What happened in talent acquisition in 2023? Insights from MeetFrank

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2024 is less than a fortnight away. Talent acquisition and recruitment professionals are wrapping up a year full of challenges and changes in recruitment and hiring. Luckily, plentiful information is available online, and the recruitment community openly shares its insights, predictions, and forecasts for the next year. This helps you formulate the best plan and strategy to tackle 2024 head-on. You can read predictions for 2024 from 15 recruitment experts in our recent blog post, which you can access here.

Don’t worry if you haven’t fully formalised your plan for 2024. You still have time to make adjustments and wrap it up nicely.

To give you another resource to discover, we hosted an end-of-the-year webinar, “Key trends and changes in recruitment for 2024”, together with MeetFrank’s Kaarel Holm and The Talent Hunter, Vanessa Raath. You can watch the webinar on-demand on Livestorm, or if you’re more of a reader, this recap will sum up MeetFrank’s insights for you. Read Vanessa’s insights here.

What does MeetFrank do? Where do they get their data?

MeetFrank’s co-founder Kaarel Holm shared what they have seen happening in their user base and what conclusions you can draw from them.

MeetFrank is a mobile-only (app-only) job marketplace with over half a million downloads. It was launched in 2017 to build something more talent-centric, with a better user experience than regular job boards or job marketplaces. MeetFrank provides a safe space where everybody can be available on the job market on their own terms and without stress. The primary user group is not active jobseekers but working professionals who want to be up to date with the latest job market trends and the most suitable opportunities – working talent.

So far, MeetFrank’s Google Play (4.5 stars) and AppStore (4.6 stars) ratings are way beyond the industry average, indicating that their idea is received well by the intended users.

MeetFrank primarily works with startups and technology companies, and they have worked with the region’s largest startups and scaleups.

Most of their business is in the Baltic region, and around 20% comes from remote companies and talent. Because of the user base and the kind of talent they are focused on, the positions and talent tend to be homogeneous – 95% white males looking for engineering-related positions (e.g. software engineering, dev ops).

The minimum salary expectation for a MeetFrank user is 3,050€, almost double the average salary in the region. They process 250,000 applications annually. So there’s a lot of data to rely on.

As a subsidiary, they have also built a compensation app which includes real-time compensation data. It was launched almost a year ago. MeetFrank is focused on hiring new employees, and they get data about the new and attractive jobs on the market, how candidates apply and what the salary offers are. The compensation app is more about user and employee retention and helps track salary and compensation movements within startups.

MeetFrank users in 2023

Talent market overview in 2023

First, 2023 has been relatively rough for the technology and startup sectors.

  • From a job seeker’s perspective, the number of offers compared with the high point in 2021 has dropped almost 3x. The general market decline hasn’t been so steep but affects the high-end positions.
  • There are not only fewer offers available, but the time to hire is also faster – 1.8x compared with Q4 of 2021 or Q4 of 2022. The new offers on the market also go off significantly quicker than before.
  • Because the competition for one position is much higher than in previous years, it didn’t bring on any significant salary increase from the new offers on the market. Instead, the average salary is around 2% lower compared with 2022, which is a little bit surprising if we also factor in the high inflation.
  • Because fewer offers are available, the average number of applicants per offer has increased significantly. There are currently 20 applicants per offer at the moment.
  • Remote offers and applications are gaining popularity. 25% of the Baltic applications are for remote positions outside the region. More people are picking up remote opportunities where the company headquarters is not in the Baltics anymore. It’s a steadily growing trend that MeetFrank expects to pick up in 2024.
  • During COVID, many companies went remote and still are in 2023. A lot of local companies have switched over from remote to hybrid. With the hybrid arrangement, they expect employees to visit the office once or twice a week. Among the software engineering talent, a significant proportion prefer going fully remote and travelling while working, so they are prone to apply only for fully remote positions. Companies that offer that possibility are primarily outside of the Baltic region.
  • The market has an extremely strong bias, per the Pareto 80/20 principle, where 20% of the companies get 80% of the applicants. When applicants are presented with many offers, they tend to apply for the companies they recognise. If we asked the five companies the applicants would like to work for, we would see similarities or clusters of companies that pop up, and we see that in our marketplace already.
  • The rise in the average number of applicants per offer doesn’t mean better access to talent. The same applicants apply for jobs at different companies.

The three types of job seekers: the Actives, the Semi-Actives and the Passives

  • Active job seekers who make multiple applications in a short period, normally in one day. They make 5-6, sometimes 20 applications daily, indicating they need a new job. They mainly look for a position match and don’t focus on the company’s mission or values.
  • Semi-active users who consume or look at many job offers but make extremely few applications: 1-3 applications in a year. They are ready to move, but only if they find something better. The “something better” differs from user to user. For some, it means remote work, a promotion or a specific industry they would like to work in.
  • Passive users don’t make any applications but still browse the openings. It’s a huge misconception that passive talent is extremely happy in their current position. The biggest reason the passive talent doesn’t take any action is the fear of rejection, the lack of time, or the motivation to start this new process.

Pro tip: If you want to get the passive talent to move, you need to guarantee some level of success to them. So invite them to a process and assure them they will likely be selected, and you will be surprised by the response rate. Almost 80% of the users who view job openings in 2023 don’t make a single application. So they don’t take any action, but they constantly browse different companies and job opportunities. The Passives are the largest group out there and the most interested group, meaning they are not that passive like the name suggests.

Passive talent statistics
  • When we look at the people who apply, the semi-active ones have declined and have become what MeetFrank classifies as passive. Less semi-actives means that there are fewer people out there who apply. And at the end of 2023, they’re making less than half of the applications. Two years ago, they made around 77% of applications. On the other hand, we’re seeing that the number of active ones who make multiple applications is increasing, and they make, on average, ten applications.
  • So what we’re seeing on the market is the number of applications has remained the same even when the number of openings has decreased. But many of the applications have been made by the same small group – the active users have become very active. Compared with 2022, you get applicants who are part of 5-10 processes instead of getting applicants who have decided to apply only for your company.

This has created a situation where there’s a substantial overlap between different applicant pools in different companies. The general number of applicants per offer might be higher, but it probably comes from the cost of quality. Engaging the semi-active and passive groups is highly relevant if you’re trying to get better-quality applicants.

None of the companies in the MeetFrank user base is out of the woods. There is still heavy competition for the high-end talent.

  • We see another behavioural pattern that happens with the active and semi-active candidates. Half of the applications happen within the first hour of publishing. The rest of the applications come significantly later. The average time to convert at the moment is 2.6 days. Retargeting the applicants in 3 days is essential – the quality candidates don’t decide instantly. They take three-plus days to make the decision. With retargeting, you can significantly increase the quality and quantity of the talent pool.

Recruiter activity overview in 2023

Looking at the recruiters, where we are now, where the average job offer gets more applicants, has brought back some problems we saw four or five years ago.

  • First of all, ghosting is back, becoming a massive problem. Currently, only around 35-40% of the applicants get any response from the recruiter. It differs slightly from market to market, but 18 months ago, the response rates were 60%+. There are more applicants and probably less time and pressure to provide a good candidate experience or quality. This is a collective problem. One really bad experience already drives applicants and talent away. When a person applies somewhere and gets a response quickly, you can see that they are more prone to apply again. If they get ghosted, they usually leave the job market and often shares their negative experience with peers.
  • Recruiter-initiated sourcing has also declined by almost 3x. So again, it is somewhat logical as the organic level of candidates coming in is higher, so they don’t bother to make the first step independently. However, there is a lot of talent on the market currently waiting for recruiters to reach out to them. This is the biggest surprise seen at MeetFrank: once the market turned, the recruiter activity also decreased. It seems like the initiative to produce better results has dropped significantly.

Looking at the numbers, if recruiters decided to be a little more proactive on the market, it would provide massive results quickly. A good example would be Tele2 in Latvia, who was looking for a mid-senior-lead level Online Charging System Analyst for a hybrid position. They contacted 17 candidates, and 14 candidates responded within the first 24 hours (7 already in 30 minutes!). 82% of the responses were positive.

It shows that the talent is open to these discussions and offers. The problem is that the recruiter activity has dropped. So, if you want to hire high-quality talent, we recommend being active on the market. We expect this trend to continue in 2024 because the organic inflow of candidates will probably increase in Q1 next year, leaving more recruiters overwhelmed with managing the applications.

Highly responsive candidates

Where do you find developers who are okay with working onsite Monday to Friday? – A question from the chat

There are still a lot of entirely onsite job offers. Sometimes, it’s inevitable because you work with projects that don’t allow remote work, primarily for security reasons. And some developers still wish to go to the office every day. But we need to consider that the average developer is relatively introverted, meaning they prefer to do this hybrid or fully remote. It makes your life 55x more difficult if you require onsite work, and you probably need to compensate for it somehow to make it worthwhile for the developer. It can be an extremely exciting project, or you must offer a higher salary or better stock options to motivate them to leave their comfort zone.

Thank you, Kaarel, for sharing valuable insights about the talent market changes and trends from MeetFrank.

How to attract talent in 2024? Book a demo with Teamdash.

As you can see, the talent market in 2024 will remain competitive even with fewer offers. Even with the increased number of applications, companies need to offer an increasingly better candidate experience – the companies with the best employer brands receive the most applications, the time-to-hire has decreased, so the recruitment process has to be efficient, high-end talent is looking for more flexible and remote positions, and automation is must-have to tackle the rising problem of ghosting.

Teamdash recruitment software is highly customisable to your recruitment needs. It offers easy-to-use recruitment marketing tools and various automation possibilities to include in different stages of your recruitment process. Book a product demo with our Recruitment Automation Expert to see how you can attract and secure top talent in 2024 and beyond.

Merilyn Uudmae

merilyn

Content Marketing Manager

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Key trends and changes in recruitment for 2024 – insights from Vanessa Raath

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Vanessa Raath at the Teamdash webinar