Dutch economy. 

What about the online demand?  

As a recruitment company, we are very conscious that our best buddy performing our job in the current scenario it is LinkedIn, “the world’s largest professional network”. That’s why we support this overview with the reports of LinkedIn for this year.  

According to LinkedIn data insights, the most in demand jobs in the platform right now are focused on sales and business development, nursing, software engineering, and retail. This data is based on paid posts. One of the positions with the fastest growing demand, (to no one’s surprise) is Artificial Intelligence Engineer.  

To check all the positions and their ranking, we invite you to check the article that LinkedIn prepared with these insights in detail.   

What is coming on 2024? 

AI and Automation in Hiring 

According to the University of Southern California, “55% of companies are investing more in automated recruiting measures that use AI.” After a year in which the trend of implementing AI and automation in recruitment processes has been stronger than ever, one of the conclusions circulating is that the system is not exempt from the bias often experienced in the industry. AI follows human patterns and sometimes fails to select candidates neutrally. We are expectant to see how this tool will be further developed and fine-tuned and how it will be regulated, as the European Union has already started to publish the AI Act, the world’s first comprehensive AI law, and a provisional agreement has been reached on it. 

Upskilling and Reskilling  

This trend has grown rapidly throughout 2023. With the world constantly evolving, making many processes obsolete at the speed of light, the need to keep learning or acquiring new skills has never been more imperative. Companies today are increasingly focused on providing their employees with a wide range of opportunities — not only to improve existing competencies, but also to promote continuous professional growth. This approach not only enhances their expertise in their current roles, but also provides them with the versatility to acquire new skills, enabling smooth transitions to different departments within the company. 

In addition, by actively supporting the ongoing development of their employees, companies not only address immediate skills gaps, but also strengthen their long-term employee branding and retention strategies. Employees who perceive that their organizations invest in their professional growth are more likely to feel engaged, valued, and committed to their roles. This, as well, contributes to a positive organizational culture and serves as a powerful retention tool. 

Candidate experience and employer branding 

Throughout 2023, the trend of companies paying more attention to maintaining employee engagement has become more evident. They are realizing how important the candidate’s experience is from the start: through a proper onboarding process and a positive work environment. 

Start by ensuring a positive candidate experience early in the application process. This involves providing candidates with access to relevant information about the company and its benefits. Next, showcase your organization’s culture and values across your social media channels. Following this, provide a complete and informative job description to help candidates determine if the offered position matches what they are looking for. If so, they can further evaluate whether their knowledge and skills are a good fit for the position. At the same time, establish a transparent timeline for the hiring process. Manage candidates’ expectations, respect their time and recognize the possibility of their participation in other processes. 

In addition, to respond to the employee branding trend, companies are actively working on plans to attract top talent. These plans include highlighting the company’s strengths and opportunities. This has also prompted an emphasis on retaining employees by creating programs that support professional growth, support work-life balance and create a positive workplace.  

In this changing landscape, people now widely view employees as even more crucial influencers for a brand. That is why it is crucial for companies to convey a clear and consistent message about what they offer. A solid communication plan is also important, ensuring alignment between the company’s goals and the aspirations of its employees. 

Pay transparency  

It’s official: if you are planning to hire people in the EU, you need to publish a salary indication in the job ad. On April 24 last year, the European Council adopted the final text of the EU Directive on Pay Transparency. This directive states that companies should switch to a more transparent hiring procedure as soon as possible. The new rules aim to make procedures more transparent, protect candidates and ensure a fair application process. The aim of the Directive is to combat pay discrimination and reduce the gender pay gap in the EU. EU companies must now share pay information and take corrective action if their gender pay gap exceeds 5%. 

The introduction of pay transparency is a game-changer for the industry and the competitiveness of companies in the market. This shift means that candidates now can easily compare and access crucial salary information right from the start of their job search. This change not only simplifies the decision-making process for candidates but also places a significant emphasis on fairness and openness in the industry. Overall, we see this new law is going to seriously improve the candidate’s experience. 

How do we do it at Octagon?  

Octagon Professionals prioritizes a forward-looking approach to our recruitment efforts. We apply a holistic approach, understanding that the people you hire are intended to solve a business challenge.  We have the expertise to help our clients set up their business structure, take care of the employees and all administrative tasks here in the Netherlands. 

With all our efforts in mind, we are looking forward to working together with our clients to aid their Dutch operations and specially from our recruitment team, we are looking to introduce the perfect candidates to the team they will work and grow with for coming years. 

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