What Suits Me’s Record Growth has Taught us About Recruitment and Lockdown
Suits Me improved its growth as other members of the UK Fintech industry took a hit during the global pandemic. Our record Q1 and Q2 figures have given us an insight into how the recruitment sector has been impacted by Coronavirus.
Overall, we have recorded levels of growth between Q1 and Q2 that far exceeded our targets. Our total account creations from January to June was 151% higher than the same period in 2019 and, by July, we had already surpassed the total account creations in the whole of the previous year.
Behind our growth, the nuances in where accounts were made in the first half of the year have allowed us to understand the influence Coronavirus has had over recruitment and employment by the number of accounts created by recruiters for their staff compared to the number of accounts personally created by UK citizens worried about their financial inclusion.
Coming out the other end of what is potentially only the first Coronavirus lockdown, we’re pleased to offer both our customers and our recruiting business partners all the help they need to adjust to banking and employing in the new normal.
What Changes have we Noticed?
As expected, our account creation statistics showed little resemblance to either our 2019 figures or our 2020 predictions as a result of lockdown. The information we gathered confirmed recruitment was deeply impacted by the virus and saw a short, sharp decline from March onwards.
Our accounts are created in one of two ways, they can be created by employer partners using the Suits Me employer portal, where they can create an online banking account for a candidate without an account in seconds, or directly through our website. Until the tail end of 2019, most accounts were created by referral.
By comparing the two methods of creation we can make some inferences into how recruitment and general financial inclusion concerns are growing.
For referrals, in March the number of account creations fell steeply; only 63.0% of the forecast number of creations. This trend continued through lockdown to the point that we were only achieving around half of expected referral account creations in mid-April.
By June this changed and we experienced our largest number of account creations by referral on record. The boom suggesting more had returned to work safely, in line with government guidance, and recruiters, despite the lockdown, had come out the other end ready to hire more than ever. Since then, in July, referrals have started to return to our normal, predicted levels.
We’ve learnt that, luckily for both us and the recruitment sector, despite the deep and heavy lull in recruitment it is showing signs of resilience and, despite what might be many more difficult months in the winter, we should come out the other end relatively well adjusted to the post-COVID workplace.
Our inferences have been backed by national data. Account creations by employer referral mirror the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) new starter data. The number of new starters toppled in mid-March just as our card creations decreased. We also match the increase in new starters at the start of Q2.
But as the title suggests, we’ve experienced growth despite all this. Direct applications were consistently higher than usual as the number increased by 81.1% compared to 2019’s Q1 to Q2 performance meaning that the 2022 total of direct creations are on record to beat the whole of 2019, including referrals.
The ONS found that towards the peak of the pandemic in May over two-thirds of the country were worried about the future and that 18.5% of the work force in all industries were still on furlough. As general worry and financial uncertainty increase more and more people have begun to use inclusive, totally online banking accounts like ours that won’t remove services according to their employment status, credit score or lack of fixed address.
The large number of direct applications exceeds those lost by referrals meaning a massive proportion of people are moving away from high street banking at least partly due to the pandemic.
What we’re Doing as a Result of our Q1 and Q2 Figures
Even though the amount of direct applications has impressed us and all data appears to demonstrate that our employer partners have shown perseverance and recovery too, we’re not going to be complacent. We’re doing all we can to get referrals back up to where they should be, helping as many recruiters as possible along the way.
New team members, including a revamped account management team, will be sent out to help with training, updates and any other queries our partners might have and will do so more often as pandemic response measures begin to relax further.
Our rapidly growing customer care team is also there to help your staff with customer support in their language providing a service that’s been streamlined and optimised by being forced to work remotely since Spring.
We’re not taking the growth for granted, and will pour all of it back into supporting our customers by improving Suits Me even further.