Recruitment insights: How the industry reacted to a global pandemic [new report 2020]

Sarah Lee
28 Oct
Reading time: 4 minutes
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JobAdder’s Recruitment Industry Report 2020 was released earlier this month. It provides a crucial snapshot of recruitment over the previous nine months, reflecting the impact the pandemic has had on the industry. 

The data follows three phases that the recruitment industry seemingly went through: the initial shock, the downsizing and consolidation and finally, the reinvention and recovery. The following extract looks at growth or ‘new jobs created’ as a reflection of these phases. 

In a state of shock and disbelief  

When the effects of the pandemic took hold in March and governments proceeded to lock down borders and industries, an immediate effect was seen in the number of new jobs that came through from one month to the next. 

Australia saw a significant dip in April, witnessing a drop of more than 46%, but that was nothing compared to New Zealand’s drop of 61.7%. This was similarly reflected in the UK and Europe, with a drop of 60.5% while the US and Canada saw a less dramatic fall of 38.8%.


Cutbacks and consolidation  

Swift action to reduce costs was subsequently taken across recruitment businesses as was the case in the corporate space, resulting in many job losses. With work from home becoming the new way of working, upgrades to technology were swiftly made. Businesses that were already set up for remote success were able to get off to a quicker start. As Darshy Shan, global operations manager for Marsden and a JobAdder customer noted, “especially now with COVID, moving onto a cloud platform has obviously benefitted us. We keep in touch with our competitors on an informal basis and we are well ahead of adjusting to the new work-from-home scenario where others haven’t been able to adapt as quickly.”

As the months progressed, each region showed an improvement by May, ranging from 20.4% in Australia and 22.9% in the USA & Canada, to more marked improvements in New Zealand as well as the UK & EU, of 62.6% and 50.3% respectively.  

Reinvention and recovery 

Reinvention and a degree of recovery showed the resilience the industry has to overcome such daunting odds, as has been the case with previous financial crises. Granted, the pandemic is ongoing and uncertainty is the feeling du jour, but the industry is at the forefront of potential recovery and the role of recruiters will be a vital one when it comes to getting economies back on track and people back in jobs.

September showed comforting signs of recovery albeit at different rates across the regions, with New Zealand’s relatively flat progress from August (-1.3%) to September (0.3%) likely a reflection of the country’s essentially COVID-free state. In comparison, Australia saw an increase of 10.5% in September, up from -2.3% in August, while the USA and Canada rose 1.8% between those two months. The UK and EU saw the biggest jump, from a low of -2.6% in August to a sharp rise of 35.9% in September, with restrictions easing and workers encouraged to return to the office.

Want more insights? Download our report to see how the global recruitment industry fared in terms of placements and agency user numbers (the latter being a clear indicator of active recruiters during this period). You’ll also see the impact the pandemic and subsequent aftermath has had on days to place across temp and perm as well as the extent to which job recovery is concentrated around temp and contract roles. 

Access your copy of the JobAdder 2020 Industry Report below. You can also watch industry influencer Greg Savage and JobAdder’s head of product Tom Dyson dissect the data and offer their interpretation of what this means for the recruitment industry.

2020 Global Recruitment Industry Report Findings

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