The Recruitment Industry In 10 Years

Earlier today while browsing the @Intalex_com (Follow us!) twitter feed I came across an interesting cartoon posted by @andyheadworth (Follow him too!). The contents of which are self-explanatory, adapt or die! As a company who exists to help solve the most difficult hiring problems that employers face I asked my colleagues and myself a difficult question. What is the recruitment industry landscape going to look like in 10 years time? Here’s what we came up with:

Mergers, acquisitions and imminent closures:

Things are going to change and quiet rapidly for the industry as a whole, niche agencies will still have their place in the world but the larger agencies will begin to swallow up small agencies with unique abilities, processes, technology and even for their most talented staff in an attempt to gain a strategic foothold over their competitors. We’re not suggesting that this does not happen right now but it is certainly going to be on the increase.

Technology will become THE great differentiator:


The proposals and bids of the future have a technology and process centered focus. Recruitment agencies with large databases won’t matter; in fact they scarcely matter now with everyone flocking to social networks, which means the playing field has been levelled. What will matter are availability and automation. Recruitment technology will be designed to focus time saving and simplifying the filtering process. If technology can save a recruiter time, expand their existing reach and increase profitability the employers will look favourably upon the recruiters that are thinking at a more strategic level than those that adopt an old fashioned approach.

International mobility is becoming even more Important:

Fragmented growth and decline in global economies will directly impact how people move around the world. In Ireland in 2013 there was already the first small step towards easing visa restrictions on non-EU candidates with highly specialised skills. On the other side the candidates who are in demand know they are in demand. They will go to where the money is and when they get there they will demand an awful lot of it! The global interdependence will have some impact of closing the skills gap for companies who can are willing to recruit across borders that have historically been difficult for them but not every company will be able to enjoy this.

Permanent Positions will begin to decline:

Contract and Freelance work will become an ever-increasing norm. Currently 91% of the recruitment marketing globally is taken up by temporary and permanent recruitment. We expect to see a dramatic increase in contract recruitment as people generally want to take more control of their careers rather than put all their eggs in one basket, similarly companies require the same scalability and flexible workforces for seasonal or unforeseen declines or because of the completion of important projects Work/Life balance will become a major benefit to all employees: Flexible working hours, 3 day weeks, 6 hour work days, increased annual leave and working anywhere have already begun to show up in “fun” start-ups and with multinational tech companies.


The skills gap is going to get worse and governments across the globe to combat these problems. Governments cannot move fast enough to meet the needs and close the gap. The challenges are showing no sign of disappearing as a direct result of the widening gap. The opportunity that this presents for agencies is less frequent but much more high value placements if they take the time to adapt. Fundamentally, the success of agencies hinges on their ability to adapt to the constantly changing and difficult marketplace. The options are simple ones, adapt or die!

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