May 25, 2022

Why You Need an AI-backed Talent Strategy for Uncertain Times

We’re facing an uncertain future for employers and employees while also accelerating change across all aspects of work and business, especially when it comes to talent acquisition and management.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021 the average time to fill a job skyrocketed from 20 to 50 days, while the rate of job openings doubled from a pandemic low of 3.4 percent in April 2020 to 7.1 percent in December 2021. 

Right now, there is fewer than one available worker for every job opening (0.76), the lowest in history. This shortage is predicted to last through the year 2030.

On top of this labor crunch, increasing employee demands — not to mention burnout — are distracting HR teams from updating their approaches so they can be more proactive.

CHROs and other leaders must re-examine long-held practices if they are going to remain competitive in this tight global talent market. The good news is that with the help of the right data and insights, HR leaders can make more informed talent decisions. 

To understand the new challenges facing HR professionals, Eightfold AI surveyed over 250 HR leaders and nearly 1,000 employees in the 2022 talent survey The Future of Work: Intelligent by Design. Here are three of the biggest insights and opportunities we see in the talent space, and how the latest AI-driven technology can help HR professionals become catalysts for change in the future of work. 

95 Percent of HR Leaders Are Struggling to Recruit Talent

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that with the labor shortage, the struggle to find and hire talent is real. 

In addition to the hunt for good candidates, one in three HR leaders said that their most significant challenges were attracting diverse candidates, long hiring processes, and digging through a high volume of applicants amid turnover. One in five said their recruiters were overwhelmed.

Right now, most HR teams are in a reactive phase, which makes it difficult to move a talent program forward. 

The world is not going to settle down anytime soon — disruption is here to stay. HR leaders need to change how they approach their talent strategies. It will be impossible to change how your organization finds and hires new candidates with outdated methods that depend heavily on manual work

One huge barrier to new candidates: 74 percent of employees surveyed considered applying for a job in the past 12 to 18 months, but a large majority stopped short. Why? Job seekers were confused over compatibility with the job, or the job description itself was unclear. 

Rather than lower the barrier to entry for jobs, HR leaders can instead widen the criteria that qualify candidates by redefining what success looks like for a role, and by hiring based on what a person is capable of doing. 

By understanding potential, aptitude, and adjacent skills, leaders can attract highly qualified talent and feel confident in their hiring decisions while exponentially widening their talent pool beyond those whose skills and experience are an exact fit. 

More Than Half of HR Leaders Struggle to Extend Opportunities to Every Employee

Talent management is a huge part of any strategy — and often the most neglected part. 

Employees’ priorities have shifted. They want transparency, flexibility, and, above all, growth opportunities. If they aren’t getting it within your organization, they will move on.

While many HR leaders rated their internal mobility as highly effective, our findings showed it’s likely to be very selective. We found that more than half of HR leaders don’t extend career advancement opportunities to every employee. 

This is a huge missed opportunity to tap internal talent, promote from within, and increase retention. Replacing an employee can cost upward of one to two times their annual salary.

Employee experiences need to be personalized, but growth, promotion, and lateral moves should be universal and offered to all. 

92 Percent of HR Leaders Plan to Increase Use of AI

In what McKinsey calls the Great Acceleration, leaders who continually update business models (e.g., updating technology) will continue to grow, while those who refuse will stagnate.

To succeed in a post-pandemic world, HR must reexamine core technologies. 

ATS and HRMS solutions alone can no longer deliver the experiences candidates, employees, and recruiters crave. Thoughtful applications of AI can help HR overcome current challenges, prepare for uncertainty, and build resiliency. 

Most HR leaders surveyed already report using AI in some capacity, and 92 percent report that they plan to increase their use of AI in at least one area of HR. Yet some are still reluctant to fully adopting AI, citing cost and difficulty of implementation as major factors.

But those early adopters are quickly seeing the value of their investments.

Today’s talent intelligence platforms work with existing ATS and HRMS solutions — they don’t replace them. By implementing AI, organizations find talent faster and reduce turnover, which is essential to achieving business outcomes and reducing costs.

AI has several other advantages that make it worth it. It analyzes large quantities of data and gives HR leaders better insights as to a candidate’s capabilities and potential, delivering the most qualified people to the top of the queue. This frees recruiters to spend more time talking to top candidates and less time on searching. 

AI also improves DEI efforts by removing bias. By masking certain details from an application, people are judged on what they can do, not on their names, where they went to school, or other non-essential factors that don’t speak to their actual qualifications or capabilities.

Redesigning the Post-pandemic Workforce With Talent Intelligence

The world of work looks entirely different than anyone could have imagined, but by redesigning processes and implementing the right tools, HR leaders can reshape how they face today’s challenges and prepare for tomorrow.

A talent intelligence platform is the backbone of an integrated talent management strategy. To recap:

  • It efficiently sources qualified candidates from a larger talent pool and reduces turnover. 
  • It helps internal mobility by finding new opportunities for existing employees, giving them a career path and the training they need.
  • It reduces bias and increases diversity.
  • It identifies the skills you need to hire for in the future.  

Finally, in the past businesses likely looked to their HR teams to solve these pressing talent issues. This siloed approach to talent is no longer feasible in today’s competitive landscape. The need to attract, retain, and support top talent needs to be a workforce strategy supported from the C-suite down. 

And that means talent strategy is no longer an HR mandate — it’s a business imperative. 


For more on creating a future-ready workforce, read Eightfold’s 2022 talent survey, The Future of Work: Intelligent by Design.

Ashutosh Garg is the CEO and Co-founder of Eightfold.AI, the leading AI-powered talent intelligence platform for HR leaders. With 6K+ research citations, 50+ patents, and 35+ peer-reviewed research publications, Ashu is one of the world’s leading experts in machine learning and co-author of the book What’s Next for You: The Eightfold Path to Transforming the Way We Hire and Manage Talent.