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The COVID-19 outbreak undeniably changed the UK recruitment sector. But how much of the upheaval was long-term? And what did / can recruiters do to continue to survive?

We take a look at the changes that impacted UK recruitment and how we need to continue to adapt.

What was the Situation for UK Recruitment then?

During the worse of COVID-19 official figures showed the number of workers claiming unemployment benefits rocketed to an all-time high, predicting a major upswing in unemployment over the coming years.

As a result, UK recruitment saw its biggest decline since the 2009 economic crash. Some recruitment sectors were hit harder than others, with jobs in hospitality and recruitment suffering, however workers in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences were in more demand than ever. Roles that could be carried out remotely, like software and marketing jobs, were also less likely affected.

Figures from March 2022 showed:

  • Nov 2021 to Jan 2022 saw a quarterly increase in the employment rate and a decrease in unemployment
  • The UK employment rate increased by 0.1% on the quarter to 75.6% with the unemployment rate decreasing by 0.2% on the quarter to 3.9%
  • From Dec 2021 to Feb 2022 job vacancies rose to a new record of 1,318,00

So, what can we do to continue to ride the recovery back to stabilisation post COVID-19 and help our candidates & clients through this difficult time?

UK Recruitment: The New Normal

We’ve faced a lot of change, but not all change was negative. Here are some of the crucial adaptations we think UK recruiters need to continue to make to survive – and some ways we can bring about positive changes.

Embracing Technology

We’re particularly excited by how the recruitment industry embraced technology over lockdown. Social distancing meant face-to-face meetings and interviews were off the cards for a while. But innovative software like Zoom / Teams gave us all a way to connect in safety and long may that continue.

As distancing regulations ceased, UK recruiters look set to continue to embrace technology as part of the new normal recruitment process – or risk getting left behind.

A Move Towards Flexible Working

While lockdown was difficult at times, it’s also had the unintended side-effect of championing flexible working. Companies were forced into flexible working arrangements with their employees, and many have been pleasantly surprised.

Remote workers are proven to be more productive and hard-working compared to in-office employees. As a result, more businesses are continuing to offer flexible working and are encouraged not to resort back to 5 days a week in the office.

The continued benefit to recruiters being, that it opens up recruitment in a national, or even global way. If location is no longer a concern in hiring, recruiters can capitalise on this huge opportunity to expand our reach.

Community Thinking and The New Candidate-Recruiter Relationship

The coronavirus outbreak put UK business under the spotlight. Mass redundancies and poor employment practices made headlines. As a result, many people turned away from corporations and towards a more community-based way of thinking.

In UK recruitment, we continue to predict a similar retreat from large, faceless recruiters. Boutique UK recruiters are more able to offer a personal touch. Rather than spread ourselves thin over several industries and hundreds of candidates, we can offer a new level of support for jobseekers navigating difficult changes.

Future candidates will still need help adjusting to an ever changing new way of recruiting. If their industry suffers, they might need help changing career entirely. Larger recruitment companies are unlikely to be able to offer the level of tact and care required.

Here at DB Charles, we pride ourselves on this personal touch. We are ready and equipped to assist both our clients and our candidates through difficult times and big changes. For more information on how we can help you, please do get in touch today.