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Horizon scanning

Horizon scanning

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Earlier this month, the long-awaited TALiNT Partners: Talent Leaders Horizon Summit shone a spotlight on the big talent issues facing employers in 2023. Targeted talent acquisition (TA) experts gathered at The King’s Fund in London to hear multidimensional views surrounding the evolving recruitment and candidate markets. The event, sponsored by Creed Comms, Inploi, Real Links, Unifrog and Stratigens, was attended by over 65 companies.

Declan Slattery, Head of the Employer Programme and Chair of the TALiNT Partners Global Advisory Board opened the summit (with jokes about his shirt) while Q&As were chaired by Debra Sparshott, TALiNT Partners Head of Insights and Research. The packed room enjoyed lively discussions from some of the top thought leaders in talent acquisition, solutions experts and leading TA technology providers. Thought-provoking topics included the role of technology in TA, building flexibility into a strategic workforce, planning for an unpredictable 2023 and shifting candidate expectations and shaping culture and structure to improve workforce wellbeing.

The first panel discussion was led by Tony Wilson, Institute Director, and Dan Lucy, Chartered Psychologist and Director of HR Research and Consulting at the Institute of Employment Studies – an independent centre for applied research and insight on employment, skills and labour markets. They shared their ground-breaking findings on global trends, highlighting the new challenges facing TAs as well as informing and transforming priorities.


  • Economic confidence is down, but hiring continues
  • The workforce is shrinking and ageing
  • Economic divergence across industry sectors
  • Effects of rising living costs on salary demands and mental health
  • TA teams need re-skilling to support managers in hiring alternative talent
  • Emerging disparity between what workers expect and what employers offer

Horizon scanning


Statistics shared by the institute revealed that fewer young people, more students and the youth labour force has fallen from 3.7m to 3.1m in just 10 years. The UK, contrary to what is being shared in the news, is experiencing lower migration since Brexit and the ageing population and older people are out of work. While people with long-term health conditions are staying out of work longer. All of these factors contribute greatly to the buzz phrase ‘the missing million.’


  • Disabled people are under-represented in the workplace and a third are more likely to be in poverty
  • Shortage of families on low incomes seeking employment
  • Many senior skilled workers (50-69) left their jobs during the pandemic and didn’t return
  • UK prices are rising and inflation is hurting everyone

“You’re going to have to decide what you’d stand for as a company and then talk about it. Tell one story, but tell it in 50 different ways”. Shona Wilson, Veeam Software Global Employer Brand Director


  • Employers should implement a robust D&I policy, focussing on disabled people transitioning into the workplace
  • Reduce the disadvantage gap – support lower income families/single parents – offering flexi-working, ensuring childcare is accessible
  • Entice older people back to work
  • Employees need meaningful employment and want to feel happy – unhappy candidates leave work

Debra Sparshott chaired a panel Q&A asking how market intelligence enables TA to adapt and thrive. Panel members included Tej Grewal, Jazz Pharmaceuticals Talent Acquisition Director, Felix Dealtry, Enterprise Account Executive from Inploi, Glen Wilson, Quontigo’s Head of Talent Acquisition and Sam Davies, CEO and Co- Founder of Real Links. They unanimously agreed that talent intelligence (TI) is an increasingly vital resource for driving strategic business decisions.

 Alison Ettiridge, CEO of Stratigens, an award- winning company providing strategic decision intelligence, gave a short presentation saying, ‘Talent intelligence has long been an underused discipline, but as the volume of data and the capability of technology have rapidly evolved, the demand for external data to inform decisions has skyrocketed.’

Tej Grewal agrees that talent intelligence is a game-changer. ‘Data from a reputable source helps to validate anecdotal information and backs up what you are saying with confidence; it can change behaviour and make a difference in conversations.’ However, there are some barriers to market intelligence. Felix Dealtry, from Inploi – who connect global workforces with great employers – called for ‘more openness and clarity’, adding, ‘There’s too much data from a broad range of traffic sources and it can be overwhelming – it’s hard to see the wood from the trees and can be difficult to know where to start.’

Horizon scanning


  • It’s vital TI is user-friendly, transparent and widely accessible.
  • In a rapidly changing world, companies can’t be static. TI gives businesses the upper hand by tactically using the latest data to make informed recruitment decisions using business and marketing intelligence.
  • Using data helps to understand people from different backgrounds, reducing the prospect of discrimination.
  • TI is a vital resource when recruiting, allowing the company to avoid the copy, paste, repeat approach.

“Talent Intelligence has long been an underused discipline, but as the volume of data and the capability of technology have rapidly evolved, the demand for external data to inform decisions has skyrocketed.” Alison Ettridge, CEO at Stratigens

Glen Wilson, from Quontigo, believes using TI in the right way can help companies get a competitive edge. ‘It’s only when data is put into a context that it can be digested and analysed; it then becomes building blocks to wisdom – which can then be used to help you influence any sort of directional strategy. The hope for the future is to make TI accessible to all.’ Sam Davies of Real Links, the leading employee referrals and internal technology platform, agreed adding, ‘Data can be expensive for smaller organisations. In the future, I hope data is accessible for all and there is more sharing of data.’

After some insightful roundtable discussions, our final Q&A focussed on ‘Redefining the employer brand, exploring how a talent retention strategy informs and transforms TA.’ The expert panel members included Emma Saunders, Head of Human Resources at Allianz Insurance plc, Shona Wilson, Veeam Software Global Employer Brand Director, Caroline Collins, Employer Partnerships Manager at Unifrog and Dave Walstow, Creed Comms Associate Director.

Shona Wilson works on the premise that when it comes to branding, ‘less is more’ adding, ‘You’re going to have to decide what you’d stand for as a company and then talk about it. Tell one story, but tell it in 50 different ways, so it can be consumed by somebody who just wants to see a social media post to somebody who wants to read a piece of thought-leadership. So, really understanding your channels and shaping the contents of those channels is vital. Follow trends and constantly tweak.’

Dave Walstow, from Creed Comms, who are experts in employment branding, said, ‘Remain true to who you are as a business and make sure your brand is authentic and fit for the future.’ However, Emma Saunders said no matter how advanced the tech is you just can’t beat human interaction. ‘People buy people. I think tech is great, but nothing really can replace that emotional and psychological contract with your manager and team.’

We then addressed the topical issue of whether it’s possible to bridge the social mobility gap. Caroline Collins of Unifrog said they are reaching out to Year 8 pupils, saying even at a young age they know what they want and more importantly what they don’t want. She said, ‘Our platform exists to reduce the disadvantage gap. We started as an organisation to support young people from highly deprived areas get into university. We’ve expanded over the last 10 years but, our ethos stays the same… We work with 1.2 million students around the world, we have all of these incredible insights that we can share with our talent acquisition needs, and we can then start to shape their strategies and think about how they’re going to recruit the next generation.’

Declan Slattery closed the TALiNT Partners Horizon Summit by thanking everyone for attending, safe in the knowledge that everyone had some valuable takeaways – helping to make their jobs just that little bit easier.


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