Insight

The Globalisation Opportunity: Recruitment’s Worst-Kept Secret

The globalisation of the recruitment industry is well underway. As businesses look to scale and operate in new geographies, and talent becomes increasingly mobile beyond country borders, it’s important to consider the implications for recruitment businesses.

Do the expanded global talent pool and the low barriers to entry for recruitment agencies create new opportunities or do they simply make a crowded field even more competitive?

Globalisation: an Opportunity, Not a Challenge

The verdict is in: recruitment agencies are decidedly optimistic about the impacts of globalisation on their business. Three-quarters of Australia and New Zealand agencies see globalisation as a good thing for their business.

Globally, a myriad of factors make the industry landscape (and the opportunity therein) vary wildly from country to country. Regional regulations and macroeconomic developments like GDPR, Brexit, 457 Visa program restrictions, and other changes to immigration laws shape the way businesses view and realise the opportunities afforded by a globalised workforce.

On a country-by-country basis, Australia and Germany are more optimistic, while recruitment professionals in the United States expressed the most uncertainty.

Despite these fluctuations, respondents in every single country were at least three times more likely to view globalisation and the increased mobility of talent as an opportunity than they were to view it as a challenge.

Recruitment’s Worst-Kept Secret

Part of the reason for this optimism is that recruitment is already a global industry. It’s no surprise, given the money at stake. Staffing Industry Analysts estimates global revenue at $466 billion, with forecasted six percent growth. And that’s not counting the size of the global gig economy, which comes in at a staggering $3.7 trillion. Those are some pretty hefty incentives for recruitment businesses looking to scale.

As a result, many of the most successful recruitment businesses in the world operate globally. Of the 100 highest-grossing recruitment agencies, more than 80 percent operate in multiple countries. This figure would be even higher if not for Chinese recruitment agencies that do an international level of volume within different regions of the same country.

Over 80% of the top 100 recruitment businesses operate in multiple countries.

One World or Different Universes?

Global influence has shaped the landscape for all recruitment businesses, but certain obstacles and opportunities remain applicable to particular regions. Should you scale your business in a new country, it’s a good idea to be aware of the specific challenges facing recruitment professionals there.

North American agencies are the most likely to view low unemployment rates as a significant challenge compared to their counterparts in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. However, respondents in Europe, Australia and New Zealand are much more likely to view digital transformation as a challenge.

For the most part, recruitment professionals across the world share fairly similar viewpoints on hot topics. Industry pros are in agreement on the chance of a recession, the impact of AI, and the demand for new labour models.

Scaling Your Business: an Exciting Challenge

Whether or not you view globalisation as an opportunity or a challenge for your business, the process of actually scaling your business in a new country is undeniably both.

If you're looking to open in a new country, culture is important. Your processes for what you do for your larger organization—it’s really important that you bring that with you to your new country.

All of the normal challenges of operating in a new area are multiplied by cultural, legal, and financial differences. Successful recruitment agencies prepare for the opportunity with significant research and a flexible gameplan.

Luckily, the global nature of the recruitment industry means that recruitment practitioners and leaders can learn from the wisdom of other industry professionals. Utilising these resources can help ensure that one’s agency is well-equipped to take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity.

Bob McHugh

Content Marketing Manager

Bullhorn

Bob McHugh is the Content Marketing Manager at Bullhorn. Before joining Bullhorn, Bob spent five years at the digital marketing agency, Brafton, as a Social Media and Engagement Manager. He earned his bachelor's degree from Siena College and his MFA in writing from Emerson College.