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How to Plan Your Recruiting Budget for 2022

The time for 2022 planning and forecasting has arrived as we approach the final quarter of 2021. The golden rule of business planning is the earlier, the better. It’s never too early to start preparing for next year’s budget, and being prepared earlier will make the process easier than waiting until the last minute to collect and parse data so you can have something to present to executive stakeholders in time to claim your department’s percentage of company resources.

The good news? You won’t have to work so hard to make your case, as the chaos of the past year and a half has shone a bright light on talent acquisition and recruiting and company leadership has depended heavily on you and your team to manage these functions during a time of crisis.

How a Global Pandemic Factors Into Your 2022 Planning

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the future direction of our global economy. Some industries have flourished while others have had to pivot or develop new approaches to succeed. No matter what industry, recruiting and developing talent will always be essential for a company’s long-term success.

A recruiting budget helps with that goal. The problem is that knowing what you might expect to spend on finding and onboarding workers can be difficult if you aren’t fully prepared for things like a surge in demand that impacts your industry, a second shutdown, or a P&L statement that is much lower or higher than expected.

To address uncertainty, consider the following for your 2022 recruiting budget:


This is where scenario planning comes in. Scenario planning – the practice of establishing strategies for variables in key business factors – helps organizations thrive amid uncertainty. Create several projections of hiring needs based on possible demands to better know the range of possibilities. Then, build a budget that can go in either direction based on what happens.

Related: How to Craft a High-Volume Recruitment Budget

Evaluate expenses

Consider every line item in your budget and how it will further the goal of finding the best talent for future roles. Past costs may no longer be a necessity in 2022. For example, travel costs for in-person recruiting events can be significantly reduced and achieve the same outcome via video conferencing or virtual hiring events. Overhead costs for companies that are now fully remote or operating in a hybrid work model will be lower, giving you more flexibility to negotiate budget line items that will support your team’s TA and recruiting efforts.

At the top of your list is your recruitment advertising budget. Take a look at the channels, sources, spend and ROI over the past year and evaluate whether or not adjustments that help you allocate your spend are necessary. If you’ve been using a CPC (cost per click/conversion) model, a CPA (cost per application) may be a better fit. Talroo’s Target CPA uses job seeker conversion data to bid real-time so that recruitment marketing advertisers reach the right audiences at the right places, at the right time, and at the right price. This enables recruiters and talent acquisition professionals to maximize their applicant flow by bidding efficiently – high enough to be competitive, but not overpaying.

The cost of recruiting outreach is likely to be one of your top line items because it’s the most time intensive. Make sure you factor in time spent by you and your team, events, email marketing, or if any portion of recruitment is outsourced to an agency.

New and/or upgraded technologies.

These are budget items that can help lessen the load like artificial intelligence tools, training for new tech, HRIS or ATS integrations, and recruitment automation. This list will include any technology that supports strategic initiatives like candidate outreach, online learning and career development, virtual platforms to support a virtual or hybrid workforce, employee self-service, and so on. As part of this process, reach out to your current technology vendors to (1) make sure you are using the most up-to-date version and (2) find out if there are new features or integrations that you’re not currently using.

Many companies adopted new technologies in 2020, from video conferencing to messaging platforms, but also virtual interviewing, candidate assessments and screening, and virtual onboarding. While these were initially used in the early days of the pandemic, retaining these technologies can help you and your team speed time to hire even when your workforce returns to a physical location.

Diverse group of recruiters using intelligent HR technology and tools to keep up with the latest DEIA hiring goals

Related: Learn how to advance your DEI efforts with the right HR technology, platforms, and tools.

Newly created roles.

This will depend on your industry, but the pandemic created a need for full-time workers in specialty roles that monitor workplace health and safety. For example, Amazon’s Workplace Health & Safety division hires WHS Specialists (WHSS) that not only ensure OSHA guidelines are followed, but also ensures on-site temperature checks, COVID-19 testing or evaluation, and monitors guidance from federal and state agencies on safety protocols. Many companies have had occupational health and safety roles, but the additional work of monitoring employee health, contact tracing and support for vaccination events fell to HR in the early days of the pandemic.

Finally, in order to create a balanced hiring budget, forecast and strategy, it’s vital that you and your leadership team are on the same page with regards to the initiatives and expectations for organizational planning. If being able to contract and expand your workforce is vital, engaging contract or contract-to-hire candidates will be central to that initiative.

Related: How to Ask Company Leadership for a Higher Recruiting Budget

Planning for the coming year and getting the right people in the right places at the right time can be a challenge for any business. Chaotic labor markets can make HR forecasting especially difficult. The good news is that talent acquisition, HR and recruiting are more likely to have a seat at the executive table now, giving you and your team direct insight and a feedback loop for organizational goals. If you build scenario planning into your 2022 budget and forecasting, you’ll have strategies to depend on should your organization need to quickly pivot.