What does 2014 hold for the recruitment industry?
We anticipate 2014 being a year full of opportunity for the UK recruitment industry. The economy is growing with most economists predicting GDP being well above 2%. We are forecasting that the UK recruitment market will see accelerating growth with the first quarter growing at about 7% followed by the market picking up to above 8% across the latter part of 2014.
Two of the major challenges this year will continue to be the downward pressure on margins and candidate availability. Procurement specialists remain focused on getting more for less so the pressure on fees will remain. We are encouraging recruiters to push back by redefining their offering to meet these new realities. For small local agencies we suggest that a focus on the SME market may well deliver results as while they don't have the volume of activity they also rarely use intermediaries and don't have procurement specialists. The REC will be launching a major initiative called the Good Recruitment Campaign that includes an aspirational charter for employers to sign up to. This will be a great tool for REC members to use to educate your clients about the value great recruitment partners can create.
The second challenge in many managerial and professional markets is the growing shortage of skill and talent. At the beginning of 2013 the REC/KPMG Report on Jobs showed 14 areas of skill shortage and as we start 2014, the number has risen to 47 and is accelerating month on month. This means we are re-entering a candidate driven market. Successful recruiters in these markets will need to develop content that attracts this scarce talent while then building meaningful relationships that keeps the talent close.
On the political front, the Scottish referendum will create huge debate north of the border. We agree with other business organisations - the UK has one labour market that is functioning well and now is not the time to create uncertainty. However if Scotland does chose to go it alone we would continue to service our members in an independent Scotland.
As the next general election (May 2015) comes ever closer we are seeking to influence the manifestos of all the major parties. In particular, we are concerned by the recent anti-business rhetoric of the Labour Party. We are working incredibly hard to build relationships with the labour movement to ensure that our market is not unduly affected if we have a change of administration next year.
All in all this year will be the first of meaningful growth for a very long time. It will provide a positive backdrop for recruiters who want to expand and develop.
You may well already have seen our City Conferences these new member events around the UK will be a mixture of market, policy and legal updates with specific learning sessions aimed at helping you take advantage of the opportunities in this growing market.
My final point is that the REC is your organisation please engage with us and tell us what's going on for you and how we can best help you and I look forward to meeting many of you in 2014.