I mean, of course it’s important. You can’t move for articles about people’s best guesses on what the impact of Brexit might be.
Both the Leave and Remain sides claim jobs will be put at risk and that the economy will suffer if the other side wins. Both sides are quoting dubious statistics that nobody really believes. Both sides are playing the terrorist threat card.
The truth is, nobody has a crystal ball and all the arguments are essentially best guesses based on historical data, economic theory, and a healthy dose of hope (in both camps).
My argument is that it doesn’t really matter to the UK recruitment industry.
Put very simply, the recruitment profession has proven time and time again that no matter what the market shocks or sociological changes, we adapt.
When I first started in recruitment 20 years ago, I had a phone, a box of 8 x 6 client cards in a box, a Yellow Pages and a shopfront. A response of 10 candidates to a newspaper advertisement was considered great, and if you wanted your clients to have a CV today, you would hand deliver it. No computers, no social media, and far fewer mobile phones.
Younger readers, just imagine for a moment – no parsing, no keyword searching, no real automation. No LinkedIn! How did we manage?!
The modern day recruitment industry really started back in the 1940s and World War II. Many of the population were on active duty, and recruitment agencies were needed to fill the vacancies that were left behind – and from there the industry developed to equip UK plc with the talent it needed to grow.
Since the 1940’s we have had recessions in 1956, 1961, the mid 1970’s, early 1980’s, early 1990’s, and of course the ‘great recession’ that started in 2008. And here we still are today, with an industry worth over £31.5 billion per annum.
Experienced recruitment consultants with any longevity of tenure will therefore have had experience of recruiting in both candidate rich and candidate short labour markets. They will have learned the importance of building long-term relationships with clients, even when they aren’t actively recruiting, because they know that the best recruiters are those that really understand their clients’ needs. They understand the value of building a diverse and loyal talent pool, so that when opportunities arise, they have a strong network to draw upon.
They will have seen the industry go from low-tech to incredibly high tech, and learned how to make the most of all the latest developments in order to deliver the very best in candidate and client experience.
We are global
Many recruiters operate already on a global scale, and are used to adapting to different legislative frameworks that exist around the world, as well as being sensitive to cultural differences.
So, for example, if a leave vote means that all the EU citizens currently working in the UK need to either obtain a visa or leave the UK, the recruitment industry will support employers – either by recruiting specialist HR personnel to deal with visa applications, or by recruiting replacement staff to fill the holes left by departing EU workers.
And if, for example, a remains vote sees even more changes in employment legislation coming from Europe, recruiters will continue to support and advise employers in the UK to ensure full compliance with any new law or regulation, whilst at the same time ensuring that the implementation makes commercial sense and is not detrimental to the overall operation of the business.
We may have a preferred option when it comes to the vote, but whether the UK votes to leave or remain, one thing is for sure – the UK recruitment industry will adapt and thrive. It has done it before, and it will do it again…
If you or your business doesn’t have over 20 years’ experience to draw upon, don’t worry. Fortunately, there are recruitment training organisations like us out there who can share their decades of experience and expertise and equip you with the tools to thrive in recruitment – no matter what the market decides to do.
If you would like a taste of what our training can offer try our free trial or contact me directly by clicking on the image of me below.