As the country starts to emerge from the pandemic, Insider assesses the impact of the last 12 months on the recruitment sector.
The recruitment sector has seen a series of dramatic changes over the last 12 months and was one of the first to feel the full impact of the pandemic and subsequent downturn in the economy.
As the economy continues to reopen and lockdown restrictions ease, recruiters are having to once again deal with rapid changes in the market and demand for their services. There is expected to be a surge in demand for staff in a wide range of different sectors from childcare to hospitality.
James Hughes, managing director of Sphere Solutions, has experienced the ups and downs of the recruitment sector over the course of the pandemic. His company operates in the construction sector and, as a result, it has fared better than many other recruitment businesses.
He says "The end of March 2020 was not a good time for the majority of recruitment companies. Specialising in construction, we were hopeful there would be a quick return to normal trading conditions but sadly this was not the case.
"Immediately we lost 80 per cent of our temporary workforce as they were either let go or told to come back 'when this is over'.
"Permanent vacancies disappeared as clients put everything on hold until further notice. Little did we know 'further notice' would run into months. We were dealing with a complete collapse of our business and there was nothing we could do."
Fast-forward to autumn and the market was in a vastly different place for Sphere Solutions. "All the sectors we work in were much busier with the civil engineering, building, and residential showing promising signs of recovery," says Hughes."
"Our temporary and permanent teams are working to near full capacity and the optimism about the future is there when speaking to clients. The forced shutdown of our markets gave us an opportunity to think about how we were doing things and afford us the time to make some difficult decisions we had probably put off.
"These were specifically regarding our entire technology platform, which was an amalgamation of various CRM [customer relationship management], payroll, customer portal and accounting software we had acquired over 15 years. We now have an opportunity to grow with a streamlined technology base to support us."
Hughes says recruitment will always depend on a strong relationship within the industry and with clients.
He adds: "You also need your team to be able to work smartly and efficiently, backed up by a sound technology package with the demand for innovative solutions by your customer base an ever-evolving requirement."
You can read the full article in the May issue of Insider Magazine