From one recruiter to another: why we should promote our industry

18 Jul 2016



“What do you want to be when you grow up….?”

“An astronaut, a Premiership footballer, a firefighter, a nurse!”

Four answers that probably every parent and teacher around the UK has heard, at least once, when posing the golden question to the majority of youngsters deliberating their futures.

How many say, “I want to be a recruiter”?

Five per cent? Ten per cent? I’d guess it wouldn’t even be half a per cent. I mean, I wanted to be an international pole vaulter when I was a kid, and look how that turned out… (the curious can ask questions later!)

So why do so few consider recruitment as a viable and successful career path to follow? Social influence, media coverage, poor careers advice?

All of the above could be significant factors – I didn’t even know what recruitment was until I hit 18. But personally, I think it’s a profession that simply doesn’t gain enough respect, value and recognition in society, with politicians, and in the media as a whole.

When you consider the fact that the UK recruitment industry is worth a staggering £31.5 billion per year to the UK economy, and employs over 103,000 people – and that figure is expected to grow by another 25,000 by 2019 – why don’t more young people consider recruitment as a profession?

Well, I’ve been working in the industry for just under four years – I actually trained as a sports journalist. I work for a small, but reputable, personable and friendly company that sits within the Facilities Management, Building Management and Property Management sector.

During my time at Catch 22, I have often asked myself: “Why didn’t I consider recruitment sooner?” Working in a fast-paced and exciting job that throws up daily challenges, who wouldn’t enjoy the hustle and bustle of a busy office, the networking opportunities, and the contacts you can gain from recruitment?

Okay, it’s not for everyone – a lot of people that I speak to actually have tried recruitment at some stage of their lives, but then moved on to other things, for various reasons.

But deciding to work in recruitment should not just be to ‘pay the bills’ or ‘because there’s nothing else to do’. It should be because you are passionate about finding someone their dream job and helping to transform their life.

This is where the REC’s latest campaign, ‘Jobs transform lives’, comes in. The campaign’s springboard is a toolkit designed to help recruiters change the negative stereotypes of our sector, by spreading the word about the value that recruiters bring to individuals, businesses and the economy.

UK-based recruiters help find permanent jobs for over 634,000 people per year, in 2.3 million companies worldwide – without us there would be noticeably large gaps in many businesses, globally. The need to promote our industry in a positive light has never been more apparent, especially in these times of social and political uncertainty.

Here at Catch 22, we have been actively using the toolkit by circulating some of the collated facts and stats via various social media platforms using #jobstransform to help promote good recruitment practices. We also hope to utilise the toolkit when taking on new consultants and training them as to the benefits of going the distance in the recruitment world.

We hope that the toolkit will also help us to pitch the services that Catch 22 provide to potential clients – after all, many businesses are reluctant to use an agency’s services, due to the impetuous stereotypes that sadly cloud our industry today. So we hope the toolkit can help our marketing efforts to win new clients’ faith and trust, in years to come.We hope that other recruitment agencies, including our competitors, will follow our lead by using the REC’s toolkit, messages and materials to help promote good recruitment – we should all be in this drive together.

I personally think that by promoting recruitment in a more positive light, we can attract more talented, skilled and enthusiastic young professionals to our industry, and continue to grow what is a hugely important sector in the UK economy.

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