COVID-19 forces change in the recruitment sector

THE Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted many businesses and sectors, while others have required large recruitment campaigns to sustain their key work. With no clear end to the current situation in sight, Rob Webb, CEO of one of the UK’s biggest recruitment agencies, Smart Solutions, outlines the changes taking place in this key industry.

Working with a wide range of sectors across the UK and EU, we have seen a massive amount of change in the past few months that will more than likely have a lasting effect on the recruitment industry for many years to come.

Due to the uncertainty that will follow in the permanent market, there is likely to be an enhancement in the temporary labour market. We have already seen areas such as food retail, waste and recycling, and logistics, launching urgent recruitment campaigns for temporary workers. Candidate attraction will be more important than ever as there will be a greater increase in demand from our clients to ensure we attract the right people for the job.

What is clear is that we are now entering the digital era for our industry. We have discovered that we can work remotely and still operate to the highest standard of our capabilities during the pandemic. Having the ability to work digitally and remotely offers us a lot more flexibility in everything we do even as we gradually return to a more normal way of working.

We ourselves have had to respond to the increase in issues created by the pandemic, implementing a series of measures to support both employers and employees.

By embracing technology to remain operational, we’ve identified this as a key area to invest in for the future. Our workforce management portal has experienced a surge in use as candidates and employers observe social distancing rules.

By introducing remote registrations, we’ve also been able to broaden our reach and candidate base, and identified this as a key shift in the industry in the months ahead. An area of the agency that has seen a positive response to these remote registrations is the driving division.

Remote registrations broaden our area and ability to manage drivers across the UK effectively, and are a very quick and reactive way to ensure we are fulfilling the requirements of our clients. Although it is very important for us to meet with candidates where possible, increasing digital processes and maximising remote registrations are practices that can be beneficial post pandemic.

This unprecedented pandemic has proven that the sector needs to adapt quickly to support its clients and candidates. At Smart Solutions, we have embraced innovative ideas and technology and this is certainly an area the sector should develop moving forward. As well as mitigating the spread of the virus, digital advances have allowed us to keep in touch with clients and reach more candidates than ever before.

The challenge will be to maintain these successful processes when we return to some form of normality and to improve them further to provide an even higher standard of service to our clients.

The recruitment sector will certainly need to remain flexible and ready to adapt to an ever-changing business landscape as it looks to the future.

Rob Webb
CEO Smart Solutions