As job losses mount, recruitment agencies are starting to feel the pinch.

This is one of the findings from a survey by the SA Recruiters Network, conducted among South African recruitment agencies as well as HR and hiring managers, to review the impact that the recession is having on recruitment.
The SA Recruiters Network ( is an online networking community for South African Recruitment and HR professionals. It was formed in May this year by Gillian Meier, CEO of South African Job Portal,
During June the network ran two separate surveys – one focused on recruitment agencies and another on HR and hiring managers from corporate South Africa. The surveys were both geared around acquiring insight into the impact that the recession is having on hiring within companies as well as the effects that are felt as a result thereof by the recruitment industry. A second part of the survey focused on understanding how both the companies and recruitment agencies are adapting their recruitment strategies to meet their current hiring needs under the financial crunch.
Before the recession many recruitment agencies were working on anywhere between 20-50 vacancies on average per month, with 15% handling more than 51-100 vacancies in a month.
Since the recession, this number has dropped significantly with less than 3% of recruitment agencies handling between 51-100 vacancies in a month and more than 70% now only working on no more than 20 job specs in a month.
Where more than 70% of agencies were making more than five placements a month on average, 72% are now placing fewer than five candidates monthly.
The current economic situation has forced many companies (22%) to put a freeze on hiring, with 56% commenting that they are only replacing critical roles. Several large organisations now hiring fewer than 20 employees per annum.
Both companies and recruitment agencies have recognised a need to become smarter in their recruitment strategies. More recruitment agencies are realising the value of having their own web sites and now frequently make use of these to advertise opportunities that they are working on.
Employers and their agencies both feel that having access to a central CV database will provide the most value with regards to filling critical roles quickly at minimal cost. 98% of recruitment agencies felt that it is important that they access CV databases and 88% currently subscribe to an online CV database, with 73% of companies interested in accessing some form of external CV database. 41% of companies already make extensive use of their own CV databases to find suitable skills and 46% frequently advertise their vacancies on their own web site’s careers pages, while of companies still make use of recruitment agencies to assist them in filling critical roles in addition to advertising the vacancies themselves on job boards (44%) and in newspapers (22%).
Other recruitment tools identified as key strategies this year include branded job advertising on job boards with the ability to automatically match candidates to job ads with alert notifications; as well as automatic applicant screening, filtering and rating tools. Integration of internal recruitment management systems with existing careers websites, with the ability to automate and streamline job advertising with major job portals, together with centralised application management tools was also considered an important requirement by many companies.
The adoption of social networks as a recruiting tool is still slow, with 24% of recruitment agencies and only 12% of companies utilising the candidate targeting tools available through these online networks, while both companies (31%) and agencies (52%) are still relying heavily on word-of-mouth referrals to find the best quality talent with the lowest possible cost of hire.0307recr