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Recruiters should stick to what they know when undertaking UK expansion

The Professional Representation Network points out that some recruitment agencies with very aggressive expansion plans before the credit crunch had to abandon strategies that involved moving into completely new sectors.

Kate Raganowicz-Gargasz, Manager at the Professional Representation Network, comments: “The improving jobs market is encouraging recruiters to look for new growth options in the UK, but moving into completely new sectors that aren’t aligned with an agency’s existing business is a very high risk approach.  Many recruitment agencies have learned that the hard way.”

The Professional Representation Network says that targeting new areas where there is a strong fit with a recruitment agency’s existing business will help the firm evolve organically, helping to cement their reputation in all their fields of activity, while diversifying their appeal.  

For example, it says that an oil and gas-focussed recruitment agency could be well-placed to move into other areas of the energy sector, or an agency which covers both financial services and technology could carve out a niche as a financial IT specialist. Firms which supply medical staff could profit from providing support and back office services to the sector too, or may spot an opportunity to move into care home recruitment.

According to the Professional Representation Network, finding out which direction clients are moving in, in terms of their priorities for investment and future growth, will give a useful indication of which areas recruitment firms should look to develop next.

Ten Top Tips for recruitment businesses to expand in the UK market

The Professional Representation Network advises that recruitment businesses looking to expand in the UK market should:

1.      Evaluate your existing experience and expertise against new sectors or disciplines which are a logical fit&hellip

2.      &hellip but which also offer a good business opportunity, either because they are performing strongly or because skills shortages are increasing demand for talent.

3.      Talk to your clients about their medium and long-term objectives, and any new areas they are developing. This will help you to plan for the future direction of your firm, as well as ensuring you are ready to support them as their business develops.

4.      Know your market. Having identified synergies with your existing practice, make sure you also understand how each new sector or discipline is different, and what particular issues are affecting it

5.      Plan how you will develop the specialist expertise required within your team. Consider how best to utilise your existing talent, including training where necessary, and think about whether new hires are needed to fill knowledge gaps, provide a way in through their contacts or give depth and breadth of experience.

6.      Consider how much investment your business expansion will need in terms of more staff, bigger premises, additional office locations, training programmes etc&hellip

7.      &hellipand secure the funding ahead of time. Think about whether your own capital, bank loans, finance from specialist lenders or external investment would be the best way to fund this, and make sure you get it by putting a compelling business plan together.

8.      Maximise the impact of social media to access the best talent in different sectors or new geographical locations. Developing your own app can be a good way to stand out from the crowd&hellip

9.      &hellipbut don’t forget the importance of face-to-face contact when forging relationships in new areas. Talking to key players in your target markets in person is essential, whether that’s employers or key potential hires

10.  Add value. Consider how you can support clients on an on-going basis through HR support, e-bulletins giving advice on industry or legal developments, seminars, etc.

Raganowicz-Gargasz added, “As the UK jobs market picks up, the question for recruitment firms is: where are the opportunities for growth going to come from and how can we capitalise on them?

“For agencies looking to expand, one of the keys will be to use their existing skills in new ways to penetrate new markets, ensuring that they are seen as experts in a wider range of fields.”


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