Executive search

New report: Recruitment paradox leads to a waste of talent and competencies

There is too narrow a picture of what skills and competencies look like and where to find it, both in the business world and in the public sector. This leads to a heightened notion that it is difficult to find the right skills, according to "The Recruitment Paradox – The Importance of Diversity for Tomorrow’s Skills Supply," a new report by the executive search company Wes. The report is based on a survey conducted among senior managers and leaders. Rethinking and broadening how competencies and experiences are perceived, looking outside one's own industry, and better harnessing the value of transferable skills are effective ways to rectify the situation. 

– The report shows that far too many companies do not take advantage of all of the available talent, skills, and potential. We believe the business world is stuck in a recruitment paradox, where you have insight into the problems but choose not to use the available solutions, says Carolina Engström, CEO at Wes.

The study shows that roughly 70 percent of managers and executives believe they are not good enough at utilizing the entire talent pool when recruiting. Age and industry experience are two factors that influence the perception of skills and qualifications. Just over four out of ten leaders feel great or some hesitation about recruiting people in their 30s or 60s for management positions, even if they have the required skills. Cross-industry recruitment is seen as one of the most effective ways to find needed skills, while at the same time lack of experience from the new industry is seen as one of the biggest problems in connection with recruitment. Two-thirds of the respondents also believe that they are not good enough at considering and recruiting talent from other industries, despite 90 percent of the leaders stating they would consider changing industries themselves.

– Recruiting top-level talent at management and leadership levels is critical to companies' success. We need to stop wasting talent and opportunities by challenging the perception of what is required, developing recruitment processes and approaches, and thinking outside the box, says Carolina Engström.

The report states that the most effective way to secure the necessary supply of competencies, skills, and talent is to broaden the view on qualifications. According to the study, almost half of the employers work actively to increase gender diversity and roughly 40 percent to increase foreign backgrounds. Of the managers and executives surveyed, 70 percent believe that active diversity work is an effective method to facilitate the supply of skills.

How to rectify the recruitment paradox 

1.     Drop the industry requirement. Daring to seek competencies and skills outside one's own industry is one of the most effective ways to secure the supply of needed skills in the future.

2.     Update the recruitment processes and approaches. Leverage the entire pool of skills and talent, demand a diversity of candidates, and don't forget the value of leadership development.

3.     Set a long-term strategy – at all levels. Set requirements and develop clear goals and KPI's with regards to how the composition and supply of skills and competencies should look in the future. Leadership and involvement from the very top of the organization is key.

4.     Develop inclusive leadership. Diversity is not enough; a leadership that continuously and actively strives for increased openness, responsiveness, and curiosity about new perspectives is key to long-term success.

5.     Boost learning. Diversity and learning are closely connected; introduce activities that promote learning in the organization.


About the report
The report is based on a study with over 800 managers and executives in the public and private sector conducted during December 2022 and January 2023. The results have been compiled and analyzed by Rasmussen Analys. The report is available in Swedish and English.

For media inquiries, lectures, or other questions about the report, please contact Rebecka Shirazi, Head of Communications at Wes, on +46 (0)70 959 43 03 or rebecka@wesgroup.se.

Media bank
High-resolution press-photos as well as report imagery can be found here, free for use in connection with reporting on Wes Insights 2023 — The Recruitment Paradox.

About Wes
Wes is an executive search company with a special focus on diversity. Wes contributes to creating successful companies by helping them recruit the best talent, and serving as a partner in leadership development and strategic consulting. With deep knowledge and commitment, Wes helps clients and candidates think outside the box. Learn more at www.wesgroup.se/en.


Wes 2023-03-30