Saving the economy – the role of the recruitment industry

Saving the economy – the role of the recruitment industry

We hate to open on a downer, but the FT is reporting a predicted 35% drop in output in the 2nd quarter of 2020 if the lockdown lasts for 3 months. It’s enough to make us cry into our Quarantini, with a dramatic rise in government borrowing and a massive hit to GDP.

And in a survey from KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), recruitment for permanent staff appointments and temp billings has fallen sharply. With a record drop in overall vacancies, not surprisingly, the availability of candidates has risen at its fastest rate since 2009.

So is there any good news?

Well, we believe the recruitment industry can play a major part in helping to support the economic recovery.

With a track record of displaying astonishing resilience and bucket loads of ingenuity, many in the recruitment industry have withstood previous catastrophes and survived. What’s become clear is that to weather this particular storm, nimble decision making and a focus on finding alternative ways of working to ensure business continuity is essential.

The American Staffing Industry Analysts has looked at which recruitment companies came through the last recession intact and one of their key findings is that decisive action is paramount.

Some sectors are recruiting

There is still a need for staff in many areas. Industries such as health and social care, food retail, farming and logistics need staff, and need them fast.  Amazon, for example, has launched a campaign to recruit 100,000 staff worldwide.

For recruitment agencies, building relationships with these sectors can open the doors to new opportunities, and for HR managers who need to recruit fast, partnering with a good recruitment partner can really help you move quickly and effectively.

The recruitment industry also needs to be able to respond to lockdown measures by increasing the use of virtual ways to assess and select candidates.

Whilst allowing them to comply with government instructions it will also speed up the time to hire.

Preparing to hit the ground running

This crisis will pass, and although there are forecasts of a deep recession, there is also a view that we will recover from it relatively quickly. Recruiters must gear up for this by focusing on building their pipeline of candidates for the future. Revisiting your candidate database and keeping in touch with the talent you have identified strengthens your relationships and helps them to realise they are not forgotten, just on hold.

Check in with them regularly, being honest about the current situation, but reassuring them that when the time comes, you will need them. By taking this action, when things pick up, you’ll be able to respond quickly with high-quality applicants.

When demand returns, we foresee an increase in the demand for flexibility – not just in working remotely but in the roles employees perform. By identifying candidates suited to these roles in advance, you will be ready to take advantage when the time comes.

A better way to hire?

They say every cloud has a silver lining, and maybe out of the current crisis, we will find a better way to hire. The move from face to face to virtual recruitments, along with more homeworking, may be a trend that is here to stay – giving both recruiters and the candidates they place faster processes and a more balanced lifestyle.

With the challenges we are all wrestling with likely to continue for a little while yet, we all need to adapt. We predict that the need for urgent hiring in specific sectors will continue. And as organisations start to focus on how they will recover, this is where recruitment will really come into its own. As we are all finding, people are the ultimate resource of every company and central to their success. One thing’s for sure, the recruitment industry will play a crucial part in helping industries with their changing employment needs.

Nigel Chambers

Remus Rewards, a division of People Value Limited, is an FCSA Business Partner, a TEAM Service Provider, an APSCo affiliate member and a market leading provider of reward and loyalty solutions to the temporary labour and recruitment market across the UK. By using our technology, businesses can improve their employee proposition, performance and increase employee morale and loyalty. Employees can take advantage of savings on high street shopping, including 7 major supermarkets, eating out, special rate cinema tickets and discounted gym memberships.