Leading talent acquisition challenges in 2020

Earlier this year we reached out to talent acquisition leaders and asked them one simple question: which of the following challenges do you see dominating TA this year? We gave them ten choices and then sat back to see what rose to the top of the list. The results tell an interesting story about the growing importance of talent acquisition in today’s organizations. 

Top Talent Acquisition Challenges

The challenges leaders considered:

  • [re]Training Recruiters
  • Retention
  • Meeting goals for hires that are critical to company performance
  • Diversity hiring
  • Automation of existing practices
  • Working with talent management to better define buy vs build for critical positions
  • Sourcing
  • Transformation (again)
  • Ethics in TA/HR practices
  • Economic cutbacks [layoffs in TA/HR]

[Listen in as Shannon Pritchett & Neil Casey discuss how CXR Member Thoughtworks is tackling some of these challenges

And while all of these challenges had at least a few people agree they would be important, five issues truly rose to the top of the list. Here’s what’s keeping TA/HR leaders up at night this year:

  1. Automation of existing practices
  2. Diversity hiring
  3. Meeting goals for hires that are critical to company performance
  4. Transformation (again)
  5. Sourcing


Talent acquisition’s increasingly strategic role

The challenge that is least likely to dominate this year, Economic Cutbacks affecting TA & HR teams, really shines a spotlight on the changing role of talent acquisition. For a lot of companies, TA budgets are increasing and specialized roles are being added to enhance the type of work talent acquisition does. 

Another challenge that wasn’t at the top of the list but that a majority of leaders see on their radar is retention. Retention has become a serious consideration in strategy and planning for businesses. Every company is now faced with such competition for their top talent that it puts a lot of pressure on the organization – and TA – to promote internal mobility, provide solid onboarding experiences and regularly check-in with employees. What once was relegated to HR has become a larger focus.

For so long talent acquisition was focused on the tactical but these top challenges of 2020 highlight the sophistication of talent acquisition in today’s business. 

[Listen to Gerry Crispin & Madeline Laurano (Aptitude Research) discuss the findings of this poll]

Picture of Gerry Crispin

Gerry Crispin

Gerry co-authored eight books on the evolution of staffing and has written 100s of articles and whitepapers on similar topics during a career in Human Resources that spans more than 40 years from HR leadership positions at Johnson and Johnson; to boutique Executive Search firms; a Career Services Director at the University where he received his Engineering and 2 advanced degrees in Organizational/Industrial Behavior; and, GM of a major recruitment advertising firm even as he launched CareerXroads 25 years ago.

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