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What is the top hiring challenge of 2020?

Posted on 19th February 2020 by John Hilton

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'It is good news that there is pressure coming from clients for more diverse candidates'

The vast majority of APAC recruiters (80%) believe skills shortages will be their top hiring challenge for 2020. This was followed by convincing employers to increase candidate pay rates (36%), and reskilling workers to meet client demands (30%).

That’s according to Bullhorn’s 2020 Global Recruitment Insights and Data (GRID), a survey of more than 2,000 global recruitment professionals.

Almost half (46%) believe the talent shortage in APAC is worse now than it was five years ago.

Over three quarters (78%) agreed that reskilling candidates is an effective way to address talent shortages, and a similar number (74%) agreed that employers must accelerate pay increases to compete for qualified candidates.

Aaron McIntosh, Bullhorn’s APAC General Manager, said the data shows that APAC recruitment professionals view the talent shortage as an even bigger problem than their global peers do, and perhaps, as a result, are even more supportive of reskilling.

“By giving clients the tips and tools to reskill candidates, recruiters can carve out a new role for themselves in today’s climate, so it’s great to see recruiters in APAC willing to jump on it. The next challenge is encouraging their clients to do so, too.”

Recruiters in APAC are almost unanimous that digital transformation will help their business (86%) and almost all (85%) agree that they must embrace it to remain competitive.

When it comes to technology adoption, only one sixth (14%) have fully adopted recruitment technology and one-fifth (20%) report barely using it at all.

While respondents say sourcing is the most challenging part of the recruitment lifecycle (32%), only two in five (39%) currently automate any part of their sourcing efforts. When asked what is preventing them from adopting recruitment technology, over a third cited training issues: limited training resources (28%) and cost of training (10%).

McIntosh said: “Recruitment technology can help recruiters overcome the exact problems they’re facing – sourcing candidates and gathering information on salary expectations.

If training and ease of use is an issue, recruitment firms should spend some time reviewing the technology that they have, the support provided, and the alternatives on the market. It will save them money on wasted resources and increase productivity in the long term– it is a win-win.”

The majority (54%) of APAC recruitment professionals have at least one client that requires a diverse shortlist of candidates. Interestingly, those specialising in sales and marketing were considerably more likely (65%) to receive these requests than those in healthcare (37%).

It seems that meeting these demands is a struggle, as nearly half (49%) say there’s a shortage of diverse candidates in the talent pool. In addition, almost a third (27%) say they’ve experienced discrimination in their own career in recruitment.

“It is good news that there is pressure coming from clients for more diverse candidates. The next step for recruiters is to utilise tools that help source them,” McIntosh said.

“Recruitment technology can help by automating CV parsing, meaning it identifies candidates that have the qualifications, experience or skills needed, regardless of their background. It can highlight candidates that clients and even recruiters might not otherwise notice.”

APAC recruitment professionals are concerned about the economy but are nonetheless reasonably optimistic about the potential for future success in the recruitment industry.

The plurality (44%) expect a recession and economic uncertainty is a top challenge for a third (31%). Despite this, nearly three quarters (71%) expect to increase revenue in the year ahead — only an eight percent drop from last year’s revenue expectations.


Hilton, John. “What is the top hiring challenge of 2020?” Human Resources Director, 31 Jan. 2020,