Recruitment Industry Outlook

There's a lot of optimism in the recruitment industry. Expectations about revenue, budgets, investments, and placements are higher in 2019 than at the beginning of 2018.

How do you expect revenue to change in 2019?

Most respondents predict that revenue in 2019 will rise compared to 2018. Only two percent of respondents expect that revenue will fall in the coming year.

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A Positive Outlook
Learn more about the industry’s outlook for 2019.

Recruitment professionals expect that the number of temporary placements will grow in 2019. What else is on the rise? Operational budgets, investments in technology, and the training/retraining of workers. And what will stay the same as last year? Recruiters believe that the percentage of VMS business will remain consistent with 2018.

How do you expect the following to change in 2019?

Few respondents expect to see decreases in temp placements, budgets, tech spending, efforts to reskill workers, and VMS business.

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Reskilling on the Rise
See why reskilling workers will be top of mind in 2019.

Recruitment leaders have several options at their disposal when it comes to growing their business - whether that’s increasing their market share organically (expanding through new and existing clients), acquiring new companies, or by getting acquired by another business. You can see what respondents from the Benelux market have to say about their approach to strategic growth in 2019.

What’s your business’ primary growth strategy?

In 2019, the primary growth strategy for the industry is organic growth. Only 4 percent expect to grow through acquisitions, and 3 percent expect to be taken over by another company.

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Build, Buy, or Exit?
Discover how industry leaders are thinking about their strategic growth options.

Top Priorities for Recruitment Professionals

Besides the obvious priorities that are always top of mind for recruitment agencies - achieving revenue growth and increasing profitability - respondents in the Benelux market indicate that they'll be focusing a lot of attention on candidates in 2019. Other priorities that will receive a lot of attention? Embracing digital transformation to improve business operations, developing one’s brand through a greater use of marketing tactics, and working to improve account management efforts and customer relations.

What are your top priorities for 2019?

The highest priority for 2019 is sourcing and acquiring candidates (63 percent). The second-highest priority, at 44 percent, is employer branding and marketing.

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More Top Priorities
See what your peers have to say about their top priorities for 2019.

Top Challenges for Recruitment Professionals

While there are a host of opportunities for recruitment professionals in the Benelux market, the future also highlights a few challenges. From the skills shortage to increasing pressure from macroeconomic and political issues, 2019 will certainly present a few issues that recruiters need to anticipate and address.

What are your top hiring challenges for 2019?

The talent shortage in the labour market was already a major theme in 2018. Many recruiters consider this issue to be the most important challenge in 2019. In addition, recruitment leaders struggle with high candidate turnover due to low unemployment rates and rising salaries.

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More Top Challenges
Curious about the hiring challenges your peers will confront in 2019? Take a look.

What are your top operational challenges for 2019?

Increasing margin pressure always poses a great challenge. Nevertheless, respondents indicate that the biggest operational challenge is embracing digital transformation in order to improve business operations.

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More Top Challenges
Learn more about the operational challenges your peers say they’ll face in 2019.

What are your top macroeconomic and political challenges for 2019?

Uncertainty regarding GDPR legislation was a recurring theme in 2018. The logical consequence is that cybersecurity and data protection will remain major challenges in the coming year, as indicated by respondents in the Benelux market.

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More Top Challenges
Discover the macroeconomic and political challenges that recruitment agencies say they’re up against in the year ahead.

Worldwide, there are many macro-economic and political challenges that respondents expect to face in 2019. In America, the historically low unemployment rate poses a significant challenge. In the UK, Brexit is the main topic of discussion. In the rest of Europe, data privacy plays a major part when reflecting on challenges for the coming year. And in Australia, recruiters are keeping a close eye on 457 visa restrictions.

Opportunities or Obstacles

Digital transformation. The globalisation of businesses. The increased mobility of talent. Digital recruitment platforms. These are all factors that have an impact on the recruitment industry worldwide. This raises the important question: 'Are these opportunities? Or are these obstacles?' Read on to find out how recruiters in the Benelux market reacted.

Will digital transformation help or hurt your business?

Dutch respondents unequivocally indicate that digital transformation - the integration of technology in all areas of an organisation with the goal of improving business operations and the way companies add value to customers - can help their business.

Thanks to the globalisation of businesses and technological development, workers are more mobile than ever. More and more organisations have the ability to take on qualified candidates who live further away from their place of business. As such, organiszations can hire the best people for the position. Is this development more of an opportunity or a challenge for the recruitment industry?

Do globalisation and the increased mobility of talent pose a challenge or an opportunity?

Most respondents indicate that globalisation and an increased mobility of talent is in fact an opportunity for their organisation.

The growth of digital recruitment platforms raises questions for the global recruitment sector. Can these innovative newcomers ultimately demonstrate new opportunities amidst the rise of the gig economy? Or do they pose a threat to the industry?

Are online talent platforms (such as Jellow, Upwork, and Shiftgig) making recruiting for sought-after roles easier or harder?

There's no clear outcome on whether online recruitment platforms will make recruiting easier, however, respondents indicate that it will have a useful impact, rather than an adverse one.

Recruiting Under New Regulations: GDPR

Almost a year has passed since GDPR regulations were enforced, but how do recruitment professionals feel that recruiting under new regulations has affected their ability to reach their revenue and growth goals for 2019?

The GDPR has had a negative impact on my ability to engage with candidates and clients.

With the new GDPR legislation that came into effect in May 2018, this theme has been a hot topic for some time now. A lot had to be done in the recruitment industry in terms of anonymising records, processing agreements, and setting clear rules. 33 percent of respondents also indicate that the new legislation has had a negative impact on their ability to initiate contact with new candidates and customers.

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A Cultural Shift in Data Privacy Regulation
How are your recruitment peers adapting to the culture shift in data privacy and regulation?

United or Divided?

There are a number of different factors that have an effect on the recruitment industry. In addition to the outlook for the coming year, here are some key topics that are important for recruitment professionals. Which themes are most significant, and which will affect the way we work in 2019?

Do you agree or disagree with the following topics?

Respondents agree: reskilling candidates is an effective way of solving talent shortages, recruitment agencies need to embrace digital transformation, and organisations with a diverse workforce are more effective than others.

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More on the Industry’s Sentiment
Get a pulse on how recruitment professionals feels about key factors impacting the industry.

Learning and Development

Continuous learning remains a crucial need for professionals in the recruitment industry. Here you can read what score respondents give themselves concerning their knowledge about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. We also see the topics on which recruitment professionals still need training and about which trends they’re most interesting in learning.

How would you rate your understanding of machine learning and artificial intelligence?

Most respondents believe their own level of knowledge about machine learning and artificial intelligence to be average.

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More on Artificial Intelligence
Learn more about artificial intelligence in the recruitment industry.

The recruitment industry is constantly changing. That means recruitment professionals need to constantly stay on top of the newest topics and skills. Respondents indicate that their fellow recruiters would benefit from extra training on the following topics.

Candidate screening and selection 18%
Social media 15%
Staffing/recruitment marketing 13%
Client management and relationship building 13%
Use of technology to automate manual processes 11%
Staffing/recruitment software (CRM, VMS, etc.) 10%
Search engine optimization 8%
Other 7%
Data protection and security 3%
Candidate nurturing and redeployment 2%

What is the top area in which your peers need the most training and development?

Respondents indicate that their fellow recruiters would benefit from extra training on candidate screening and selection, social media, and recruitment marketing.

What’s the most interesting industry trend you’re following?

Within recruitment, it's not only important that one stays on top of trends that affect the industry, but also trends that have an impact on clients and candidates. We asked respondents to share their most interesting recruitment trends.

Most commonly, respondents say they’re interested in artificial intelligence and how it relates to automation and the recruitment industry. The second most common responses relate to social media and how to leverage it for opportunities within recruitment. Other common responses include topics like digital marketing, the gig/freelance economy, and chatbots.

Personalise, not digitise. Everything is becoming digital, but in this process, we also lose a bit of empathy with which we can respond to someone's needs and feelings.

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Measuring the quality of both the customer's and the candidate's journeys.

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Data analysis to be able to analyze target groups.

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Engaging via LinkedIn; using this platform to source candidates and clients.

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AI and what this means for the recruitment profession.

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LinkedIn recruiter seat! Continues to change and add new ways of doing things. It's always in motion.

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I'd like to learn more about communication methods with the new generation.

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Using apps that allow candidates to apply to the company directly while still using the temporary employment agency as an intermediary in the background.

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What trends would you like to learn more about? Let us know and we’ll share relevant insights here on the GRID.

Learn more about the topics recruitment professionals say will influence the industry in 2019. Visit the insights and spotlights sections here on the GRID.