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78% of recruiters view gig economy as ‘friend,’ not ‘foe’

When 1,000 recruiters were asked via live polling whether they view the gig economy as ‘friend’ or ‘foe’, 78% chose ‘friend’ and 22% chose ‘foe’, indicating that most recruiters are keen to embrace the opportunities presented by the growing contingent workforce.

Company Profile

Bullhorn

Other questions posed to recruiters at this year’s Bullhorn Live London included whether they would ‘promote’ staff or ‘replace’ them with technology. Seventy-six percent chose ‘promote’ and 24% chose ‘replace’. Finally, the audience was asked whether they would ‘build’ business growth organically or ‘buy’ growth through M&A; 59% chose ‘build’ and 41% chose ‘buy’.

The questions were posed by Art Papas, CEO and co-founder of Bullhorn, the cloud computing company that helps staffing and recruitment organisations transform their businesses, in the opening keynote speech designed to highlight three crucial decisions that businesses will need to make over the coming years.

Bullhorn’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and International, Peter Linas, proceeded to outline the main theme of the event: ‘Growing Your Business in the New Relationship Economy’. He explained how the future of interpersonal relationships between customers, recruiters, and candidates will be shaped dramatically by many different social, economic, technological, legal, and political changes.

Linas then chaired an executive panel comprised of Darren Weeks of aap3, Dennis van Weeran of Vibe Group, Bradley Lewington of Spencer Ogden, and Ejaz Ali of Kelly Group Companies. The panellists touched on several topics, including the benefits that technology has brought to their businesses, but agreed that it must be used strategically – not as a crutch. “You’ve got to have the right kind of relationship and the right type of activity to get the technology to work for you”, said Weeks.

Garreth Cameron, Policy and Engagement Group Manager at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), dispelled many of the commonly held misconceptions and myths around GDPR. He made clear to recruiters that the ICO’s priorities “…are aligned with yours…we want to help organisations get it right”. At the same time, he urged the audience to not “…bury your heads in the sand – this stuff isn’t going away…GDPR is an opportunity to rebuild trust with consumers”.

Peter Searle, CEO of Airswift and former Group Managing Director at Adecco, spoke to Art Papas about growing recruitment businesses and navigating change, particularly in relation to M&A. He said that with any new merger, every staff member needs to feel like he or she is part of the plan: “If you can convince your people that the environment of change is not a threat, but an opportunity, you’ll end up in the right place”.

Matt Fischer, President and CTO of Bullhorn, showcased the company’s future innovations, including a native mobile app and ‘Bullhorn Cleo’, a built-in speech recognition tool that will enable users to gather candidate data faster than ever before.

Fischer also highlighted other new enhancements to the Bullhorn system which are designed to redefine the user and candidate experience. One of these enhancements, ‘Bullhorn Boost’, uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide insights into ‘placement probability’ (based on previous candidate placements), as well as candidate shortlist suggestions.

An executive panel featuring Samantha Hurley of APSCo, John Nurthen of SIA, and DeeDee Doke of Recruiter Magazine, discussed economic trends shaping recruitment.

Nurthen noted that the recruitment industry in Italy is seeing 20% growth, while growth in the UK is “almost flat”. Doke said that the decline in EU workers due to Brexit may hopefully cause an increase in demand for under-represented demographics, including the elderly and disabled. Hurley added that companies and recruiters need to start becoming more disability-confident, citing the fact that less than half of the seven million disabled people of working age in the UK are in employment.

Joanna Abeyie of Hyden, Charlotte Clarke of APSCo, and Yvette Cleland of Clinical Professionals discussed recruitment diversity and inclusion. Cleland said that businesses “…can’t be fearful of diversity, otherwise they will miss out on talent,” while Abeyie urged that “if you don’t have a diverse shortlist – reject it”. Clarke stated that “mums returning to work bring amazing passion”, but can often feel excluded.

Alex Edelman, comedian and star of ‘Millennial’ and ‘Everything Handed to You’ ended the day with an entertaining discussion about the rise of Millennials. “Identity capital is crucial for Millennials”, said Edelman, “it’s what differentiates them from every other candidate”.

It was also announced that Bullhorn Live will be replaced next year by a new conference known as Engage, due to be hosted by Bullhorn in London. Engage has been a huge success in the US, and the company believes that the wider industry will embrace the event.

Linas commented: “Our goal is to become the most customer-centric and value-adding recruitment CRM provider in EMEA and, ultimately, across the globe. Hosted in London, Engage will be a huge part of this – it will bring together recruitment professionals and experts from across the continent to learn about important trends and developments.”

The announcement follows the recent news of Bullhorn’s acquisition of Rotterdam-based Connexys, a leading provider of recruitment solutions to mainland Europe.

Bullhorn has won many new international clients in the past 12 months, including G2V, a specialist in global recruitment services, and STR Group, a portfolio of niche recruitment companies. Not including the new staff that have joined from Connexys, Bullhorn has expanded its global team to 630 staff members across its offices in Boston, St. Louis, Sydney, London, Brighton, Vancouver, and, most recently, Amsterdam.

Linas added: “2017 has been a pivotal year for Bullhorn. We are already growing at a rate of 30 percent year-over-year, and joining forces with Connexys will help us supercharge our expansion into mainland Europe. We share the same vision and culture – and together we will provide unparalleled technology and services to recruiters around the world.”