Recruitment in the UK and Ireland: What does 2019 hold?
2019 is bound to be a big year for the recruitment industry; whether you’re concerned with Brexit, or excited about automation, big things are on the horizon. More than 2,000 industry professionals worldwide shared their thoughts and predictions for the year ahead with us.
Recruitment Industry Outlook
Optimism runs high in the recruitment industry. Expectations for revenue, budgets, investments, and placements in 2019 are all higher than they were heading into 2018.
How do you expect revenue to change in 2019?
Most respondents anticipate an increase in 2019 revenue versus 2018. Just three percent of respondents expect to see revenue decrease in the year ahead.
Recruitment professionals say they expect to see temporary placements increase in 2019. Also on the rise? Operating budgets, investments in technology, efforts to increase workers’ skills through education and training, and the percentage of business done through VMS.
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.
Recruitment leaders have options when it comes to growing their businesses: expand their agencies’ footprint by doing more business with new and current customers; grow quickly by acquiring new companies; or exit their businesses by being acquired by another company. Here’s how most respondents say they’re thinking about strategic growth in 2019.
What’s your business’ primary growth strategy?
Organic growth is the industry’s primary growth strategy in 2019. Only six percent say they expect to grow by acquiring new companies and even fewer (three percent) expect to be acquired.
Top Priorities for Recruitment Professionals
Aside from the obvious—driving top-line revenue growth and increasing profitability—respondents say they’ll be firmly focused on candidates in 2019. Other priorities on which they’ll focus? The top ranking priorities include embracing digital transformation to improve their operations, developing their employment brand, and enhancing their marketing strategies.
What are your top priorities for 2019?
Candidates will matter most in 2019, with sourcing (55 percent) and candidate engagement (40 percent) leading the pack. Beyond candidates, take a look at some other notable priorities.
Top Challenges for Recruitment Professionals
While optimism abounds, the outlook’s not all rosy. From hiring and operational challenges, to the issues macroeconomic and political shifts present, there are plenty of tricky problems recruitment industry pros will have to tackle in 2019.
What are your top hiring challenges for 2019?
Beyond the perennial skills shortage, recruitment leaders consider aspects such as reskilling, the shift to non-traditional labour models, and restrictions on the use of foreign labour, to be some of the top hiring challenges for the year ahead.
What are your top operational challenges for 2019?
Pricing pressure and margin compression once again rank highly among operational challenges staffing professionals say they’ll face in 2019. Interestingly, however, embracing digital transformation to improve operations outweighed margin concerns, followed by cybersecurity and data protection compliance.
What are your top macroeconomic and political challenges for 2019?
If you’re feeling a bit skittish when it comes to future growth amidst an uncertain economy, you’re not alone. Cybersecurity and data protection regulations and restrictions over the use of foreign labour are among the top macroeconomic and political concerns - unsurprising when we consider the recent implementation of GDPR and the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Many parts of the recruitment lifecycle can be tough to manage. From sourcing and screening, to interviewing and onboarding, recruiters frequently feel the pain of these processes.
Which part of the recruitment lifecycle is most challenging?
Respondents say sourcing, gathering requirements from clients, and back office administration are the trickiest parts of the recruitment lifecycle.
Technology has transformed how people connect and communicate with each other. Gone are the days when recruiters could simply pick up a phone and reach a candidate. Today, they must embrace generational differences when it comes to communication vehicles and cadence, and adjust their strategies accordingly to stand out in the eyes of candidates.
Talkin’ ‘bout my generation
Recruiters say Millennials are the most difficult generation to reach and engage with, followed by Post-Millenials. The easiest generation to reach and engage? Interestingly, UK and Irish recruiters say Baby Boomers.
For years, we’ve been hearing about talent shortages and how they’re a top challenge for the industry. In many sectors, it seems like there simply aren’t enough qualified people with the right skills to fill many modern job openings. But just how troublesome are talent shortages? Are they getting any better or worse?
For better or worse?
When asked if they think skills shortages are better or worse now compared to five years ago, more than half (57 percent) said they’re getting worse.
Brexit and the Future of Recruiting
Despite ongoing negotiations, the UK’s exit from the EU draws ever closer. But how do recruitment pros feel that Brexit will impact their businesses’ ability to achieve future revenue and growth goals?
Whilst the majority of UK and Irish recruitment pros anticipate that Brexit will negatively impact their businesses’ future goals, it is worth noting that a significant number of participants are unsure.
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?
Much Ado about Nothing?
More than half (55 percent) of recruitment pros feel that GDPR regulations have had no impact on whether or not they will reach their goals for growth and revenue. However, this is not a sentiment shared by all. See how respondents are split when it comes to data regulation.
United or Divided?
Many factors influence the evolution of the recruitment industry. Beyond the industry’s outlook for the year ahead, here’s a look at how recruitment pros feel about key topics that could influence the ways in which business gets done in 2019.
Do you agree or disagree with the following topics?
Respondents overwhelmingly agree: agencies must embrace digital transformation, employers must accelerate pay increases, and reskilling candidates is critical. See where respondents are united and divided.
Learning and Development
One thing is clear, the recruitment industry is continually changing, which means professionals must constantly keep up with new topics, trends, and updated skills. Respondents believe that their fellow recruitment industry professionals would benefit from having additional training on these topics.
|Search engine optimization||6%|
|Use of technology to automate manual processes||16%|
|Staffing/recruitment software (CRM, VMS, etc.)||9%|
|Data protection and security||6%|
|Client management and relationship building||21%|
|Candidate screening and selection||11%|
|Candidate nurturing and redeployment||6%|
What is the top area your in which your peers need the most training and development?
Respondents think their fellow industry professionals would benefit most by having additional training when it comes to client management and relationship building. This is closely followed by how to use technology to automate manual processes, social media, and candidate screening and selection.
What’s the most interesting industry trend you’re following?
In recruitment, it’s important to stay current on trends impacting the industry as well as trends that are influencing client businesses and the candidates that firms are working to recruit. We asked respondents to share the most interesting industry trends they’re actively following.
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 VMS.
The skills gap, and how to be part of the solution helping companies to close it.
Value-added services for candidates, beyond placements.
The role recruitment businesses can play in the training and development of unskilled / outdated workers and placement of them into a new career. This could change the way external recruitment is seen and present a seismic shift in our sector.
How AI and automation can help with candidate screening and onboarding.
Using video technology to attract new talent.
Increased use of social media to profile future recruits, and better market ourselves.
Movement and globalisation of the active talent pool.
Use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) within a recruitment business from automation of finance function through to client & candidate engagement.
The ongoing adoption of psychometric testing, and the valuable insights it offers.