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Here Are Some of the Leading Recruitment Industry Trends for 2018

Callum Dawson

  • 03 Oct

Inbound, Recruitment

 Keep up to date with these recruitment industry trends.

It’s important for recruiters to keep up to date with developments in the industry. This means keeping up with trends, too. 

Luminate Digital have collected all the trends recruiters should be aware of. They will help you begin 2018 in the best position possible.

Greater security

Let’s tackle GDPR first. If you’re still unsure as to what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is, you can consult our series of blogs on the subject.

GDPR for businesses means that stricter controls on how companies can process and control user data. While we wouldn’t say it is necessarily a ‘trend’ per se, it will definitely affect how recruitment agencies operate from 25 May 2018.

In terms of measuring GDPR’s impact sector by sector, we think it will likely affect the recruitment industry more than others. Because of the nature of the industry - people-facing, and built around using people’s data to find them roles - agencies are obliged to bolt down their data processes. They neglect to do so at the risk of up to €20 million euros, or 4% of their annual turnover.

Agencies store a lot of personal data, and under that premise, the industry has been quite fruitful - becoming one of the UK’s most successful with an intake of £35.1 billion.

Now is better than later to become GDPR compliant. The clock is ticking...

New analytical perspectives

Analytics are due to make a big splash in the new year, with recruiters looking to the numbers to glean how successful their approach has been.

With analytics come algorithms. In an article by the Wall Street Journal, it was revealed that many established companies are reverting their hiring tactics. The focus was on how Unilever is now using algorithms to attract new recruits.

To quote from the article: “Resumes are out, algorithms are in. To diversify its candidate pool, the company relies on software to sort applicants and targets potential hires on their smartphones.”

Essentially, what Unilever has done is implement three steps of the application process before any human interaction has happened, introducing at each stage an algorithm to assess whether the applicant is a good fit.

This leads to a shift away from the more traditional recruitment process, to a far more digitised practice. It’s huge for such a big player like Unilever to go down this route, so it’s sensible to expect companies turning to more algorithms in their hiring practices for 2018.

Social media job hunting

The advertising space for the recruitment industry has become a busy, jostling affair with lots of competition. That looks to be increased now that bigger players are vying for room, most notably Facebook and Google.

Google set out in search (geddit?) of recruitment success when they created their independent search engine for job listings. Facebook also added a job openings feature, challenging even LinkedIn for space in the recruiting business.

These are big developments, as it just indicates the power companies like Facebook and Google have, to not only stray from their primary services but also to muscle in on LinkedIn.

If they are successful, you can bet that others will likely follow suit.

Making more use of marketing

As the social media point would have indicated, there has always been an element of marketing in the business of recruitment, which is expected in such a competitive market.

That said, it has always been lightly used with minimal channels utilised. 2018 will see the UK recruitment industry take full advantage of marketing and the digital sphere because as we’ve seen in 2017, it has already begun.

Think of it this way: recruiting is quite similar to marketing in some respects. Both are looking to build a presence, and to attract ‘applicants’ through various forms of advertising.

Gig economy

The ‘gig economy’ continues to drive debate and change the way we look at traditional forms of work and shift the perception of how we actually think about ‘work’.

In 2018, we will hear only more of it, and we expect recruitment agencies to accommodate and embrace it.

And, with Uber losing its lease it remains on the tip of our tongues.

Greater diversity

Workplace diversity has been a huge topic in the media, and not just in HR circles but across numerous sectors, too. Everyone is interested, and it's clear that everyone wants change.

This means that for 2018, more recruitment agencies will be contributing to breaking down any negative perceptions of the industry to work toward a more diverse workforce

AI disruptions

As ever, artificial intelligence (AI) continues to disrupt the industry, offering new technological opportunities for companies.

This is relevant for recruitment in particular. As many businesses will confirm, the process of recruitment can be lengthy and time-consuming. More and more, businesses across the world will be using AI somewhere within their recruitment process.

For example, chatbots are becoming increasingly commonplace in recruitment - we wrote a little more about it here.

Agencies will follow suit. It offers a smarter, more efficient way of recruiting that can be used alongside consultants in a unified, structured approach.


It’s vital that, as a recruitment agency, you keep an eye firmly fixed on the horizon. You don’t need us to tell you how competitive, fast-moving and dynamic the industry can be.

Basically speaking, it’s easy to get left behind. There are always new technologies, approaches, and methods with which you can attract candidates and do so in a more efficient and methodical manner.

Having a finger on the pulse will not only set you in good stead for changes, it will improve the perception of your agency. If you are embracing the latest innovations, making use of them and utilising them for recruitment then your candidates (and the industry as a whole) will perceive you as distinguished, professional and modern.

Like we said, recruitment agencies have to market themselves too! 

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