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Top 12 talent trends for 2016 –
what should be on your radar?


Updated: 08 Jan 2016

Technology is changing everything, and in 2016 recruiting experts say its influence will be felt on who and how we recruit. Flexibility, adaptability and diversity will also add their weight to the top talent trends you need to be aware of in the year ahead.

“Technology is not only driving how products are made and promoted but also how employees perform their jobs – it’s creating entire new careers, reshaping existing ones, and changing the way organisations recruit and engage talent,” says Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand.

“The technologies organisations are adopting are changing rapidly but so too are the different ways technology can be used. To succeed, organisations need people who not only understand how to make the best use of these technologies but who also have the interpersonal skills to bring the organisation along with them,” he said.

According to Hays, the top 12 recruitment trends for 2016 are:

1. Growth of flexible workforces:

Engaging talent on long-term contracts will be a key trend in 2016 as organisations seek a flexible headcount. Organisations will also continue to engage employees on a temporary basis with a view to making them permanent if more projects are undertaken. Projected modest growth in the public sector will comprise primarily of temporary and contract employees.

For candidates this means that being flexible and staying open to both contract and permanent is a must in 2016 if you want to access a greater range of opportunities.

2. Focus on STEM careers:

Thanks to big data, expect employers in 2016 to increase the number of STEM roles (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). We’ll also see more R&D activity across government, universities and a wide range of industries.

School students should take note of this trend when selecting subjects and degrees. Rapid technological change and digital disruption is the new normal so employers will continue to want STEM graduates.

3. Digital Influencers and Analysts:

Data analytics has been a big focus in 2015, but now more organisations will also look at the trends data reveals and how they can scale those up into actions. This is about making data relevant to a business as they continue on the digital transformation journey. In addition, with Australia’s Prime Minister championing digital transformation the focus on this area will only increase.

For employees in relevant roles, this means upskilling in order to understand how to make insightful and commercially relevant decisions based on data trends.

4. Focus on security:

With an increasing focus on protecting private data, security professionals will be a focus of recruitment in 2016, to help organisations keep ever increasing volumes of data safe and ensure quick action and recovery in the event of a cyber attack. Organisations of all sizes are looking to secure their systems and information particularly considering higher adoption rates of wireless and cloud-based solutions.

Consequently firewall experts, cyber security specialists, security engineers and those with particular certifications namely CISSP and CISMs will see demand for their skills increase.

5. Digital & Mobile Apps:

With customers looking to transact with companies in more user friendly and simpler ways a higher number of mobile applications are being developed. This is driving up the need for developers well versed in this area as well as support staff with experience in mobile devices. User experience/user interface experts (UX/UI) will also be a recruitment focus in 2016 as organisations seek to understand how customers use websites and products/services, then provide these insights to marketing and research & development (R&D) teams.

Jobseekers in this field will need to show potential employers they can offer more than technical skills alone. They need to be able to show employers they can reflect a company’s brand and values in their development.

6. DevOps:

In 2016 expect to hear more of the term ‘Dev Ops’ (short for development and operations) as organisations build and deploy more software more rapidly. In addition, software deployment tools are being increasingly used to automate the deployment of customised applications.

This will force DevOps professionals, including engineering managers with strong software development and application deployment experience, to upskill or look externally for specialists in application management.

7. Customer experience.

We will see an ongoing focus on Customer Experience (CX) as organisations put the customer at the centre of everything they do. To better understand customers, data will play a key role and we will see individuals who can tailor the message and cater to their customers at the forefront of decision making.

For jobseekers, the use of technology in this area will be key, but showing employers you can design a leading customer experience across all platforms will be critical to secure your next move.

8. Candidates need to be adaptable:

In order to be ready for transformation expect employers in 2016 to look closely at a candidate’s ability to adapt to change. We may also start to see job interviews moving away from competency-based questions to focus more on asking candidates about how they have adapted to changing situations.

As more businesses are likely to go through transformation, the skills that you have today might not be as relevant in the future. So if you are interviewing in 2016, expect to be asked about your ability to adapt to change.

9. HR to harness content marketing:

We expect HR to create more original content in 2016 to engage with potential new recruits. HR are using video, blogs and social media posts to promote workplace culture, showcase projects and profile existing employees to demonstrate the type of person that succeeds in their organisation. Given that candidates are hungry for content that will help them make informed decisions, we expect HR content marketing to be an ongoing trend in 2016.

Jobseekers should hunt out this information to help them create a CV that best demonstrates their suitability for the role and organisation, and to prepare for interviews.

10. Workforce diversity:

Gender diversity will remain a hot topic in 2016. The financial services sector in particular is focusing on gender diversity at the leadership level. More employers ask their recruiter for a good mix of both genders for shortlists, particularly across traditionally male dominated sectors such as banking & financial services, mining and oil & gas. IT employers also want to engage female IT staff at a younger age including through graduate recruitment and encouraging more female students to choose IT careers. We are also seeing a greater emphasis on indigenous participation in metropolitan-based employment (especially in Perth) as well as leadership pathways in regional areas. Age diversity is another area of focus, most notably in local government.

On the candidate side, diversity trends include more men wanting to access parental leave.

Interestingly, men are being as discriminated against as women who take maternity leave, often coming back to lower level roles and not being kept in the main stream for promotion.

11. Consider healthcare:

In 2016 and beyond we’ll continue to see a high number of vacancies across Australia’s healthcare sector. In response, employers will need to find new ways to attract and retain talented healthcare professionals, especially in regional and remote locations.

Healthcare is a very active sector and new medical and health facilities will continue to open in line with Australia’s growing population and aging demographic. Anyone considering a career change or undertaking study in 2016 should look at the jobs available in healthcare and see if you’d be a good fit.

12. Revolution of recruitment outsourcing:

Recruitment outsourcing (RPO) will experience a revolution in 2016 with the next generation of outsourcing solutions being adopted by a wider range of businesses. Smaller organisations, sometimes with less than 100 hires per year, are now looking for RPO solutions, especially in the engineering, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. Another shift is employers using temporary/managed service provider (MSP) solutions for their blue-collar workforce – traditionally the focus has been on white collar roles. This demonstrates a growing acceptance of this form of staffing solution. Public sector organisations will also be more interested in MSP solutions that drive maximum efficiency and cost savings and not just a 'neutral' service.

Recruitment outsourcing is one of the industry’s most exciting and fastest growing services and jobseekers in 2016 will therefore need to be prepared to encounter this method of recruitment.

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

For further information please contact Lucy Sharp, Regional Head of Marketing at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9885 or



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Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

For further information please contact Lucy Sharp, Marketing Director, on +61 2 8226 9885 or