Specialist recruitment agencies

Survival and the Specialist in a Rapidly Changing Recruitment Industry

The recruitment industry is changing rapidly. The rise of social media and its disruptive effects are now, some would say, finally being felt acutely in recruiting. The general consensus has been that to survive and to flourish in the future as an external or agency recruitment consultant, you should ensure you are a ‘specialist’.

So what does that mean?

Being a specialist in the recruitment industry means you are an expert within your sector or industry silo. For example, you may be a digital marketing specialist, a funds management specialist, or you could be an SAP specialist. Essentially, this means that you have built a network within the specialisation and you have detailed knowledge about your specialisation.

Specialisation is a logical strategy that has historically brought much financial gain. Social media disruption has caused many agency recruiters to scramble to ensure that they have their niche secure, and many new starters are focusing entirely on unique market niches.

This is all well and good, but here is my problem with this strategy: what happens when the market that your entire recruitment firm specialises in is disrupted? Examples include recruitment firms who specialise in mining and engineering, the automotive sector or print media.

If you knew that social media would take off as it has, you would have set up a specialist social media recruitment firm five years ago. Survival of recruitment agencies, in my view, is more akin to their ability to adapt and to provide cutting edge sourcing to clients recruiting positions that may not even have been created yet.

If a recruitment firm defines itself purely as a specialist in a very thin, unique niche market, then they should expect to be disrupted by changes in their market or economic cycle relating to their niche. It would be expected that this would happen more often to those firms than to firms that have a combination of specialist recruiters who are nimble and able to reposition themselves in a changing market place.

Here is a thought to leave with you: is your specialisation both the best thing about your business and also the ball and chain that will restrict your future prosperity?

The following two tabs change content below.
Mark Smith

Mark Smith

Managing Director at people2people
Commencing his career with Deloitte in the late 1980’s, Mark is a qualified Accountant. In 1994, he decided to make a career switch to the recruitment industry. During his early recruitment career with two listed recruitment entities, Mark recruited and managed teams in both temporary and permanent disciplines, in the Sydney, Brisbane and London markets. In February 2005, Mark established people2people with Manda Milling and Simon Gressier. Mark is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), a member of the Recruitment & Consulting Services Association (MRCSA) and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD).
Mark Smith

Latest posts by Mark Smith (see all)


2 comments

  1. As an absolutely, no question about it, indisputably not just an empty claim, recruitment specialist in media sales……thanks for ending the week on a low note 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *