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COVID and the temporary recruitment industry

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Pranav Kasinadhuni covid recruitment, covid and recruitment, covid...

Unprecedented times

July 19th 2021 saw thousands of happy and relieved Britishers celebrate the end of COVID in the UK. Also famously termed as ‘Freedom Day’, people flocked the beaches in large numbers, disposed face masks and enjoyed the end of COVID restrictions in the UK. Additionally, hiring hit an all-time high since the late 1990’s and starting pay also witnessed a rise. Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said, “Recruiters are working flat out to fill roles across our economy, the jobs market is improving at the fastest pace we have ever seen, but it is still an unpredictable time".

The latest news about the Omicron variant sparking global alarm, indeed reinstates that we are living in an unpredictable time. With countries again imposing strict restrictions, what would this mean for the recruitment industry?

Covid and recruitment: An erratic marriage

British employers throughout 2020 were struggling to employ candidates on a consistent basis. The REC last year stated that candidates looking for work reduced starting pay and number of vacancies posted by companies dropped. As things were starting to look better towards the second half of 2020, the second wave drastically impacted employers and candidates. Businesses across in the UK had no choice but to shut down and redundancy rates were at a record high. The office for National Statistics reported that redundancies rose to a staggering 370,000 in the 3 months to October.


This number slowly started to ease only to make it worse towards the end of 2020 and the early months of 2021. Government schemes such as ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ and furlough helped the economy, but another major lifesaver was the temporary recruitment sector.

Temporary recruitment: A ray of hope

UK employers always turned to temporary staff whenever the crisis worsened. REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry during the second wave last year said, “We face a challenging winter and temporary work will be a vital tool for keeping businesses going and people in work”. The Social Policy Association (SPA) in the UK has reported that the numbers of temporary workers increased by 24,000 just in the past quarter and 65,000 in the past year. With companies having pressure from shareholders to cut costs and budgets being reduced, what companies require today is flexibility without long-term commitment. This also works well for candidates as they can commit to different companies for fixed hours based on their schedule, providing them a sense of independence.

Temporary recruitment firms have also been quick to adapt to the changing requirements due to COVID. Almost all temporary recruitment firms are making sure to have job characteristics that are in accordance with the wellbeing of candidates. Class 1 Personnel makes sure that all candidates are provided with jobs that offer quality training and development, employer sick pay, career progression and COVID safety protocols. Furthermore, every candidate is given personal attention and have touchpoints throughout their temporary work, providing them a feeling of permanence.

COVID has surely impacted recruitment in a large manner and the latest development of the virus only suggests that the pandemic is here to stay. During such times the temporary recruitment industry has been a force to reckon with and going by the trends in the industry, it is only going to get bigger.

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