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5 Trending HR and Recruitment Topics in April 2023

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It is hard to believe that we are already in the second quarter of 2023. This month, human resources (HR) and recruitment professionals are discussing how they can attract and retain talent in this highly competitive and fluctuating market.

Appealing to younger workers is high on the agenda this month. Organisations are leveraging TikTok to fill entry-level positions and are ensuring company values align with younger generations’ expectations.

Organisations are also changing how they fill skill gaps by leaning on contract workers, which poses the question: will 2023 see the rise of a gig economy?

The way the recruitment function is perceived is also changing, with recruitment leaders becoming more influential in organisational decision-making.

Creating a sense of belonging for employees is also being discussed.

Keep reading to learn the five trending HR and recruitment topics in April.

Xref branded graphic with text that says "Using tiktok to attract talent"

Trend #1 Using TikTok to attract talent

LinkedIn has been the leading social networking platform for recruitment initiatives. However, organisations are increasingly leveraging other platforms like TikTok to attract talent.

A recent article from HR Dive explores how organisations of all sizes – from retail giants like Target to small, independent businesses – are using TikTok to get workers “in the apply funnel”. They create and post content that positions the organisation as an attractive workplace.

After all, TikTok has more than 1 billion monthly active users across 150 countries, according to EarthWeb, so there is a lot of talent to tap into.

While leveraging TikTok for talent acquisition purposes is relatively new, TikTok has been encouraging users to use the platform to find jobs since 2021, when it launched its Resumes feature. Users can use this feature to showcase their skillsets and experiences in a creative 60-second video using the hashtag #TikTokResumes. Upon the launch, TikTok partnered with companies such as Chipotle and Target to fill entry-level positions.

However, TikTok isn’t the right choice for every organisation. Before a talent acquisition (TA) team downloads the app, creates an account and starts posting videos, it should consider the type of talent it is trying to attract in terms of job role and seniority and the demographic of users on TikTok.

Consider your audience

Younger generations are the most significant users of TikTok. As of January 2023, the most considerable portion of TikTok’s global audience (21.5%) were women between 18 and 24 (Generation Z), according to Statista. Male users of the same age group made up 17%.

TikTok’s younger demographic suggests that, as a recruitment tool, it is better suited to organisations looking to hire seasonal or casual staff or people in entry-level positions rather than senior or managerial positions.

4 ways to use TikTok to attract talent

There are multiple ways recruiters can use TikTok to find candidates. They can use it organically, use paid promotions, encourage user-generated content, and partner with influencers.

  1. Organic promotion: Organisations can create content to generate organic traffic. One benefit of the platform is it doesn’t cost anything. However, it isn’t easy to drive consistent traffic to your profile unless you are constantly uploading – does your talent acquisition team have time for that?
  1. Paid promotion: Organisations can use the paid promotion feature to generate traffic. This can be effective in generating engagement, yet the feature has some limitations, including the fact you can only select one area of interest (e.g. “retail” or “fashion”, but not both).
  1. Influencer marketing: Partner with a TikTok creator whose audience aligns with yours and get them to talk about why working at your company is so great.
  1. User-generated content: If an employee at your company already has a significant TikTok presence, you can leverage that – even if not all of their content relates to the company.

What to post on TikTok to attract talent

If you have determined that TikTok is the right recruitment tool for your organisation, you must develop a content strategy.

Different tactics suit different organisations, but the best thing to do is to play on your strengths. Do you have a beautiful office space? Do you offer employees great benefits? Do you have a professional development program you’re proud of? 

Below are some TikTok content ideas for attracting talent:

  • Create a video montage showcasing your workspace or a day-in-the-life (DITL) of an employee at your company (remember to use the hashtag #DITL).
  • Use employee testimonials: Get employees to talk about their experiences at your company and why they love working there.
  • Follow the viral trends and use humour: TikTok is all about using viral sounds to create new videos. Getting this right can position your company as digitally savvy, with a finger on the pulse of the latest trends.

TikTok is a great promotional tool for the talent acquisition team. Before you dive in, consider the return on investment for your business and the goals and objectives: are you looking to build awareness of your employer brand or receive applications from candidates? And if you are going to implement it into your recruitment strategy, have fun with it!

Xref branded graphic with text that says "The rise of a gig economy"

Trend #2 The rise of a gig economy

The economy is in flux and organisations are tightening their purse strings, which makes fulfilling talent needs a challenge. LinkedIn asks, “Is 2023 the year of the contract worker?”

The demand for contract workers has risen in recent years. LinkedIn’s Future of Recruiting report 

revealed that organisations across many sectors are leaning more heavily on contractors. The report found that listings for contract jobs jumped 26% from 2021 to 2022, whereas full-time listings grew just 6%.

Recent research found that the global gig economy market size has grown – and is growing – exponentially since the pandemic, from $355 billion in 2021 to a forecasted $873 billion in 2028. Casual employees made up almost one-quarter (23%) of the Australian workforce in 2022, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). In America, contractors account for one-third of workers, according to McKinsey.

So, what is a gig economy's appeal to employers and employees?

A significant benefit of leaning on contract workers is the flexibility they offer employers. Contractors enable organisations to fill skills gaps quickly as they can be hired on a freelance or project basis to fulfil a specific need – a great solution when there is a talent shortage. Freelancer platforms like Fiverr also make it easy for employers to source contractors for specific tasks.

Luckily, there is plenty of talent to choose from. According to the ABS, 1.1 million independent contractors are in the Australian workforce alone. This cohort is used to getting up to speed quickly and can typically hit the ground running when helping with project work.

A downside of relying on contractors is they aren’t familiar with company values and culture. Contractors may also be more expensive than full-time staff.

The sentiment for contract work has also grown among employees since the pandemic. Post-COVID, more employees may desire flexibility and the option not to be beholden to one employer. Research into the United States gig economy found that 83% of gig workers chose to be self-employed, and 63% did so because they wanted flexibility. Platforms like Fiverr also make it easy to find work as a contractor.

While it’s hard to predict how work will evolve in the coming years, it’ll be interesting to see how many organisations adopt contract workers and how effectively freelancers can meet business needs.

Xref branded graphic with text that says "Creating a sense of belonging"

Trend #3 Creating a sense of belonging

Focusing on the ‘B’ in DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) is crucial in today's workplace. According to research by McKinsey, over half of US employees reported feelings of isolation in 2022. Over half (51%) of employees left their jobs because they felt a lack of belonging and connection at work.

Recent research by Workday in association with Lighthouse Research & Advisory highlights the importance of belonging, especially for frontline workers. The report, titled ‘Frontline Workers: How to Connect, Enable, and Support Them in the Modern Workplace’, shares findings from the survey of 3,000 frontline workers globally across multiple sectors, including healthcare, hospitality, retail, manufacturing, transportation, construction and energy.

The report found that belonging is a critical success factor for frontline worker engagement and retention. To reach their full potential, frontline workers must work in an environment that is positive and psychologically safe.

The results of the research also indicate that managers who interact with these workers have the power to create feelings of connection and support. Managerial support (or lack thereof) influences whether workers want to stay in their jobs.

The report separated survey respondents into ‘High Belonging’ and ‘Low Belonging’. To determine these groups, it looked at areas such as:

  • Manager feedback frequency and how well it aligned with employee preferences
  • Perceptions of personal health and wellbeing
  • Having the right tools and technology to manage work
  • Perceptions of the employer being open and transparent

Just 33% of Low Belonging employees said they intended to stay with their employer and were found to be four times more likely to say their mental health and wellbeing have declined in the past year.

High Belonging employees are twice as likely to stay with their employer, attributed mainly to the support they receive from their manager. 

Belonging is complex. What makes one person feel as though they belong at the workplace can be different from the next. Nevertheless, there is a lot organisations can do to enhance feelings of belonging.

At Xref, creating feelings of belonging among employees is important, so we conduct regular engagement surveys to measure employee sentiment. We can benchmark survey data to uncover patterns or measure the impact of change initiatives on things like belonging and satisfaction.

Xref branded graphic with text that says "Aligning organisational values with younger generations"

Trend #4 Aligning organisational values with younger generations

Young people (Generation Z, born in the late 1990s to early 2010s, and Millennials, born in the early 1980s and late 1990s) greatly influence how organisations operate. According to PwC, Generation Z and the Millennial Generation account for 38% of the global workforce. This percentage is expected to rise to 58% by 2030.

An article by ERE Media highlights how workers’ expectations of employers have evolved. Younger workers, especially Gen Z, have different values to older generations, and organisations that don’t embrace these values will be left behind in the hunt for talent.

Gen Z has been shaped by global events like every generation before it. Gen Z workers entered the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic when most businesses operated remotely. Following this was the Great Resignation when millions of workers quit their jobs in search of more flexibility, better pay, more opportunities, and so on.

These generation-defining events have shifted the way workers approach organisations. Research by Talent Board found that when looking for jobs, Gen Z workers are most concerned with finding an organisation with values that reflect their own.

So, what do younger generations want from an employer?

Gallup’s research ‘4 Things Gen Z and Millennials Expect from Their Workplace’ found that younger generations want to work for an employer that:

  • Cares about their wellbeing, both physically and emotionally
  • Is ethical and has a positive impact on people and the planet
  • Supports diversity and inclusion

Gallup surmises that younger workers want organisations to meet environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. It also highlights that meeting ESG is important for investors because it strongly correlates with financial performance.

To attract, retain, and inspire younger workers, organisations must ensure that recruiters and talent acquisition professionals do not just talk about employee wellbeing, transparency, diversity and inclusion and ethical leadership but live and breathe it.

Redefining company values is a top-down endeavour. Executive leaders must demonstrate the values younger workers seek, and then managers and recruitment teams must embody these values daily.

Xref branded graphic with text that says "Recruitment leaders are becoming more influential"

Trend #5 Recruitment leaders are becoming more influential

Organisations need strategic decision-makers at the top who will guide them through current and future economic challenges. According to LinkedIn, recruitment leaders are up to the task.

LinkedIn surveyed thousands of recruitment professionals, conducted interviews, and analysed numerous data points from LinkedIn users and job postings. The insights have been compiled into the Future of Recruiting 2023 report, which makes 17 predictions about recruitment in the coming years.

A major prediction made by the report is that the role of recruitment leaders is growing; they are gaining more and more influence and becoming major strategic players. LinkedIn found that 87% of recruiting professionals say that talent acquisition has become a more strategic function over the last year.

How are recruitment leaders gaining more influence?

LinkedIn’s report suggests that recruitment leaders will work more closely with the C-suite on key business decisions, from fine-tuning the employer brand and redefining learning and development (L&D) initiatives to decisions regarding remuneration.

Let’s look at each area in more detail.

Employer brand

Enhancing the employer value proposition (EVP) is key to plugging skills gaps, says the report. While many recruitment professionals surveyed their organisation’s recruitment budget will remain the same in the next year, six out of 10 say the investment in employer branding will increase – one of the only areas where investment is rising.

An employer brand can only be enticing if it speaks to candidate priorities. The report states that in 2023, these priorities are compensation, work-life balance, flexible working arrangements, advancement opportunities, and skill development (in that order).

Learning and development

The report found that 81% of in-house recruitment professionals will work more closely with L&D in the future to identify skills gaps, encourage talent mobility and help employees develop their careers. 

This partnership is important because LinkedIn data shows that organisations with high internal mobility have a median employee tenure of 4.9 years, compared to 3.1 years for organisations with low internal mobility.


Another area where recruitment leaders are making big decisions is remuneration. The report states that just 45% of recruitment professionals say their organisation has increased salaries in line with inflation. The report suggests that the power to change lies with recruitment leaders who must push for pay increases and pay transparency.

By consulting the C-suite and the HR department on remuneration, L&D, and employer brand, recruitment leaders can help their organisation weather the economic storm.


April’s trending topics indicate that while there is economic uncertainty, there is positive change ahead. As Gen Z and Millennials now make up a large proportion of the workforce, business leaders must adapt company values and the employer brand to appeal to them.

Another positive conversation happening is around the increasing influence of recruitment leaders. They are in a position of power to make decisions that positively impact candidates, employees, and the employer. They can do this by working closely with the C-suite on areas such as remuneration, L&D and employer brand.

With this newfound trust, recruiters can make big decisions, such as whether to leverage TikTok in recruitment initiatives. As discussed earlier, TikTok may be the perfect tool to source candidates and boost brand awareness.

It will also be interesting to see whether more organisations embrace contract workers and whether they find it to be an effective strategy for plugging skills gaps. Watch this space to see how the gig economy evolves with the times.

To learn more about the HR and recruitment trends of 2023, check out the key HR and recruitment trends for March 2023.

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