More Than Half of UK Recruiters Expect A Recession in 2020.

Bullhorn releases annual trends research.

Bullhorn’s 2020 Global Recruitment Insights and Data (GRID) suggests nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of UK recruiters believe skills shortages will be their top hiring challenge for 2020. This is followed by the need to get employers to increase candidate pay rates (42 per cent), and reskilling workers to meet client demands (26 per cent). The finding have come from a survey of more than 2,000 global recruitment professionals. Nearly half (46 per cent) believe the talent shortage in the UK is worse now than it was five years ago.

The findings follow the launch of The World Economic Forum’s Reskilling Revolution, an initiative to provide one billion people with better education, skills, and jobs by 2030. The majority (80 per cent) of UK recruiters agree that reskilling candidates is an effective way to address talent shortages. Three quarters (75 per cent) also agreed that employers must accelerate pay increases, to compete for qualified candidates.

“The talent shortage in the UK is getting worse, but there are ways that recruiters can help tackle it,” said Peter Linas, Bullhorn’s executive vice president of corporate development and international. “Of course, increasing pay will attract better candidates, but reskilling employees is one of the biggest opportunities in recruitment right now. Recruiters are best positioned to identify emerging skills and competencies, and guide businesses that are struggling to get to grips with how job roles are changing, and how to find the talent they need.”

More than two thirds (68 per cent) believe that diverse organisations are more effective, representing an eight per cent uptick from last year. It seems this belief is shared by their clients, too – over half (54 per cent) of recruiters said they have clients that require diverse candidate shortlists. More specifically, recruitment businesses specialising in sales and marketing were considerably more likely (65 per cent) to receive diversity requests than those in healthcare (37 per cent). Unfortunately, nearly half (49 per cent) said that there’s a shortage of diverse candidates in the talent pool and over a quarter (27 per cent) said they’ve experienced discrimination in their own career in recruitment.

Linas continued: “Both companies and recruiters are responsible for creating a more diverse workforce, but technology has a role to play, too. The right recruitment technology can automate CV parsing to identify candidates that have the qualifications, experience or skills needed, without considering their background. This means it can put candidates forward who might otherwise not make the cut” said Linas.

The role of technology

Despite the abundance of recruitment technology available, only 12 per cent have fully adopted it. By comparison, more than a fifth (22 per cent) are barely using their technology at all. When asked what the top obstacle to implementing technology was, the most common response was that the team doesn’t see the value in it (29 per cent) followed by limited training resources (16 per cent). However, nearly all agree that digital transformation could help their business (85 per cent) and that firms which fail to leverage the power of process automation risk falling behind the competition (88 per cent).

“It is worrying that recruiters aren’t fully embracing the technology available to them, as it can help with the exact problems recruiters are currently facing – talent shortages, salary expectations, and diversity quotas. The right technology can help recruiters source talent in unexpected places and gather salary information. If you’re not given the right training, continue to ask for it or go to a competitor – no recruiter can afford to be without it,” Linas said.

Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) cited economic uncertainty as their top macroeconomic challenge for the year, and more than half (52 per cent) expect a recession in the next 12 months, a significant increase from under a third (30 per cent) last year. However, some are still cautiously optimistic about what 2020 may hold: over two thirds (69 per cent) still expect to increase revenue in the year ahead. In addition, most (72 per cent) say globalisation and the increased mobility of talent is an opportunity for their business.

“Brexit has caused a lot of uncertainty, so it is reassuring to see that recruiters expect an increase in revenue. Recruiters have a significant role to play in uncertain times – they can provide candidates and clients with stability and certainty and can reassure them of the pipeline of talent coming in. As long as they can use the resources offered to them, recruiters are in a great position for this year,” Linas concluded.

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