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Global report reveals health of recruitment agencies

by LLB staff reporter
23rd Oct 20 2:57 pm

JobAdder, a global recruitment software solution that helps agency and in-house recruiters find and manage talent more effectively, has today released its inaugural 2020 Global Recruitment Report.  

The global report provides extensive data as well as insights and analysis from established global leader of the recruitment industry, Greg Savage, on how recruitment agencies in markets such as the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have been impacted by COVID-19, and what the road to recovery has looked like for the sector throughout 2020.

Commenting on the report’s topline findings, CEO of JobAdder, Martin Herbst said, “Overall, the numbers paint a fairly positive picture of the recruitment sector as they demonstrate market recovery and an upward trend for new jobs, placements and agency user numbers, across all of the geographic markets. 

“While it is very encouraging to see the market showing signs of recovery, it’s prudent to remain cautiously optimistic as there is still significant economic uncertainty as COVID-19 remains unresolved, particularly in the UK, US and Canada, which are experiencing more pronounced subsequent waves.”

What does the 2020 Global Recruitment Report reveal?

New Job Orders

Recruitment agencies in Australia started strong in 2020 with new job orders growing from December 2019 to February 2020. The initial effects of COVID-19 brought a sizable dip in March by 13 per cent, followed by a significant collapse in April, with new job orders dropping by 46.4 per cent. New Zealand agencies were even starker, showing a massive 61.7 per cent decline in orders from March to April.  

From May, the number of new job orders started to climb again in Australia, although there was a small drop off in August, where the impact of Melbourne’s ‘second wave’ and the subsequent lock-down laws were likely to blame. New Zealand saw a powerful bounce back from April and has flatlined since June, likely due to the country’s low COVID case numbers helping them to return ‘Business as Usual’. 

Global Snapshot:

  • The UK followed almost the same pattern as New Zealand, showing a 60.5 per cent decline in orders from March to April, while the US and Canada dropped 38.8 per cent over the same period.
  • The number of new job orders in the UK climbed back consistently from April, with a big surge in September, while the US and Canada have steadily grown.  

Permanent Placements

‘Jobs filled and invoiced’ is the ultimate measure of health in the recruitment agency landscape. In terms of permanent placements, Australia and New Zealand have shown steady growth since the April nadir. 

Global Snapshot:

  • In the US and Canada through August and September, permanent placement growth was at higher levels than the pre-COVID months of 2020.

Temp/contract Placements

Interestingly, and counter-intuitively, temporary placements in Australia were slower to bounce back than permanents, although the increase has held steady since June. New Zealand bounced back fast in May with a worrying drop in September, potentially due to the election. 

Global Snapshot:

  • Temp/Contract in the UK soared in September by 58.1 per cent on August numbers. 
  • The Temp/Contract decline in the US and Canada was minimal over March/April and since then has risen consistently.

Active Recruiters 

Recruitment agencies in Australia saw a huge decline in how many recruiters were active in the early months of 2020, with a 1,272 per cent drop from February to March as COVID-19 took hold and potential recruiter job losses or furloughs ensued. This was followed by a gradual bounce back within the next few months.

Global Snapshot:

  • From February to March, New Zealand dropped 528.6 per cent; the UK fell 3,533.3 per cent; and the US and Canada saw a 203.8 per cent drop.

Days to place

The findings reveal Australian agencies take the fewest days to fill Temp and Contract job orders while New Zealand is not far behind, with both countries averaging under ten days. This average could be the result of “data entry delay”, which refers to the delay in recruiters completing and filing the relevant admin work. 

In the past few months, ‘days to fill’ have blown out in Australia and New Zealand, potentially signalling to clients being more fastidious or a shortage of talent emerging. 

Global Snapshot:

  • The UK averages under ten days to fill Temp and Contract job orders, while the US and Canada average closer to a 15-day average.
  • ‘Days to fill’ have also grown in the UK, US and Canada.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of jobs being filled by Australian agencies right now are Temp and Contract roles, with the findings hovering around 70 per cent of positions filled. New Zealand is even more Temp and Contract biased, sitting at 75 to 80 per cent. 

Global Snapshot:

  • Both the UK and the US and Canada have a slightly higher leaning towards permanent roles, sitting at 60 per cent Temp and Contract and 55 to 65 per cent Temp and Contract, respectively.

Herbst added, “The data shows that companies are adapting to the new realities of a pandemic as they are moving forward with hiring, especially in industries that are not as directly affected by the social distancing and lockdown measures. Where possible, recruiters will need to pivot more toward these industries as they are experiencing high volumes of applications in a candidate-rich market as a result of job losses.

“Like all companies at this time, to fully prepare for the changes afoot in the recruitment sector, recruiters must first look after their cash flow and, in doing this, look for productivity and efficiency gains wherever possible. Hiring managers and recruiters must ensure they’re enriching and utilising their data, for example their candidate database, to the fullest and streamlining all workflow processes. 

“Now is also the time to review the company’s strategic focus and, where possible, shift target customers and partnerships toward areas of growth versus more exposed areas. Hiring managers and recruiters will need to also put a greater emphasis on delivering a phenomenal candidate experience. Every crisis presents an opportunity for change so now’s the time to do it.”

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