The globalization 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?
Globalization: an Opportunity, Not a Challenge
The verdict is in: recruitment agencies are decidedly optimistic about the impacts of globalization on their business. Two-thirds of agencies see globalization as a good thing for their business.
Of course, myriad 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 realize the opportunities afforded by a globalized workforce.
On a country-by-country basis, Germany and Australia 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 globalization 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.
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 and Asia-Pacific. North American professionals also see the need for accelerated pay increases as significantly more urgent than other respondents.
Respondents in Europe and Asia-Pacific are much more likely to view digital transformation as a challenge. Additionally, UK respondents expressed concern about the impact of GDPR and Brexit, with the majority of respondents predicting that both would have a negative impact on their business.
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 labor models.
Scaling Your Business: an Exciting Challenge
Whether or not you view globalization 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. Utilizing these resources can help ensure that one’s agency is well-equipped to take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity.