UK Recruitment Agencies told to add value to Clients

Mr Gilbertson said that “I think the recruitment marketplace is always tight, and margins are always under pressure. A lot of organisations, irrespective of sector, are taking the ‘direct to market’ route, using fewer third parties. Therefore recruitment agencies have to raise their game in terms of the value they add to an organisation. They have to increase the scope and nature of their offer. From our point of view, our employer brand is very important to us and it’s more of a risk to put this in the hands of a third party. Where we do use agencies, we only use those that we can collaborate with in a true partnership, rather than a ‘them and us’ approach. They have to also be able to offer a principle channel to our market or something we cannot do ourselves.”

The comments come following the results of a new survey conducted by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and Maximus UK which found that 43% of businesses estimate that hiring a new employee costs more than £2,000 and that there is general dissatisfaction with recruitment agencies. The survey found that:


  • In 53% of businesses the owner is responsible for recruitment
  • Less than 25% of companies have a personnel department
  • Only 3% of businesses regularly use a recruitment agency
  • 46% of respondents said they would never use a recruitment agency
  • 66% of respondents cited high costs as a reason for not using external agencies
  • 11% of respondents said that using a staffing agency was too time consuming

Speaking on the results of the survey the Director of Policy and Professional Services at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), Tom Hadley, said that “The length of time it takes to recruit is often due to ongoing skills shortages – even at a time of relatively high unemployment. We agree that finding the right person is an extremely time-consuming exercise – in fact, this one of the key reasons for using agencies with the experience and networks to source and filter appropriate candidates.”

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