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Recruiters remain resilient but need to retain talent

Consultant retention is a key challenge for recruiters who have shown resilience through the pandemic, according to new survey findings from Apsco and Saffery Champness.

The survey asked businesses to score their company between 1 and 10 – across a number of operational, organisational and financial criteria with 10 indicating a firm is ‘best in class’. When assessing their firm’s operational resilience, those with a Net Fee Income (NFI) in excess of £50 million indicated optimism had remained, with an average score of 8. Many are confident that their company has the financial resilience to weather the storm of Covid-19, with no averages falling below 6 on the scale.

However, research also revealed gaps in recruiter retention and technology investment that could hinder progress for some recruitment businesses. It found that 83% of firms with an NFI over £10 million have, or continue to develop, sector-specific technology; but 35% of those with an NFI under £2 million scored themselves less than 5 on technology - indicating that smaller staffing companies have yet to reap the benefits of automation and cloud-based systems.

Historically high attrition has the potential to hinder growth in recruitment, though smaller firms appear to be faring better than larger ones. Over 53% of those firms with an NFI below £10 million scored themselves 8 and above, whilst just 46% of companies with an NFI greater than £50 million scored 8 and above.

Commenting on the findings, Jamie Cassell, Partner at Saffery Champness LLP, said: “It’s encouraging to see the recruitment sector remain resilient despite the on-going challenges across the UK. The fact that so many businesses are indicating that they have the funding available and have developed a flexible business strategy to help weather the storm is highly welcome news in what has been an incredibly difficult year so far. We may be facing continued uncertainty, but the recruitment sector’s ability to continue operating will be crucial as it plays its part in getting the UK back to work.”

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