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How Technology Changed the World of Employment

Chris Lacey Blog

Much like the rest of the world, the recruitment industry has seen significant changes over the last 50 years. This change, mostly thanks to the rise of new technology, is leading to marketplace efficiency gains and increased mobility in labour forces internationally and here in New Zealand. It’s resulted in a decrease in the cost of hiring candidates, greater mobility in the market, and the continuous development of contracting solutions.

Let’s take a trip through time to see what 4 major events have caused these changes.

1. Bulletin boards, newspapers and recruitment agencies

Before the development of the computer, recruitment was done through Bulletin boards and newspapers. Recruitment agencies in their earliest form held control of passive candidates’ information with physical filing systems full of resumes and cover letters. Companies paid a premium for access to these resources, and at that time these processes were all manual, slow and arduous. The norm was for candidates to spend their entire career in one organisation. This was partially due to the difficulty in finding alternative employment. 

2. Application tracking systems and electronic data

Prior to the web being developed and with the development of computers, application tracking systems allowed for companies and agencies to track their data. With a more organised and accessible way for recruiters to access their data, this lead to major efficiency gains. Now large corporations are also able to build databases of information on their candidates. As technology continued to develop, western labour markets started to mature further and recruitment agencies become a more prominent part of the job-hunting landscape. 

3. The emergence of online job boards

The emergence of the web saw the first development of online job boards and classifieds as a way of attracting talent through online channels. Job boards, such as SEEK and Indeed, took large amounts of business away from newspaper classifieds and eventually became the #1 location for candidates searching for new roles. Online job boards and resume databases became available to recruiters, and candidates who now apply online directly to companies that were hiring. The development of online technologies significantly increased the fluidity of talent movement in the market, and this was the dawn of a new era for employees, as tenure trends continued to move towards significantly shorter careers within organisations.

4. Social Media and LinkedIn arrives

This period sees LinkedIn’s arrival and its eventual dominance as the social site for professionals around the world. Candidates now use LinkedIn as a digital “CV" – with each person able to present their skills and most impressive achievements to employers, and like-minded professionals. In addition to this, candidates can use the platform to boost their personal brand, expand their networks, and connect with potential job opportunities.

Recruiters now have access to a database of candidates of over 150 million profiles from across the world. We’re now able to proactively engage with candidates for new roles, there is unprecedented access to international talent, and passive candidates are more easily accessible than ever before. The development of the social web makes discovering candidates easier and enables Recruiters to use social media to broadcast jobs through their person networks. At Beyond Recruitment, we’ve had some great successes when using social media to market our jobs, and have built up our online presence to increase accessibility and enhance our brand.

For candidates, life has been made much easier and new options have become available. Technologies such as Skype come into play, not just when interviewing for a role, but to attend meetings when you might be on the other side of the world. Freedom of movement laws between countries and decreasing travel costs have made it easier for people to find work all over the world, or work remotely, ushering a new age of contracting.

Closing Thoughts

As technology continues to change the recruitment landscape, these trends will continue further and we will see more international talent mobility, the existence of corporations solely built on virtual teams, businesses made entirely of contractors/freelancers, and a greater proportion of businesses made up of flexible resourcing solutions. Technology advancements in the recruitment industry have significantly helped the movement of talent to New Zealand. As a small island nation, we sometimes look to the rest of the world for talent. Technology advances in the recruitment industry only help us to attract, access, and enable some of the best people in the world to come and join us here in paradise.

If you’re wondering how technology can kick-start your career or business, or if you need any advice, feel free to get in touch.

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