Ann Swain, CEO, APSCo shares her views on recruitment, Brexit and what’s on the horizon for the recruitment market

"Whenever there’s a skills shortage, we do better. We can capitalise on the opportunity that Brexit may bring."

Access recently sat down with one of the leading influencers in the Recruitment market, Ann Swain, APSCo’s CEO, to hear her views on Brexit, key trends, future expectations for the market and her advice for recruiters.

As founding Chief Executive of the only trade body dedicated to supporting UK recruitment firms and identified as one of the Top 100 executives in European Staffing, who better to give insights to recruitment businesses.

Will 2019 bring new challenges to the recruitment market?

Yes, there really are some challenges facing the recruitment market today – from Brexit and certain foreign presidents to the terrorism going on, not to mention the economic climate which seems more chaotic than it has even been. But where there are challenges it’s about being able to plan in a much more organised way taking into account that things will continue to change and you will need to be much more agile.

Wherever there is chaos there are also opportunities. We see new companies rising to the top and a change in the status quo. Where there may be threats there are also opportunities for any business who can make the most of these.

How will Brexit impact the sector?

We don’t know exactly what the Brexit deal is going to be yet, but the reality is, if we
look at the things most likely to affect the UK recruitment market, then the potential is for immigration rules to either cause an opportunity or a problem. What Theresa May has been saying and what the consultation document suggests is, looking at professional markets, allowing well-skilled and well-qualified people into the country in the same way we already have.

However there may be more difficulty at the low-skilled, lower-payed end of the market. So recruitment companies may be affected depending on which end of the market they are servicing. But as someone who’s been in recruitment for over thirty-five years, I would say whenever there’s a skills shortage, we actually do better. So, we can be afraid of it, or we can capitalise on the opportunity. It’s up to us.

What makes a successful recruitment business?

Well, if I were to set up a recruitment company tomorrow I would make sure I had a strategy. Most companies think they have a strategy, but I’m not sure they plan around that. I would also know why I was doing it and what I wanted to achieve. Of course, it’s not just about money but rather what my recruitment company could bring that is different or better than what’s already out there at the moment.

So, I would have a plan and it would be based on the strategy, and then I would make sure I got my proverbial ducks in a row to head in that direction, obviously reviewing that on a regular basis.

What’s different about the recruitment market today and moving forward?

One of the key differences from when I started in recruitment and even in the past ten years is the way we’re part of a bigger ecosystem in the talent management and talent acquisition world. We used to be the centre of the universe, and it felt like we were the only people involved in recruiting or adding value to end user clients.

But now there are a number of other players that really do add value too. That lends itself to a completely different way of working.

It doesn’t need to be about ‘we win and everybody else loses,’ but it can be a great opportunity to look and see who we should be cooperating with, for the benefit of our customers, candidates and the recruitment market as a whole.

“It can be a great opportunity to look and see who we should be cooperating with, for the benefit of our customers, candidates and the recruitment market as a whole.”

Want to see the full interview with Ann Swain? Watch Here

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