What Does Globalisation Mean for the Recruitment Industry?

globalization staffing trends

How are tops trends impacting the recruitment industry? At our Global Recruitment Insights and Data (GRID) site, we break down the insights from 2,000+ global staffing and recruitment professionals. For more insights on topics like globalisation, the low unemployment rate, and the talent shortage, visit the GRID site.

The globalisation of the recruitment industry is well underway. As businesses look to scale and operate in new geographies, and talent becomes increasingly mobile beyond country borders, it’s important to consider the implications for recruitment businesses.

Do the expanded global talent pool and the low barriers to entry for recruitment agencies create new opportunities or do they simply make a crowded field even more competitive?

Globalization: an Opportunity, Not a Challenge

The verdict is in: recruitment agencies are decidedly optimistic about the impacts of globalisation on their business. Two-thirds of agencies see globalisation as a good thing for their business.

Of course, myriad factors make the industry landscape (and the opportunity therein) vary wildly from country to country. Regional regulations and macroeconomic developments like GDPR, Brexit, 457 Visa program restrictions, and other changes to immigration laws shape the way businesses view and realise the opportunities afforded by a globalised workforce.

On a country-by-country basis, Germany and Australia are more optimistic, while recruitment professionals in the United States expressed the most uncertainty. Despite these fluctuations, respondents in every single country were at least three times more likely to view globalisation and the increased mobility of talent as an opportunity than they were to view it as a challenge.

Recruitment’s Worst-Kept Secret

Part of the reason for this optimism is that recruitment is already a global industry. It’s no surprise, given the money at stake. Staffing Industry Analysts estimates global revenue at $466 billion, with forecasted six percent growth. And that’s not counting the size of the global gig economy, which comes in at a staggering $3.7 trillion. Those are some pretty hefty incentives for recruitment businesses looking to scale.

As a result, many of the most successful recruitment businesses in the world operate globally. Of the 100 highest-grossing recruitment agencies, more than 80 percent operate in multiple countries. This figure would be even higher if not for Chinese recruitment agencies that do an international level of volume within different regions of the same country.

One World or Different Universes?

Global influence has shaped the landscape for all recruitment businesses, but certain obstacles and opportunities remain applicable to particular regions. Should you scale your business in a new country, it’s a good idea to be aware of the specific challenges facing recruitment professionals there.

North American agencies are the most likely to view low unemployment rates as a significant challenge compared to their counterparts in Europe and Asia-Pacific. North American professionals also see the need for accelerated pay increases as significantly more urgent than other respondents.

Respondents in Europe and Asia-Pacific are much more likely to view digital transformation as a challenge. Additionally, UK respondents expressed concern about the impact of GDPR and Brexit, with the majority of respondents predicting that both would have a negative impact on their business.

For the most part, recruitment professionals across the world share fairly similar viewpoints on hot topics. Industry pros are in agreement on the chance of a recession, the impact of AI, and the demand for new labor models.

Scaling Your Business: an Exciting Challenge

Whether or not you view globalisation as an opportunity or a challenge for your business, the process of actually scaling your business in a new country is undeniably both.


If you're looking to open in a new country, culture is important. Your processes for what you do for your larger organisation—it’s really important that you bring that with you to your new country.
Allegis Chris Hartman


All of the normal challenges of operating in a new area are multiplied by cultural, legal, and financial differences. Successful recruitment agencies prepare for the opportunity with significant research and a flexible gameplan.

Luckily, the global nature of the recruitment industry means that recruitment practitioners and leaders can learn from the wisdom of other industry professionals. Utilising these resources can help ensure that one’s agency is well-equipped to take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity.

Interested in learning more about reskilling and the other challenges, opportunities, and ideas that will shape the recruitment industry in the year ahead? On the Global Recruitment Insights and Data (GRID) site, you’ll find key findings and spotlights on top trends shaping the industry, plus free downloadable resources, like social shareables and powerpoint slides.

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