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Top 10 employment buzzwords of 2017 - and why they are important

Everyone loves a buzzword, and the recruitment industry is no exception. Kate Allen, Managing Director at Allen Associates, explores 10 of the most popular buzzwords which she believes employers will be hearing a lot more of in 2017.

1. The gig economy:

The gig economy is the term used to describe the increasing trend for fixed term contracts and short term engagements, rather than permanent positions. Our recent Oxfordshire Business Barometer showed that 59 per cent of survey respondents are using agency workers, 51 per cent have interim contracts, and one-third are hiring on zero-hours contracts. There are many benefits to employers of this approach, including coping with short term work peaks without the permanent commitment, covering sickness or maternity leave and resourcing highly skilled or hard to fill positions. However, taking on staff on this basis is not without its risks as recent employment tribunals have shown. The legal community is advising businesses to review their policies and make sure they understand all the implications.

2. Boomerang employees:

A boomerang employee is as it sounds: someone who works for a company, leaves to work somewhere else and then returns. Although this may seem unusual to some, it is becoming increasingly popular. It is the norm nowadays, especially for Millennials and Gen Z (two more buzzwords!), to change jobs frequently in order to learn new skills and discover new environments. Employers need to get smart and try to ensure that all leavers exit on good terms. Be open minded about welcoming them back and think about all the new skills and insights they are bringing with them.

3. Mobile:

Employers simply cannot afford to ignore mobile any longer. The statistics surrounding how many people search for and apply for jobs via mobile devices are growing every day with 28 percent turning to their mobiles during their job hunt. This figure rises to 53 percent for 18 to 29-year-olds. The future is quite literally in the palm of your candidates’ hands and employers need to step up their game with mobile-optimised careers websites and seamless Applicant Management Systems (ATS).

4. Social media:

The use of social media for recruitment has grown 54 percent in the past five years, with 84 percent of organisations now using it as an attraction tool. If you’re not using social media, you may be missing a trick. Choose the channels that suit your business and target audiences and do more than simply share vacancies. Devise a content strategy and shine a spotlight on what it’s really like to work for your organisation. Today’s candidates care about corporate social responsibility, community engagement and staff welfare, so this is your opportunity to showcase your vision and values, your culture, teamwork and achievements.

5. Automation:

This is all about making things quicker and easier and developing processes which allow employers to act responsively and in a slick and timely way. I’ve lost count of the number of opportunities missed by businesses bogged down with laborious and outdated recruitment processes that drag on for weeks and even months. Candidates benefit from automation too, as they increasingly expect timely and regular communications and an efficient process. New technologies now make it possible to automate CV screening (the most time intensive stage of the recruitment process) and even interviews by using video to analyse how people answer questions. Good recruitment agencies will have the technology sussed so don’t be afraid to ask for guidance if you need it.

6. Big data:

With the implementation of mobile, social media and automation, the data available to recruitment agencies and employers is bigger than ever. It’s important that this ‘big data’ is used wisely to make decisions that improve the candidate experience and make your hiring process more successful. Analyse the data you have regularly to ensure that all candidate touchpoints are working for you and your applicants.

7. Processes:

Processes, processes, processes.  It’s not the most glamourous topic, but having the right processes in place is incredibly important. But what’s even more vital is ensuring that they reflect what the candidates want – and not what the organisation needs. Don’t lose candidates by insisting on archaic methods.

8. Candidate Engagement:

Candidates will remember your company even if they are rejected. In fact, they may even be a customer of yours. That’s why keeping them happy throughout the recruitment process is becoming ever more important. Regular, consistent, and accurate feedback is imperative.

9. Employer Branding:

Your employer brand is also the reputation of your business as an employer. Ensure your employer brand represents what it is really like to work for your organisation (you’ll soon be found out if it doesn’t!). Keep your messages consistent across all channels from your social media and careers website content, right through to the questions you ask in interview.

10. Talent Communities:

Wikipedia describes a Talent Community as “A method of social recruiting, by relying on the collection of social cliques (or talent networks) of people that are part of the job seeking process.” For us it is about pooling all of your candidate data and information and ensuring you have a constantly evolving pipeline of talent. Whether you do this organically or invest in an online product to help, nurturing an active community of talented, quality candidates can help you to fill positions quickly when vacancies arise.

Have I missed out any buzzwords? Which ones do you think are here to stay? And which ones are just a passing trend? I’d love to know your thoughts. Why not email me at

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