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The COVID-19 outbreak has undeniably changed the UK recruitment sector. But how much of this upheaval is long-term? And what can recruiters do to survive?

We take a look at the changes on the horizon for UK recruitment and how we need to adapt.

What’s the Situation for UK Recruitment Now?

Official figures don’t yet reflect the effect of coronavirus on employment numbers, which remain stable so far. However, the number of workers claiming unemployment benefits has rocketed to an all-time high, predicting a major upswing in unemployment over the next year or so.

As a result, UK recruitment has seen its biggest decline since the 2009 economic crash. Projections are hopeful of a 2021 recovery as we gain a better understanding of the virus – and as companies become better adapted to new ways of hiring. But some recruitment sectors are being hit harder than others.

While jobs in hospitality and recruitment suffer, workers in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences are in more demand than ever. Roles that can be carried out remotely, like software and marketing jobs, are also less likely to be affected.

So what can we do to ride the wave and help our candidates through this difficult time?

UK Recruitment: The New Normal

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

Embracing Technology

We’re particularly excited by how the recruitment industry has embraced technology over lockdown. Social distancing means face-to-face meetings and interviews might be off the cards for a while. But innovative software like Zoom gives us a way to connect in safety.

As distancing regulations look set to continue, UK recruiters must find a way to make technology part of our new normal recruitment process – or risk getting left behind.

A Move Towards Flexible Working

While lockdown has been difficult at times, it’s also had the unintended side-effect of championing flexible working. Companies have been 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 coming round to offering flexible working. More candidates are requiring it too, as they balance work-life with home-schooling or a need to self-shield.

This has the potential to open 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 have made headlines. As a result, many people have turned away from corporations and towards a more community-based way of thinking.

In UK recruitment, we 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 job-seekers navigating difficult changes.

Future candidates will need help adjusting to a new way of recruiting. If their industry is suffering, they might even 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.