How has Covid-19 affected the recruitment sector?
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How has Covid-19 affected the recruitment sector?

19 June 2020 By YPO, Capita and Comensura

woman digital recruitment

In a series of three blogs, we will be exploring what has been happening in the recruitment sector and how it has had to adapt to the challenges faced.

We have interviewed a few of our recruitment providers to get their thoughts on the last few months and the changes they have seen within the sector. The first question we asked the providers was:

What is happening in recruitment across the sectors and what changes are being seen?


In many ways recruitment across the sectors mirrors the state of the nation. Demand for key workers has increased to help fight the impacts of the virus, this includes in public health care, social care, and other front line health services. Workers in desk-based roles are working from home, many workers have been furloughed and demand for non-frontline workers recruitment has been significantly scaled back.

Our largest customer is a business services provider who supports a number of government bodies including the NHS, and we have been working round the clock to support staffing for COVID-19 testing centres (nine centres live with more expected), pop-up hospitals (including the NHS Louisa Jordan Emergency Field Hospital in Glasgow) and contact tracing as well ramp up activity in their BAU operations. With this, customer weekly temp worker hours have more than doubled.


Before COVID-19 hit the globe, the world of recruitment was already adapting to the vast changes in communication, digital technology, and marketing. Once the pandemic hit and the lockdown became imperative, the effects on the whole economy meant having to make bigger changes at a faster pace - including the recruitment sector.

During March there was a 70% reduction in new permanent job vacancies in the UK and most live roles were put on hold. That gives us some indication of the extent to which organisations have thought about their business, their employees and how they wish to continue recruiting.

We began to see an increasing trend towards digitisation of the entire end-to-end recruitment process. In particular, those that were ‘in house’ and face-to-face based prior to COVID-19, had to find a new solution imminently. This included assessments and interviews, workforce data, candidate experience and recruiter productivity. More importantly, these had to continue and still be deployed while everyone had to start working from home.

For those industries still recruiting, social distancing makes certain tasks more difficult too, for example, there may be fewer candidates due to the virus (either through sickness or fear of getting sick). Employers also want to meet candidates in person, as we all know that a face-to-face meeting is a lot stronger when building a rapport with someone new. Telephone and camera interviews can and do work, but it doesn’t have quite the same effect. But video interviews had to be seen with a positive perspective – you can actually find out a lot about a person by how they function and respond on the call.

Because recruiting tends to be a very costly process, compared to available technical solutions, it may be a significant amount of time before companies start to recruit again.

We have all seen changing demands in recruitment over the last few months, due to the impact of COVID-19. In the following two blogs of our series, we’ll be asking our providers 'is there any innovation in the market around fulfilling roles' and 'what does the future of recruitment look like?'


If you would like to find out more about how we can help with your recruitment needs during the pandemic, get in touch with the team!
Categories: Procurement , Frameworks

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