A more competitive market than ever has made the job of a recruiter increasingly difficult, as demand for skilled workers soars and the availability of candidates declines. Recent changes within the market and disruption to ordinary business as usual across all sectors have led to changes in the way recruitment services are offered and carried out. As the market changes, the way in which we recruit has had to change too, and we have had to adapt our service offering in order to suit our clients’ needs and compete within an extremely competitive market.
To shed some light on the shift to retained, we spoke to our Recruitment Director Martin Delahoyde: having started his career working within the Financial Services sector, Martin moved into recruitment and now has over 25 years of experience within the industry. Throughout his career, Martin has been instrumental in both building new businesses and enhancing smaller businesses. He has also run his own company and managed professional services businesses for both corporate and SME business models, with headcount numbers up to 850. Given this wealth of industry knowledge and expertise, we decided to ask him some questions on the ever-shifting landscape of recruitment and services.
Tell us about your professional background
I’ve been involved at the frontline of recruitment in the Professional Services Markets for several years now, working on the development of existing businesses whilst also starting new businesses in a broad range of markets. I have also had the benefit of working with SME and Corporate recruitment businesses in addition to running my own business for a period.
Why did you choose to join Heat?
I was already aware of Heat as a business, having had an existing relationship with the managing director Steve Preston in a previous work setting. I chose to join the company because I’m in total agreement with their mission and values: they’re ambitious and driven to deliver a world-class service to their clients and candidates, whilst also investing in the future development of their staff at all levels. We have some exciting growth plans in the pipeline including our new Manchester office allowing us to increase our presence in the North of the UK and beyond.
How has the landscape of recruitment changed in recent years?
The market in general has had to overcome an extremely difficult period, faced with the challenges that the pandemic presented. But the pandemic has also changed corporate ideas on work patterns for the better, with the introduction of hybrid and remote working offering a much better work-life balance for everyone. This has become even more important than salary for the majority of candidates, as data from a LinkedIn study shows that 63% of professionals selected work-life balance as their number one priority when searching for a job. This has been adopted perfectly at Heat, as the option to work from anywhere has given the ability to offer that degree of flexibility, whilst also still proving to be an exciting and rewarding place to work.
But equally, a lot of people have taken the pause in ‘business as usual’ operations as an opportunity to take stock of their personal situation, and we are seeing many people either reduce their hours or retire completely, which has had a devastating effect on the number of candidates available within the market. As such, this has caused huge increases in the associated costs of converting these candidates to new roles.
As the needs of businesses have changed, how have recruiters and the services they provide adapted?
Due to the widespread candidate shortage, the skills shortage, and changing priorities post-Covid, the market is incredibly competitive. None of these issues look set to resolve themselves any time soon, and as such recruitment has become far more driven to project work which includes retained business at all levels in order to secure the limited candidates that are actually available in an ever-decreasing talent pool.
Why has the retained recruitment option grown in popularity? What are its main benefits?
We have seen our clients increase this model of recruitment for several reasons but, in the main, it’s growth in popularity most likely stems from the fact that it is the option that comes as close as possible to guaranteeing a positive result for them. The likelihood of successful hiring from the retained recruitment option is vastly increased, and it also allows the client to have set timelines in place. The more traditional contingency recruitment option, which historically has been viewed as the standard recruitment solution, offers a lot less commitment from agency partners and the process can run on a lot longer. This obviously has a huge impact on a client’s performance and profitability, so the contingency option has massively decreased in popularity in favour of retained.
What should businesses be wary of in the year ahead?
Aside from the increase in costs that recruitment is seeing given the shortage in talent pools, I would recommend that businesses get ahead with their hiring pipeline. Businesses really need to be planning as early as possible, ensuring they find a trusted recruitment partner to join up with on projects, including retained work and search and selection where possible. This ensures businesses are well placed to secure the talent they need ahead of having a requirement.
Finally, they need to understand the constraints of the market shortage and where that leaves them. Candidates are in such high demand and, according to a report carried out by the REC, ‘intense competition for workers is leading to further steep increases in rates of starting pay. Notably, permanent starters’ salaries rose at the second-sharpest pace since data collection began in October 1997’. Pay pressures are continuing to sharpen as demand soars, so businesses must be realistic in their expectations and benchmark salaries for their vacancies accurately.
All businesses are in the same situation, but by failing to act now and plan ahead, businesses could be sealing their fate for the future. Acting decisively and with as much foresight as possible will be crucial, and businesses must be prepared to embrace new methodologies and recruitment processes in order to secure the talent they need.
To find out more about the services that we offer get in touch with us today at 0345 375 1747 or click here to register a vacancy.