There is always lots of activity in recruitment or talent acquisition but often, failure to make any useful progress, sometimes it keeps hiring managers happy, for a while anyway.

Enter the Rocking Horse syndrome.

“Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.” – Alfred A. Montapert

2022 was another trend-setting year in the workplace, and there’s still a lot in motion as we head into the new one.

We have a slightly schizophrenic workplace in SA.  The playing field is different here. We talk about a shortage of skills but sit with a very high unemployment rate.

TSR is all about taking time to work with our clients and candidates; we are slowing down to speed up. We have crafted this methodology in our “Time & Attention” product.  Person-to-person engagement is important to us.  We have a highly dysregulated workplace environment now.  Things are in general feeling chaotic out there.  When you are in a state of chaos, you cannot be creative and drive solutions. We are losing rigour and human contact in our recruitment processes.

Busy recruitment processes often create no traction.  We tend to do the same thing repeatedly.

Below, I’ve highlighted some talent trends I expect to see in 2023:

The compensation climb:

It might seem hard to believe, but candidate compensation expectations continue to rise, and we don’t expect that to stop any time soon. There are certain nuances around this depending on the industry and job function, but we expect our data to continue reflecting higher figures this year.

Increased salary transparency:

Salary transparency is on the rise throughout the country.


Evolving return-to-office policies will continue.  There are more and more people returning to the office if I look at the traffic in the Fourways, JHB area! There are certainly remote/hybrid tensions evident in the market with some unrealistic candidate expectations at play.  Companies are trying to be everything to everyone in this regard.  It is not working or serving anyone.

Recruiting rollercoaster:

We expect recruiting efforts and trends to be nothing short of a rollercoaster this year. Some companies have already started slowing down or pausing their hiring efforts, while others are going full steam ahead. This is partly due to uncertainty about market conditions and a looming recession, but we think lessons learned from the past two years are also a big factor in how companies are hiring.  We saw an increase in boomerang hiring during the pandemic, but more and more individuals are continuing to leave their current employer and return to their former one.

Perhaps during the Great Resignation candidates made hasty decisions and have since realized that the grass may not be as green as they expected, or perhaps the former employers have improved upon their areas for development thus further increasing the employee value proposition for a returning employee.

Employers will “quiet-hire” in-demand talent:

The concept of “quiet-quitting” – dominated work-related headlines in 2022.  When employees “quiet-quit” companies keep people but lose skills and capabilities.  For me, “quiet quitting” is not a new concept.  It has been around in the workplace for many decades.

Forward-thinking companies will turn to “quiet hiring” to acquire new skills, particularly in “in-demand” job functions.

Non-traditional hires:

To fill critical roles in 2023, companies will need to become better at assessing candidates on their credentials and prior work experience, other than focussing purely on the ‘exact’ skills needed to fill the roles.  This is something that corporate South Africa still battles with a lot.

Recruiting Tech:

Companies will continue to find more advanced technology solutions to make their recruitment efforts more efficient.  I caution around maintaining the human touch within your recruitment process.  Skilled talent has choices in South Africa and needs to be convinced that there is a better opportunity for them within your company.  AI cannot do this for you, it cannot sell your company’s EVP.

Candidate expectations:

Candidate or job-seeker expectations need to manage at all stages of the recruitment process.  Top talent in South Africa remains arrogant mainly because there is such a talent shortage in the country for various reasons.   This comes with unrealistic expectations all-around.