Gaining an insight edge in talent acquisition

Written by
Capita Resourcing

05 Aug 2019

05 Aug 2019 • by Capita Resourcing

Developing a data-driven approach to recruitment is becoming a major business imperative, according to new research by Capita Resourcing.

While 83% of HR and recruitment leaders regard data and insight as critical to improving recruitment and talent acquisition, almost half (46%) say their organisations rely on ‘instinct and gut feel’ when it comes to assessing current skills within the organisation and identifying requirements.

This is just one of the findings outlined in Capita People Solutions’ white paper, The insight edge in talent acquisition: how data and insight can deliver the skills needed in a hybrid workforce, based on research conducted with 350 recruitment professionals, 500 business leaders and 2,031 employees in the UK.

Tellingly, only 17% of HR and recruitment leaders described their organisation’s use of data and insight in recruitment and talent acquisition as excellent, with 81% recognising the need to achieve greater visibility of skills within the workforce. It’s clear that developing a data-driven approach to recruitment is becoming a major business imperative.

Data drivers

The reasons for organisations taking a data-driven approach to decision making are many and varied. Topping the list in this survey was the need to improve quality of hire, cited by 46% of recruitment and HR leaders, followed by competitor activity in this area (41%) and addressing skills shortages (35%).

Worryingly for talent acquisition, almost a quarter of senior business leaders pointed to recruitment and HR as the business area in which their organisation is worst at collecting, analysing and using data.

However, fear is fuelling a greater use of data and insights. HR and recruitment professionals are fully aware of the consequences of not improving in this area: for example, 42% said their organisation would have more difficulty recruiting talent.

Barriers to a data-driven approach

With increasing pressure on HR to leverage data, from both inside and outside of the organisation, why are so many organisations currently missing out on these advantages?

Reported barriers include data protection/security concerns (cited by 41% of HR and recruitment leaders), too much HR and workforce data (40%) and budgetary constraints (32%).

Interestingly, research among employees showed that workers are split on the extent to which they would want employers to use their personal data. The majority expressed some level of concern and wanted to retain a level of control around the type of data they share.

Delivering better business outcomes

If barriers can be overcome, recognised benefits of data and insight were seen by survey participants to extend beyond simply bringing new talent into the organisation, positively impacting employee engagement and retention within the workforce (through better quality and cultural fit of hires), workforce diversity and business agility.

Where data and insight is used effectively, organisations can bring the right people and skills into the organisation at the right time, improving overall workforce engagement, culture and performance, and driving better business outcomes.

Just under half (44%) of recruitment and HR leaders agreed that data-driven recruitment could provide better visibility of skills in the workforce and 41% that it could generate cost-savings.

Ultimately, 50% of HR and recruitment leaders believe that at least half of all skills gaps within their organisations could be addressed by better use of data.

Re-shaping recruitment

As the use of data and insight within talent acquisition matures, organisations will become significantly more sophisticated in terms of how they identify, engage and attract high-quality talent.

The research reveals a whole range of ways in which such insight will be used. Data will enable organisations to identify high-potential candidates, to have clear sight of skills within the workforce and mobilise talent accordingly, and to build more granular, detailed profiles of optimal candidates for job vacancies.

Importantly, 45% of HR and recruitment leaders expect data and insight to enable them to predict future skills gaps before they become problematic.

Beyond this, data will be used to create candidate personas and tailored communications, to analyse working patterns and behaviours in order to inform workforce mobility strategies, and to create optimal benefits packages for candidates based on their own individual circumstances and interests.

HR and business leaders are acutely aware that they simply cannot rely on external talent to meet their future skills needs and that business leaders regard learnability and instilling a culture of ongoing learning within the workplace as the most critical success factors in the transition to a hybrid workforce.

Once again, data is critical to such an approach, providing organisations with full visibility of all the skills they have across their entire workforce and enabling them to make informed decisions on where to deploy those skills based on current requirements.


This research highlights the role that data will increasingly play in how organisations identify, engage and attract high quality skills over the next five years. However, what it shows above all else is that HR and recruitment leaders must take a step back and consider where they need greater insight and how they plan to use data and insight to inform, support and measure their overall workforce strategy.

Data is useful where it delivers actionable insight which informs better, faster decisions. HR and recruitment professionals need to ensure they have a clear picture of the data points they require to deliver against their workforce objectives and focus solely on these. And they need to equip themselves with the skills and expertise – both internal and external – to ensure they develop a data strategy which delivers on these objectives.