T’is the season to be … well, predicting what could happen in our industry in the next 12 months. There will be a slew of these, and perhaps where our predictions overlap, there may be some agreement. Anyhoo, here’s my take.

  1. It will become clearer that Greater London and the rest of the UK are almost like different countries, when it comes to growth, recruitment, salaries and lifestyle. We may have the same currency and language, but the price of everything is different (including salaries). There may well be a war for talent in London, but frankly not so much elsewhere.
  2. Staff retention will be critical. As the recession abates, and modest growth appears, there will be a release of pent up ambition from career-minded individuals leaving their current roles. They’ve sat tight for the past few years, and now want to leave. Employers need to have identified who is critical to their business, and make proactive moves to retain their services.
  3. In-house recruitment teams (and HR departments) will have a section dedicated to staff retention. This all ties in with the much trumpeted employee-engagement.
  4. The roundabout of in-house recruiters being bumped after setting up the function, (and saving the employer a fortune in recruitment fees) will continue. HR won’t want to see them as a permanent fixture, and the “law of diminishing returns” will apply.
  5. Unpaid interns will now have to be paid or actually trained on the job. The tide has turned on this, and the best way to get free staff will be to train them to do something other than make the coffee.
  6. Jobseekers will assert themselves more, as the recovery takes hold. 
  7. Recruitment agencies will be recruiting, mostly from each other.
  8. Job boards will actively pursue employers more directly. Branded adverts work far better, and response rates to anonymous job adverts are falling.
  9. Job board design will become mobile-centric. Any site without mobile-apply will be laughed out of town.
  10. Scotland: Lastly, and importantly for me, Scotland will be in the news all year. With the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, and of course that pesky referendum on Independence from the UK on 18th September 2014; this will have an unavoidable impact on employer sentiment throughout the year. It shouldn’t affect businesses much within the M25, but will set national agendas affecting employment law, pensions, and taxes.


As with all predictions, these are my educated guesses. If you disagree, or think I’ve missed anything out (I’m bound to), please let me know below.

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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