The first Brexit hurdle may have been negotiated late in 2017, but the feeling of uncertainty remains palpable and the challenges ahead in 2018 are going to be even greater. Significantly, can Britain negotiate a deep and comprehensive free-trade deal in a shrinking time frame, will there be a ‘special deal’ that allows banks to operate as normal if they lose their passporting rights, and what further impact will there be on London’s ability to attract the EU’s top financial talent?
Uncertainty has and will continue to impact recruitment, with the fallout felt by many companies, especially in the financial sector. But for leading search firms the mood has remained buoyant. Their clients are still hiring, but they are hiring with caution as well as consideration – and their Recruiting Partners are listening and adapting.
An ongoing skills shortage has been one of the biggest concerns in the industry – and one only amplified by Brexit and its impact on attracting new talent from overseas. But this has been seen as an opportunity by specialist agencies who have been able to adapt by working harder – offering expert knowledge and customised services to their clients – and by enabling themselves to recruit smarter.
Smarter almost always involves technology, and firms that are able to employ ‘big data’ capabilities are better positioned for growth. An extensive candidate database, coupled with the ability to search and identify potential talent with ‘upskills’, is innovative and helps to address the skills gap. Improved and wider use of social media, as well as advanced CRM systems, bring higher quality lead generation and pipeline management to the overall hiring process.
Getting to Know You
In uncertain times, Brexit or not, it’s even more important to focus on clients. What are their needs, how best can those needs be serviced, and what specialist knowledge can be offered? Being able to find solutions for clients that are losing their European talent, or to offer advice on the best ways to approach new hires into the UK, helps develop a long-term relationship built on trust and partnership.
It’s a theme we’ve returned to regularly, but hiring high-quality freelance/flexible talent could play a key role in the post-Brexit environment. In an uncertain world, hiring a full complement of permanent staff might be a stretch – so recruiters that provide access to this ‘temporary talent pool’ offer their clients a quality solution while a more permanent position is being sought.
Regardless of how Brexit unfolds, leading recruiters are working harder and smarter for their clients and are likely to maintain their current, bullish momentum, even in this challenging environment. There is more pressure and difficulty to find and retain highly skilled talent, but those agencies who commit to technology, to working more closely with their clients and to offering flexible and innovative solutions, will prevail – even in these uncertain times.