The 20 most important European labour market and recruitment trends for 2024 (Part 2) continued

In the second part of the analysis examining developments in the European employment sector, Geert-Jan Waasdorp provides further insights into the key dynamics poised to impact the job market and recruitment patterns in the upcoming year. Click here to read Part 1 of the analysis.

Geert-Jan Waasdorp on February 16, 2024 Average reading time: 6 min
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The 20 most important European labour market and recruitment trends for 2024 (Part 2) continued

This section explores in greater depth the various strategies, technological breakthroughs, and paradigm shifts across different industries that are likely to shape the contours of the region’s professional sector. From emerging skills gaps to the accelerating adoption of AI systems, a range of factors are set to transform Europe’s talent pools and workforce needs.

  1. Sourcing is the new recruiting

Grey line: sourcing pressure, being hunted at least once last quarter

Blue line: never being hunted last year

Orange: Being hunted once a year


“20 years ago you were special if you were approached, today you are special if you were not”

When we think of approaching people in the labor market, we quickly think of LinkedIn. But that’s only part of the possibility. Of course, more recruiters are pushing hard on LinkedIn’s talent pool, but this mainly targets the highly educated white collar part of the labor market, in certain parts of Europe. There are also CV databases, such as on Indeed, Monster, and the thousands of niche sites with CV databases, and the hundreds of platforms that are used, especially in the blue collar/non-white collar part of the market.

Being approached happens also a lot via social media (Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok, WhatsApp, Snapchat), through automation (trend 7), referral campaigns, campus recruitment and of course through the more then hundred thousand agencies in Europe, from Adecco to Michael Page.

Sourcing an approaching talent is the number one recruitment strategy for employers/agencies in 2024.

In a market of persistent scarcity where talent is increasingly taking center stage, this strategy will continue. Active job seekers will more and more choose the strategy of being found, by updating their profile and CV so recruiters can find them.

  1. Breakthrough of e-commerce approach within recruitment

For the past few years in recruitment marketing automation I’ve seen the e-commerce approach prove itself a winning strategy, and 2023 was no different. However, there is one big difference. Several hundred companies have now (partially) embraced this strategy and significant efforts are being made on e-commerce technology in recruitment. The obvious ‘CMS’ environments are Hubspot, Phenom, CandidateID and ActiveCampaign. However, other lead generation software, such as Sharpspring can be used for this, often supported by the ATS. Just look in the Bullhorn marketplace, iCIMS, or the integrations at Carerix/Pixid. If 2023 wasn’t already the breakthrough year, then it will definitely be 2024. Why?

There are more and more winning use cases and best practices that make the power of this technology visible in the labor market. Moreover, the integration with other technology, such as Byner, and Radancy, makes implementation increasingly obvious


AI will make it much easier to generate the desired content needed to fill the automations.

Mastering tools such as Hubspot are now essential skills in the international labor market (e.g. by remote workers and via gigs). And getting new skills is needed, because recruiters and recruitment is becoming more inefficient and expensive and the dependence on tech giants is increasing. This while the real power of organizations and agencies is hidden in their own database/talent pool. Unlocking this gold, and being professional with recruitment, starts with recruitment marketing automation.

  1. Human touch wins over technology

This point seems contradictory to the previous, but nothing could be closer to this truth. Due to the massive focus on technology, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that recruitment is a people business. Attention and appreciation are properties that are not easy to automate and are decisive – if not everything – for conversion, success, retention, profitability and distinctiveness.

There are now recruiters and employers who complain about ‘too perfect CVs and motivation letters’. These are the candidates/applicants who are more advanced in using new technology, tools and AI to enforce invitations.

But it doesn’t end there. In pre-screening interviews, they, just like recruiters, can be helped by tools such as In2dialog. Recruiters are helped by AI with interview plans, questions rejections. For example Brighthire.

Due to all these developments, the value of the motivation letter, CV and virtual pre-screening interviews continues to decrease, and is even reduced to zero in the near future. The value of real contact and face-to-face conversation is increasing due to all technological developments like deep-fake. If more communication is AI-based, there will be added value in real human contact. While more employers are indeed bothered by ghosting, fake applicants and hire fraud, candidates are stalked by employers and recruiters (and AI-messaging). By this I mean they receive so many messages, vacancies, and campaigns, including some tailor-made by AI, that they are now leaving the digital labor market or being unreachable and inaccessible.

The following channels is where candidates have more direction and control and where ‘real contact’ is being made. These are also the powerful recruitment grounds for recruiters in 2024 and years to come:

  • Open applications
  • Employer branding
  • Internal vacancies
  • Campus recruitment
  • Referral
  • Talent pools
  1. No-shows and fake applicants

To get started in this labor market with record shortages, people need two skills: the desire to work, and the ability to show up. The latter has of course been one of the biggest challenges for the temporary employment sector for a long time; the No Shows. This has now become a broader phenomenon than just among temporary workers. The nicer (or worse) the weather, the higher the number of no shows. Although this is due to the tightness on the labor market, dismissal is no longer an obvious response from employers, because in some cases you could barely have any employee left.

But how do you deal with the no-shows? If it is the new reality, you will have to embrace it and even utilize it in the employment conditions. For example, by being able to easily switch shifts, collaborate with other organizations with similar roles, provide salary raises depending on the weather/temperature, reward loyalty, and more, you can manage it better.

In tackling fake applicants, there are methods to separate the good from the bad. One way is by asking for a 2WA (two-way authentication) from people who apply. This should actually be done by the job boards that sell ‘cost per applicant’ and applications, such as Indeed, and LinkedIn. They can and must enforce the authenticity of an applicant in order to protect employers and agencies.

Another solution is to work with certified and standardized profiles in the labor market. A development that has been called for almost 20 years, but has not gained traction, despite there now being initiatives that are becoming more promising because of all the ‘fake applicants’. Think of Europass, a competency profile like SkillsCV, CVWallet or Work-ID.

But before a uniform standard is created or enforced, employers and agencies are more likely to fall back on platforms like, Mona and Scotty to verify the applicant’s authenticity within minutes of applying and to organize the first round of applications. This is a great development, especially within volume recruitment, where a lot of ineffectiveness disappears from the recruitment process and recruitment productivity explodes.

  1. The increasing importance of meaningful work and work experience

Financial service providers are, on average, excellent and professional employers. The employment terms and conditions are generous and above market rates. Yet every year, tenth of thousand highly educated young professionals leave their jobs within a year.

This often concerns roles surrounding Know Your Customer (KYC), the prevention of money laundering and related professions. You could make a case that the fight against money laundering is meaningful. However, it has caused serious, lasting damage to productivity on the labor market. It also indicates that meaningful work has become important, even if the employment conditions are very good.

Meaningful work is not to be confused with striving for a better climate or a better world. Or towards a higher purpose that so many employers and marketers are working on. Meaningful work means substantive, challenging and varied fun and interesting work with development, career opportunities and a lot of independence, if desired. It also translates into work experience, which, in addition to substantive elements, also has elements such as:

  • Inspiring working environment (also at home workplace)
  • Flexibility
  • The right work/life and work/care balance
  • Attention to safety, health, honesty, and confidentiality.
  • Inclusivity and respect
  • Good leadership


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Geert-Jan Waasdorp

Geert-Jan Waasdorp

Entrepreneur and Investor at Intelligence Group, Academie voor Arbeidsmarktcommunicatie, Werf&, Arbeidsmarktkansen, Recruitment Accelerator en
Geert-Jan Waasdorp has been active in the world of job market communication and recruitment since 1999. He started his journey as an analyst, and grow into an entrepreneur, business owner, investor and innovator. Waasdorp is a guest speaker, blogger and author of several books on recruitment and employer branding.
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