· Insights

HireRight 15th Annual Benchmark survey: what recruitment lessons can we learn from 2021?

For the past 15 years, HireRight has conducted industry research into the talent acquisition, talent management, and background screening activities of human resources and risk professionals to help us better understand their habits and challenges, and allow businesses to benchmark against their peers, regionally and globally.

I am pleased to share with you four key EMEA findings from this year’s Benchmark Report.

Recruitment tactics in 2021

Many businesses worldwide faced recruitment challenges in 2021, with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and The Great Resignation both having an impact on the global talent landscape.

In response to these events, over half the respondents from North America and APAC increased their salary and/or benefits offering to help lure new talent in 2021. However, in EMEA, only around two-fifths (38%) increased their salary and/or benefits offerings.

Respondents from EMEA were far more likely to have fished for talent in different waters instead, with two-thirds (66%) saying they advertised on additional channels last year to help drive recruitment.

On the other hand, there was greater consensus when it came to updating their website’s recruitment pages – two-fifths of respondents from EMEA (41%) and APAC (40%), and 35% of respondents from North America said they updated their website’s recruitment pages last year.

This shows that despite most respondents citing online job boards among their most effective recruitment channels, many employers still believe that their candidates will either apply directly through their company website or at the least review their recruitment pages to get a better feel for the company culture and values before applying.


Candidate discrepancies

While it still seems to be a candidates’ market in 2022, with many employers desperate to get new hires in the door as soon as possible, the need to onboard talent quickly should never come at the expense of foregoing pre-employment background checks, or even rushing or paring back the scope of these checks.

The data from this year’s Benchmark Survey shows that in 2022, as in 2021, many businesses throughout the EMEA region are finding discrepancies in their candidates’ academic and work histories during the background screening process.

These may often be genuine mistakes, but they still show the need for background checks to highlight any inconsistencies between what a candidate has reported and what has been verified through public record checks, at the source, or via supporting documentation.

If candidates are willing to extend employment or study dates to hide any gaps on their CVs, as our customers often find, what else might they be hiding there? Without conducting thorough background checks on their candidates, employers may never know.


Applicant tracking system integrations

Only around half (52%) of EMEA employers surveyed said their business uses an applicant tracking system (ATS), with an additional 8% planning to start using one within the next 12 months.

With the need for businesses to hire candidates quickly as important, if not more important, than ever in the wake of The Great Resignation it is surprising that more companies are not seeing the need for an ATS to help manage their recruitment efforts.

For EMEA businesses using an ATS, only a third (33%) have integrated their background screening provider with it, with 30% saying their screening provider does not integrate with their ATS.

Given the wide range of potential benefits a background screening integration can offer – including reducing the number of recruiter touch points in the hiring process and driving screening efficiency, which could ultimately speed up time to hire – you may wish to check if prospective screening providers can integrate with your current ATS, or one you plan to move to in the near future, as part of your vendor evaluation process.


Future talent acquisition challenges

Finding qualified job candidates is expected to be the top talent acquisition challenge this year, according to our EMEA survey respondents. Three-fifths (60%) see this as a significant challenge in 2022, up from 36% in 2021.

However, looking ahead to 2023-2025, most EMEA employers (56%) believe that meeting candidates’ benefits/perks expectations will be difficult, making it the top challenge for the years to come.

Additionally, finding qualified job candidates is still expected to be a major challenge for 44% of EMEA respondents, and two-fifths (40%) believe creating an employer brand that attracts talent will be a significant issue for the next three years.

Our survey found that most EMEA employers are embracing a hybrid working model as a permanent change to the way their people work – 65% of EMEA survey respondents said they plan to facilitate hybrid working to allow workers to spend less time in the office after the pandemic.

Where viable, this could help businesses to meet some of their candidates’ expectations around flexible working, while also allowing these companies to widen their nets when recruiting to farther afield than within an easy commute of their local offices.

Click here to download HireRight's 15th Annual Benchmark Report.

Peter Cleverton is managing director of EMEA at HireRight