I am seeing lots of predictions for the talent landscape in 2024 and industry trends that people expect to see. I must be honest, a lot of them seem to be regurgitated every year. For the past three years, I have consistently read these prediction posts about the future increase in remote working or the introduction of AI within the industry.
Yes…these things will continue to grow and accelerate, but I don’t think we will see a stark difference in either during 2024. We are still a long way from automating painstaking processes and more importantly, companies are still seeking human collaboration when it comes to identifying the right talent, from sourcing to onboarding. You could argue that AI will be expedited in the industry this year, perhaps to further screen technical CVs for keywords or connect active talent to companies, but I would argue back, that this existed throughout 2023. I think these posts add the most value when discussing new topics and I’m happy if this helps one company understand what may lay ahead in 2024.
I’m not qualified to discuss the whole recruitment industry, so I will focus on where I have spent the last twelve years of my career. Cognatio Solutions specialises in hiring GTM talent (Sales, CS, Marketing) for Seed-Series D tech companies so this post will be mainly centered around that.
I wanted to talk about some topics that you may not see predicted every year. There is a strong possibility that I could be wrong, so I’ll be happy to revisit this post in Dec 2024 for everyone’s critique!
Here are my top three predictions for the talent landscape in 2024…
Prediction #1: Key strategic hiring in H1
This certainly started to take shape in Q4 2023 and formed my outlook for next year. For much of the post-COVID era, clients tasked us to hire large amounts of GTM talent at once, as they launched new products or into new territories, but this began to slow down in H2 2023. There is a multitude of reasons for this of course.
One key observation is the shift away from the desire to become the next company to be valued at $1B and more of an emphasis on reaching the next ARR milestone. As interest rates have grown, VC funding has become more restrained, resulting in companies focusing on reducing their burn rate and growing the ARR, without the funding runway of 3 years to fall back on. This has affected the recruitment strategy in turn. No longer will companies accept sub-par performance against quota in year 1, so how are they going to reduce this risk in 2024?
One way may be to focus on reducing the ramp time of a new Account Executive, but how can you do this? Yes, you can improve your L&D onboarding or give incoming hires greater access to the product before arrival, but I’m not sure this will necessarily be the antidote.
The answer may be “key strategic hiring”.
What do I mean by this?
I mean actively headhunting people from your competitors. No longer looking at active talent & starting to look at passive talent. These people know your space, have a consistent track record of overachievement & most importantly require little ramp time to start billing. Of course, you need a leader who can attract this talent, so the same applies to that hire, January is a time to analyse if you have an A+ Team, if you don’t, you need to change that immediately, beginning from the top.
Prediction #2: Volume-based campaigns in H2
Why the change from A players only to volume, I hear you ask!? Well, as ARR starts to increase due to the hard work of H1, you will need to hire GTM talent to now focus on retention, as well as those new business-hunting Account Executives!
H2 may see a return to greater volume-based campaigns, where companies have to hire to supplement their growth, and as the business begins to mature its processes to hit the next ARR milestone. This shouldn’t mirror the post-COVID “bums on seats at any cost” strategy which simply wasn’t sustainable, but it will require businesses to be slightly more flexible with their talent pool. As a business grows, you cannot always hire ready-made talent, this is where L&D and a great sales enablement practice will serve you well. If you haven’t invested in this before H2, you need to!
Prediction #3: Hybrid-working models
My final prediction for the talent landscape in 2024…
My clients have certainly expressed a desire for people to commit to a hybrid working model in 2024, particularly ones in the early growth phase. Facetime is everything when building a winning culture and having a base for people to collaborate should be a strong focus for 2024.
You can also view this very much from a cost perspective for international companies. As EMEA-HQ’d businesses scale into the US market, for example, having a hub just makes life easier for founders/leaders to get together with their trans-Atlantic teams efficiently. Having a completely remote workforce isn’t so much of an issue for planned events, such as a Quarterly Sales K.O. and Company QBR, but it does make life more difficult for employees to build personal relationships or even enjoy a morale-boosting happy hour after a tough week!
By Ryan Wall