1. Expect Growth in the Recruitment Sector
Month on month the REC has seen more placements made through recruitment agencies. This has resulted in an increase in turnover, and according to the latest figures from HSBC’s investor report, the recruitment industry is making nearly £10billion more than it was four years ago. This trend is likely to continue well into 2015 and beyond with most European governments expecting an improved outlook on jobs and the economy.
The challenge is that the roles recruitment agencies are filling are increasingly the harder to work placements as employers are trying to “go direct” for the “easy” positions. Scarce skills are becoming scarcer and there are less and less people available on the market (see report below).
2. Recruitment Revenue Will Go Up
As the margins in permanent recruitment continues to rise (by 5.7% between 2013 and today according to KMPG and REC) there is real potential for recruitment businesses to improve their turnover in 2015. Salaries are also due to improve in 2015 which means even if margins remain stable total revenue should improve.
The challenge will remain finding the right people, having those people interested in talking to you and making placements. Establishing a true unique selling point and truly understanding the value you deliver outside of just sending CVs is going to be crucial to maintaining the fees and margins that we are expecting.
3. Small Businesses Challenging Big Businesses
Across global, large and small recruitment firms huge effort is being put into developing a clear brand and concrete message to market. Whilst many larger brands struggle to create relevant propositions for each of the industries or functions they recruit for, smaller businesses are taking full advantage of their expert status. As businesses continue to focus on niche skills this will only become more commonplace.
The challenge will be to grow and diversify whilst still maintaining what has made your business successful in the past.
4. Serious Mergers and Acquisitions To Take Place
In 2011 the biggest purchase acquisition was for $770m when Randstad bought SFN Group (at the time the world’s 13th largest staffing firm). In the past year we may not have seen acquisitions on that scale, but the number of purchases has shown confidence in the market and the perceived value of the recruitment sector increasing.
NES (who themselves were bought in 2012 for £234m) made two investments this year to cement their foothold in the Nordic oil and energy sector. Allegis (the 32nd largest private business in the US) bought Talent2 to further strengthen its APAC offering. Hays invested £28m for 80% of Veredus Corp to further develop their offering in NAMER in the IT recruitment space.
According to the 5th largest global recruitment firm Recruit Holdings’ President Masumi Minegishi, their business is likely to acquire in order to further develop their global presence.
“We are constantly eyeing deals globally and have more than 50 potential targets on our list,” says Minegishi in his latest interview with the Wall Street Journal.
With more large businesses looking to acquire in order to broaden their base expect to see a raft of moves for middle tier recruitment organisations.
5. Recruitment Firms Take Their Employer Brand Seriously
This week LinkedIn published a list of the top 25 most in demand skills of 2014. Globally “recruiting” was the 15th most in demand skill. In Brazil it was 2nd, Netherlands the 5th, the UAE 8th and UK 17th. I have no doubt that this trend will continue as the industry sees more money pumped in from investors, through improved margins and profits in the sector.
The challenge will be to stand out from the crowd and to improve the brand of the recruitment industry as a whole.
Companies like Lawrence Harvey are doing a great job of this with collateral like their recent video.