External challenges bringing the industry together
With membership renewal rates currently at their highest for four years, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has identified a number of challenges that are bringing the industry together.
Main drivers include the need for impartial legal guidance, demand for practical support services and the need to demonstrate compliance with industry standards. This last trend is linked to an increasing numbers of blue chip companies and public sector employers raising the bar in terms of standards and external validation of suppliers.
In addition to above target renewal rates, the REC has already welcomed more than 70 new businesses into corporate membership this year. This comes on the back of 771 new members joining the REC in 2009 despite the economic climate.
Commenting on the latest membership trends, Richard Charnock, the RECs Key Account Manager, said:
In a competitive environment agencies are looking for extra services and support that can make a difference - for example, research, legal briefings, mentoring and a detailed understanding of new employment regulations that they can then 'play back' to clients. Delivering a world-class service is one of the pledges we have made to our members. The latest membership figures indicate that we are moving in the right direction.
An additional trend is increasing specialisation within the industry which requires bespoke guidance and support. It is for this reason that the number of REC sector groups will increase from 14 to 21 during 2010 with all REC members being entitled to free sector-specific information and services. The latest member survey shows increasing satisfaction levels amongst recruiters in existing REC Sector Groups who highlighted the value of 'feeling part of a membership network.
Commenting on this last point, Charnock concludes: "Recruiters can see the value of a strong collective voice for the industry and of coming together to exchange views and drive specific campaigns. Recruitment will always be highly competitive but the fact that more recruiters are committed to industry standards and gaining access to practical support services is helping to raise the bar for the industry as a whole.