The Top Global Recruitment Trends for 2019


What will 2019 hold for the global recruitment industry? More than 2,000 industry professionals worldwide weighed in with their thoughts on the top priorities, challenges, and issues that will be top of mind in the coming year.

And this year, we’re delivering the results in a fresh, new way. We’re thrilled to introduce our new Global Recruitment Insights and Data (GRID) site. Unlike traditional industry reports, you can easily navigate this robust site to find the information that’s most important to your business.


  • Interested in the top priorities for recruitment agencies? Check out this deep dive article on the site.
  • Wondering how to reskill workers amidst talent shortages? Read this spotlight.
  • Want to explore an overview of top industry trends? Visit the key findings or explore the big picture for recruitment agencies with an infographic

Read on below for a sample of some of this year’s top findings.

Discover Top Recruitment Trends for 2019 at the GRID



Recruitment Industry Outlook: Optimism Runs High



Recruitment industry professionals have high hopes for 2019. Respondents have higher expectations for revenue, budgets, investments, and placements than they did heading into 2018. 

Recruiting pros are especially bullish on their revenue outlook for the year ahead, with 79 percent expecting revenue to increase in 2019. Some other sources of optimism? Sixty-three percent expect temp placements to increase, and 57 percent plan to spend more on tech (just three percent expect a decrease).

Top Priorities: Candidates and Tech Take Precedent




Aside from the ever-present goal of driving revenue growth and increasing profitability, respondents are all-in on candidates in 2019. Sixty-one percent of respondents cite candidate sourcing as a top priority, making it the top focus area for recruitment pros. Engaging candidates came in second (36 percent).



Other priorities on which they’ll focus? A variety of paths emerge. Thirty-one percent will prioritise digital transformation to improve their operations, 30 percent say developing their employment brand and enhancing their marketing strategies is a top priority, and 24 percent are prioritising how they manage relationships with clients.  


Explore the Top Priorities for Recruitment Pros at the GRID


Top Challenges for Recruitment Agencies: Uncertainty Abounds



While the 2019 outlook for recruitment agencies is marked by optimism, the outlook’s not all positive. From hiring and operational challenges to the issues macroeconomic and political shifts present, there are numerous challenges agencies will have to navigate in 2019.

Beyond the perennial talent shortage—73 percent say it’s a top challenge—recruitment leaders struggle with unsustainable churn rates and how to persuade employers to increase candidate pay rates.

Embracing digital transformation is the top operational challenge for global recruitment professionals (49 percent), but 80 percent of respondents are likely to see the digital transformation of the industry as an opportunity. Pricing pressure, which came in just behind at 44 percent, ranks as the second operational challenge for global respondents. 

While recruitment pros are fairly split on what the historically low unemployment rate means for the industry, respondents are more likely to think it will have a negative impact on their ability to achieve their revenue goals (34 percent) than they are to believe it will be positive (27 percent).


Explore the Top Challenges for Recruitment Pros at the GRID


Big Ideas in Recruitment: AI and Reskilling




While the need for candidates amidst the talent shortage isn’t new to 2019, the ways in which recruitment professionals think about talent marks a significant change from years past.

One emerging trend: reskilling, the process of helping workers transform outdated skills into skills in-demand in the modern world. Seventy-four percent cite it as an effective way to address talent shortages.

Recruitment professionals are also optimistic about A.I. Fifty-percent say A.I. will have a positive impact on candidates, compared to just 18 percent who disagree.

These ideas represent an exciting opportunity for the industry, but there’s still plenty of room to learn and get ahead of the curve. Respondents only rate their current understanding of A.I. and machine learning at a five out of ten and only five percent of agencies are prioritising reskilling this year.

Interested in learning more about the challenges, opportunities, and ideas that will shape the recruitment industry in the year ahead? There’s so much more waiting for you at the Global Recruitment Insights and Data site, like key findings and spotlights on top trends, as well as resources designed to help you be a trendsetter, like social shareables and powerpoint slides.


Visit the GRID

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