New Urgency in UK Hiring: Demand for Recruiters Up 3x – 5x

New Urgency in UK Hiring: Demand for Recruiters Up 3x – 5x

As a region, the United Kingdom is reeling from the need to hire. Almost nine in 10 managers (89%) said their business currently has vacancies and more than half (55%) said finding new staff is harder now than before the pandemic hit, according to Bloomberg.  U.K. businesses have seen rising numbers of employee resignations during 2021, and many employers are preparing for more resignations as the hiring crunch continues in 2022.

Open Recruiter Positions: >12,000

This urgency for talent is exacerbated by a huge increase in the number of open positions for recruiters themselves. According to a new study by Textkernel, there was a significant rise in job listings for these roles both in corporate/direct hire positions as well as in staffing and recruitment agencies. 

At the close of the third quarter, there was a total of 12,100 recruiting positions open across the UK. Staffing and recruitment agencies saw the majority of those positions, with 6,500 posted jobs. Direct hires accounted for 5,600 recruiter openings.

These numbers represent enormous growth.

Where the Gaps Are

Most of the top industries across the UK have more openings for recruiters than they have applicants. The top five industries, however, that have the most positions open are:

The industries with fewer than 100 open recruiting positions were utilities, Pharmacy/Chemicals, Facility/Cleaning, Agriculture/Fishing, and Administration/Call Centers (where only 9 positions were listed). 

As of November 2021, 8% of open positions for recruiters came from these 10 organisations:

OrganisationCategoryJobs
NHSHealthcare / Welfare510 
Amazon.com, IncTrade / Retail112 
Womble Bond DickinsonBusiness services  96 
ButlinsTrade / Retail  47 
Voyage CareHealthcare / Welfare  47 
PwCBusiness services  44 
Devoteam S.AIT  38 
The Gap, Inc.Trade / Retail  38 
Citigroup Inc.Finance / Insurance  33 

Staffing and recruitment agencies’ top 10 companies had 22% of all the open recruiter positions. Those companies were as follows:

Regional Insights

By the numbers, the larger the employment base of a region, the stronger the need for recruiters. To illustrate: more than 1/4 of all recruiter jobs are found in the greater London area. Of the top 10 highest numbers, 9 regions were in England and just one in Scotland, although Edinburgh is number 11 and not far behind Glasgow. 

RegionDirect EmployersAgencies
Greater London3,4003,800
Manchester650900
West Midlands425725
City and Borough of Leeds300500
Hertfordshire250330
Surrey200280
Hampshire150270
Sheffield140240
Kent125240
Glasgow City160200

Transferrable Skills? 

With this kind of recruiter demand, now may be an opportune time for professionals in other roles to retrain and take on new positions in recruiting. To this end, an analysis of the skills that employers are searching for is in called for.

Textkernel’s analysis of both professional and soft skills included in job descriptions lead us to consider which careers may be a good jumping point. Our interpretation of the data indicates that people with experience in sales, communications, consulting, and customer service may be strong candidates. Consider the following skills that appear in each respective percentage of skill requirement:

Professional SkillDirect Employer/CorporateStaffing/Recruitment Agency
Stakeholder Management28%21%
Administrative Operations20%22%
Social Media23%18%
Sales16%17%
Candidate Experience22%12%
Customer Service14%13%
Human Resources14%11%
Coaching and Mentoring15%10%
Innovation16%9%
Consulting13%9%

Staffing firms and direct hires have more emphasis on different skill sets. For example, candidate experience is more important for direct employers than at staffing firms, as are skills such as innovation, coaching, and mentoring. Yet we’ve also seen that, across the board, data skills are in high demand although seldom included in job descriptions.

High Demand, Across the Board and the Pond

Demand for recruiters is happening at scale, across industries, and around the world, according to LinkedIn. In fact, job postings for recruiters on LinkedIn have steadily increased since the beginning of the year and have surpassed pre-pandemic levels – in the UK and the US. 

The post-pandemic growth percentages are quite different in the US. While direct employers have doubled the number of recruiter job listings over a three-year period in the States, the UK’s corporate recruiter listings are 3x those at pre-pandemic levels. Similarly, US agencies doubled the number of open recruiter positions, but in the UK the number topped 500%. 

The striking difference is in the sheer numbers of jobs available for recruiters:

USUK
Direct Hire/Corporate5,600206,000
Staffing/Recruiting Agencies6,500171,000

Location no longer is the driver. Whether the organization is in the US or the UK, in Maine or Massachusetts, Textkernel will be watching and reporting on trends in the industry.

Recruiting Recruiters: Looking Forward

There is currently no indication that the tight labor market will loosen up significantly in 2022. Certain economic pressures, such as from the expected rise in interest rates, may dampen some growth, yet job expansion will be offset by continued baby boomer retirement, upskilling needs, and global competition.

Staffing firms and direct employers alike will be using the restricted pool of applicants more intensively. Applicants that have applied for one specific job, for example, could also be matched on other open jobs at the same organization. Some large corporations and staffing agencies find that the numbers alone require greater process automation. 

Remote workers may help the savvy company fill its open positions. But equally important will be the need to focus more on retaining existing staff and identifying internal candidates more frequently. Additionally, greater attention will need to be paid to those who have been recruited, assuring their commitment with pre-onboarding and regular communication.

AI can help HR with all of these recruiting needs.  If your organization could use greater intelligence, whether it’s market insights or artificial intelligence, Textkernel is ready to help you see your success rates soar. Schedule a demo. We’d be pleased to share more details about our technology, how our Jobfeed tool helps you gather the real-time job market data, deliver great talent acquisition and management solutions.

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