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What a year! 2016 from a Digital Recruitment Perspective

What better year to reflect on than 2016? A year that will be remembered for Brexit and the American Presidential election whether this makes you feel positive or negative about the future.

So much has happened, but I’ve pulled out 5 key themes that have really stood out this year as a digital recruiter in London.

Recruiting for millennials

I’ve seen a lot of interesting posts about millennials and the ‘me me me’ generation. I found the blog post by Beth Leslie from Social Talent particularly good as it reiterates what we found from our Salary Survey results of 2016 [].

Millenials are looking for benefits over bonuses, and office culture is as important – if not more – than financial remuneration. From speaking to digital candidates on a daily basis, I know that the first question is rarely how much the client is willing to pay, but more about the projects, the sector, the team set-up and the training and development opportunities.

The role of social media in political campaigns

2016 has been an eventful year to say the least! While we’re no political experts, working within the digital marketplace has taught us how much influence the likes of Twitter and Facebook have – not only on the news we’re reading, but also on the people we vote for.

Twitter is widely used to better understand political party messages, and in the UK this year the Stronger In and Stronger Out campaigns both used Twitter consistently and in equal measure.

Vyacheslav Polonski wrote a really interesting article on the impact social media had on the EU Referendum: he wrote there were not only “twice as many Brexit supporters on Instagram, but they were also five times more active than Remain activists”.

Immediate effects of Brexit on digital hiring

We saw immediate effects when the UK voted to leave the EU. We also saw some delayed effects in the months following. With such uncertainty for both candidates and clients; we had a myriad of questions in the aftermath that we just couldn’t answer.

For example, candidates from mainland Europe asking if they could still apply for roles, candidates living in the UK wondering if they should start applying for jobs outside the UK and clients putting their roles on hold to assess the impact on the stock market plummeting in the days after the decision.

Start-up hiring is not slowing down

At Zebra this year we’ve partnered with a number of new start-ups that are scaling quickly. We love working with start-ups as this really cements the fact that London has some of the hottest Tech talent in the world. The series funding into these London-based start-ups also doesn’t seem to be slowing down which is really encouraging – especially in light of the fact we’re leaving the EU.

Portfolios really are a must!

While this hasn’t really changed over the last year, it is evident that within the fields of UX, UI and more recently within UX Research, hiring managers are not willing to even look at a CV without a portfolio to go with it. London is a highly competitive hub for tech talent, and despite Brexit we’re still receiving many applications from outside the UK.

In order to stand out and join some of the most respected tech companies, you really need to build your personal brand and put your best work on display. You must show your design thinking or, in the case of researchers, case studies demonstrating why you chose a methodology and how you went about conducting it. produced a great blog on the ‘State of UX in 2017‘ which brought my attention to a conversational portfolio by UX/UI Designer Adrian Zumbrunnen. In a highly competitive market, this definitely shows that Adrian has ‘thought outside the bubble’ as he puts it!

I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 has to offer in the digital marketplace. I’m interested to know what has stood out for you this year?

On behalf of everyone at Zebra, thanks to everyone who has worked with us over this rather eventful year; have a fantastic Christmas and New Year!

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