As we all return from the festive season I thought I’d give you all a head start and share our view of the six key trends that will be at play in the recruitment market for 2013.

Growth but not as we know it!

The economy will grow this year but only at just above 1% so the market will behave and feel much like 2012. The recruitment market will also continue to grow next year but at a slower rate than in the decade prior to the financial crisis. Our forecast is low single digit growth so we are predicting that as an industry we will again outperform the economy, we can expect industry growth to be lower than this year’s 4.3 per cent.

Fewer but better quality…

We anticipate business consolidation to continue within the recruitment market. We have lost over a thousand recruitment businesses or 11 per cent of the market in 2011 and can assume there will be a further reduction in 2012 once the data is available and this trend will continue into 2013 albeit not as aggressively. At times like this only the excellent will thrive so if you want to grow faster than the market, differentiation and quality will be critical.

Jobs Market flex wins

We have already flexed our muscles as a dynamic labour market where 46 per cent of those in work are either in a part time or flexible role and this trend will continue growing over the next few years. Businesses want to keep their fixed costs low but also need to engage the right talent so they can compete effectively. At the same time there has been a shift in people’s attitudes to work, 80 per cent of those working part time and 60 per cent of all temps choose to work this capacity. The growth in flexible working will be most dramatic in the professional and managerial market places and whilst it may not be good news for employers there will be an increased demand for agencies to help flexible workers find their next gig.

The Client Hybrid

Corporates and large public sector bodies will continue to consolidate their supply chains and recruitment more themselves. We are now entering the third phase of supply chain management in our industry where much of the inefficiency has been removed. It now seems to us that the debate has moved on from being solely about cost to quality and sustainability. Finding and retaining the best niche recruiters as second or third tier suppliers is becoming more important to RPOs and Vendors. The second trend is for larger organisations to take more resourcing activity back in house and while this will impact many middle earning permanent roles we are not convinced this will make any serious inroads into the search, specialist or the contingent workforce markets. The key issue seems to be how organisations work out the most cost effective method of securing the talent and resource they need, again this is a great opportunity for your agency to show the value it can provide and to help clients resolve this question.

Technology moving the game on

There is no doubt that social media and in particular its use on mobile devices will have a profound impact on job searching. The market will become more transparent with sites like Glassdoor allowing candidates to get real time data on future employers. Online assessment and live video interviewing will take off in the next 18 months so the message to recruiters is be ahead of the game. Know more about these developments than your clients in fact, you should be introducing them to your clients as a way of adding service value.

Talent – the war is just starting!

The recession and a lack of demand have suppressed two things; businesses demand for talent and the confidence of individuals to change jobs. This lack in confidence is starting to lift and in 2013 we will hear a lot more about skill and talent shortages. An aging workforce, restrictions on immigration and the lack of skills amongst those without work mean that the UK will start to have a two speed labour market. So again lots of opportunities to focus on the market places and types of jobs those employers are finding it difficult to attract the right candidates.