The use of technology has been growing rapidly in the United Kingdom over the last few decades. Organizations are utilizing technology as a means of achieving flexible, innovative, efficient, and strategic methodologies in order to achieve success. The human resource management function of firms has been dependent on technology as it seeks to focus on the aspects of how the company will be able to manage the needs of its workforce. HRM seeks to ensure that employees are viewed as strategic resources that must be managed in order to increase the performance of organizations. The digital revolution has helped to facilitate the growth of HRM activities (Stone et al, 2006).
The UK ICT sector is the largest and fastest-growing sector in Europe as per the report published by Switzerland Global Enterprise in 2013. It was worth around £80 billion in the year 2013 (SGE, 2013). The industry is being driven by the sales in software and services while the UK Economy has helped to provide opportunities for general and niche ICT, providers.
There is a strong demand for cloud computing and cyber security services in the private and public sectors. E-health and big data are a necessity for the NHS (National Health Service) which has to face increased demand and supply pressures. The ICT sector contributes towards 12% of the UK’s GDP while it is considered to be a role model for many industries as an engine of growth during the economic downturn (Europa, 2012).
The success of the UK in the IT sector has been because of a growing economy, robust technology environment, creative and design sector, and product innovation. The ICT market has a number of critical strengths such as the fact that it is the largest ICT market in Europe. Moreover, it is an early adopter of technology and designs with an open transparent market (Europa, 2012). There are established distribution channels that make the sector highly successful in the face of competitive forces. However, there are challenges that the ICT sector faces such as the shortage of talented and qualified employees.
Human resource management is a critical function for the SME IT sector because they need to have access to qualified personnel that can help them to achieve their business goals. The process of HRM needs to be aligned with the strategic business model of SMEs in order to attain success. Specifically, recruitment is a major challenge that SMEs have to focus on in order to remain competitive and profitable. The advent of technology has helped to introduce the concept of e-recruitment.
E-recruitment is now being used by many organizations as a tool for accessing a large number of candidates and reducing costs associated with traditional recruitment. It is also considered to be an efficient method for achieving critical HR goals as it helps to provide management with a wide range of tools for success.
There is also the need to study the use of recruitment strategies by the ICT sector. Specifically, it is critical to identify the e-recruitment strategies of the SME IT sector in order to identify the benefits and challenges associated with this recruitment approach. The SMEs in the IT sector of the UK have embraced technology for meeting their needs. However, there is a need for research that can adequately study the effectiveness of e-recruitment in the SME sector of the IT industry in the UK.
The aim of this study will be to;
The IT sector in the UK is one of the largest in Europe which has been growing at an exponential rate even during the economic downturn. The sector has been offering innovative and robust products and services in order to meet the local as well as international market. SME IT firms have to face HR shortages. There is little research about the type of methods that they use for recruitment. The recruitment process is an important function of HR in SMEs working in the IT sector of the United Kingdom.
This is because it is concerned with posting job advertisements, receiving resumes, and developing a human resource database with candidates and incumbents. The advances in technology have enabled the advent of e-recruitment methods that are being used by organizations. E-recruitment refers to the utilization of the internet for candidate sourcing, selection, communication, and management throughout the recruitment process. The research will check out how the IT sector uses technology for meeting its own HR requirements. It is important to study the use of e-recruitment methods by SMEs and identify the key drivers and challenges that the sector faces through the use of such methods.
Human resource management has been defined as the management of human resources. It is concerned with enhancing employee performance and achieving the strategic objectives of the organization. Furthermore, organizations focus on HRM as a means of focusing on policies and systems that help to achieve the critical goals (Hendry, 2012).
Modern organizations need to focus on managing the needs of the workforce in order to achieve strategic competitive advantage and profitability. Recruitment is a core function of human resource management in which organizations strive to attract, select, and appoint suitable candidates for jobs. It also is identified with the various processes that help organizations to achieve their strategic goals.
Traditional recruitment is concerned with conducting a job analysis through which the knowledge and skills needed for a particular job are identified by the management (Fee, 2014). The relevant job specifications and descriptions are outlined. The traditional recruitment strategy involves hiring a recruitment firm to locate potential candidates or it might involve placing an advertisement in the newspapers. Traditional recruitment also employs sourcing strategies through the use of appropriate media such as national newspapers, professional publications, job centres, and other ways (Khanka, 2007).
Recruitment consultants can be used for finding potential employees that may fulfil the current positions. The process of recruitment will involve the screening process in which various types of psychological tests are conducted to assess the capabilities and competencies of the workforce. The advances in technologies have helped to launch the concept of e-recruitment which has made traditional recruitment to be a cumbersome and time-consuming process. The analysis of the literature suggests that traditional recruitment is plagued by specific problems and limitations.
One problem identified is that the costs of traditional recruitment are significantly higher as it requires a great deal of skill and practice (Khanka, 2007).
Another limitation is that the process is considered to be outdated and inefficient. Recruitment consultants and newspapers charge significant money in order to place advertisements and sourcing strategies for finding the best candidates for the jobs (Khanka, 2007). Another limitation of traditional recruitment is that they are slow and time-consuming as compared with online methods which allow organizations to access a large pool of candidates.
E-recruitment specifically means the use of digital technologies in order to recruit, select, and orient employees. The benefits of e-recruitment in the literature have been studied which are increased access to a pool of candidates, time and cost savings, and greater flexibility for the organization. In contrast, the literature states that e-recruitment might not properly achieve the goal of retaining the workforce that has the required skills to participate in the work environment (Lad & Das, 2016). In addition, e-recruitment might be based on flawed website design or poor application process which might deter potential employees (Anand & Devi, 2016).
This section of the study will focus on the existing studies that are linked to the effectiveness of e-recruitment. Human resource management is an important function of business organizations because it is concerned with the management of the workforce. The goal of HR should be to develop a strategic approach in which the strategic goals of the organization can be attained in an efficient and effective manner. The advent of digital technologies has helped to transform the nature of human resource management with respect to its function of recruiting and selecting employees for organizations.
The benefits of the Internet have been a reduction in search time for candidates and significant cost savings for organizations. Finally, it offers a transparent method for obtaining information about specific candidates. E-recruitment helps organizations to hire people from any part of the world as it promotes opportunities and benefits the organization in an efficient manner. Sharma (2014) argues that 75% of human resource professionals in developed countries are now using e-recruitment as a means of hiring employees for their organizations. Additionally, some 2 out of 4 job seekers will be using the Internet for sourcing job opportunities.
Another evidence to support the rise of e-recruitment has been a study by Holm (2014) which found that all of the Fortune 100 companies will be using some form of e-recruitment to advertise vacant positions. The implications are that e-recruitment is a popular strategy for a variety of positions such as blue-collar roles to white-collar and professional positions.
The benefits of e-recruitment have been identified in the literature. Girard & Fallery (2009) argues that e-recruitment helps to save time for organizations and employees. For employers, they can use a number of methods to post jobs in as little as 20 minutes. There are no limits to ad size while they are able to receive resumes immediately. In contrast, the traditional methods require some time to appear in for example in a newspaper and might be there for a limited time period.
The implications are that e-recruitment is significantly faster and more cost-effective as compared with traditional recruitment methods. The recruiting cycle is enhanced at every stage from posting to receiving resumes and from filtering to managing the contacts and workflow. Melanthious et al (2015) argue that the reduction in costs of recruitment for business organizations. The costs of posting on job portals are significantly lower as compared with using traditional search firms or advertising methods. The reduction in costs is a significant implication for organizations that are already facing rising costs related to HRM.
The benefits of e-recruitment are that the money saved can be utilized for other strategic purposes. This implies that e-recruitment is a cost-effective way for many companies including SMEs that do not have extensive financial resources to hire and retain talented and top-performing employees.
Another benefit of e-recruitment that has been identified in the literature is the wide reach that it affords to employers. Parry & Wilson (2009) argue that traditional methods are restricted by geography, industry or other parameters while online recruitment methods have current and updated databases which cover various levels in an efficient and effective manner. Similarly, candidates have access to a variety of jobs in different industries due to e-recruitment methods. Candidates can post their resumes online which means that they might be contacted by employers and recruiters who are seeking to recruit the best employees.
Florea & Badea (2013) argue that e-recruitment methods have state of the art filtration tools that can enable companies to find potential candidates in a rapid and efficient manner. The unique search criteria ensure that companies are able to screen and sort out candidates in an efficient manner. Furthermore, employers can quickly access resumes and contact active and passive professionals without any delays. The above implies that e-recruitment has the potential to provide greater levels of tools in the hands of employers so that they can search for the best candidates in a rapid and prompt manner.
Al Otaibi et al (2012) argue that there are branding opportunities for employers when they strive to use online recruitment methods. E-recruitment is an opportunity for companies to promote their brand by using their company to demonstrate that it is committed and dedicated to the growth of employees. Having a consistent brand is important in the 21st century as employees want to be associated with a company that is reputable and known for looking after their needs in a proficient manner. Candidates are always looking for working opportunities with companies that have high levels of employee training and growth opportunities.
A wide range of sophisticated management tools is available for e-recruitment methods which helps management to make critical decisions regarding their recruitment needs. They can manage it from a single location by posting vacancies, receiving resumes, prioritizing and contacting specific candidates, and tracking activities from a single location. These management tools help in achieving the strategic and operational goals of the organization while helping to reduce workflow processes.
A number of studies have documented the disadvantages of e-recruitment as a tool for meeting the recruitment needs of business organizations. Holm (2009) argues that organizations must strive to use the proper words for advertisements as they can suffer legal implications if improper words implying discrimination are used.
This is important as organizations must be able to identify the proper words that help to present a neutral and objective advertisement that does not violate existing legislation. Handlogten & Ettinger (2009) argue that a vast pool of applicants can be accessed through e-recruitment methods, but this can also be a source of disadvantage. It is impossible for companies to assess online databases in a profound manner. The implications are that companies might select few candidates for any job position or only the first few candidates.
Another problem is the difficulty related to screening and checking the skill mapping and authenticity of millions of resumes. This can also be a time-consuming process for organizations. E-recruitment might also create problems for the organization which wants to target a specific group of candidates. The online job post might be seen by many other people that can lead to a wastage of time for the organization. E-recruitment has been criticized by Parry & Tyson (2011) who argue that outdated job postings are not removed by HR representatives of any organization. Miscommunication or problems in the system can cause such a thing to occur. The result is that recruiters will get resumes for jobs that are no longer open.
The effectiveness of e-recruitment is difficult to measure because there are no metrics that can be utilized to examine and modify the posting accordingly. Job posts might become lost because of ineffective search engine optimization. Website malfunctions are identified as a leading problem for e-recruitment as applicants have complained about their inability to submit their documents through online methods. Moreover, some applicants might get confused at the layouts of the websites operated by business organizations.
E-recruitment might be cost-effective for organizations, but that does not transform into quality. Online platforms that are free can create new problems for organizations such as oversaturation or job positions being buried under other job offers. This can make the e-recruitment strategy complex as evidenced by the large response rate for the specific job position. A major risk has been identified by one study which states that some applications might be faked because they might want to get about the company or hiring officer (Malherbe et al, 2015).
This information might be used to promote a service or product to the target company. Another serious threat is that hackers might use job posts to gain access to the company’s intranet or even to pose fraudulently as a member of staff.
There are numerous e-recruitment methods that are utilized by business organizations to meet their human resource needs and requirements. Job boards are a typical method which is places where employers can post jobs and candidates can apply for that job position. These boards are only generic in nature as they include all types of jobs (Shahila & Vijayalak, 2013).
Organizations have to use specific job boards in order to identify candidates with specialized skills. Many organizations have their own websites with comprehensive details for potential candidates that might seek to apply to the organization. A specific careers page might be present which might be for new job vacancies. Employer websites might be specifically developed for employers so that they can look for a specialized workforce in an innovative and integrated manner.
The advances in technology have allowed organizations to use a wide range of methods for e-recruitment. One method is the use of emails that are sent to specific candidates who can apply for various vacancies as they arise (Brahmana & Brahmana, 2013). This is an excellent and targeted way of providing information about job vacancies to registered users.
Email message lists however need to be frequently updated in order to ensure their efficacy. Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have emerged as excellent tools for disseminating news about job vacancies. The benefits of social media are that organizations can directly target potential applicants. Social media allows organizations to have various tools that enable them to initiate interview requests and order background checks.
The costs of identifying potential candidates are relatively low or free for companies that want to use social media as a recruitment tool (Roy & Srimannarayana, 2013). The organization can improve the integration of recruiter specific communication activities and dynamically create an employer’s job page. One study documents the benefits of social media for e-recruitment by arguing that this method allows employers to get a better and higher response rate due to the prevalence of less spam in such websites. Consequently, the chances of employers communicating with highly skilled candidates can be improved (Davison et al, 2011).
Another benefit of social media has been that it is a superior method for referrals while passive candidates can be reached easily. However, it takes time and effort to place the appropriate infrastructure needed to spread the news about potential job vacancies. The prevalence of multiple e-recruitment methods suggests that organizations have access to a wide range of tools that can be used to manage the HR function. Specifically, organizations are able to focus on meeting their needs in a robust manner. Furthermore, organizations that are successful will strive to use a combination of different methods in order to achieve their strategic goals (Malik, 2013).
Research has been described as the systematic process of inquiry and analysis of any phenomenon (Taylor et al, 2015). It is concerned with identifying new trends in any discipline or it might seek to question or validate existing theoretical concepts in any discipline. There are two types of research methodologies which are qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Quantitative methodology is used for deriving statistical and quantifiable variables about any research phenomenon (Bryman & Bell, 2015). It seeks to identify the statistical or numerical trends behind any body of knowledge. Furthermore, quantitative research is concerned with deriving facts, figures, and numerical information.
In contrast, qualitative research is concerned with the assumptions, reasons, and insights into knowledge that is related to any body of knowledge. The goal of qualitative research is to derive descriptive data that can be analyzed and assessed by the researchers. It assumes a dynamic and negotiated reality during the research process (Bryman & Bell, 2015).
The qualitative methodology will be used for this study because of the fact that there is the need to identify descriptive data regarding the dynamics of the IT SME sector in the United Kingdom. The study will seek to identify the effectiveness of e-recruitment methods in the IT SME sector of the United Kingdom which requires the use of industry knowledge and existing trends on e-recruitment in order to derive valid and accurate inferences.
The following research questions will be answered in this study:
This section of the paper will use secondary research in order to derive valid conclusions. The secondary research uses existing studies that have been filtered out based on their relevance and recentness in order to derive accurate conclusions. The primary advantage of secondary research is the relative ease with which the researcher can access many secondary data sources (Zikmund et al, 2013).
There are many studies related to the topic of e-recruitment that is available online. Secondary research is openly accessed which offers convenience and standardized usage methods for all sources of secondary research. Another advantage of secondary data is that it is available at little or no cost. The information is less expensive as compared to researchers trying to engage in primary research activities (Zikmund et al, 2013).
Secondary research is beneficial in clarifying the research question. It helps the researcher to create a specific research focus that can lead to sound outcomes. There are some disadvantages to using secondary research such as the fact that information from secondary sources must be carefully scrutinized and analyzed. This is important because the source f the information might be questionable. The ability to verify the validity and reliability of the information can be a time-consuming process for the researcher (Zikmund et al, 2013).
Another disadvantage is that the secondary data might not be present in a format that will be according to the needs of the researcher. The use of secondary data might be limited because researchers might find interesting and valuable information which might not be accessible to them. This is because many research studies charge expensive fees for complete reports and studies on any discipline.
Finally, a major disadvantage of secondary research is information might be outdated. Trends in many disciplines are changing which means that it is important to identify the relevance of the studies in the context of the current market situation (Zikmund et al, 2013).
This study will utilize a number of studies in order to derive valid and accurate inferences. Primarily, there are two types of studies that have been selected for this study. One collection of studies relates to the existing literature on e-recruitment and its efficacy for modern organizations. These studies also identify the limitations of e-recruitment for organizations.
Another collection of studies derives statistics and trends about the nature of SMEs in the United Kingdom. These studies provide information regarding the nature, size, and scope of SMEs in the IT sector of the United Kingdom.
Research ethics is very important for the research process because it must conform to professional and ethical standards. Although this study does not utilize primary research for its objectives, the fact remains that it is critical to focus on research ethics.
The primary concern is that the selection of studies should be done in a careful manner in order to ensure the highest levels of objectivity and neutrality (Zikmund et al, 2013).
Another concern is that the validity and reliability of these existing studies should be done by the researcher in order to prevent any problems during the research process.
Finally, it is important to have a contextual understanding of the data by assessing and countering risks of misinterpretation. Proper planning and reflection of the data will be an important step towards achieving this objective. Research ethics needs to be undertaken in a systematic and integrated manner. The goal should be to ensure that high levels of objectivity and neutrality can be maintained.
The following is a timeline for the various activities that will be undertaken for the completion of the project:
Proposal for study
Weeks 1st – 2nd
Week 2nd – 3rd
Week 3rd – 4th
Findings and Data Analysis
Week 4th - 6th
Week 6th – 8th
It is important to identify the project limitations in order to assess the scope of this study. One of the limitations of this project is that primary research is not being used as a data collection method. This can limit the efficacy of the inferences that are being derived for the study. Specifically, primary research helps the researcher to get firsthand experience and insight into the nature of the research problem.
Moreover, the direct participation of the research helps in interacting with industry experts on the research topic. Another advantage is that high levels of neutrality and objectivity can be maintained through the use of primary research. Another limitation of the project is that the results might be applicable only for SMEs in the IT sector. The results related to the efficacy of e-recruitment might not be applicable for other SMEs working in divergent industries due to the presence of unique organizational and environmental variables that impact the HRM policy of such organizations.
The advances in technology have transformed business processes and functions in organizations. The human resource management function is a critical component of business organizations that are striving to achieve robust and long term success in a highly competitive environment. HRM is concerned with the management of the workforce by implementing robust policies and procedures that meet their needs while simultaneously achieving the critical goals of the organization.
Human resource management is an important function of business organizations because it is concerned with the management of the workforce. The goal of HR should be to develop a strategic approach in which the strategic goals of the organization can be attained in an efficient and effective manner.
The advent of digital technologies has helped to transform the nature of human resource management with respect to its function of recruiting and selecting employees for organizations. The benefits of the Internet have been a reduction in search time for candidates and significant cost savings for organizations. Finally, it offers a transparent method for obtaining information about specific candidates.
E-recruitment helps organizations to hire people from any part of the world as it promotes opportunities and benefits the organization in an efficient manner. Recruitment is a core function of HRM in which organizations strive to use various methods to hire and retain employees. Traditional recruitment is hindered by many problems such as the fact that it is outdated, costly, and inefficient.
Comparatively, the analysis of the literature suggests that e-recruitment is emerging as a popular trend among business organizations. The benefits of e-recruitment in the literature are cost-effectiveness, efficiency, robust processes, and allowing management to have access to a wide range of management tools that can be employed for success. The UK has a robust ICT sector which is one of the largest and fastest-growing in Europe. Small-medium enterprises (SMEs) are part of the IT sector in the UK. It is important to study the use of e-recruitment approaches in such organizations by identifying the benefits and key challenges.
The following are the list of preliminary references that will be used for this study: