The challenges of 2019 will lead to transformation for recruiters in 2020

Whilst we look ahead to 2020, it’s important to look back over the past year to understand what’s in store for the recruitment industry in the next decade.


Happy New Year to you all! Whilst we look ahead to 2020, it’s important to look back over the past year to understand what’s in store for the recruitment industry in the next decade. The challenges faced last year haven’t disappeared overnight but they will drive change, and therefore opportunities, in the year and years to come. We’ve picked the top three challenges we saw our clients face last year, and some advice for the next year.

Skills shortage narrowed the talent pool

Even if the skills shortage hasn’t affected your specialist areas before, the gap widened considerably in the past year with the ever-increasing technology advances. We saw this for internal recruitment as well as your candidate pools, and it’s something that won’t be possible to put on the back-burner in 2020.

We recommend that ensuring you, as a recruitment business leader, understand where your focus lies. What kind of recruiter do you want to be going forwards? Being an industry specialist, keeping abreast of technological changes, and investing in your team’s learning as well as your own will be the way to face this challenge going forwards.

And the talent was more transient than ever

Not only did the skill shortage reduce the talent pool, but the right candidates were harder to pin down too. Not only do you need to demonstrate what the end client can offer, but also what you and your recruitment firm can, because the frequency of moves has grown whilst candidates look for a business culture, purpose, and values that fit with their own.

Although it can be difficult to quantify, the culture within your business – and in turn, in your client’s businesses – will produce a set of values and behaviours. Understanding these and the firm’s cultural and commercial vision will help employee and candidate engagement.  For 2020, look at ways in which you can review this internally, and externally with clients, to get the micro and macro views you need to establish future relationships.  

Doing it all is so last decade

Last year, the biggest challenge we found was how involved recruitment business leaders are in every aspect of their business. The pressure and stress of being responsible for operations, strategy, back-office, support and culture can take its toll and it’s a hard habit to crack….especially if you don’t like to hand over control!

As the business grows it will be impossible to control every aspect of the business and that’s where a business owner will need to start to shift their mindset from business founder to a business manager and beyond otherwise pure disillusionment could be on the horizon.

This year, take the time to shift your mindset towards future proofing your business. By building systems and foundations, the pressure will ease, allowing you more time for strategic planning. Consider engaging outside support, such as a mentor, coach or business advisor, who can help you through this transition. We’re changing the way we do things too, and you’ll start to hear more about how we can support you by providing more hands-on guidance and tools to navigate your business evolutionary journey.

Time to turn to the experts?

In our annual Recruitment Outlook (launching at the Recruitment Agency Expo!) we talk about how 2020 will be the year of transformation. To make the most of it, you’ll need to be flexible whilst also building a strong foundation. Keep this at heart throughout the decisions you make.

We’ll be on stand C3 at the Recruitment Agency Expo, 4-5 February, if you’d like to talk to us in person about your 2020 vision, and find out how we can support your transition. As always, if you’d like to talk in the meantime, please contact Marie Pegram on 01462 687333 or by email

UHY Hacker Young are recruitment sector specialists and provide expert advice on accounting, finance, taxation and business growth. We understand recruitment and can support you through the ever-changing landscape of this fast-paced industry.

Was this helpful?
share this
Sign up to receive our recruitment sector outlook
Includes hot topics, guest contributors & legislative updates
  • "*" indicates required fields

    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Contact us to get started

    Give us a call
    0845 606 9632
    Send us an email
    Stay Informed
    Sign up to receive the latest industry updates, events and publications.