The Top Challenges for Recruitment Agencies in 2019

staffing challenges


Combatting talent shortages, embracing digital transformation, and getting employers to accelerate pay increases are three of the biggest challenges facing recruitment agencies in 2019.

According to Bullhorn’s Global Recruitment Insights and Data, staffing firms are overall optimistic about their growth this year as 79 per cent of respondents expecting revenue to increase from 2018. However, due to the changing nature of work, agencies are tackling some hurdles related to hiring, operations, and macroeconomics. Here are three of the biggest challenges facing agencies this year.

Recruiting Challenge #1: Combatting the Talent Shortage

recruiting challenges


It’s no surprise that a skills deficit continues to plague the recruitment industry with 73 per cent of agencies citing it as one of their biggest areas of concern this year.

In a tight labour market, how should agencies find the best talent for the best opportunities? One strategy recruiters are relying on is reskilling – or updating workers’ skills through education and training. Seventy-four per cent of recruitment agencies believe that reskilling workers represents an effective strategy to thwart the skills shortage and help create new talent pools, fill key roles, and transform lives.


Recruiting Challenge #2:  Embracing Digital Transformation

digital transformation


Digitisation is one of the major themes of 2019, but it undoubtedly presents some barriers for agencies as they start adopting it as a strategic competitive advantage. Forty-nine per cent of recruitment professionals selected embracing digital transformation – defined as the integration of technology into all areas of their business for the purposes of improving operations and the way they deliver value to customers – as their top operational challenge. Why is this a top challenge?

It’s because agencies are trying to find the best ways to incorporate automation and artificial intelligence technologies into their recruiting strategies. While process automation is here to help firms alleviate administrative and low-level tasks, true artificial intelligence isn’t here yet. After all, in relationship-driven businesses such as recruitment, only humans have the precise empathy to match and advance conversations that can yield stronger relationships with candidates and clients.

Recruiting Challenge #3: Getting Employers to Increase Pay

recruiting challenges


In today’s candidate-driven market, more people are quitting their jobs at rapid clips and minimum-wage rates are increasing to closely match cost-of-living hikes.

What does that mean for staffing firms? They might have to work with employers to increase compensation ranges for open roles, so they can attract the top talent. According to Bullhorn’s research, 38 per cent of recruitment agencies believe getting employers to accelerate pay increases for workers is a top hiring challenge this year. Some agencies are reluctant to pay employees more because they simply don’t have the budget or just don’t want to in general.

While these three challenges are only a snapshot of a few barriers to mitigate in 2019, finding creative strategies for tackling these obstacles may be a key factor in reaching your goals for the year.

What are some of the other challenges recruitment pros are tackling, and what are some of their top priorities to undertake this year? Read more at

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