Should you take recruitment in-house?

Carmine Scalzo our consultant managing the role

With prices rising, inflation hitting a 40-year high, rising interest rates, and the ongoing war in Ukraine, many are predicting that the UK and European economies are facing a recession. The last time these economies contracted was in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, UK hiring halved compared to June 2019, and some organisation closed their doors entirely.

However, the current economic conditions are quite different to 2020. According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) the number of vacancies is still extremely high, and unemployment is at an all-time low.

Some key takeaways from the ONS’s latest report include:

  • The number of vacancies in December 2022 to February 2023 was 1,124,000, a decrease of 51,000 from September to November 2022.
  • Vacancy numbers fell on the quarter for the eighth consecutive period in December 2022 to February 2023, down by 4.3% since September to November 2022, with vacancies falling in 12 of the 18 industry sectors.
  • In December 2022 to February 2023, total vacancies were down by 162,000 from the level of a year ago, although they remained 328,000 above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) January to March 2020 levels.
  • In December 2022, workforce jobs rose by 211,000 on the quarter to a new record high of 36.4 million, with 6 of the 20 industry sectors at record-high levels.

What does this mean for your talent and recruitment strategy?

It is no secret that the UK and the European economies have faced an unpreceded talent shortage over the past 18 months. We have felt it particularly sharply in the finance, technology and change recruitment space. Professionals in these areas are highly specialised, extremely sought-after and can command a premium to move roles. Since January 2020, we have seen salaries for accountants rise between 20-35% depending on their location. This combined with the fact that the number of vacancies is currently 56.6% higher than January to March 2020 suggests that businesses are still confident in their post-COVID recovery, and that the talent shortage will continue to impact UK businesses.

So, should you take your recruitment in house?

Unlike the recession in 2020, we are yet to see many clients take their talent strategy in-house. But with increasing uncertainty and consumers spending more cautiously, we expect this could change for some sectors in early 2023. But will taking recruitment in-house deliver the same results? We helpfully reviewed some misconceptions about taking recruitment completely in-house.

“Taking recruitment in-house may be more cost effective” 

When reducing budgets and trimming costs, the outsourced recruitment function can be the first thing to suffer. External expenditure on hiring is a cost some companies think they can no longer justify. Instead, some businesses take their recruitment in-house, relying on hiring managers, HR teams or dedicated in-house recruitment professionals to find, attract and hire the right people.

These can include subscriptions to premium social media accounts, advertising on job boards and other platforms, recruitment software and having a presence at recruitment shows. If your business hires high volumes every year, then these costs may be justified, however this is limited by both the capacity and capability of your in-house team. 

“Recruitment campaigns aren’t time consuming” 

Never underestimate the value of your team’s time. Specialist recruitment companies have vast networks of vetted candidates, both active and passive. They tend to be well-known in their fields, highly social and always making new connections. This means their potential candidate network usually far exceeds that of an in-house team, and they can contact pre-vetted candidates quickly. In-house teams can struggle to have this reach and typically take longer to search for, vet and contact candidates. 

During the pandemic, some companies choosing to take their recruitment in-house, only to get in touch down the line after realising how much time it takes to find a quality shortlist of candidates.

This picture only gets more complicated when you consider that vacancies are high, and unemployment is low.

Writing and advertising vacancies, proactively headhunting and contacting passive candidates, responding to questions and applications and vetting CVs all takes an extraordinary amount of time, and that’s before you even start scheduling interviews. For in-house professionals who are also juggling other responsibilities, this can become too much, and many businesses end up reverting back to an outsourced model. 

“It will be better for our employer brand” 

An in-house function means you’ll own the end-to-end recruitment process and be solely responsible for the candidate experience. This presents a fantastic opportunity to build your employer brand and take control of how you are perceived by potential employees.

If you outsource your recruitment function to a specialist recruitment agency, you’ll be trusting them to represent your company appropriately and guarantee the best possible candidate experience. They will often act as the first touch point and introduction to your role and company. This means a good recruitment agency will take the time to get a strong understanding of your company culture, requirements, role and business aims. 

“Agency recruiters are just salespeople” 

If you hire an in-house recruiter to your organisation, make sure they have a deep understanding of your industry and wider market trends. A good recruitment partner will not only understand what developments, opportunities and challenges are appearing in your industry – whether that’s an innovative technology making waves or new legislation creating qualification requirements – but also what the market is like for candidates and clients. Crucially, they need to know about the specific roles they are searching for.

This is especially important for executive search, where passive candidates need extra incentives to change roles. Executive recruiters must understand their markets inside out, and know what will incentivise certain professionals to move, something which in-house teams may not always understand. In-house professionals usually recruit for roles across the whole business, whether that’s a marketing intern, CFO or diversity manager, and it can be challenging for them to get a deep understanding of each of these hugely distinct roles.  

Save time and get the best candidates with Marks Sattin

We are proud to be recruitment specialist in our markets of financial services, commerce and industry, professional services, executive search, business change and technology. We have over 30 years’ experience and pride ourselves on repeat business, excellent customer service and our candidate care, where we source, meet and screen every candidate ourselves. We build long-term relationships that allow us to understand your business and requirements, ultimately saving you time and money and delivering professionals we know will be successful. Register a vacancy with us to see how we can help you. 




05/04/23
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