External recruitment might have always been our go-to strategy for attracting talents but with the ever changing job market and scarcity of in-demand talents, it has become increasingly difficult and costly. How can corporates rethink about their talent acquisition strategy better to tackle this phenomenon?

Talent Scarcity

Talent scarcity is one of the top challenges globally that businesses face as a result of rapidly transforming business environment and digitisation across industries. In Singapore, we also observed similar trends not just in digital roles but also the more traditional roles.

Source: JobTech’s Singapore Jobs Data (Q1-2018 to Q4-2019)

To illustrate an example of digitisation, we zoom into the Human Resources job function in Singapore and found that there is a growing demand for digital skillsets for HR professionals between 2018 and 2019.

When demand for such digital skillsets are outpacing the talent supply, job-skills mismatch increases and leads to structural unemployment. There are no lack of jobs out in the market; in fact there are 1.3 million jobs postings in 2019 alone! As business owners and recruiters, acquiring external skilled talents with a lack of suitable talent supply will continue to get more difficult and expensive.

Internal Mobility – What it is

HR personnel should not be unfamiliar with internal mobility strategies but it has been largely neglected until the recent few years. Internal Mobility, which refers to the movement of employees to different opportunities within the same company, is gaining traction in the field to address the talent scarcity. For simple economic reasons, internal hires would cost 18% less than hiring external hires. There are also additional benefits of culture fit and reduction in onboarding time and costs. Beyond cost reasons, successful internal mobility programs can prove beneficial for business and employees too. It has been demonstrated that internal mobility creates a sense of belonging and value for employees and increases employee engagement by 49%, contributing to talent retention.

Our progress with Internal Mobility

While businesses recognises and understands the value of internal mobility, the reality is that efforts in promoting internal mobility is underwhelming. For most, talent acquisition has been a siloed HR function from career management and talent development. Even as there are increasing chatter across corporates to promote internal mobility, talent acquisition specialists or recruiters seldom have oversight of the internal talent pool. Ultimately, internal mobility isn’t just about posting positions on an internal job site. To consider effective internal mobility, recruiters need to be aware of and be able to align employee’s skills and career goals to organisational needs, as well as provide a roadmap for the employees to reach their goals.

Indeed, in a survey conducted by Deloitte, which collated responses from HR and business leaders, 49% of the survey respondents, agreed that the main factor hindering internal mobility lies in its poor implementation. There is a compelling need for businesses and HR functions to reshape their approach towards internal mobility to one where HR plays an active role and build on internal human capital capabilities in a structured and scalable process.

Common Approach to Internal Mobility

Among many HR systems out there, a common approach towards internal mobility is 1:1 skills matching. Recruiters have to manually key in the skills required of a new job opportunity while employees have to manually key in the skills they possess into the HR system. With these two set of skills, the HR system tries to do a 1:1 match to determine which employee best suits the new role.

Flaws of 1:1 skills match in candidate selection process

However the reality is that very few employees will be matched; for the few that are matched, they are very likely to be the ones who are already working in that role. Internal Mobility should not be about looking for candidates who are a perfect fit. What it should be is looking for potential employees that can be trained to excel in that new role.

Better Approaches to Internal Mobility with Talented.

To tackle the limitations of the common approach, an alternative form of matching should be utilised instead. At JobTech, we believe that the skills adjacency matching is key towards an efficient internal mobility process. Instead of a 1:1 skills match, what skills adjacency matching does is to first determine the similarity between skills and from there attempt to do a match. Skills adjacency matching would prevent potential and trainable candidates from being filtered out prematurely.

How skills adjacency allows for better assessment of transferability between roles

Talented. as a Solution to Internal Mobility

There is a lack of strategic and systemic approach towards managing internal talents and Talented Platform is aimed at removing the traditional barriers (poor implementation, lack of internal candidates etc) and improving the common approaches towards internal mobility.

With Talented, HR or hiring managers are just required to post their jobs and the skills requirement is automatically extracted with the NLP engine. For employees, with just a resume upload, we will be able to automatically extract out their skills and competencies. What happen next is that Talented matches the employees with the new role with skills adjacency matching. The HR or hiring managers will be able to get a list of employees with the exact skills for the role and also a list of employees who can be trained to excel in the role. For the identified potential candidates, the skills gap can then be bridged with suggested courses from tertiary institutions in Singapore.

With a structured and reliable process towards internal mobility, Talented can help corporates who wish for an end-to-end solution from identifying to ranking and finally upskilling these candidates.