Are the lights coming back on? Is recruitment coming back on the agenda?

The professional recruitment world completely ground to a halt for much of March, April and May as the Covid pandemic took hold of the global economy.  The recruitment industry was decimated as a substantial proportion of recruiters were placed on furlough schemes and various major players announced drastic reductions in revenue.  Of course, we are still hearing about predictions of mass unemployment when the furlough schemes end, but we are pleased to say that we are just starting to see some positive signs in the market after such a difficult period.

Staffing industry analysts (SIA), the global advisor on Staffing and Workforce Solutions have just reported that “the pandemic continued to weigh heavily on recruitment activity at the end of the second quarter of 2020, with clients implementing recruitment freezes or cancelling hires until the outlook brightened.”

This analysis was based on the latest UK Report on Jobs by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG which reported that “permanent staff placements and temporary billings both fell at notably weaker rates than in April and May when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its most severe”

James Stewart, Vice Chair at KPMG, said, “Despite an inevitable further drop in hiring activity for permanent and temporary staff, it is encouraging to see they both fell at softer rates than seen in April and May. However, the air of uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic will linger – and rebuilding confidence in the UK jobs market will take time.”

One more interesting statistic for you SIA also report that “the number of job adverts posted across the UK increased 20% in the week ending 5 July compared to the previous week, this is the first positive increase in weeks according to the latest real-time statistics from Broadbean Technology, the network of job boards”.  

Now week to week statistics can be misleading, especially when you consider the baseline position that this information starts from, but as we head into the third quarter of the year it seems that things are gradually improving although it’s still clearly very early days. 

Another positive to be aware of is that there is some evidence that the procurement and supply chain world enjoys one of the more robust job markets supported by the theory that the profession becomes more important during the tough economic times – there was certainly evidence to support this in 2008-10.  So expect the procurement world to be ahead of many other professions.

For the vendors and consultancies in the procurement solutions sector, they are relying on their target clients realising the value of their solutions when the pressure is on for savings and efficiencies.   Hopefully, this faith is well-founded as some niche procurement tech firms have told us that existing clients are leaning on them more than ever and in some cases, they are actually ahead of this year’s sales targets – an amazing achievement in the circumstances!

If your company is fortunate enough to be in a strong position, it’s actually a great time to hire as those organisations who are still very nervous about the future aren’t hiring at present so there’s less competition for good people.  There’s also clear evidence that there is some outstanding talent on the job market including top performers who are concerned about job security and interim specialists seeking the perceived security of a full-time job on a permanent contract.

The problem for HR and Talent departments is that the responses to these adverts will be through the roof given the number of job seekers and someone has to sort through all those responses from people who aren’t suitable for the role in the hope that they can find a few strong candidates for interviews.

I’d say its quicker and easier to make successful hires through a specialist recruiter but I would say that because I am a specialist recruiter.  Thankfully our clients who are back in hiring mode agree.

Andrew Daley

Director – Procurement Technology Practice

Edbury Daley

andrew@edburydaley.com

+44 7711 715258

For more information and analysis on the Procurement and Spend Management job markets, you can access regular reports here.