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Economic fluctuations impact recruitment

Over 10 years’ worth of data gathered from Executives Online’s permanent recruitment projects reveals that the average recruitment process spans 87 days from start to finish. However, year on year data confirms that when business confidence is low an organisation will consider more carefully whether expansion is necessary, causing recruitment lead times to increase.

Prior to the last recession, between 2004 and 2008 the average time from briefing to hire was 66 days, yet by 2009 the number had increased by 44 percent to 96 days, and by a further 10 percent to 106 in 2011. More recent data shows that timescales are decreasing as the economy strengthens the figure has dropped from the 2011 high to 96 days in 2014.

Andrew MacAskill, commercial director, Executives Online explains, “Business confidence plays a significant role in the duration of the recruitment process, affecting both internal and external factors. Internal issues such as availability of key interviewers, uncertainty about elements of the job description and risk-aversion to finally making an offer, or external factors such as when the preferred candidate can be available to start work, all contribute to the recruitment lead time.  

“In times of economic prosperity organisations will plan to expand and capitalise on the market and this, in turn, will lead to speedier hires so that positions are filled to support the company growth. When the market is not doing so well it makes sense for businesses to take longer when considering new hires, whether they are an addition to a department or filling a vacancy.

“Companies deciding whether a permanent hire is feasible should consider interim managers, who are available at a fixed cost and do not require long term commitments. Interims are available to start in a matter of days and contract notice periods are typically very short, usually around one month compared to three-six months for a permanent hire equivalent.” 


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