GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, USA – May 15, 2020 – NPAworldwide, a global recruitment network, announced the results of a special COVID-19 survey. The survey was completed by owners and managers of independent recruitment firms that are members of the NPAworldwide global network. The survey opened April 21 and ended on April 30, 2020. Participants were asked to document business conditions related to their business, their clients’ businesses, and their exposure to the recruitment market as a whole. Results are a good indicator of what the independent recruitment firms might be experiencing on a global basis.
The COVID-19 survey sought to understand the immediate impact of the pandemic on business conditions at a high level. The purpose was to understand what members were seeing and feeling to see if there was specific action the network could take to support conditions. The survey was completed with a global perspective and was not segmented into a region-by-region or unique to each country data sets. Sixty-one percent of those responding to the survey were solo practitioners or two-person offices, while nearly 18% were offices of 6 or more.
- Things are difficult and required a reduction in staff. Sixteen percent of respondents had cut one or more staff members within six weeks of the beginnings of the pandemic, specifically the sheltering in place rules issued by states and countries.
- Client activity has dropped dramatically for most. Seventeen percent of respondents found that client activity dropped off completely with no recruiting activity being reported. Only eight percent found recruitment activity to be between 75-100% of normal. The largest group reported activity at about 25% or less from normal.
- Activity and hiring still happening, but some sectors are more active than others. Reports from the engineering/operations/manufacturing sector showed the most activity, with 42% of respondents pointing out active searches and hires. Following that was the technology/IT sector with 33% reporting activity, healthcare with 27%, sales/marketing/admin with 22%, accounting/finance with 20% and biomedical/pharmaceuticals with seventeen percent. As a reminder, the survey respondents are likely focused on just one or two of these sectors. The fact that activity is present is more important than the percentages, comparatively.
- Temporary hiring. Eighteen percent of respondents found that client use of temporary hiring was increasing or there was an increased interest in such hires. As we dig out of a downturn like this, it is typical of temporary hires to increase dramatically with temp-to-perm becoming a more common path to adding staff.
- Client workforce reductions. The most common situation reported was client reductions in force of more than 75% of workers furloughed or cut. This was noted by 57% of our respondents. The next most common condition was a less than 25% reduction in staffing levels, followed by no reductions reported by 30% and 13% of the survey participants respectively.
- Applications for government support. Nearly 70% of the respondents to the survey have applied for one form or another of government backed support. These levels and types of support vary from country to country and are not available in all locations surveyed, so 70% is a large majority.
- Approved for government support. As of the survey completion date, only 22% were certain of their approval for the support requested or applied for. Fifty-percent did not yet know, while just five percent had received firm rejections.
“While things have changed dramatically and quickly, our COVID-19 survey shows there is still activity in the recruitment industry. The industry will certainly lose many recruiters, as well as a large number of firms that were not properly funded, recent start-ups or firms that were too dependent on hard-hit sectors,” remarked NPAworldwide president Dave Nerz. “Our members rely on each other at times like this and have weathered previous downturns of various causes since 1956. We find that members of our network are more likely to survive and thrive than the industry as a whole because of shared jobs, candidates and a peer-to-peer support network. We are all looking forward to a return to more normal conditions on the other side of the difficult months still ahead.”
About NPAworldwide. NPAworldwide is a global recruitment network facilitating placements between its members. The network has more than 550 member offices across 6 continents. For more information, please visit www.npaworldwide.com or www.npaworldwideworks.com.