The top seven Kenya 2019 talent acquisition trends

The top seven Kenya 2019 talent acquisition trends

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Shortlist surveyed 200+ talent recruiting decision makers across Kenya to understand where the recruitment industry is headed. The respondents were equally split between HR and Hiring Managers and ranged from micro organisations with less than 25 employees to large corporates with over 1000 employees.

Here are the top seven talent acquisition trends in Kenya for 2019 that the survey revealed:

Insight #1: Attracting quality talent was a key challenge for Kenyan companies in 2018

Attracting quality talent was a top challenge across most functions and organisation sizes. This was especially the case for large organisations as 63% of respondents from companies with over 500 employees cited it as a challenge.

The current job market swings heavily in favour of quality candidates, and these candidates know how in-demand they are. If organisations don’t market properly as employers, they might lose the quality talent to the competition.

Our research on Hiring in Kenya found that high performers can generate up to 7 times the annual margin of low performers and nearly twice that of medium performers. This makes hiring quality talent critical for organisational performance.

It’s time for organisations to critically assess how attractive or appealing they are to high-quality applicants. Employer branding, candidate experience and talent pipelining need to take centre stage.

The secret to attracting high-quality applicants is to differentiate oneself from other industry players, and showing top talent how joining the organisation can help them reach their career goals. Companies are increasingly required to pay more attention to their employer brand to differentiate themselves and stand out. Therefore, it was no surprise that upon investigating the challenges faced by most companies in 2018, attracting quality talent topped the list, beating out candidate sourcing and assessments.

Insight #2: Improving the efficiency of hiring is the top priority for 2019

Given the pace of change and the constant pressure to save costs, it is not surprising that managers across industries identified improving the efficiency of the recruitment process as a priority for 2019. Improving hiring efficiency is crucial for employers as it lowers hiring costs, improves the quality of hires and reduces the time spent in the hiring process.

Our research showed that organisations receive 200 CVs on average per role advertised, with some organisations occasionally receiving as many as 5,000 CVs for each role! Time is the primary cost driver especially since interviewing takes up to 19 hours while CV screening and shortlisting take up to 18 hours per role.

Screening and shortlisting should ideally be less time-consuming and the time saved can be reallocated to other tasks requiring a more human touch. There is a need to effectively manage the high volume of applications received (mainly due to the use of online job boards) by leveraging on technology to provide effective solutions for efficient screening.

Insight #3: Companies are leveraging on technology in their recruitment

While technology has found its way into the HR ecosystem, most organisations in Kenya are not fully leveraging on technology; 67% of organisations are using technology during sourcing, and this number drops drastically to 18% during onboarding. Adoption of technology at the sourcing stage does not translate to improvements in the interview stage because of a high volume of unfiltered candidates getting to the interview stage.

Adoption of technology during the assessment and screening stages need to increase for organisations to be able to improve the efficiency of their hires. The utilisation of technology during the hiring process is most effective when used at the sourcing, screening and assessment stages, as this narrows down the number of applicants to those with the highest potential for the job, thus saving both interviewers and interviewees time.

At Shortlist, we help employers navigate the hiring process by using evidence-based digital methods that identify the most qualified candidates for the position from the vast pool of applications sent before proceeding to in-person interviews.

Insight #4: SMEs leverage on technology more in the hiring process

Our research found that SMEs leverage technology more than larger organisations. This is probably because SMEs often have limited bandwidth in their recruitment teams. They, therefore, turn to technology to make up for this deficit. In the past, the large corporates had a built-in advantage of advertising widely for roles simply because they could afford it.

There was no way that an SME could spend the kinds of money needed to use traditional advertising and spread the word in the same way that the established titans could. Hence there was a clear demarcation within the business world between the haves and have-nots.

Technology has blurred those lines to the point where it’s difficult even to see where they once existed. In particular, social media has given the opportunity to small businesses to advertise their vacancies in much the same way that business giants can.

Insight #5: Sales top the list for the most important position to fill in 2019

Nearly half of our respondents listed sales as the top position to fill in their companies this year. There could be several reasons for this. One could be the general attrition rate in sales; the voluntary turnover rate for salespeople is generally higher than for other positions. When salespeople aren’t happy in an organisation, they are more likely to leave than other employees.

Sales is a naturally stressful and performance-demanding job, so attrition will usually be higher because assessing performance for sales unlike other jobs, is in-your-face. This is also exacerbated by the fact that most employers don’t have a well-designed, mature sales process; hence performance is more dependent on employee quality.

On top of that, many companies face challenges finding the right talent for their sales teams and often end up making the wrong hire costing the company time and money. Right job fit has a massive impact on sales staff turnover as employees with ‘right fit’ have a stronger motivation and positive attitude towards their role making them more productive, effective and tend to stay longer.

Having a challenge with assessing for job fit? Read more on how we think about assessments: The Art and Science of Assessments

Insight #6: 96% of companies plan to increase their hiring volume this year

Kenyan businesses ushered in 2019 with a high sense of optimism for business growth. 96% of our survey respondents expressed the intention of increasing their rate of hiring. 52% of the respondents expect their organisations to increase their hiring volume by 20% or more!

While making more hires can be a sign of company growth, it is important for companies to remember that quality hires are the key to the growth of the business. To improve in this area, companies need to update their hiring processes constantly to attract the best candidates.

Insight #7: Hiring managers are looking for a good balance of soft and hard skills

When evaluating who they will hire in 2019, 44 % of respondents rated the candidate’s business skills, experience and job skills as very important. While business skills may get one’s foot in the door, employers are typically looking for a more balanced employee who also possesses soft skills that are not readily apparent on a CV.

Conclusion:

Sourcing and hiring talent can be a difficult, expensive and time-consuming process. Our survey revealed that most organisations are looking to become more efficient and increase the quality of their hires. To get ahead and ensure they secure the best talent, companies need to embrace new recruitment strategies and incorporate technology in the recruitment process.

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