If you’re a newbie recruitment consultant, you’ve probably done fairly well since the pandemic as companies have scrabbled to fill their skills gaps. However, that is all about to change as we head into economic uncertainty. But when a lot of what we hear is all just attention-grabbing headlines, it can be hard to decipher what we really want to know: How might a recession affect the recruitment sector? As a recruitment company that has survived three recessions, we’re here to share a few ways a recession might surprise recruitment consultants.
How a Recession May Take Recruitment Consultants by Surprise
As recruitment consultants, we’re often told that staying abreast of the news will help us in our jobs, but sometimes it helps not to pay too much attention to it. In challenging economic times, newspapers will take great delight in crafting headlines that will keep us all awake at night. However, what happens during a recession is not all bad for everybody. If you’re a recruitment consultant, below are five ways a recession might surprise you.
Times may not be as tough as you think for you.
In the great recession of 2008, 3.7 million people lost their jobs. Based on that fact, we might assume that a recession would be horrendous for recruitment agencies and job seekers alike.
While it is unfortunate that many people will lose their jobs, they will also need to find new ones. For recruitment agencies, that can be good for business as their phones will likely be ringing off the hook. Although agencies may not make as many placements, they will still need staff to answer the phones. If you think you’re busy now, just how busy a recruitment agency can get might be one of the ways a recession might surprise recruitment consultants!
You probably won’t lose your job.
During the recession following the financial crisis, one in seven UK workers lost their jobs. While that is bad news for every one out of seven workers to be in, six of their friends or family’s jobs were safe.
The difference between those losing their jobs and those keeping them will likely come down to how valuable they are to the business. It could be that their job role is no longer necessary for the business to function, in which case that job will go. However, if the individual is a valuable asset to the company, the organisation will likely try to retain them.
Therefore, the key to job security in difficult economic times is ensuring you are one of the valuable employees the company wants to keep.
How safe a recruitment consultant’s job is depends on the company they work for and the sector they serve. With the world around them making redundancies, you might think recruitment agencies would follow suit. However, agency owners realise that quality recruitment consultants are extremely hard to come by. So while there may be short-term savings to be made in laying recruiters off, it causes more of a headache long-term when the economy picks up again.
Not all recruitment sectors will suffer equally.
Recessions cause companies to focus on saving money wherever they can, which can include job cutting. However, it’s a bit of a generalisation to say that every company and industry will be equally as hard hit.
As we’ve already touched on in a previous article, some sectors of the economy will thrive in a recession. So if you are one of the few recruitment consultants who are unfortunate enough to lose their jobs, it might be worth broadening your job search to include other sectors.
If you’re a hospitality, automotive or retail recruitment consultant, your future may look a little uncertain. It might be worth making a preemptive move to another recruitment sector to avoid completely finding yourself out of work.
Other sectors you might want to consider looking at include public services such as healthcare and teaching. Fortunately for our business, the IT and digital sectors are still short of qualified professionals, so we are always looking for talented recruitment consultants to join our team.
The toughest period for recruitment consultants is yet to come.
As soon as we hear newsreaders discussing a recession, we instantly think companies will be making mass redundancies. Indeed, some large tech firms have already started making job cuts. Although, one of those companies controversially backtracked on its decision almost immediately.
However, one of the ways a recession might surprise recruitment consultants is that you won’t feel how bad it is until the economy begins to recover. An interesting article from Investopedia describes how the cycle of a recession progresses and how unemployment only peaks once we enter recovery.
People will start to look up to you.
For years people have seen recruitment consultants as a nuisance on the end of the phone that they can’t wait to get rid of. Now that finding a job has become harder, all of a sudden, job seekers will realise how valuable your skills are. One of the nicest ways a recession might surprise recruitment consultants is that people will start to look up to you and respect what you do.
It’s not just job seekers who will realise your value either. As the market becomes flooded with a surplus of unemployed and unqualified candidates, hiring managers will begin to realise how much they need recruitment consultants.
A Few Final Words on Ways a Recession Might Surprise Recruitment Consultants
We don’t need to tell a recruitment consultant that no two days in this industry are ever the same, and most are pretty challenging. So there may be no ways a recession might surprise recruitment consultants.
However, if you worry about the sector you work in or the recruitment firm you work for, don’t be too quick to write off the entire industry. Some sectors and agencies that serve them will fare better than others in difficult times. So if you’re a good consultant and find yourself out of a job, another recruitment company will certainly appreciate your skills.