State of Play in TA – European Markets, June 2020

Talent Acquisition Teams contracted in size across the European region during the second quarter of this year (April – June 2020) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although this might be as expected during a global event, not all sectors were equally affected.

In many cases global corporations froze their live requisitions across the commercial (Sales & Marketing) and corporate functions (HR, Legal, Accounting & Finance) whilst some key technical vacancies (particularly within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and technological innovation sectors) remained open.

As a result, our findings show a significant uptick in the availability of interim corporate recruiters (contractors) during April – with them either having been given 2-4 weeks’ notice at the start of April or having had their contracts ended immediately. Advertised interim corporate recruiter vacancies significantly declined during this quarter both in the UK, the Netherlands and across Western Europe.

Impact of IR35 on In-House Recruiters

We also noticed an increase in interim corporate recruiter conversions to permanent appointments during March-April, but this was most likely due to the IR35 private sector reforms which were due to come into place on April 6. The IR35 reforms were subsequently put on hold as part of the UK Government’s response to the pandemic, until April 6th, 2021. It is widely thought, and we are inclined to agree, that the reforms are unlikely to take place next year, if at all, given the economic environment. We and the wider market await further announcements in relation to IR35.

Immediate hiring freezes, furlough and retrenchment were seen in the Oil & Gas, Hospitality & Retail, and Tourism sectors, significantly reducing the need for Talent Acquisition (in-house recruitment) services. The Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology sectors, somewhat unsurprisingly, have retained many of their permanent in-house recruiters and some interim support and we have seen the same across the technology sector. 

Signs of Life & Green shoots

Corporate Recruiters Director, Jo Mount said “From early June we have received a noticeable increase in new Client engagement particularly within the Life Science and Technology sectors – many planning ahead as the market recovers and preparing for future corporate recruitment projects and company growth”. 

Jo said, “As our Clients ‘thaw’ their requisitions and hiring managers return to their 2020/21 business plans, we expect an initially higher demand for interim resources as opposed to permanent corporate recruitment appointments”.

Career Recruitment Contractors

We have also noticed an increased interest in permanent in-house roles from recruiters who previously identified as ‘career contractors’. Whilst this, again, may be due to the spectre of IR35, and the subsequent softening of the Talent Acquisition market due to Covid-19, we think this trend will continue as the global demand for talented people resumes, remuneration packages continue to improve and remote working becomes normal.

For all enquiries about Interim or Permanent Corporate Recruiters contact us