UK recruitment agencies accelerate digital transformation strategy for the second year in a row

Bullhorn’s annual recruitment industry trends survey also reveals most firms expect to increase revenue this year, despite the continued impact of Covid-19

LONDON, 3rd March 2022 — The last year saw a dramatic rise in the number of staffing and recruitment businesses employing a digital transformation strategy, according to Bullhorn’s 2022 Global Recruitment Insights and Data (GRID), a survey of more than 4,000 recruitment professionals.

Eighty-one percent of recruitment firms in the UK now have a digital transformation strategy in place, compared to 43% a year ago. Digital transformation adoption has more than tripled since 2019 when just 21% of firms reported the presence of a digital transformation strategy.

Matt Fischer, President and COO at Bullhorn, says: “The leading staffing and recruiting firms today are focused on digital transformation to unlock new levels of productivity and truly transform the way they interact with their talent and clients. With the candidate experience at a premium, firms are leveraging automation and self-service to create talent journeys that match modern expectations and put more people to work”.

Other key GRID 2022 findings:

The industry rebounded in a major way in 2021

2020 was a historically challenging year for UK recruitment agencies, with 44% reporting year-over-year revenue losses. For most agencies, 2021 represented a tremendous rebound. Three out of five respondents reported revenue gains in 2021 and just one out of seven reported year-over-year losses.

Firms specialising in hiring for consultancy roles (85%) and IT roles (77%) reported the strongest performance in 2021, with more than three-quarters of respondents in each group reporting a YoY increase in revenue. Government recruitment firms were on the other end of the spectrum with just 27% of respondents reporting YoY revenue gains from 2020.

Candidates dominate the agenda in 2022

The talent shortage is once again the top challenge for firms in 2022, cited by 40% of respondents. Firms cited candidate acquisition as the top priority for the year, with employer branding and winning new clients rounding out the top three.

Covid-19’s impact is still felt

The impact of Covid-19 on the jobs market, which was last year’s top challenge, is still the number-two challenge for UK recruiters in 2022. Firms cited it as a contributing factor to the talent shortage as well as the top obstacle to providing an incredible candidate experience. It does not dampen their revenue outlook  for 2022 however; two-thirds (69%) of UK recruitment firms expect revenue to increase in 2022.

To read more about Bullhorn’s Global Recruitment Insights and Data research, explore the GRID results.


About Bullhorn

Bullhorn is the global leader in software for the staffing industry. More than 10,000 companies rely on Bullhorn’s cloud-based platform to power their staffing processes from start to finish. Headquartered in Boston, with offices around the world, Bullhorn is founder-led and employs more than 1,300 people globally.


Media contact:

Bob McHugh

Senior Manager, Global Content and Research, Bullhorn