The good and bad thing about the recruitment business is it is very sensitive to changes in the economy. So while the national economy may shrink by a few percent, recruitment businesses can nosedive by twenty or thirty percent. Equally when the economy turns, after a brief lag, recruitment businesses can experience rocket-fuelled growth.
The good and bad thing about being in the recruitment software business is that we tend to follow the fortunes of the industry we serve. And as a major supplier to the UK recruitment industry we are in a pretty good position to see what is happening right across the UK and since we have a broad portfolio of products, we can see how different sectors are performing.
So, are things getting better or worse?
While temp agencies weathered the storm better than most and our VDQ! product remained a strong performer, perm agencies, particularly those placing senior personnel in the private sector suffered badly and we watched as customers in these areas reduced their licenses as support renewals fell. The good news is that the attrition stopped around October last year and we all bumped along the bottom for a few months.
January was affected by the weather, February was strong for us - but you can never take one month in isolation - then along comes an awkwardly timed Easter and a volcano that saw customers stranded and businesses disrupted.
However, May saw the strongest levels of positive activity that we have seen since 2008. Quotation requests for additional licenses from our existing customers are better than we have seen for over a year and most of these are converting into sales. This means our customers are hiring faster than they have for a long time. This is clearly a very positive sign for the industry.
New business enquiries are also at the highest levels we have seen for 18 months. Start-ups that have held off investing are now making decisions on the software that will enable them to grow and provide a platform for efficient operations in the future.
It seems that with the election out of the way, a positive mood is emerging in the recruitment industry. Long may it continue.
Paul Thompson is Sales Director for Voyager Software Limited
Voyager Software Limited is a leading provider of advanced, fully integrated, end-to-end recruitment solutions including Voyager Professional, Voyager Commercial, Voyager VDQ! and Voyager Mid-Office. Intuitive, innovative and functionally rich, our products have been designed by recruiters to enable customers to spend time growing their client and candidate relationships rather than painstakingly logging their activities. With headquarters in the UK, and offices in Australia, our products are used in over 20 different countries by many thousands of users in different-sized recruitment businesses.