Recruitment Pulse Survey: State of Australian Market (May 2020)

A “gun” recruiter walks into your office, this week. Would you hire him/her?

3 out of 5 recruitment leaders said ‘Yes’.


According to a recent survey of 50 leading Australian recruitment firms conducted by our friend and partner, Pete Watson (Mint R-to-R) from the “Recruitment Journeys” podcast, the market is starting to show signs of ‘green shoots’.

“Everybody was talking about “pivoting” to survive Covid19. But now, thankfully, everybody is talking about “green shoots” as positive sentiment finally returns to our industry.” - Pete Watson, Mint R-to-R

Recruitment bosses answered six key questions:

1. Has your job flow increased in the past 2 weeks?

2. What percentage of your Recruiters are still billing?

3. What area of your business is still doing OK and holding its own?

4. As the Boss, how are YOU feeling about market recovery?

5. Are you planning on your team physically returning to the office?

6. Would you still hire a “Gun Recruiter” on a specific desk in today’s market?

Here are the headlines:

1. Hiring freezes are melting. Job flow is slowly increasing.

When asked “Has your job flow increased in the past 2 weeks?”

  • 37% said they had no increase

  • 63% saw an increase

  • Out of this 63%, these businesses saw roughly 26% increase in new jobs

Vinny says:

Contract over perm. We’re seeing a spike in recruitment companies wanting to pivot or expand to Contract in the aftermath of Covid. Businesses with a robust contract arm are managing to survive on the basis of recurring revenue from their Contract book: even with no new business coming in, they’re still getting healthy revenue from Renewals alone.

“A contract business in my opinion is a no brainer, as is a formidable tech stack, you cannot compete without it.” - Bernie Schiemer (CEO at Vincere) from his latest piece on ‘Pivoting in a downturn’

2. Recruiters are still billing (despite the doom and gloom).

When asked, “What percentage of your Recruiters are still billing?”

  • 64% said their consultants are still actively doing deals.

  • Sectors still going strong are:

- IT (strongest) specifically Security, Data, SAP & Infrastructure

- Medical & Health

- Supply Chain & Procurement

  • Pete says that it suggests that strategies deployed in the early COVID period are working.

3. Business leaders want their teams back in the office.

When asked, “Are you planning on your team physically returning to the office?”

83% of businesses are physically returning to their offices in stages.

Vinny says:

When faced with a sudden state-of-emergency, #WFH has served many firms well throughout this initial COVID period. It’s worked (kind of), with many firms likely to retain a flexi-WFH routine moving forward.

But, ultimately, Recruitment leaders prefer to see their teams in the office working. Especially those with inexperienced consultants who require closer management, or those consultants who simply don’t have the right set-up at home to facilitate working (shared flats, toddlers at home, etc). Let’s face it, it’s tough onboarding new starters and building culture in the current #WFH environment.

Fact: Looking back at the month of April, the #1 search query in the Vinny Help Centre was how to track Goals, KPI’s and monitor consultant activity. Managers want to know what their consultants are doing.

4. Recruitment business owners are cautious but optimistic.

When asked, “As the Boss, how are YOU feeling about market recovery?”

  • 54% cautious

  • 25% positive

  • 13% excited

  • 8% worried

5. There’s still an appetite for growth.

When asked, “Would you still hire a “Gun Recruiter” on a specific desk in today’s market?”

67% of businesses said ‘yes’.

Vinny says:

Recruitment leaders are still open to hiring, which is great news for recruiters and Rec-to-recs. The best firms look at the market- even in a downturn- for good hiring opportunities. They will nab great recruiters whilst they can, to be in a strong position for the bounce-back...or whenever the Corona-coaster ends.

What do YOU think?

Comment down below and tell us what you think.

  • Do you think it’s a sign of recovery?

  • Are businesses being overly optimistic?

  • What else would you like to know?

P.S. If you like this survey, be sure to subscribe to Pete Watson’s (Mint R-to-R) podcast series “Recruitment Journeys” brought to you in partnership with Vincere.


Vincere is the CRM/ATS for ambitious recruitment firms. 

Founded in 2012, Vincere is designed specifically for recruitment companies covering Perm, Contract & Executive Search, with built-in front, middle and back office capabilities. Vincere’s action-driven interface prompts, prods and pushes recruiters towards the one thing that truly matters: Placements. 

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