War for talent: why new work is key to attracting young talent

Who’s winning the war for talent? That’s a question keeping all recruiters on their toes, with the hunt for qualified employees being one of the biggest challenges that companies face today. Is new work the key to success?

War for talent: an AI-generated open-plan office
Image: © Noelia / AdobeStock

These developments are fueling the war for talent

With pioneering technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing advancing so quickly in recent years, it’s no secret that the world of work has fundamentally changed. Companies are having to keep pace with this digital transformation and acquire the necessary technology and data expertise. With that in mind, qualified employees who are skilled in these new technologies are in more demand than ever before. What’s more, when companies undergo a digital transformation, they often have to restructure their existing business models, which gives rise to completely new strategies and work processes. So, in addition to possessing professional and technological skills and qualifications that meet the demands of the modern workplace, prospective employees need to be flexible and adaptable in order to be successful on the job market.

But what does the situation look like from the perspective of employers?

The opportunities opened up by globalization and remote work have expanded the global pool of talented workers. High performers are now more mobile and can pursue international careers easier than ever before. However, that also means that they may favor international companies over employers in their own country if the former offer more attractive prospects. In light of this complex situation, the competition for suitable skilled professionals has intensified further, and the war for talent is in full swing.

It now takes more than just a fruit bowl to attract young talent

Recruiters need to understand the mindset of young talent if they want to make an impression. Nowadays, promising, young applicants have clear expectations of their future employers. A good work-life balance and flexible, remote working are a matter of course for them. Further training and opportunities for personal development and lifelong learning are also important factors for many highly qualified professionals when job hunting. If companies still insist on implementing old working models and the outdated 9-to-5 pattern in 2024, they won’t attract young talent – even if they promise a high salary. Companies that shift their thinking from a traditional world of work to new work have more success.

Carsten Rasner, Managing Director of the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW), explains the concept of new work:

“New work is only new to anyone who is accustomed to the traditional world of work. Young people are just as diverse as the world of work waiting for them out there. A diverse world also means a wide range of expectations. In this context, new work means creating freedom and space for creativity, establishing a sense of purpose, and facilitating working environments that meet individual needs. The digital industry is still leading the way in this respect. It takes more than just offering complimentary fruit and drinks in a fancy office.”

The new generation of workers want to be given opportunities for continuous development and therefore choose employers that will help them grow on a personal level. Having a purpose is also important. Gen Z thus favors workplaces that have a positive social and environmental impact. In the war for talent, recruiters can deliberately incorporate this aspect into their employer branding. After all, companies that have a clear mission and deliver on their social responsibility will be more attractive to talented employees. At the same time, young candidates often demand maximum flexibility in their job to support their personal workflow. That’s where companies face the next challenge: if employees are mainly working from home, that can have a negative impact on team spirit. Many employers therefore opt for a hybrid working model with defined team days.

New hiring: intelligent recruiting management that embraces new work

Vying for the best candidates can be overwhelming and you need a comprehensive and well-thought-out strategy to stand out from the competition. Recruiters must understand the expectations of their future employees, meet them, and reconcile them with their own corporate goals.

“New hiring” is a modern recruitment process that is based on the principles of new work and puts the needs of employees first. An AI-powered process significantly reduces the work and time involved in recruiting new employees, freeing up more time to give them individual support. In addition, positive interactions should be built from the very start, for example through:

  • Clear contact channels
  • A straightforward application process
  • Quick replies
  • Authentic communication

An effortless recruitment process can make all the difference in the war for talent. For that reason, mobile recruiting, online assessments, and video interviews should be integrated into a company’s strategy in order to create a positive experience for applicants.

War for talent: success in recruitment requires thinking outside the box

There’s no doubt about it: recruiting skilled professionals is currently one of the biggest challenges for companies across all industries. If you want to win the war for talent, you need to think about how to optimally position yourself, develop a comprehensive recruitment strategy, and be open to new approaches. To end the skills shortage in your company, aspects such as embracing new ways of working, focusing on employees and their needs, and offering flexibility are no longer negotiable – they need to be at the heart of your corporate culture. Only then will you win over potential new hires and retain them over the long term.