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Industry Insights | 14 minute read

Key talent acquisition trends so far in 2023 

July 6, 2023

In late 2022, WilsonHCG surveyed human resources (HR) and talent acquisition (TA) leaders about what they predicted their challenges and priorities would be in the coming year. I’m revisiting those results today to see if they’ve come to fruition or learn what’s changed.  

To recap, the survey went out to more than 1,000 TA leaders and HR directors from companies with a minimum of 1,000 employees (some having over 50,000) to give a true reflection of the global market. There was representation from all sectors, including healthcare, financial services and manufacturing. 

Although a wide range of organizations were represented in the survey results, there were three challenges and three priorities in 2023 that stood out that I want to revisit. Let’s see if our survey respondents’ predictions still stand today.  

Talent challenges: 2023 predictions vs. today 

Here are the biggest challenges HR and TA leaders thought they’d be facing in 2023 as they approached the year – and whether they came to fruition.  

Skills shortages  

True! It’s no surprise that talent remains in short supply (with no sign of this changing). The impact of the pandemic, early retirement, emerging technologies and a host of other factors continues to affect employers’ hiring efforts. Some industries, like healthcare, have been in need of skilled talent for years, so recruitment in the space continues to be a top-of-mind concern. 

Read more: How to address hiring challenges in the healthcare industry 


Despite what TA leaders thought for this year, early retirement figures differ largely by region. While “more than half of the increase in the retired share” in the US wouldn’t have occurred in the absence of the pandemic (via the Federal Reserve Board), the EU’s figures weren’t as majorly impacted, with only 8.7% retiring early due to COVID-19 according to the European Central Bank. 

In contrast, large tech firms have gone through several redundancy programs. Regardless, software engineers remain in high demand. Niche or short-supply skills were not the victims of these recent layoffs. 

Today, while unemployment rates remain low, good talent is still hard to find. As of April 2023, EU figures stated 6.5%, with the US unemployment rate from BLS sat at 3.4%. 

Uncertain economy 

True! While our survey was conducted in 2022, many knew economic uncertainty was on the horizon. Now, with high interest rates and record inflation, it’s led to what many experts call a “rolling recession.” This means only certain sectors are impacted; however, this will still have a widespread affect in the long term.  

I’ve worked through many economic downturns, but this one feels different and isn’t following the path of historic downturns. Organizations are unsure of next steps; action items feel unclear. Organizations have reduced spending in the first half of the year and are expecting more from any expenditures. 

Thankfully, we’re seeing signs of positivity. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to continue for all major economies in Q3-Q4 of this year, so now’s the time to plan for growth in 2024. 

Talent attrition 

Still true! During uncertain times, leaders want to keep their best talent to ensure readiness for growth. But, because good talent is difficult to find, it can impact your organization negatively if your retention rates decrease. Lower retention often results in a loss of productivity and lower morale, which impacts the employment brand of a business. This is why talent mobility is incredibly important – it allows your employees to have meaningful career pathing while staying with your organization.  

Claro, a people analytics tool that generates real-time labor market intelligence, can predict attrition risk for your organization. For example, Claro data showed Fortune 100 employers were 2% more likely to show job-seeking behaviors from December 2022 through May 2023. These insights regularly help our clients better understand potential attrition levels so they can put safeguards in place, including stay interviews and talent mobility programs. 

Talent priorities: 2023 predictions vs. today 

Here are the biggest priorities HRDs and TA leaders thought they’d be focused on come 2023 – and whether this is, in fact, where they’ve been spending their time.  

Talent retention  

True! The impact of the top three talent challenges – skills shortages, economic uncertainty and talent attrition – can all be eased with a strong talent retention strategy, therefore it’s no surprise it’s a top priority. Prevention is key to reducing attrition rates, especially in critical and growth areas of the business.  

Instead of a scattergun strategy, use tools that help forecast an elevated risk of attrition in your specific area of key talent. This type of data allows organizations to identify where talent teams should be building talent pools and futureproofing the pipeline to reduce risk.  

Optimizing TA technologies 

Increasingly true! Our survey was conducted prior to the widespread conversation of ChatGPT and generative AI (which is a separate topic all on its own), so this priority has picked up in pace as the year’s gone on.

 Interestingly, 80% of survey respondents said they were planning on investing in more talent acquisition tech tools as a major focus. Certainly, organizations investing in HR and sourcing technologies to help identify potential candidates will be able to increase their talent pools and backfill candidates quicker than their hiring competition. 

At WilsonHCG, our team regularly tests tools and technologies to identify what's most useful to building organizations’ talent pools. Our tech-agnostic approach uses a combination of our own technologies (e.g., Claro), third-party tools and our highly trained sourcers’ knowledge and experience working with various technologies in the field.  

Read more: 5 reasons why talent acquisition teams should identify the total addressable market before sourcing 

There are many available tools and techniques that can be deployed in the hunt for extraordinary talent – and not all are expensive options requiring complex implementations. In today's market, choosing tech that’s easily deployable and complements your current tech stack, while opening new opportunities to engage and attract a different talent, should be the priority. 

Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) 


Companies with above-average diversity produced a greater proportion of revenue from innovation (45% of total) than from companies with below average diversity (26%). 
Source: BCG 

True for some. We’ve heard about the benefits of a diverse workforce, as it increases both profitability and innovation, and more focus in this area will yield better results in growing your talent pool. With other priorities competing for time and energy, we’ve seen this take a back seat for some organizations. 

Without a clearly defined diversity strategy and a focus on fostering an inclusive environment, it’s nearly impossible to attract diversity to your talent pool. Align any efforts to your employee value proposition (EVP) and encourage DEIB ambassadors within your organization to guide your strategy. A genuine approach and continuous feedback from the organization will set you in the right direction. 

When it comes to tracking diverse talent, be aware of how you capture data — as regional compliance restricts what figures you can use. Labor market intelligence can give you real-time insights based on publicly available information, so this can augment your internal numbers. Despite the limitations, there are still many ways talent leaders can track diversity data and reporting to make informed decisions. 

Read more: A guide to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) 

Simple actions are to align your employee value proposition (EVP), have DEIB ambassadors and support employee resource groups (ERGs), which help foster an inclusive environment.

The economy will ramp up again 

All of the challenges and priorities cited by HR and TA leaders in our survey results carried through to 2023, and I suspect we’ll continue to see these recurring themes in future years as well. As we get ready to conduct our TA survey again this year, I predict there will be additional themes emerging too, like the impact of AI. 

While the economy is still in a state of flux, we are seeing the tides turn as companies prepare for growth in 2024. One thing’s for certain: talent acquisition is a sector that never sleeps and must continue to adapt. 

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About Stewart Cato

Stewart is the vice president of talent operations at WilsonHCG. He has years of expertise managing and delivering complex, multi-region technical talent solution programmes for international clients across EMEA, NAM and APAC. Stewart is passionate about delivering talent programmes that make a marked difference to the talent agenda and developing teams to reach their full potential.