Looking Back at How Brexit Affected Recruitment

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit

It’s no surprise that the UK’s vote to leave the EU in June 2016 casted a cloud of uncertainty over the recruitment industry. However, eight months on, it appears that many of the gloomy predictions were merely a speculation. Recruitment agencies are in fact optimistic about meeting the challenges that lie ahead. UK employers predict that four in ten firms across the UK will grow their workforce in 2017, signalling a positive outlook for the UK economy as we move towards leaving the EU.

Bullhorn surveyed over 300 UK and mainland Europe recruitment firms both before and after Brexit. The results were very positive:

  • 64% of recruitment firms expect their agency’s revenue to increase in the next 2 years
  • 36% said dealing with shortages in specialised skills will represent the greatest opportunity in agency growth over the next 2 years

Alongside the positive changes predicated, some things haven’t changed. In both the pre- and post-Brexit surveys, responses suggest the biggest challenge (that we’ve observed globally for many years) is identifying qualified candidates and dealing with skills shortages. But this very challenge also brings the biggest source of opportunity for recruitment agencies, particularly those operating in niche markets.

Brexit: opportunity knocks for recruitment

If we look back at some of the news articles that predicted Brexit would have a direct impact on businesses, it paints a very depressing picture. The speculation over whether Theresa May would invoke a ‘Hard’ or ‘Soft’ Brexit approach received plenty of airtime, giving rise to many firms airing on the side of caution when it came to making new hires. But rather than being disheartened, many recruiters have spotted an opportunity.

Last year we saw a record number of new recruitment agencies established, with 4,529 registrations. This is an increase of 13.7% on the previous year. And, interestingly, most of these firms were registered in the latter half of the year, post referendum, demonstrating that Brexit has certainly given the recruitment sector an opportunity to act as a bellwether for the wider economic climate, which is good news for everyone.

Delving a bit deeper to understand exactly how this is good news for everyone.

As this article suggests, the value of the recruitment industry to the UK economy is £35.1 billion per year. The statistics were revealed in the ninth annual report by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

Kevin Green, REC Chief Executive, said: “The recruitment industry is bigger than ever before and contributes more to the UK economy than advertising, arts and recreation, and the food and beverage industry. Our industry is the engine that drives the UK jobs market, enabling people to find the right job and businesses to find the talent they need to succeed. With near-full employment in the UK and candidate availability tightening, recruiters will play an even more important role in 2017. We predict that the industry will grow by between 2.9 and 6.9 per cent next year.”

Safeguard your company’s future

Whatever the fate of Brexit, it’s vital to ensure that you gain an understanding of your clients’ future plans.

At TalentSpa, we use recruitment management expertise and powerful recruiting software with a built-in applicant tracking system to help you plan for your future. Call us today on 08448700926 to request a call back, or get in touch with us if you need help finding the right talent.