Predicting What’s Next for the Recruitment Industry

recruitment industry

Economic uncertainty, digital transformation, an unprecedented talent shortage – and resilience through it all. The recruitment industry has seen its share of ups and downs in the last year, but what’s next for 2023?

At this year’s Engage London, three recruitment specialists sat down with us to share their predictions for the next year and beyond. Read insights from Samantha Hurley, UK Operations & Member Services Director, APSCo, James Osborne, Co-founder, The Recruitment Network, and Neil Carberry, CEO, Recruitment & Employment Confederation, on what’s next for the recruitment industry.


When looking at industry trends over the last year, our panelists noted a rise in recruitment specialisation. The outsourcing market is focusing on specialist recruiters who can serve a certain niche, said Hurley. Osborne added that from his view, the recruitment companies getting the best results right now are those working in a hybrid model, as compared to a 360 model.

As opposed to recruiters who work within a range of sectors, a recruiter specialising in a particular field knows where to look for niche talent and how to connect with candidates on their level. According to research from this year’s GRID Talent Survey, receiving advice and expertise from recruiters is one of candidates’ top priorities. As talent increasingly values the insight provided by the recruiters they work with (and that AI and automation can’t offer), this knowledge may prove to be increasingly valuable in 2023 and beyond.

High-value work

As the industry continues to leverage the tools that digital transformation has to offer, the role of recruiters is changing. “You need to be not necessarily increasing the productivity of your recruiters, but moving them up the food chain so they’re doing higher value work,” said Hurley. 

With tools like automation taking the mundane work off of recruiters’ hands, they can focus more on building relationships with candidates, providing thought leadership, and other high-value activities. “With the time we get back, you can do so much more of the human stuff,” said Osborne.

Carberry likened this shift to an acronym he uses in his time as a rugby coach: APES, which stands for active, purposeful, enjoyable, and safe. It’s important for recruitment agencies to aim to be this way, too. Carberry added, “I think we need to be careful as an industry that we’re not busy fools – that we’re not doubling down on constantly trying to make consultants more productive.”

This also requires a deep understanding of your business and employees. Added Hurley, agencies need to ensure their employees are engaged – not just sales and the front-office, but across the whole business. 

A tech-forward experience

The panelists also spoke to the importance of ensuring an incredible experience for every candidate, especially amidst the rise of online recruitment platforms. “Our competitors are making life easier for clients and candidates,” Carberry said. Recruitment agencies need to provide a similar seamless experience to their candidates while continuing to provide the personalised attention talent expects. 

In terms of using tech, though, “I think we’re still quite far ahead of our client base,” said Osborne. This includes advancements like providing talent with self-service options, engaging candidates with omnichannel communication, and offering on-the-go mobile access.

However, there’s always room to grow. “I think there is so much more we could be doing here when you compare us to other industries [that] are so much more advanced in how they handle user experience,” added Osborne. 2023 will surely continue to see further advancements in tech; the real challenge will be effectively putting that tech to good use to meet candidates – and clients – where they’re at. Said Osborne, “More recruitment companies will be seen as a tech business.”


As with the last few years, resilience is key to dealing with changing industry conditions. Economic uncertainty continues to linger, and Carberry mentioned that he anticipates spending cuts in 2023; those that place for the NHS or for schools, particularly, may see some hurdles in the year ahead.

But the industry has not just survived, but thrived, for the last several years, even amidst a myriad of challenges. All of our panelists agreed that resilience is a mark of the recruitment industry – and will continue to be for any potential challenges that may come down the road. As Osborne said, “For the last couple of years, we’ve just cracked on. And we’ll keep cracking on regardless of what’s going on around us.”

How do you meet the growing demands of today’s talent while also providing an experience to clients and your own teams? Say hello to the Connected Recruiting strategy. Find out more here.

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