In many ways, 2013 was a mixed bag in the UK recruitment world.
Total recruitment industry turnover was reported by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation as being up by over 3%. This growth in turnover was significantly higher than predicted and the good news is that a significantly higher number of permanent placements were made in 2013 than in 2012 (an increase of 12% according to the same agency). This is highly encouraging, but for those of us with our feet firmly on the ground, we know that margins are being squeezed and lack of quality candidates is the reality we faced day in and day out in 2013.
So what is 2014 likely to hold?
The economic backdrop
If we’re to believe the headlines in the press right now, there’s nothing but good news for the UK economy. Overall, the economy this year is predicted to reach levels not seen since the recession started and the recruitment industry is going to mirror this impressive bounce-back. Whether or not this is a just “New Year Feel Good Factor” stuff we’re being fed, only time will tell.
I think we’re pretty much all in agreement that competition in the recruitment industry is close on an all time high. What this competition means is that the power lies with the consumer: yes, our clients are in a great place to negotiate and squeeze your margins even further.
Price vs quality
There are certainly rumblings that while prices are being squeezed, there are still discerning clients prepared to pay an extra dollar or dime for quality and speed. This has to be good news, but delivering on it is a tough call.
So what can you do to make 2014 even better than 2013?
- Keep your cash flow under close scrutiny. Make the start of the year the time when you review everything income and expenditure-related to make sure you’re making your finances work as hard as they possibly can for you.
- Squeeze your bank. If you’ve got cash flow gaps, they’re sure to be costing you money. Look at deals you have with lenders and use your time to negotiate hard.
- Spend your time wisely. Time is one of the most valuable commodities in the world and now is a great time to make sure you and your key players are using every minute to add value to your bottom line. “Am I taking the shortest route to profit?” is a great question to keep in the forefront of your minds.
- Sharpen up your systems. Doing things as you’ve always done them no longer cuts the mustard unless the way you’re doing them is the best way. Seek improvements and economies wherever you can and listen to the people doing the jobs. Don’t forget that it’s often junior members of the team who come up with the brightest ideas.
- Sniff out ways to stand out from the crowd. In a crowded marketplace where margins are being squeezed and clients are demanding more and more and paying less and less, being different is a great way to get noticed. Think outside the box for ways you can attract and place great candidates and deliver quickly and efficiently to your clients. Word will soon get out that you’re the one to watch.
If you’d like to discuss ways that your recruitment business can become even more effective, more efficient and more profitable, then call Stuart or Marie on 0845 606 9632.