Carlotta Stephens, Commercial Director, Maine-Tucker
Most people have a view on the recruitment industry, whether through public perception, personal experience or social media articles, opinions on recruitment as an industry and its individual players are rife.
It’s fair to say that not all of these opinions are positive, with recruiters today being labelled as lazy, uneducated and cowboys amongst other things.
If it were the case that some factions of the recruitment market were operating less than desirable practices, the recent recession has certainly had an impact on changing that for the better.
Since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September of 2008 and the on-going financial crisis, the recruitment industry has had to shape up.
With unemployment rising from 1.6 to 2.5 million and hundreds of thousands of redundancies, the market for recruiters became extremely tough and with margins being squeezed like never before, there was no space for shoddy practice in recruitment.
Many recruitment companies were forced to close their doors, unable to continue operating under such conditions, and those remaining had to take a long hard look at themselves.
In a market where roles have been in short supply and clients able to dictate fees and service levels, as an industry, recruiters have risen to the challenge spectacularly and industry standards have shot up.
The REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) is a fantastic industry body working tirelessly to improve the industry. With their IRP programme, recruitment now has a recognised professional qualification.
As well as a professional qualification and tireless policy work, the REC provide an extensive programme of member training events as well as sector group meetings where industry competitors now regularly spend time collaborating on best practice and industry improvements.
Recruiters like Maine-Tucker are also working to up-skill their client base by providing workshops and consulting on what you should expect from recruiters to ensure they are getting value. Equally, good recruiters will have strict candidate charters in place, meaning anyone they represent can expect certain guarantees.
The UK Recruitment industry grew by 4.3% in the financial year ending April 2012. As we come out of recession recruitment plays a vital role in linking businesses with their staff force to ensure that unemployment rates continue to fall and that businesses are populated with high calibre of professionals that match their culture and skill requirements, enabling businesses to contribute to the growing economy.