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UK Recruitment Trends 2017

I’ve assessed a number of resources in order to find out the greatest range of 2017 recruitment trends for employees and employers alike. Read on to discover what challenges and benefits there are for job-hunters and hiring companies that look set to continue into 2018:

Casual Hiring

Bronwen Hann, President & Senior Partner at Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, notes a trend of companies choosing to cash in on a ‘gig economy’. According to Hann, ‘more companies than ever are choosing to ‘rent’ rather than hire talent, even at the director level and above.'(1)

Skills Shortage

There is more competition than ever between companies looking for the best candidates. This is because the growing skills shortage of new graduates is a serious problem for businesses looking to expand. 92% of HR directors say it is challenging to find skilled professionals today. (8) This means that salary expectations are higher, making it more difficult for companies to secure the top-tier of new hires. It is thought that the UK now has 73 areas of skill shortage, up from 13 since the last report.(6)

Rising Salaries

In some industries like finance and accounting, starting salaries are predicted to grow in 2017. Looking back at previous trends, this means that starting salaries for professional roles have grown by 3.68% over the past three years. (8)

Employee Referrals

My research for 2017 recruitment trends led me to the interesting discovery that employee referrals are one of the top three methods employers use to obtain quality talent. The hiring volume of candidates this year and into 2018 look set to increase steadily, and the top three method employers use to find candidates are 1. employee referrals, 2. third-party website or online job boards, and 3. social professional networks.

Employer Recruitment Budget

If you’ve ever wanted to know how employers divide their money when it comes to hiring new talent, look no further. The breakdown of an employer’s recruitment budget, even with employee referrals being the top source for new talent, usually looks something like this:

30% to job boards/advertising

22% to agency recruitment costs

17% to recruiting tools (ATS, CRM)

9% to employee referral programs

8% to employer branding

Influenced by Politics

2016 was a big year for politics. Two huge events stunned the world: Britain choosing to leave the EU, and Donald J. Trump winning the US presidency. Both were initially thought to send the global market to its doom, but the opposite has happened. The global stock markets have reached their highest points in decades, and Brexit hasn’t damned the British economy. The only challenge now is to assess the recruitment industry closely in tandem with the delay in the triggering of Article 50.

Candidate Searches Based on Cloud Computing and Data

While some observers believe this kind of candidate search to be devoid of the human-centric aspect of recruitment, more and more recruitment companies are leveraging HR technology tools and sites and using software that allows them to create detailed queries which filters out unsuitable candidates.

Mobile Recruitment

Companies eager to hire the best talent will be focusing more on ad campaigns that are compatible with Smartphones. Web pages optimised for viewing on mobile screens, for example, are the way forward.

Employer Branding

2017 and beyond looks set to be the years of the candidate: right now it is a candidate’s market; not an employer’s one. This means that companies will invest more time and money trying to attract the best candidates. More focus is placed on why a candidate should want to work for a particular employer, as opposed to the usual trend that focuses on why a candidate should be hired.

The trends above are by no means a comprehensive list of the trends occurring in recruitment, but the general shape of the marketplace is represented fully. 2017 is portrayed across the board as the year of the candidate, when companies will all be queuing up to hire them. The most worrying analysis of the UK work-force pertains to the shortage of skills. Incentives should be devised for skilled workers in particular areas that don’t usually entice students enrolling for university. Any economy that lacks skilled workers faces a future of uncertainty, so this is the primary issue that needs to be addressed.


1. 13 Recruitment Trends You Must Know for 2017

2. Bleak trend of low, part-time wages in UK is revealed

3. UK big business to expand workforces in 2017 despite Brexit fears, says CBI

4. Higher salaries, fierce competition: 2017 graduate recruitment trends

5. Linkedin global recruiting trends report 2017

6. The Future Trends of 2017 Recruiting in The UK

7. Hays UK Salary and Recruiting Trends 2017

8. Hiring in 2017? Key recruitment trends you need to know

9. Global & UK Recruitment Trends 2017

by Gillian Rixey
(Gillian is a PhD qualified freelance writer and scholar born in Ireland but currently residing in the United States.)