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How well is the recruitment industry recovering after COVID-19?

Date Posted: 31 August, 2021
How well is the recruitment industry recovering after COVID-19?

The global pandemic affected nearly all industries, in the UK and worldwide. Recruitment didn’t escape unscathed, as hiring activity dropped considerably in 2020 along with employer confidence. People weren’t moving roles as much due to fears over job security, and furlough acted as a blocker to hiring activity. 2020 was a year of great uncertainty, so it’s only natural that both employers and workers were more risk averse.

But now that the worst of the health crisis is (hopefully) behind us, what shape is the recruitment sector in now? Across all industries, organisations are dusting themselves off and focusing on recovery. The race is on to regroup, rebuild and move forwards.

‘Dramatic’ recovery in the jobs market

Many sectors are now talking about the ‘race for talent’, which inevitably means a busy time for recruiters. According to growth analytics expert cube19, in its latest Recruitment Trends Snapshot, the number of permanent vacancies increased an enormous 90% year-on-year between April 2020 and April 2021.

The rebound in demand for qualified workers has caused one of the worst labour shortages in the UK since 1997. It’s also led to a war between firms for employees with the right skills and experience, leaving candidates in a strong position to negotiate favourable terms. According to Hays’ chief executive Alistair Cox:

 “Across all our regions there are clear signs of skill shortages and wage inflation in certain industries, particularly technology and life sciences.

“Overall, the strength of the recovery has been dramatic,”

For recruiters, this situation represents a golden opportunity to prove just how valuable their skills are for UK employers. This should already be obvious, considering that a recent REC report found that the sector almost single-handedly boosts UK productivity by a huge £7.7 billion every year.

But now that employers are struggling to fill vacant roles necessary for their own post-Covid recovery, expert and specialist recruiters will be a crucial asset. Not only are recruitment agencies essential for filling roles faster, but they can also ensure a higher quality of matching – tracking down candidates with the right skills even when it seems as if the talent pool has run dry.

Post-Covid opportunities for recruiters

The recruitment sector is recovering extremely well from the coronavirus pandemic, and indeed proved itself to be resilient and flexible throughout. And as the dust settles, new opportunities are emerging.

One of the most significant is the dramatic change to working arrangements, across a wide range of UK sectors. More organisations than ever before have made a permanent switch (or are at least considering switching) to home or hybrid working.

For recruiters, this paves the way for access to whole new talent pools, with fewer geographical limits. And flexible working also makes many roles and employers more attractive, which of course makes life a little easier for recruitment agencies.

Get in touch with RGH for expert recruitment support, to help your business find the right people to support post-pandemic recovery.