The recruitment industry has, along with many of its customers, been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Vacancies in the UK plummeted to a record low in April to June 2020 1 – for both permanent and interim placements.

Why you need to embrace technology to grow your business

But as the job market begins to show signs of picking up — which official statistics now suggest  —the question is whether there is an opportunity for recruitment companies to build back in a more agile and cost-effective way, using technology to enable that growth. Because we can expect competition among recruitment companies to be intense and those that have embraced technology to become ‘lean and mean’ to lead the pack.

 

How to avoid being at a disadvantage when the market picks up

We must not underestimate the ways in which business has changed since the pandemic started. By the end of April, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, was talking about having “seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months”. And a survey in July 2020 revealed that two-thirds of companies had accelerated their use of automation and artificial intelligence, with 48% having accelerated digitisation of customer channels and 36% bringing in more digitisation of their supply chain.

This is strategic acceleration on a massive scale. It’s not just that the goalposts have moved – in many instances we are playing a wholly new game. Which means that those businesses that have not spent time developing their technological solutions during this period are expected to be at a disadvantage in the future.

 

Why you must take advantage of the momentum

Companies that are hiring after the disruption of the last few months are likely to be impatient to move quickly, to recruit and onboard before their competitors are out of the starting blocks. To take advantage of the momentum as countries and regions emerge from pandemic restrictions and lockdowns. And to seek the best candidates from a talent pool that is uncommonly large due to pandemic-related job losses.

So, recruitment organisations need to be one step ahead.

 

Three ways to improve your company’s F&A

Which takes us back to why Finance & Accounting processes need to be lean and agile now! Here are just three of the ways in which technology can be used to improve a company’s finances:

 

“I would estimate that over month end and weekly billing we would probably save from five to seven hours a week”

Jo Finch, Finance Director, Stanton House

With around 70% of executives in a global survey wanting to increase their use of on-site temporary workers, contractors, and freelancers over the next two years compared with pre COVID-19 levels3, there is potential for the number of temporary recruits to increase—an opportunity which business processes should be flexible enough to accommodate.

Financial professionals have a vital role to play post COVID-19. They need to be able to course-correct financial planning and analysis based on actual performance data monitored in real-time.

How acting now will reap the best opportunities

But how straightforward is it to modify processes while adhering to pandemic restriction guidelines? Fortunately, innovative technological solutions can be implemented safely and quickly, without the need to be in the same physical location.

“What was interesting about the delivery of the bot to Stanton House, is that we had to do it completely remotely” Paul Mason, CTO, embracent

So, although it may feel daunting, and a challenging time to be planning changes, there is no better time than the present. Being proactive and streamlining processes for flexibility will allow recruitment companies to take advantage of industry recovery and new opportunities, as and when they arise.

And with an average Return on Investment (ROI) of 6 to 9 months for many of these technology solutions, the right time to act is now.

Emily Graham-Cumming

Emily Graham-Cumming

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