Skip to main content


By August 21, 2018No Comments

What are the top hiring trends for 2018? Closing the skills gap, using artificial intelligence in human resources and recruitment, and diversity in the form of hiring and training are three important trends in hiring right now as employers look to hire new employees.

Closing the Skills Gap

There is an increasing skills gap in the United States and it is costing employers millions. In some areas it is also costing consumers. Across the board, in several different types of industries, employers are having a hard time filling the positions that they are hiring for because not enough potential hires have the skills needed to succeed in the positions that employers need to fill.

Organizations providing on the job training are going to play a big part in closing the skills gap. Many employers are already working toward helping their employees get the skills they need to grow with the organization and move ahead. Tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement is often an option, but employees usually must select a major that is related to the job to get it covered and it’s done on a reimbursement basis. They have to pay for the classes and wait to be paid back after the successful completion of them.

AT&T has been working with employees on closing the gap by allowing them to take online classes through Udacity online. Through the Udacity courses, they can earn certificates in computer science-based fields. AT&T’s partnership with Georgia Tech gives employees the opportunity to get a master’s degree in computer science and AT&T covers the tuition. They have chosen to make a major investment in their employees to further growth. In early 2016, over 1,400 employees were enrolled in some aspect of the program.

Vocational programs in high schools are working with employers to train students to go straight into careers as soon as they graduate. Being able to skip college and go right into a career that pays well means students also avoid student loan debt. According to The Wall Street Journal, about 3.6 million students nationally are participating in vocational career education.

CVS partnered with a high school in Rhode Island to train students to become pharmacy technicians. Google and Facebook have held workshops for high schoolers to learn computer science. This looks like a win-win situation all around. Employers get to help students train for positions that need to be filled by skilled workers. The students get the skills they need to work these in-demand jobs. Some parents, on the other hand, do not want their children to focus on vocational classes instead of college and want them to study a more traditional curriculum. There is still a stigma surrounding vocational classes that they are not as challenging as traditional mathematics and English based courses. Vocational jobs pay well though, with plumbers and electricians averaging salaries around the $50k range.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays an interesting role in hiring and will do even more for recruiting and hiring in the future. AI is used for everything from screening resumes for keywords and information to chatbots sorting through data from interviews and even conducting interviews. Using chatbots cuts down on the work that human resources professionals must do in sorting through thousands of applications and analyzing tons of data.

Ideal is a company that has developed a virtual assistant based on artificial intelligence that works with a company’s applicant tracking system. Their screening software can remove gender, age, and name from resumes to prevent discrimination in the selection process. Their chatbot also pre-screens candidates through text message interviews so that potential hires can answer questions anytime, day or night, before the actual interview. This frees up time for recruiters to get other things done.

Potential hires seem to be comfortable using AI for interviews and scheduling. In a survey conducted by Allegis Global Solutions in 2016, 57% of applicants stated they were comfortable doing an interview with the chatbot. Sixty-six percent were comfortable scheduling interviews using the chatbot.

There are productivity benefits to using chatbots as human resources assistants, but there are drawbacks as well. Because they learn from what they are taught from each conversation, chatbots lack empathy if they are having a conversation that calls for empathy. They are not suited for more in-depth conversations so using them for pre-screening interviews and scheduling makes them more useful as digital assistants.


Diversity in the workplace is important. Having a more diverse team means having perspectives from people of many different backgrounds. Ideas and opinions constantly coming from one perspective, for example, a male perspective or a younger perspective, can limit the creativity and growth within an organization. Hiring a diverse group of people of all religions, races, ethnicities, ages, and genders creates situations where more input strengthens the core of an organization.

Having more diversity training is as important as hiring more people of color and women throughout American employers. Once an office hires more diverse teams, they still must keep them. Employees should feel welcome at work and not be made to feel like they don’t deserve their positions. If employees are not making each other feel welcome and made to feel like they are valuable to the team, morale suffers, and turnover becomes an issue.

Lack of diversity and diversity training can negatively affect not only employees and employers but customers as well. One well-known recent example of this is the Starbucks incident earlier this year when two black men were arrested after a white manager called the police on them for sitting in the cafe waiting on a friend. This incident caused outrage nationally with calls throughout social media for a boycott of the company. Further discussions of the incident online dug up prior allegations of racism against the manager who called the police on the men. A former employee stated that the same manager had demoted other black employees and treated black customers differently than white customers. Eventually, it was determined that this manager had a history of discriminatory behavior. Behavior that the employer had failed to correct through training or outright dismissal. As a result of the whole incident, 8,000 Starbucks locations were closed for a day so that employees could undergo racial bias training.

According to a recent LinkedIn global recruiting report, most of the employers that were surveyed were on board with using workplace diversity and inclusion programs. Organizations are starting to use software that doesn’t let them see names, ages, or gender information on applications when they are screened as a way to counter unconscious bias. This form of recruiting is called blind recruiting because identifying details are removed from an applicant’s resume. With this method, employers are not getting information that could be used to discriminate against an applicant. Only an applicant’s skills are showcased during the resume reviewing process.

Blind recruiting is a way to level the playing field for potential hires, but it does have a few disadvantages. Going through a blind recruiting process does not ensure that there will be a diverse selection of applicants chosen to move forward in the process. The chosen field may be less diverse than the employer expected. The hiring process may take longer because depending what information from the resume is hidden, there may be more skills testing needed to show what skills the candidate has as opposed to reading the information off a resume (because it might reveal information that could be used in a negative way against the candidate). Even if blind recruiting is used, a potential hire may be eliminated as a candidate during an in-person interview where an interviewer can see them face-to-face.

Closing the skills gap by investing in the continuing education of current employees and/or investing in future hires by teaming up with schools is a way that organizations can give back to the community. Helping employees get the skills they need to succeed will lower unemployment. Using artificial intelligence helps boost the productivity of human resources representatives and speeds up the process of interviewing and hiring. Diversity hiring and training helps employers hire teams with varying perspectives. All are trends perhaps soon coming to our own organizations.

501c Services newsletter sign up - popup graphic envelope letter

Keep up with
the news

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for timely updates, news, and events.