As we all return to work let’s look ahead to what’s in store for the recruitment industry in 2018. Here are my five things to watch out for this year.
1) Will employers keep hiring?
Our data says that businesses will continue to hire and that overall employment will continue to grow in 2018, but the rate of growth might be slower this year compared to the last few years.
This is reflected in our forecast for recruitment industry growth. In our latest Recruitment industry trends report, we predict GDP growth for the industry over the next three years, but the rate will soften. We’re expecting 3.8 per cent growth in 2017/18, 3.6 per cent in 2018/19 and 2.7 per cent in 2019/20.
Our industry has weathered difficult times before, and whatever the next few years holds I am confident that recruiters will adapt. Recruiters who differentiate their offering, invest in their staff, focus on compliance, add value to their clients and provide a great candidate experience will continue to thrive.
2) Will the post-Brexit deal become clearer?
Business uncertainty is a major factor in our prediction of an economic slowdown, and we’ve called for clarity so that businesses maintain the confidence to hire and grow.
We‘re hopeful that 2018 will bring a clearer understanding of the impact that Brexit will have on trade, the customs union and immigration. This should help to dispel the uncertainty that’s undermined our economy since the referendum.
3) Will the automation revolution hit the jobs market?
In 2018 we will see more predictions and analysis on the challenges that automation will present for the future jobs market. Keep an eye out for a certain TedX talk in February by yours truly on job polarity.
4) Will recruiters recognise apprenticeships as an opportunity to grow?
In 2018 I believe we will see more and more agencies take on apprentices and train them via REC qualifications. The news that the government has approved the funding of recruitment apprenticeships is huge for our industry because it means that recruiters can now access up to £5,000 per apprentice.
This is a big stepping stone on our shared quest to turn recruitment into a career of choice, and will help the industry to recruit the thousands of people it needs to meet potential growth in the next few years.
5) Will the government stop meddling in the jobs market?
I doubt it! The REC will continue to work hard to represent the industry, and to fight for a dynamic, flexible and agile labour market.
Early in the year we will respond to consultations on IR35 and the Taylor Review, and announcements on the government’s plans around both of these issues will follow in 2018.
Your REC membership in 2018
If our predictions are correct that the market will become more challenging in the next few years, it’s going to become even more important to have a growth strategy in place. The REC will continue to deliver data, insight, advice and guidance to ensure you are successful.
We have five “In the round” events planned for Q1, in Northampton, Nottingham, Peterborough, Edinburgh and Manchester, and in 2018 we will publish more podcasts and research help give you the knowledge you need. Our Annual Talent, Recruitment & Employment Conference (TREC) is an invite-only event this year. Hold 4 July in your diary and hope for an invitation – we will publish more information soon.
On a sad note, I am sure many of you are now aware of the sudden death of Paul Broadbent, the GLAA chief executive, over the festive period. Paul was a great friend of the REC and I enjoyed working with him immensely. The world will be a sadder place without him. Our thoughts are with his family and the team at the GLAA. We will pass on the condolences of the recruitment industry.
As this is my last New Year’s message to REC members, I’d like to say it’s been an honour and a privilege to serve you for almost 10 years. Here’s to a prosperous new year.