Despite the UK recruitment market’s initial anxiety after Brexit, the positive mood has returned in the majority of sectors in 2017. The UK recruitment industry is currently valued at £31.5b, anticipated to grow by up to 6.9% this year, and, “contributes more to the UK economy than advertising, arts and recreation, and the food and beverage industry.” Contract recruitment, in particular, grew by 9.7% last year, holds 91% of the total market share and has 1.2 million contractors on active placements on any given day.
Agencies have become experts at recognising trends and opportunities in their specialist sectors and in providing the necessary talent that will equip organisations to deal with everything that the future holds.
We’ve taken a look at a number of top UK recruitment sectors to determine what 2017 might have in store for them and what that may mean for agencies recruiting in those sectors.
Rail: A Surge in Confidence
Confidence is high in the rail industry and this is clear when speaking to the engineers themselves. According to a Matchtech survey, 72% of engineers believe that the rail sector will grow or increase its revenues over the next 12 months. The industry has been all but immune to political uncertainty and this is largely down to existing and upcoming projects such as HS2, Crossrail 2, Bank Station Capacity Upgrade and the London Bridge Thameslink Redevelopment.
Graham Day of Matchtech explains that because the rail industry is dominated by, “major capital investment projects…it tends to represent a fixed ‘pool of investment’ which…can be less volatile to economic and political uncertainty.”
Although these projects are beneficial for the sector and recruiters overall, there is a growing concern that the skills shortage could pose a significant threat to the delivery of this work. Therefore, recruiters will play an important role in delivering the required engineers in 2017 to ensure these projects are completed without delay.
Construction: A Positive State of Repair
Construction is an industry hard hit by the EU Referendum and the future still looks cloudy. However, there are still clear silver linings which have given the industry a buoyant mood since the end of 2016. In the November budget statement, the government announced a £23bn investment fund for infrastructure, focussing heavily on roads, rail and broadband capabilities.
In reaction to this, Daniel Kemp of Construction News reported that, “the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index shows that growth in new construction orders hit an 11-month high in December.” In spite of this, there is still major concern regarding the potential of rising import costs and this will continue to be a theme throughout 2017.
Given this, construction recruitment agencies need to be aware of their clients’ precarious situation and provide assistance accordingly. 2017 still offers plenty of opportunity and skilled workers will always be in high demand, but agencies must pay close attention to Brexit developments and how that could affect the industry in the long term.
Renewable Energy: An Optimistic Future
The overall picture for the Renewable Energy sector is one of new opportunity. Although the UK still has the largest amount of installed offshore wind capacity in Europe, wind and solar have seen a major slowdown in large scale projects over the last 2 years, primarily thanks to a change in government subsidies.
According to Allen & York, Built and Natural Environment Recruitment Specialists, the growth for this sector lies in keys areas such as Energy from Waste(EfW), Anaerobic Digestion(AD) biomass and gasification. Alongside regulation, these areas have seen sustained growth in the last two years and this looks set to continue in 2017.
With the EU bound to the promise to meet their Renewable Energy Direction by 2020, recruitment will remain fruitful this year and with 87% employees actively looking to move jobs, agencies can feel optimistic about the year ahead.
Brexit Experts: A Silver Lining
Brexit has brought with it a widespread doubt to many industries and recruitment agencies have had to react to this with patience. As the year draws on, it seems that the consequences of leaving the EU will become more apparent, but for those looking to capitalise on the present, the need for Brexit specialists is an area that could define 2017.
Government departments are being given the freedom to pay Brexit experts up to £142,000, which is almost as much as David Cameron earned as Prime Minister. This is to help the government deliver its promise to exit the EU by 2019.
The change in salary cap, which used to be £87,000, gives recruiters a huge opportunity to provide high quality candidates to the public sector. It is also predicted that major financial organisations will be looking for Brexit experts to fill similar roles in the coming 12 months and with the upcoming general election.
IT and Tech: Exponential Hope
Among such political turmoil, the IT and Tech sector have remained resilient and with new tech startups born every hour in the UK, it is easy to see why. The likes of Google and Facebook have revealed their intentions of opening new London headquarters in 2017, which should create 3,500 new jobs by 2020, alone.
This vote of confidence by two of the world’s biggest tech companies will no doubt rid any Brexit concerns for recruitment agencies and ensure 2017 is as lucrative as 2016. The main concern for recruiters will be finding specialised candidates for the greatest areas of demand including cyber security, business intelligence, big data and app development.
According to Recruitment Buzz, there is huge potential for growth within IT and Tech recruitment sector but the biggest question recruiters should consistently ask themselves is: Is this change going to see the jobs in my niche or sector become obsolete by this “disruptive tidal wave of technology or am I serving an area of growth?
So, although Brexit will continue to make ripples in 2017 combined with the general election announced, there is still plenty of hope in the vast majority of sectors for recruiters to play a vital role. This may mean becoming more specialised, making your processes more streamlined or taking advantage of new opportunities wherever they are found.
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