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Search Consultants, Recruitment, and the Next Recession

by | Jun 10, 2019 | Top Echelon Blog

Recruiters and search consultants don’t like to talk about the next recession. Heck, they barely like talking about the last recession. However, recessions are inevitable. It’s not a matter of if, it’s simply a matter of when.

There are many facets to the issue of recruitment and recession. After all, the state of the economy and the state of the recruiting profession go hand-in-hand. During recessionary times, employers aren’t as likely to hire. As a result, they’re less likely to use recruiters in those rare instances when they do want to hire. The end result: far fewer job orders, and in some unfortunate instances, no job orders.

So some of the many facets regarding recruitment and recession include:

  • The impact that a recession has on the recruitment industry
  • How recruiters and search consultants prepare for a recession
  • What recruiters and search consultants do to survive a recession
  • What recruiters and search consultants think about the possibility of a recession

We at Top Echelon have the answers to some of these questions (even if we didn’t exactly pose them as questions). That’s because we recently conducted a survey of more than 20,000 recruitment professionals in the United States and Canada. We designed this survey to gauge the professionals’ opinions regarding a wide range of recruiting and hiring topics. And, as you might have already guessed, one of the topics was that of the possibility of a recession. (Well, more like the probability of one.)

Recruitment recession question

We asked many questions in our survey. One of those questions was as follows:

Do you believe there will be a recession in 2019?

It might not surprise you to know that the vast majority of recruiters were optimistic in answering this question. That’s because 71.1% of them selected “No” as their answer. And with a bit of math, we can deduce that 28.9% chose “Yes.”

This question was part of our 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Survey. We turned the results of that survey into Top Echelon’s 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report. (Makes sense, right?) This is the fourth year in a row that we’ve conducted a survey and published a report based on that survey. The corresponding percentage of recruiters who have been of the opinion that a recession was NOT going to happen in that particular year has increased during each of the past four years. You can see these percentages below:

  • 2015—53.0%
  • 2016—62.3%
  • 2017—66.8%
  • 2018—71.1%

But back to this year for a moment. Based on the results of our most recent survey, only three in 10 recruiters believe there will be a recession in 2019. And regardless of which side of the spectrum our survey participants landed, they had plenty of opinions regarding the possibility of a recession . . . and they had no qualms sharing those opinions. Perhaps to the surprise of no one, many of these opinions were politically charged. In fact, they were so politically charged that we were not able to publish them with our report. And we’re not going to publish them here, either . . . in case you were wondering. Suffice it to say, recruiters on both sides of the political aisle were not shy about sharing their views.

And those views stemmed from a wide range of perspectives, as you can plainly see:

“Likely the start of a recession either this year or next. Increasing interest rates will slow down the Stock Market, and we’ll likely start to see some fallout for investors with highly-leveraged positions. In addition, uncertainty from the current administrations in the U.S and U.K. will also spook investors towards less ‘exciting’ opportunities. I believe we’ll see issues arise with personal debt (home and student loans in particular) again, as well.”

“I’ve been through several, and if there is [one], so be it. Nothing we are going to do or not do has any affect. Honestly, our industry could use a good bottom-feeder cleaning.”

“I don’t have the educational training to provide an answer. Any response by me would be meaningless speculation.”

In pouring through the comments provided in our survey, it’s interesting to note that some of those recruiters who indicated that there will not be a recession this year also think there will most likely be one in 2020. (It will be interesting to see if they change their mind in next year’s Top Echelon State of the Industry Report Survey.)

And here’s something else interesting to note. Increasingly more recruiters since 2015 have been of the opinion that a recession would not happen in that particular year, even though we have been technically moving closer to a recession every year since 2015. Now that is certainly a huge slab of irony.

State of the Recruiting Industry Report

Search consultants’ top recruitment priorities for 2019 are just one part of Top Echelon’s 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report. This special report contains much more, including the following:

  • How recruiters are marketing their services
  • The best methods for advertising jobs on the Internet
  • Recruiters’ biggest problems with clients
  • The top complaints clients have about candidates
  • Recruiters’ biggest problems with candidates
  • Where to advertise your jobs to reach the most candidates
  • What recruiters think about the future of the profession

Download the 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report!

And don’t forget, Top Echelon also offers one of the most affordable recruiting software packages on the market. The price is just $59.50 per user per month under the annual plan. Click here for a FREE 15-day trial of the software.

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