A Changing Recruitment Landscape

Megan Rowe
April 20 2022
Many of our latest blog posts have focused on unsettling and unpredicted recent events: a global pandemic, the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union and now the conflict in Ukraine, all which have indubitably rocked the recruitment landscape. But have these events changed the market irreversibly?
Firstly, Brexit. We’ve discussed it before, but it’s the sort of topic that (sadly) isn’t going away anytime soon, and now that we’re beginning to notice the effects of it, the focus has turned to what this will mean for cross-border workers in the UK. Cross-border workers are people working in one country but living in another, a concept that free movement allowed to blossom in the UK, facilitated by cheap travel. The question many companies are now asking is how to continue to hire top talent and promote a diverse, united workforce with this new change in border requirements.
The legal industry are a prime example of a sector successfully navigating this new terrain. Having previously relied on cross-border workers, France confirmed that UK firms with branches in Paris could continue operating and declared that ‘lawyers registered as foreign legal consultants in France may practise under home title and advise clients on home-country law and public international law’. However, a major factor in making the transition easier, for both France and many other European countries, has undoubtedly been the post-pandemic flexibility of remote working.
The UK have often looked to other European countries in the past for hiring top talent across a myriad of industries – from legal, to finance and tech. In order to maintain such a talented and diverse team post-Brexit, UK companies are increasingly looking at hiring a remote workforce and, with hybrid and remote working becoming the post-pandemic norm, companies feel comfortable relying on zoom calls to bridge that distance.
Such a situation does, however, bring its own unique challenges. Working from home was straightforward when it was with the same team that you had previously worked alongside in the office, who knew the names of your kids, which evening you had football training and your favourite Italian to go to on a Saturday night, meaning you already had that sense of familiarity. Hiring new employees having only met them over a zoom interview and conducting business activities through Microsoft Teams meetings, strips companies of that same sense of community. Ways to bridge this could be by being more culturally aware – perhaps some members of the company might want to try learning their new colleague’s language, or brushing up on their geography knowledge to gain a bit of insight into the town they are living in. In addition, regular team nights are a great way to keep up company morale. Zoom quizzes and online escape rooms were a big trend during the height of the pandemic, but if your workforce is remaining remote then you have to ensure that you’re maintaining a strong company culture, strengthened by regular team nights out (or in!)
Another way of making the post-Brexit borders policy work is through utilizing rotations and short-term placements. The UK has a fixed limit of 180 days that can be spent in the UK in a given tax year. Some companies are using this to their advantage, with secondments, team rotations and contracts becoming much more commonplace, and the flexibility of said strategies being particularly attractive to employers wishing to constantly hire and keep track of the top talent in their industry.
However, it’s not just Brexit that’s shaken the world of recruitment. In recent weeks, major UK businesses have been lining up to offer employment to Ukrainian refugees upon their arrival in the UK. Among the 45 large businesses putting pressure on our government to make the move from Ukraine to the UK easier for refugees are Marks & Spencer, Asos and recruitment agency Robert Walters. This desire to hire Ukrainian workers is primarily a result of labour shortages due to previously mentioned factors: Covid and Brexit. British entrepreneur Emma Sinclair, chief exec of Enterprise Alumni, who is leading this initiative, stated that the idea was ‘purely altruistic’ and born out of a genuine desire to help, with the various businesses involved, in particular the recruitment agencies, having ‘thousands of jobs to fill every day of the week’ (we sympathise!) Asos have advertised their desire to hire within the tech industry, stating that they ‘know Ukraine has a strong skill set in this area’ and that they are not only looking to recruit for their UK distribution centres, but elsewhere in Europe too, particularly Poland, where the business already has a largely Ukrainian workforce.
We previously wrote a blog on Recruitment Marketing Automation, which uses a combination of artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analysis and machine learning to align sales and marketing strategies in one place and free up time. With the evolving recruitment landscape, recruiters are having to start looking at other forms of Recruitment CRM software, which will allow agencies to manage remote working recruitment globally, taking into account issues such as differences in time-zones and currency. With the consortium of UK-based companies hoping to employ Ukrainian refugees, recruitment database software must be able to work out equivalent qualifications and gain an understanding of language capacities in order to support this new way of recruiting.
Recruitment has always been about connecting with people and being creative in the way that we do it. These recent challenges, Brexit, Covid and the conflict in Ukraine, have forced us to engage with our creativity and think outside of the box more than ever. But this should be rewarding for us too. We’re helping people in need find jobs, we’re allowing companies to diversify and continue to hire top talent despite such unprecedented circumstances. I think that more than ever this year will be a rewarding one, perhaps not in the traditional recruitment sense of exceeding targets and gaining bonuses – but in terms of feeling like we’re actually helping and making a difference. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what being a recruiter is all about?




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