It was great to get to the NEC for the recent Recruitment Agency Expo. I love a chance to catch up with REC members, hear all the gossip, and see the latest in technology from suppliers to the industry.
But more than that, it’s a chance to demonstrate some pride in our sector and the value it creates.
This year, my presentation at the Expo was all about the value we have as an industry, our future and how we succeed in it.
Clients’ businesses are changing – both in the skills they need and in an increasing understanding that performance and productivity is about more than just skill. Engagement and motivation matters and that means management, recruitment, and job design are all key to boosting performance.
At the same time, labour supply in the UK is getting tighter as the baby boomers retire to be replaced by smaller cohorts born in the 2000s (that makes me feel old!) and we see lower rates of immigration from the EU.
All of this means a more candidate-driven market in the long-term, with workers making their way into new, more highly skilled and quite different jobs.
And it emphasises some key points for the future of recruiters.
It’s going to become even more of a professional service – with clients looking to us to be resource advisers, not just a supplier of a process. Our skills will be just as necessary in landing the right person in the right way in our interactions with candidates, too.
And that’s a good thing because technology will automate ever more of our processes. As an industry, we need to get better at adopting new technology – but also accepting that the value we create will primarily be human-driven. Tech lets us focus more on that added value.
Most of all, we should look to this new world with confidence. Comparing the UK internationally, it’s clear that more of the market here could be routed via the industry, as only about a third of jobs come through us now.
With that, and the fact that the shorter-term economic weather is just that – we should look to the future with confidence. Businesses will need the expertise good recruiters bring all the more in an increasingly complex and candidate-driven market over the long-term. We just need to take the steps to exploit these changes.
That should be something we aspire to, as the professionals when it comes to solving one of the UK economy’s biggest issues.