2018 looks like an interesting landscape for recruiters.

On one hand; we’re seeing historically low unemployment, rising wages and a constant demand for highly skilled workers. On the other; HR technologies are starting to empower internal teams, good people are still often lost to lengthy hiring processes, and that same demand for candidates often outstrips supply.

This combination can lead to frustrating conditions, the likes of which we are only just starting to witness. Logic tells us, these affects will increase over time, as more businesses transform and grow their technological capabilities.

To add fuel to the fire, recruiters are also more in tune with what a good company culture should look like, and we’re starting to prioritise our wellness, both mental and physical. This is important both for the performance of those workers, and to prevent the loss of working days and staff in general to burnout. Agencies will have to get on board, and mean it, if they want to attract and retain good people in the new age. This is particularly true of millennial and gen z types, who are becoming painfully aware of their long working life, and the uncertain future ahead of them.

What’s next for the contingency recruiter is certainly up for debate. It seems likely the role will not survive in its current form and if we’re being honest, few will miss it – least of all the good recruiters.

It’s worth taking note of the up-trends in volatile times. Collaboration; at least, that which is more meaningful and complex between partners and clients, is one winner. This welcomes opportunities for different working models for recruiters (think on-site, RPO etc.)

Inter-collaboration in organisational settings is also on the rise, as they increasingly switch to agile ways of working. If executed well, this could cancel out the need for an external partner for some businesses – but on the flip side, should create jobs as companies start to understand the potential of their internal business functions.

The other is transparency. We now expect more from our business partners. We want their values to align with our own, and in the age of instant communication, that stuff is easy to check out. In response we’re seeing businesses starting to develop a social conscience. In the immortal words of Gregg Wallace, “I like it.”

People expect companies to handle their data responsibly, and not just “because GDPR”, as basic compliance with the law is not new or special. It’s as we’ve started to see the consequences of large companies taking this stuff for granted (amirite, Facebook and Equifax?) Trust is at an all time low, so people have taken to shopping with their critical head in defense.

These trends suggest a good time ahead for ethical, innovative recruiters, as well as their candidates and clients. This could naturally lead to copycat efforts from others, resulting in a better experience overall. If this happens, the reputation of the recruiting industry could even start to improve. Maybe.

We live in hope.