From sacrificing income to work for a purpose, to millennials dominating the workforce by 2025, the world of work is being disrupted – and it is getting more and more challenging to secure strong talent within the professional services sector.

So, let’s talk candidate attraction, employee engagement and retention and the current and future market trends you must know to become an appealing option for candidates in 2020 and beyond.


“90% of employees willing to sacrifice income for the opportunity to do fulfilling work”
(Source: Forbes, 2019).


We at FutureYou spoke to various HR professionals at our Professional Services HR Forum Roundtable Discussion on what they are doing to attract quality candidates, they mentioned things like:

  • Promote charity or volunteering activities that your company participates in.
  • Define your purpose and promote it on your website.
  • Put time and effort in sprucing up your company and employees’ LinkedIn profiles.
  • Promote flexible work arrangements on job advertisements and on company social channels.
  • Create video content with your staff and clients for company social channels.
  • Communicate the technology and software you use.
  • Introduce potential candidates to your organizations culture. You could take 30 minutes to have lunch with the prospective candidate in the office so they can experience the culture come to life.

It is quite often we go to great lengths to secure high-quality talent but the next challenge comes with keeping your employees engaged to ensure long-term retention.


“Only a staggering 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work”
(Source: State of the Global Workplace Gallup Report, 2018).


But the good thing is that there are a number of ways to increase engagement in your teams.

We say celebrate the small things (make it individual to them), focus on goal setting, ensure consistent training is available and regular performance reviews or catch-ups are a must.

So, what can you do to make this happen?

Perhaps an employee has a company 1-year anniversary or reached a challenging goal, you can simply reward them with a bouquet of flowers, a coffee accompanied with a thoughtful card, or a voucher to something you know the employee will enjoy.


“Remuneration, recognition and performance reviews continue to be a key factor in the levels of employee engagement – research indicates that higher levels of engagement results in 22% more profitability”

(Source: State of the Global Workplace Gallup Report, 2018).


When it comes to performance reviews, there are no questions asked, they must happen and be scheduled in the diary.

But we say, why wait until performance review to see how your employees are going? Chuck in regular catchups in the diary. They can be super informal and a chance to get to know each other better, to approach any problems, or provide feedback.

Performance reviews have the greatest impact at the intermediate level when there can often be the greatest learning curve. Let’s remember that managers need to be coached themselves on how to appropriately give meaningful, constructive feedback during these meetings.

The bonus to these types of initiatives is that they ultimately add value to your company brand, culture and reputation.

It is no secret that the job market is changing.

There is a competitive talent pool, millennials tend to change jobs more often than previous generations and flexible arrangements are in demand, and not just for parents.


“Millennials expect a lot – and by 2025 they will make up 75% of the global workforce. If businesses are not focused on millennials, they are at a competitive disadvantage”

(Source:, 2019).

The power is in the candidates’ hands most of the time and even more for millennials. There is a clear business case to have these discussions and to change the culture in the workplace to attract and retain millennial talent. Organisations that understand how much millennials matter are going to win.

Make sure you don’t get left behind and start to think about how attractive your business is for millennials.

A dilemma that HR professionals seem to be facing is the misalignment of the reality of work and what is taught in universities and why businesses are leaning towards trial runs within the organisation or introductory programs prior to graduates applying for the position. This raises the question, should course directors in universities be revising undergraduate programs so that they are more representative of the world of work as an accountant?

National post-graduate programmes in this field should be reviewed to ensure that learning outcomes are aligned with expectations.

Our client network of experienced HR professionals highlighted to us how they are staying ahead in the market to keep millennials and staff engaged.

Here are just a few to keep in mind:

  • HR implementing in-house training programs to support graduates to acquire specific and necessary skills to work in this field, for example, an Audit Virtual Internship.
  • Adopting a more informal approach with candidate assessment and selection techniques, such as casual lunch/coffees and soft introductions to colleagues while walking through the office floor. This approach works well in tandem with traditional interview processes, to ensure that the candidate has a holistic understanding of the culture of the firm.
  • Face-to-face interaction and engagement has never been so important. Leaders in firms are encouraged to have at least 6-weekly catchups with junior team members in an effort to get to know them as an individual.
  • Appointing coaches and mentors is an incredible value-proposition to new starters in organisations.

As employers, you need to be more receptive even if the candidate is not the traditional and optimal candidate.

What do we mean by this?

Try not to just focus on transcripts or what university or degree they did, be more proactive in looking into their soft skills, hobbies and interests outside of work. You may be surprised as to what value a candidates’ side hobby could bring for your business. 

These are the initiatives you can start today that will create a positive impact on your business and allow you to attract and retain top talent that everyone else is fighting for.

For assistance with securing great candidates for your business, contact one of our specialist consultants FutureYou today or email us at