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Positive outlook for the future of the UK SME Recruitment Industry, Firefish survey shows

UK SME recruitment agency owners are adapting to the COVID-19 landscape and are confident about the future, Firefish Software survey reveals.

  • Almost half of UK recruitment agency owners are optimistic about the next 12 months, and agencies of 1-5 recruiters are more optimistic than larger agencies.
  • 40% of agency owners expect positive sales growth and 30% expect revenue to return to pre-COVID levels as early as Q1 2021.
  • 35% of recruitment agencies plan to increase focus in the Technology sector, as Tech industry grows as a result of the pandemic.
  • 32% of agencies are ramping up their Exec Search, as highly-paid roles are least at risk due to COVID-19.

Glasgow, September 2020: Recruitment software provider Firefish Software has published data from a survey they ran with UK SME recruitment agency owners. 

The general picture of the survey is surprisingly optimistic in the face of a challenging job-short market and thousands of redundancies being made nationwide. 

The survey, titled ‘The Future of the UK SME Recruitment Industry’ reveals a more positive picture for smaller agencies, as those with 1-5 recruiters were 6% more optimistic about the next 12 months and 6% more likely to expect positive sales growth (42% vs. 35%) than the rest of the market.

Overall, 30% of agency owners expect their revenue to return to pre-COVID levels as early as Q1 2021. 

This is an indication that the recruitment industry has been the first to get hit and will be the first to recover, as we’ve seen will happen with previous recessions.

Adapting to the new recruitment landscape

The survey also painted a clear picture of how recruitment agencies in the UK are planning to adapt their business plans and models to suit the new landscape. 

35% of agency owners are increasing focus in the Tech sector as Technology businesses continue to grow in spite of – and even as a result of – the pandemic. 

In light of the news that highly paid jobs are the least at risk due to COVID-19, 32% of agencies are ramping up their Exec Search. Nearly half of all respondents plan to scale up their temp desks in response to changes in the job market too.

Firefish Software CEO, Wendy McDougall has said: 

I’m not surprised that smaller agencies have been hit less hard than the rest – these guys are the most adaptable of all and we’ve been onboarding more one-man bands to Firefish since COVID-19 hit than in the history of Firefish. 

This survey is a great reflection of what we’re hearing from agency owners in the UK right now. COVID has hit our industry hard but recruiters are incredibly resilient and I’m already seeing recovery plans gaining momentum and providing a return.”

To read the survey and report in full please CLICK HERE

About Firefish Software

Firefish Software is a multi-award-winning recruitment software business that's changing the way businesses recruit.

Since launching in 2010, Firefish has helped hundreds of recruiter-owned agencies gain a serious competitive edge by combining their recruitment CRM and marketing activities onto one platform. 

By recruiting the Firefish way, users convert 45% more candidates directly on their own recruitment website to increase placements by at least 25%.

Firefish is now in 26 countries and consistently growing by over 30% year-on-year. 


Wendy McDougall - Managing Director

0141 648 8520

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