By James Nicholson-Smith

This is a sector whose decimation has gone pretty unnoticed by the media. It is estimated that 120,000 people were employed by the recruitment sector in 2007/8. Since mid 2008 circa 48000 jobs are estimated to have disappeared. Few sectors have been immune although healthcare, public sector and education are a some bright spots.

The industry has been turned on its head recently: over the last 10 years recruiters have chased candidates to fill the job places that have fallen in their laps. Almost overnight, the placements dried up and recruitment companies are awash with candidates looking for work. Successful recruitment companies will already be the “right size” others will still be denying that the market is tough.

Recruitment Companies now need to be more professional sales companies than ever before and they have to back it up with excellent delivery of candidate.

Phil Holt, recruitment specialist at The FD Centre explains “these businesses need to have excellent forecasting to enable them to plan the survival of their businesses. The old conversion metrics for enquiry to qualified to converted placement are useless and recruiters are finding themselves working harder than they have ever thought possible.

Businesses need to focus on niche sectors where they can specialise and deliver a premium service – and then drive down the processing costs of identifying the right candidates for the vacancies they have. Collecting cash is critical and recruiters need to look closely at their terms and conditions to ensure that they have the right contractual position to collect their debts.

“Customers are becoming very creative with the way they ask for discounts from recruiters and this is leaving junior consultants unprepared for the harsher negotiating environment.[/i]

James Nicholson-Smith is Business Development Director at The FD Centre Limited, the longest established and fastest growing provider of part-time Financial Directors. The FD Centre has also recently merged with FDUK to create the largest team of part-time FD’s in the UK – To find out more visit www.thefdcentre.co.uk

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