The recruitment industry is seeing a seismic shift brought about by technology. And the tech that may once have sent shivers down the spine of any self-respecting recruiter is now being embraced enthusiastically as a fantastic opportunity for business growth.
This is particularly true among small to medium businesses, where technology provides a huge growth catalyst. Software as a service (SaaS) models like Netflix and Spotify are changing our leisure habits, and Workfast, the Uber-like on demand recruitment platform, drives the message on how technology is starting to shape the future of recruitment.
The way technology services are paid for is also impacting the business environment. Simple pay-as-you-go or subscription models like those used by accounting software Xero and the graphic design package Canva, which require no upfront capex, are stripping away entry barriers and allowing businesses of all sizes to compete using the same technology.
This is what makes the SaaS model so attractive - the low capital investment needed upfront, the peace of mind brought about by its compliance and security being handled by the provider, and the short contract tie-ins, allowing a straightforward exit if required. All this means that agencies of all sizes can access a risk-free technology platform that flexes to accommodate business growth and delivers the innovation needed to respond to the rapidly changing recruitment sector.
This is a climate in which the SME can flourish alongside the big players, by carving out its niche, seeking investment and opting for the right technology that suits its business.
Invest in the right technology
New subscription-based software models have transformed the sector, making enterprise level technology accessible to recruitment businesses of all sizes. Where investing in the right technology to support a business used to fall within the grasp only of big budgets, SaaS models make constantly updated, future-proof new tech available to everyone.
Services such as RPO and end-to-end solutions are now up for grabs by small businesses who are agile enough to take advantage of the opportunities SaaS models can offer.
Don’t rule out external investment
In an economy where interest rates are low, investors are actively seeking ways to generate better returns from their investment. Recruitment entrepreneurs who think globally and look beyond their domestic market will find strong opportunities for growth - especially from international investors looking for a strong proposition.
Combine this with a climate where small recruitment businesses can take advantage of the opportunity brought by the universal skills shortage, and the potential for acquisitive growth through investment is clear.
Tap into the overseas market
Small organisations looking to grow need to think globally. There are huge opportunities for overseas investment, especially in our post-Brexit climate, as the UK government is looking to establish stronger trading links with Asia.
With the UK’s recruitment sector generally acknowledged as a trailblazer in the sector, exporting your successful business model overseas is a powerful way to boost rapid growth. There’s no reason why an SME can’t be as successful as a larger organisation - in fact the SME’s agility and flexibility to adapt to change may be a strength here.
Speed to market is a critical success factor in the export marketplace, which is why a software as a service web platform can get a new website up and running quickly to start earning its money and generate return on investment.
Use insights for talent pipelining
Where a small recruitment business has seized thought leadership in its particular niche, it has also seized the clear opportunity to act as a business consultant in terms of talent management to clients.
In a climate where, according to a REC JobsOutlook report from March 2018 featured in Recruitment Buzz, one third of employers think economic conditions will get worse, the idea that data-led insights can be used to predict candidate behaviour and future trends, and so offer consultancy services for businesses to build a talent pipeline, has turned recruitment databases into goldmines (yes, even in the brave new world of the GDPR).
Data can be used to source and place candidates with increased accuracy, and the skills shortage is making this new discipline essential. Using the right data, consistently reported, to anticipate the next wave of hires and populate the talent pipeline before the need becomes real will allow recruiters to offer true added-value consultancy.
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