The evolution of the recruitment industry. How remote working is the way forward for Agency Recruiters

The 80’s was probably the heyday for agency recruitment consultants as economies boomed and growth hungry clients swallowed up teams of people from savvy recruiters. Ferrari’s and Porsches were not uncommon in the car parks of recruitment firms across the world.

The 90’s saw the recruitment industry develop into a recognised industry, and with it came the expansion of some of the largest recruitment firms that we see today. For the first time, recruiters were being hired by recruitment firms straight from college or university and were being trained in the art of recruiting talent.

The 2000’s saw continued growth for the industry. However, it also saw the creation of inhouse talent acquisition teams being tasked with taking on agency spend via direct hiring practices. Whilst the industry continued to grow, recruiters were suddenly challenged by ‘competition’ from the inside of many clients.

Technology has played the biggest part in defining the last decade of the recruitment industry. Social media initially had little impact on the industry until the creation of LinkedIn in 2002. From initially questioning the need for a ‘Facebook’ at work, recruiters quickly realised the power of an exponentially increased network of candidates and clients. As ATS systems, video conferencing and mobile technology have all developed, so has the increased adoption of these technologies into the recruitment industry.

However, whilst the average agency recruiter has seen their tools improve over the last decade, the greatest change that has affected the early adopters, and will continue to effect those slower to change into the 2020’s, has been the ability to improve their lifestyle through flexible or remote working.

Traditional agencies have found themselves caught up with sometimes technological, but most often cultural, challenges to introducing flexible working practices. However, more entrepreneurial, forward thinking agencies have grabbed the opportunity to attract talented recruiters by providing work from home, flexible working options that allow the recruiter to more effectively do their job whilst also enjoying the benefits of a flexible lifestyle.

Reasons why remote workers outperform office workers;

  1. Without distractions and with greater autonomy, consultants can focus on activities that make them money. According to a survey , 28% of the average office worker’s day is spent focused on unnecessary interruptions.
  2. Team work improves via video collaboration. A survey conducted by Morar Consulting that collected data from over 25,000 people across 12 countries found that 92% surveyed believe that video collaboration technology helps improve relationships and fosters better teamwork.
  3. Dramatically reduced absences. Remote workers have the flexibility to structure their day and life around the demands of their life. They do not need to call in sick or sneak out early to pick up their kids from school. They simply build that into their working week without the downtime of needing to be present in an office.
  4. Healthy body equals healthy mind. Less time spent commuting, less stress, improved working environments, better diet and more time to allocate to keeping fit all contribute to a fresher, sharper and more motivated workers.

Reasons why remote working can specifically benefit the Agency Recruiter;

  1. No Bricks and Mortar. Without the sunk costs of office locations, there is simply more commission to be shared around.
  2. Focus. Agencies are dynamic, fast paced environments. Without doubt this has its benefits but those benefits are rarely the ability to focus on the most profitable activity for your own ‘desk’. Recruiters all need to do business development but not necessarily at 9am-11am on a Tuesday morning. Having the flexibility to manage their own time always allows the recruiter to be as efficient as possible.
  3. Flexible hours. Technology means that you can now interview a candidate as effectively from the other side of the world as you might sat across the room from them. Being no longer tied to set times and an office location allows the recruiter to build a lifestyle that suits them whilst losing nothing from their ability to make money.
  4. Cost. Working from home not only cuts the cost of commuting but also allows for tax deductions as you are now using your home for an office.
  5. Balanced lifestyle. Family and outside interests have rarely been the focus of large corporations trying to drive earnings for shareholders or owners. As a remote agency worker though, you can prioritise the important things in life whilst still finding time to provide your candidates and clients with outstanding service.

Make no mistake, this evolution is not just for the recruitment consultant. Recruitment firms progressive enough to embrace flexible and remote working also benefit;

  1. Increased innovation. Studies have shown that workers operating remotely are more open minded to potential innovative ideas, more likely to experiment with them and more likely to feel empowered enough to try something differently. With innovation comes progress.
  2. Improved Engagement. There are clear studies that show increased remote working directly leads to increased employee engagement. However, there is a tipping point so it seems physical contact with the head office remains important and the ideal percentage of time in an office would be 20%.
  3. Retention. There are plenty of Reasons remote employees stay with their organisations for longer from the ability to be more present with their family to their ability to move home without the ties of commuting routes.
  4. Cost. Whilst the technology and processes to run a remote recruitment business don’t come cheap, the comparison to running a downtown office simply don’t compare.

Hence, the evidence is clearly there to support the benefits for both employers and employees of remote recruitment agency models. As a result, we are starting to see some of the pioneers of this model beginning to establish themselves in the recruitment market as long-term major forces. It will not be long before traditional agencies are forced to either adapt or perish.

Stephen Borer is Director of TalentSphere Staffing Solutions. Established in Canada, TalentSphere is a remote working recruitment firm servicing Canada, US, Ireland, UK and Africa. If you are an agency recruiter caught in an office environment, give us a call.

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