The past two years have seen some of the most unprecedented changes in the sector. Many companies have had to completely alter their business model and the way they work.
A big question and one that a lot of people are asking, is, is this a market correction this year, the kind of superhuman year we have all after a time when no one really knew what was happening during the pandemic. Is it a market correction or is this a sign that the market is going to be very buoyant for the next year or two? - Sachin Ruparelia
This year the recruitment industry has demonstrated great resilience and adaptability.
Even though, it is thought that the market is now slowly returning back to 'normal', there will always be new challenges to face, new innovations to compete with and new things that people want.
So, what will 2022 bring for the recruitment industry?
Harry Hewson, Managing Director of the Camino Group and Sachin Ruparelia, Chief Executive Officer of Camino Partners, give their predictions for the new year and beyond!
A Bigger Focus on Talent Acquisition
'The war on talent' is a phrase that has been used a lot in the past year, both Harry and Sachin note that although they don't particularly like the phrase, it has had a huge impact on the way that companies think about talent acquisition.
Harry: 'Hiring managers are so busy they've realised they're missing out on people because their processes aren't very slick or efficient, and companies have begun to see that at C-Suite level, their biggest struggle is talent acquisition. The cleverer companies are going to shorten their recruitment processes, pay retainers and have stronger relationships with a recruitment partner by getting them more entrenched in the business.'
'Companies have realised they need to get better at employer branding to not miss out on talent. This year and especially since the pandemic, I’ve noticed that recruiters have got a lot better at self-marketing. Most recruitment businesses are putting marketing and PR higher up their strategic agendas.’
Sachin: 'The use of automation for processing candidates is increasing but what I think people are also realising is that the human touch is irreplaceable. Yes, high volume, transactional recruitment you can use AI for, but I don’t think anything will beat the power of the network. We’ve seen the rise of communities, such as women in tech and recruiters building candidate pools from those communities. 2022 will see the return of the human touch with more of an impact than ever, especially in building communities and more events being run.'
Harry: 'Employee wellbeing and how companies treat their staff are very high up on peoples’ wish-lists when making a move. Now more than ever, in an interview prep call, its what candidates are asking me. Before consultants would advise candidates not to ask about that until at least the second stage because the perception was that if you asked about stuff like that, you didn't want to work long hours. Now that's totally flipped and if companies answer that question badly, they’re not going to secure the talent. During the pandemic people realised they could work at home, see their dog, their partner, their family, perhaps earn less money but be happier. I think the biggest shift which will continue to gain momentum in 2022, is employee mental health and companies are having to place more emphasis on their potential to offer good work-life balance.'
Sachin: 'I was impressed by the way many businesses reacted to the pandemic and it's been great to see more businesses support mental health, tackling it head on and making employees aware its okay not to be okay. 2021 saw a polarized reaction to hybrid working and I think in 2022 this will become an even bigger deciding factor in a candidate's decision to accept an offer; the narrative has changed now and the question being asked by candidates is “how much time in the office vs working from home” rather than “does the client offer the ability to work from home”. Flexible and hybrid working is expected by most and it’s here to stay.’
Candidate Driven Market
Harry: 'I think it's interesting that now, the best candidates don’t even need to search for jobs. If the market stays as it is, then that will be the mentality people have; all of the best candidates will be getting multiple calls and messages on a daily basis, and so maybe there will be a slight laziness from a candidate’s perspective on not needing to apply for roles. This will reduce the quality of applications, meaning that some recruiters who aren’t innovative enough with their headhunting and general approach to candidate acquisition, may miss out on the best talent.'
Finding Qualified Talent
Harry: 'You will see the emergence and utilization of boot-camps and academies to train talent up. For example, in the tech space there are businesses like Sparta Global, that are trying to tackle the talent shortage. Or I think people are going to have to look at hiring slightly different people. For example, within the accountancy world, there is often an emphasis placed on hiring people with so many years post-qualification; for example within two and five, so that they’re strategic but also aren’t going to be too hands-off to do the role and I think that’s going to change. Companies might have to go for people that have twenty years post-qualification experience but have been at that level for quite a long time or they might not completely fit their culture but add something different or they might need to go for people that are less experienced or don’t have the exact experience needed, and train them up.'
Rise of Mergers & Acquisitions
Sachin: 'Businesses have become a lot leaner. Many businesses used the pandemic to ‘right-size’ and lose people that they probably should have lost sooner. They also negotiated on their leases and got pricing reductions on all their service providers/partners/suppliers. But that means that with low-cost bases, businesses have become more profitable than ever, so I think in the next year we are going to see the largest increase in recruitment industry deals than ever before. Acquiring companies will be looking to capitalize and still bring in businesses that they can scale up, whilst buyers will be looking to sell whilst they’re at their most profitable, so I am confident that we see a marked increase in M&A in the sector.’