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At Roundpeg, we’ve been running hard this year to help our clients find and place the best-suited talent for their business. As 2023 comes to a seemingly abrupt end, our talent specialists have identified eight talent-related trends that stood out for us during the year. Some of these we’ve seen before, while others are new. What makes 2023 unique is the convergence of these phenomena.

1. The Changing World

While the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world has certainly not vanished, the reality of a BANI (brittle, anxious, nonlinear, and incomprehensible) world is undoubtedly with us. We have seen the need for agile leadership, employee well-being awareness, adaptive organisations, collaborative work styles, and scenario planning as they become essential to navigating our challenging reality.

2. Generative AI (Artificial Intelligence)

ChatGPT, Bard, and now Gemini, have catapulted what is meant by ‘disruption’ to a whole new level. The ability of this technology to go well beyond ‘clever automation’ has opened the eyes of the world to the possibilities that are at our collective fingertips. AI is rapidly being integrated into almost every aspect of business as we concurrently endeavour to mitigate as-yet unidentified risks while assessing how best it can unlock enterprise capacity and potential. In the recruitment space, in particular, businesses are looking to streamline and speed up processes with AI, while candidates are increasingly more apprehensive about AI’s ability to make accurate and fair hiring choices. Currently, only 34% of candidates would allow an entirely AI-driven process to decide whether or not they are suitable for a new position.

3. The Rise of Gen Z

These are the individuals born between 1997 and 2012, and by 2025, Gen Z are expected to make up roughly 27% of the workforce, and we are feeling the full impact of their entry into the workforce, impacting retail consumption, their use of technology to navigate life, and more. This generation brings a discerning approach to corporate contexts, calling out core values and behaviours and expecting actions to speak louder than words. Employers are also expected to be good global citizens by this generation that values authenticity, transparency, and continuous learning.

4. T-shaped Talent

The very nature of work is changing, and people with diverse interests, skills, and areas of knowledge are the most highly in demand. Whilst needing to demonstrate technical proficiency in your area of responsibility, that alone is seldom sufficient for a stellar career. Throughout the year, we have seen that the best-regarded candidates for a role understand where they sit in the overall value chain and can think on a broader and higher plane.

5. The World is an Increasingly Small Place

For those with the right outlook, both opportunities and skills can be explored at a global level. Gone are the days when geography dictated how what was possible was defined. Candidates are in a position to gain flexible exposure to a corporate world way beyond their hometown without losing touch with their close personal networks, all while companies can access highly specific skills without incurring the overhead costs associated with large corporate precincts.

6. Never Stop Learning

The pace of change means that skills gaps have become the norm. In the talent space, we recognise that adaptability, cross-functionality, sharp problem-solving capability, and constant upskilling are the order of the day. Be your preference for micro-learning, hands-on training, in-depth academic courses, professional certifications, formal or informal learning, or anything in between, being open to new ideas and having the ability to use what you have learned in your professional environment is a great way to stand out from the crowd.

7. Talent Branding

Being seen as an employer of choice in a world where talent is scarce is no longer simply a vanity undertaking. Talent branding is not a product or client-centered exercise. It is all about ensuring that people with the skills your company needs know about you and aspire to join your ranks. Specifically in the South African market with our skills shortage, talent branding becomes essential to having the right individuals identify you as an ideal employer. It is a proactive strategy to manage your business’ access to intellectual capital.

8. Accept Change and Celebrate the Small Stuff

There is only so much anyone can control, alone or with others. The more clients we engage with and the longer we spend in this talent game, we realise that fortune and misfortune are experienced cyclically.

Change is certain. Don’t panic.

Look after yourself and others around you. Take the time to acknowledge what matters most. More money, more time, more resources, more information, more . . .  nope.

You probably touched more people’s lives positively than you will ever realise. Focus on what you can control and do it as best you can. Tomorrow, we get to use what we learned today as the building blocks for what comes next.

As we step into tomorrow, armed with the lessons of today, we invite you to share your insights. Do these resonate with your experiences, or have we missed a vital trend in the evolving landscape of talent?

Here’s to the lessons learned in 2023, and the exciting possibilities that 2024 holds. We look forward to continuing this journey together.


Qureos. (2023). Gen Z Statistics. Qureos. Retrieved December 2023 from

Zurich. (2022). How Will Gen Z Change the Future of Work? Zurich Insurance Group. Retrieved December 2023  from