Since lockdown was announced in March 2020, there has been an ever growing number of staff being placed on furlough. This equates to almost a quarter of all UK staff were on furlough.
There has been a big re-shuffle in staffing throughout 2020-21 as recently retired police officers and NHS staff came to help support the pandemic. Romanian workers were flown in to support the fruit picking season.
Is this a time of boom or bust for recruitment agencies in the UK?
The UK recruitment sector has always been competitive, even more so now that Indeed have taken point.
Pre 2020 the recruitment industry has been booming, with all sectors growing and more people in employment than ever before.
Recruitment companies in the UK tend to focus on specific industry sectors, such as healthcare, engineering, finance etc.
There are nearly 40,000 recruitment companies in the UK, and this is growing year on year.
The healthcare sector has seen significant attention as you would expect during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have been working from home where possible as a lot of routine operations and consultations have been postponed or on Zoom where possible.
Permanent jobs have been slow, but temporary jobs have seen a significant rise.
Care home staff have been in demand, as existing staff (such as carers, chefs, housekeeping staff etc.) may have to self isolate should they become infected.
The hospitality sector has possibly been one of the other main sectors to be effected, at the polar opposite to healthcare.
Since almost all hospitality was closed during the various lockdowns, temporary and permanent jobs were pretty much non existent. However as the UK started to open up over the May bank holiday, hospitality went back into a boom phase, as pubs and restaurants were suffering staff shortages.
Much of the recruitment process over the past year has been done via telephone or Zoom, to keep the risks of infection to a minimum.
Social distancing for recruitment companies has given a chance for innovation. Using video conferencing and technology more has given a chance to adapt whenever the pandemic subsides. This should leave a more effective and efficient recruitment process.
The recruitment sector as we have reflected, has had a turbulent time throughout the past year. Companies that have seen their client bases shrink (hospitality, acting, retail) placed staff on the government furlough scheme, others adapted and thrived.
Now the lockdowns are easing, marketing for recruitment companies is essential to stand out and thrive now there is a demand from employers to find good staff quickly.
Like many areas of society, predicting the future post COVID is difficult, for a few reasons:
One thing that remains constant is the need for businesses to find good staff, suitable staff that have the right experience and qualifications.
There are benefits that the pandemic has brought the recruitment industry, indirectly of course. A chance to pause and reflect like many sectors gives a time for the mind to become creative.