The Future of Work is Here: Talent Acquisition Trends of 2024

The Future of Work is Here: Talent Acquisition Trends of 2024

There is one word getting a lot of attention in recruitment and talent attraction this year, and that word is SKILLS.

In today’s tight talent market, hiring managers, talent acquisition teams, and HR professionals must think outside the box to attract and retain talent. More employers are recognising the necessity of a skills-based approach to hiring and talent development to fill skills gaps and adapt to changing market conditions.

What is Skills-Based Hiring?

Skills-based hiring evaluates talent based on their skills rather than solely on their degrees or previous job titles. According to LinkedIn research, skills-based hiring can increase talent pools by up to ten times by uncovering qualified workers who might have been previously overlooked. This approach also advances diversity by opening doors to individuals from historically marginalised groups.

The Growing Need for Skills

The skills composition within various industries is evolving rapidly, with many sectors needing a range of IT and digital skills to meet evolving demands. If you’re seeking new opportunities, don’t be discouraged if you don’t tick every box on the job spec. Focus on the skills and competencies section—if you have relevant skills or are willing to develop them, this could open doors for you.

Investing in In-House Talent

Companies are not only looking to hire employees with the right skills but are also investing more in developing in-house talent. Upskilling has become a priority, especially with the rise of AI creating demand for skills that cannot be met by hiring alone. Organisations have a strong track record of hiring graduates and training them, focusing on attitude and enthusiasm. By removing basic blockers like requiring a third-level education, companies can broaden their talent pools and enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).

Flexible and Hybrid Working

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of flexible and hybrid working policies. However, the challenging period of Q4 2022 and the subsequent “right-sizing” of technology companies led to a shift toward employers mandating additional days in the office. Barden’s proprietary data shows that the average number of days employees spent in the office increased from 1.8 in December 2022 to 2.8 in December 2023.

Employers preferring more on-site work may face difficulties finding and retaining top talent. Flexible work is increasingly important, particularly for Gen Z. According to LinkedIn, the importance of flexible work as an employee value proposition (EVP) grew by 14% among all job seekers and over 20% among Gen Z job seekers from 2021 to 2023. In Ireland, only 9% of companies are fully remote, while fully remote roles receive 146% more applications than hybrid roles.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)

ESG criteria are becoming crucial across industries. Companies are integrating ESG factors into their operations, promoting sustainable initiatives, and aligning with regulatory sustainability goals. This transparency allows future talent to ensure that an organisation aligns with their values, with more diverse businesses often performing better financially.

The Rise of AI and Automation

AI’s potential impact on society and workplaces is immense, with predictions that a significant number of jobs could be at risk from AI. However, AI is poised to revolutionise innovation and operations, improving the speed and outcome of work while creating new career opportunities.

Many companies already use AI for personalising products and services, forming cross-industry partnerships to offer AI-powered services. The small talent pool for AI skills means leaders must focus on a “build-versus-buy” strategy, upskilling internal talent to become AI experts over time.

The world of recruitment, talent attraction, and retention is evolving rapidly. The ever-increasing demand for talent presents challenges, but by focusing on skills-based hiring, flexible working, and embracing AI and ESG principles, organisations can gain a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent.


In Barden, we understand that each team, role, and requirement is unique.

We’re where leaders go before they start hiring talent.

If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail or you would like our expert advice & insights, contact Elaine Brady, Managing Partner, at or via LinkedIn.


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