Ecosystem 10: Talent Acquisition Technology Trends

Today marks a substantial milestone with the release of the 10th edition of the Talent Acquisition Ecosystem. Designed to provide clarity and insight for practitioners, the ecosystem has evolved substantially over the years, from an idea on a whiteboard to the offices of thousands of organizations around the world. It reflects the latest, most innovative, and influential companies in the industry today. As we release the 10th edition of the ecosystem, we are proud to have been a part of innovation from the earliest years, and couldn’t be more excited about our role in helping elevate the state of the art in recruitment and for what the future has in store. Read on for more insights into the state of talent acquisition technology across the industry today. 

A Look Into The Ecosystem

The Ecosystem is organized by Hiring Stage. In each stage —Source, Engage, Select, and Hire — the Talent Acquisition market has experienced tremendous shifts, driven by changes in technology, candidate and client preferences, the economy, recruiting practices, and the long-term repercussions of a global pandemic and shift to remote and hybrid work.

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How The Ecosystem Has Changed

While the overall structure of the Ecosystem remains unchanged, several evolutions have happened at the vertical, sub-vertical, and vendor levels. We’ve added one new vertical, one new sub-vertical, and consolidated four sub-verticals into two, reflecting the rapid pace of change, innovation, and disruption in the market today. Arguably the biggest change is the significant revisions to the companies highlighted in the ecosystem: 97 companies were cut from the ecosystem, and 84 were added. We could have added significantly more.

Talent Acquisition Technology Ecosystem Taxonomy

The Talent Acquisition Technology Ecosystem is divided into four stages. Each stage consists of verticals and each vertical consists of sub-verticals that further define and describe the current state of TA tech. Today, we take a deeper look at the first stage of the Ecosystem, the Source stage.

Ecosystem 10: Source

Key highlights and trends regarding career coaching and advising:

Campus and Early Career solutions are unique in that even though they span functional areas (e.g., some are more for sourcing, some more for engagement or selection, etc.), the tools in this category tend to only be used for campus and early career hiring. Since many organizations have specialized functions for campus recruiting specifically, we thought these solutions deserved their own category. Many organizations are rethinking and modernizing their campus strategy, which historically consisted of sponsoring and sending people to a booth at a career fair of selected colleges.

The Career Advice & Coaching and Job Search Organizer sub-verticals remain challenging sub-verticals with little change and hardly any increase in demand. We see enterprise tools such as Job Boards and Marketplaces offering career coaching advice and fostering communities.

Key highlights and trends regarding job advertising and crafting resumes:

The Social CV and Resume sub-vertical is particularly relevant for creative people and designers with multimedia resumes. We’re seeing more knowledge-based job applicants using their own domain names (whether through Github or a custom domain) to showcase their profiles, skills, and work history.

Spending on Job Advertising increased significantly this year starting in April from severely depressed levels in 2020, as the economy opened up and employers struggled to find job seekers. Illustrative of this, Recruit Holdings’ “HR Technology” segment (which includes Indeed and Glassdoor) reported a 144.5% increase in revenue in the quarter ended June 30 to $1.68 billion, significantly ahead of expectations. This increase in spending has not correlated with an increase in hires, and in today’s environment, companies are spending more for less on all forms of job advertising.

As recruiting departments become more sophisticated, we expect more companies will leverage the Programmatic Advertising sub-vertical. Already, these solutions have provided stiff competition for the Job Distribution sub-vertical. Programmatic solutions are increasingly being offered (and managed) by broader Recruitment Marketing Platforms, which may one day subsume the category altogether.

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Key highlights and trends regarding recruitment, hiring, and temporary labor solutions for the tight labor market:

The Crowdsourcing model — exemplified by contest-based and piecemeal work sourced through an online platform — has not scaled as fast as its Temporary Labor Marketplace cousin. While these platforms have a “cool factor” and can potentially be high impact, they can also introduce friction into the hiring process as each “contest” must be individually assessed and awarded.

Vendors in the E-staffing sub-vertical increasingly look like digitally-enabled staffing companies. Many of these firms use technology to power their operations but operate on a success model (e.g., a placement fee for successfully hired candidates) just like an agency. An interesting trend in this sub-vertical is Indeed’s foray into an outcome-based staffing model dubbed Indeed Hiring Platform.

Once just crowdsourced networks of independent recruiters, the Recruiter Marketplace sub-vertical is evolving to look more like VMS for perm placement. Similar to the pricing pressure brought on by contingent VMS that resulted from increased transparency and standardized rates, Recruiter Marketplaces will likely have a similar effect on the headhunting and permanent placement business, which will be offset to some degree by an increase in overall business.

The Temporary Labor Marketplace sub-vertical has grown substantially through the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for platforms focused on remote work. Buying patterns have persisted post-pandemic, as the “remote experiment” has more or less validated the model. Blue-collar, onsite-based platforms — which struggled immensely in 2020 — have largely recovered in 2021, expanding operations and securing significant investments as employers struggle to find and engage with hourly workers.

Referrals continue to be one of the best sources of candidates, though Referral Tools technology has not necessarily innovated at the pace we would expect. We are seeing some firms leverage broader “social communication” platforms as a referral tool and a way to share jobs across social channels.

In the next part of our Ecosystem report, we’ll focus on the second stage of the Ecosystem, the Engage stage. 

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