The 9 Biggest Recruiting Stories of 2015

December 2, 2015

2015 has been a big year in the world of talent acquisition.

One company found out it’s more effective to give away motorbikes than cash bonuses. Another is now giving away a paid year off of parental leave. The biggest company in Britain no longer wants to know where its British applicants went to college.

Our goal was to find all of these stories that shaped the world of talent acquisition in 2015 and put them into one comprehensive list. And, after scouring the Internet, we’ve accomplished precisely that, and found nine that stood out from the rest. 

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Research revealed the real reason people change jobs

Fundamentally, a recruiter’s job is to convince a person to leave their current situation and take a position at their company. What’s interesting is discovering exactly what motivates people to do that.

To find out, in 2015 LinkedIn surveyed more than 10,000 people who recently changed jobs, asking them both why they left their old job and why they joined their new one. The answer to both was the same: Career advancement.

People want a position they feel will allow them to grow professionally. The minute they believe that advancement is no longer possible at their current position, chances are they’ll start looking for something new.

2. Starbucks is paying for its employees to go to college

In April, Starbucks made a dramatic announcement: The company will pay for all of its American employees who don’t have a college degree to go to online college at Arizona State. The $200 million program appears to be popular, as more than 4,000 Starbucks baristas have taken advantage of it already.

3. Netflix announced it’s giving new parents up to a year off of paid paternity leave

One trend we saw dominate this year was businesses being more and more generous with their parental leave policies. Perhaps no large company went further though than Netflix, which announced this summer that new parents at their company can take as much paid leave off as they’d like in the year following the birth of their child.

4. GoDaddy transformed its employer image and nearly tripled the amount of women it hires

Up until a few years ago, GoDaddy, a web hosting company, was best known for its racy Super Bowl commercials that featured beautiful women in skimpy outfits. While the commercials did drastically raise the awareness of the GoDaddy brand, it also turned away female candidates.

In the past two years, GoDaddy has moved away completely from that sort of marketing and has strived to become a leader in hiring women in tech. Their efforts have appeared to work out, as in 2014, a mere 14 percent of GoDaddy’s engineering interns and new graduates were female. In 2015, that number jumped to 39 percent.

5. InMobi doubled its employee referrals by giving away experiences instead of cash

InMobi, one of the largest tech companies in India, wanted to drastically increase the amount of employee referrals they were getting to keep up with the hyper-growth at their company. So they did something unique: Instead of giving away traditional cash referral bonuses, they began giving away experiential referral bonuses of the same value.

The results were staggering, as they more than doubled the amount of employee referrals they were getting in less than four months. The experiment could serve as a lesson to companies everywhere, as experiences are perhaps a better way to motivate your employees than straight cash.

6. Walmart announced it will pay its workers at least $10 an hour

Walmart is the United States’ largest employer by far, with 2.2 million employees. But many of those people barely make more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Well, at least until this February, as the retail giant announced this past winter it plans to pay all of its workers at least $10 an hour by that time. While still lower than many protestors would prefer, the move is a sign of companies being more sensitive to how they treat their lowest-paid workers.

7. GE spent millions poking fun of itself to recruit tech talent

GE is one of the most iconic manufacturing companies in the world. And that’s exactly their problem as they try to grow GE Digital, with many tech prospects seeing them solely as a place that does manufacturing.

Rather than sugarcoat their struggle, GE has begun running a series of TV commercials taking it on. The commercials feature “Owen,” a software engineer recently hired by GE, a job his friends and family don’t think exists.

The refreshingly honest commercials do more than highlight GE’s foray into the world of technical recruiting. They also showcase the importance of employer branding, and why getting the right message out there to the right prospects is so important.

8. Deloitte’s Britain group no longer wants to know where its applicants went to college

The largest employer in Britain is Deloitte, a multinational professional services firm. This summer, the firm’s Britain office announced it no longer wants to know where its applicants went to college, blinding an applicant’s university to hiring managers and recruiters.

The reasoning behind the move is to promote social mobility in Britain. While its too early to report on the result of the program, it will be interesting to track its effectiveness and see if other companies follow suit.

9. Most of all, the market has swung definitively toward talent

Back in 2009, when the unemployment rate was skyrocketing and the world’s economy was stuck in a deep recession, companies had a lot of power. With jobs hard to come by, talent was eager to work wherever, with recruiters holding all the cards.

Six years later, it is a completely different story. The worldwide economy has picked up dramatically and now talent – particularly talent with highly-sought after skills, like coding – are in high demand. Rather than applicants desperately searching for anyone who will hire them, companies are becoming the desperate ones, hoping they can land top talent.

Summing it all up

When you really analyze it, the majority of the first eight stories are a result of the ninth. Companies are doing things like paying their employees more or giving away a year of paid parental leave or paying for their workers’ education because talent is becoming harder to come by and they have to.

Recruiting guru Lars Schmidt put it best at Talent Connect Anaheim this year when he talked about the alleged “war for talent”. No longer can companies just post jobs and receive dozens of applicants; now companies are the ones on the hunt, he said.

“The war for talent is over,” Schmidt said at the event he MC-ed. “And the talent has won.”

* Image from Starbucks

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