by Dupsy Abiola
Necessity is the mother of invention and all innovation starts with a basic need, problem, or frustration. Some years ago, I found myself wondering why it was so hard to find the right junior talent for my firm.
It seemed strange to me that whilst we are entering a golden age of big data and knowledge, my colleagues and I were still randomly sifting CVs and combing career events attempting to “strike candidate gold” rather than leveraging technology. As it turns out the individual issues I was facing at that time were only part of a greater problem on a much larger scale.
Europe has an average youth unemployment rate of 23% (Eurostats 2012). Last summer, Angela Merkel confirmed that the issue is now “the most pressing problem facing Europe at the present time” (Guardian 2013). If current levels remain the same, it is estimated that the net cost of this issue at the state level will run into several billions of euros. For each individual affected, even six months out of work early in a career could amount to a £50k (63.5k Euros) lifetime wage scar (impetus 2013).
There have been vast changes in the way in which people engage with one another both on and off line; little of this innovation has however changed the way in which we evaluate and recruit human capital. Recruitment is one of the most common forms of professional match-making; but techniques used by organisations (large and small) remain largely unchanged.
Every day, thousands of employers and candidates seek to connect; however it is still extremely hard to find great people. Almost 1 in 5 vacancies remain difficult to fill due to skills related reasons (UKCES). A further 22% of new recruits will leave within 6 months of starting at a cost of millions in wasted training and re-recruitment (Jobsite 2008).
The central problem for employers is that there is no simple short cut to engaging high quality and high fit candidates with suitable skills sets without spending (often considerable) time and expense. Job boards, agencies, CV databases, and even social media platforms do little to automate and optimise the process of targeting the most appropriate people quickly.