Blog post by Steven Street, Group Managing Director

The backstory to this piece….. 

The UK created 750,000 jobs in 2015 – of which only 60% roles were filled.

In the last two years, employers are reporting an increase in areas of ‘skill deficit’ from 30 skill types to 73

Is it time to re-think how we present our businesses to ever more discerning candidates and embrace new technologies to help accelerate positive change?  Surely the data suggests a resounding ‘YES!’

It’s fair to say that the UK recruitment industry remains something of a mixed bag – comprising an eclectic blend of global players, pan European and established national companies, SME’s and micro/niche protagonists and one man bands – that said; all contributing circa £31bn to the economy (and rising).

The top five represent a huge chunk of the total revenues and volumes – thereafter we have a long tail of ‘everyone else’ – in fact, recruitment is one of the most fragmented sectors in the UK service economy.  The winds of change are blowing – BREXIT or bust?

We believe the market is now demanding and driving dramatic change.  Wheeling out the old PESTEL analysis ( – it’s clear that there is significant and in some cases, transformational change well under way under each principle – let’s take BREXIT as an obvious political hot potato.
Unless a recruiter is operating at the bottom of the market, the expectations of both the client and candidate has risen inexorably – as they are becoming increasingly more discerning and recognise the importance of adopting a more strategic approach to talent management (engagement, acquisition, development and retention) to drive their performance and agility).

The very best candidates KNOW and VALUE their worth and look to a recruiter to secure them the very best gig – employers, take their ambitions seriously and understand the corollary of success and having great people. Unless you can deliver this – contingency, whether you like it or not – will inevitably be your so-called, space.  Sure, there’ll always be a place for the smash and grab, transactional style of recruitment – but a business model that overly depends on – speed, luck, price and pester power – surely must have its days numbered – and anyway, where is the fulfillment and dignity in that?

It might be argued, that the real and enduring value resides with individuals and businesses that value their brand, culture, reputation, competitiveness and sustainability.

Consequently, these high expectation but high value businesses are now looking for a more integrated, strategically aligned, modernised – and ultimately consultative approach to ensuring that they have the horsepower, bandwidth and creativity to compete for and keep the very best of the skills, knowledge and potential that the market has to offer.

Let’s face it: over the life of most strategic business plans – a thriving business will occasionally need to address some, or perhaps all, of the following realities:

  1.  A need for more people and different skills as it grows and changes (sure, it’d be great to take everyone on the so called journey – but let’s face it – not everyone is qualified to come or indeed sees the future as the employer might see it).
  2. All the data tells us that employee loyalty is diminishing – people leave businesses everyday – this is no longer a stigma. As the CEO of the CIPD puts it; we no longer expect (nor aspire) to a job for life – the new reality is a life of jobs).
  3. Every business has its under-performers. We’re talking here about people who are happily collecting 100% of salary and benefits – but have found somewhere nice and warm to hide and fact is, they’re not making anything like the contribution expected, needed and of course invested in – how does it make you feel to know that there might be people in the business stealing a living?
  4. Business owners/directors have a duty to ‘engineer up’ the capabilities and competitiveness of the business. Finding and introducing new/better talent pro-actively is the key to competitiveness and sustainability.

 The ‘ we’re not recruiting’ mantra of the past – is the clearest indication possible that a business is simply crossing its fingers and hoping, in denial about the realities of the new market and actively and willfully losing out on opportunities to improve competitiveness (to its competitiors of course).

  1. We have an aging workforce – businesses are reporting labour profiles reflecting this – more people at or near retirement and even more employees at the top end of the age range within the life of their business plan timeframes.

  2. Businesses need to raise their profile – build a relationship with existing and emerging talent in the marketplace – check Cisco out who are tearing up the rulebook on strategic talent management.

 When the map and terrain are different – only a fool continues to consult an obsolete map.

We believe that it’s key to take a more consultative approach to what we do as recruiters – recognising that change is inevitable and that truly effective talent management factors in and has an effective strategy to manage the inevitability of change and uncertainty.

Regardless of the statutory or regulatory landscape permits – given the quantum’s of the macros and individual transactions, the brands and reputations we become ambassadors for, the risk we manage and the opportunities we enable – there’s every reason why recruiters should work to align themselves with professions that are held in the highest regard – the more esteemed end of professional services and vocational careers.

 Skills now – skills for the Future

In our own business – we’ve evolved to develop our own talent sustainability with theFuture Skills Academy – specialising in bespoke apprentice, workforce development, education and emerging talent management.

Within Innov8 Talent Management – we have embraced technology both at the front and back end; leveraging the power of i-intro® a multi platform, multi-stakeholder, real-time integrated recruitment innovation.

Leveraging our power and ideas

Of course this piece is only an opinion – just one view of the world. But we’ve come a long way in a short time – and this is only the beginning of what we’re planning in our own efforts to remain relevant, competitive and growing.

We’re nor precious about our ideas and always open to exploring opportunities with other, likeminded people and businesses.

If you’d like to be part of our peer to peer innovations sessions and community – please get in touch and let’s see what we can achieve when we harness the power of the best ideas from the best minds.

Thanks for reading – hopefully some shared opinion, views and commitment to making our great industry even better.

Steven Street – Managing Director