2018 Recruitment Trends: State of the Industry Report

Top Echelon is pleased to announce the release of its third annual State of the Recruiting Industry Report. The 2018 edition of the report is chock full of recruitment trends, including how recruiters communicate with clients and candidates, why candidates are turning down offers, and how recruiters are successful.

At the end of last year, Top Echelon conducted a survey of more than 5,000 recruiters nationwide to compile information, specifically recruiting trends. The survey gauged recruiters’ opinions regarding a wide range of topics and recruitment trends, from their primary source of stress to their thoughts about the future of the profession.

But as usual, the proof is in the placements. (Well, it’s in the pudding, actually, but it’s placement pudding.) Everything revolves around placements, specifically where and how recruiters are making placements and what is causing recruiters to not make placements.

Let’s start with the obvious, shall? We’re in the midst of a candidates’ market. It’s been a candidates’ market for the past three years, but now it’s even more of one. Our survey results bear this out. While on the one hand, this is certainly good news for recruiters, the reality of the marketplace does present its own set of unique challenges.

There was a series of questions in our State of the Industry Report survey that pertain specifically to the current candidates’ market. And as you might have guessed, we’ll be addressing those questions (and the answers) in this blog post.

Recruitment trends: sources of stress

Question #1 – “Please identify the three biggest pain points or sources of stress on your recruiting desk as you head into 2018.”

This was an open-ended question. That means we did not present a choice of possible answers, but allowed recruiters to provide their own.

Predictably, recruiters were eager to share their biggest sources of stress. Such as this survey respondent:

“Candidates that are inconsistent and state during the interview that they have something in mind, but meet the client and change their mind. Clients that take too long to review submissions. Stream of unqualified applicants.”

Report teaser: Want to see what else recruiters had to say about their biggest sources of stress. Then download our State of the Recruiting Industry Report. This is the recruiting profession, after all. There is plenty of stress to go around. Does what drive you crazy also drive other recruiters crazy? Are all recruiters crazy? Find out the answers to these questions and more! (Except maybe that last one.)

Trends in recruitment and selection: client complaints

Question #2 – “What is the biggest client complaint you hear after candidates have been submitted?”

The number-one complaint was “There aren’t enough candidates to pick from” with 39.5% of the vote. That was also the number-one complaint the previous year. However, there is an interesting difference.

The year before the percentage was 45.8%. This year, it was 39.5%. So while it was still number-one, evidently clients had other things about which to complain, as well.

So why is this the biggest complaint? The reason is simple, and we alluded to it earlier. We’re in a candidates’ market. By that very definition, there is a lack of qualified candidates within many industries. So when clients say, “There aren’t enough candidates to pick from,” what they really mean is, “There aren’t enough quality candidates to pick from.”

Report teaser: Just like recruiters have multiple sources of stress, clients have multiple complaints. There are far more than one. But what are they? To find out, download our State of the Recruiting Industry Report. Compare what your clients complain about to what other recruiters’ clients complain about. What’s that? Your clients never complain? C’mon now . . . you know we’re not going to believe that.

Latest trends in recruitment: rejection

Question #3 – “What is the most common reason your candidates give for rejecting client job offers?”

Like the previous year, the winner was “The salary is too low for the position” at 28.8%. And once again, there were three answers that accounted for more than 20% of the vote. Once again, the reason is that it’s currently a candidates’ market. Quality candidates know that they are in demand. They know that they can expected to be compensated more for the value that they offer to employers.

And they are communicating their expectations to employers. Actually, in many cases, they’re communicating their displeasure with what employers are offering to them.

Report teaser: Candidates will make you want to rip your hair out, won’t they? Or perhaps more accurately, they’ll make you want to rip their hair out. (Why ruin your hair? They’re the one causing problems by declining offers, after all. And of course, just like the answers to our two previous questions, candidates have multiple reasons why they turn down offers. Want to know what they are? You know the answer to this question. Download our State of the Recruiting Industry Report!

Recruiting trends 2018: wrapping it up

Let’s wrap this up, shall we? Below is a recap of the information presented above:

  • It’s still a candidates’ market, which means recruiters can find enough qualified candidates (and their clients are complaining that there aren’t enough candidates from which to choose).
  • Even though the market is good and job orders are (more or less) flowing, there is still a LOT that is stressing recruiters out.
  • Candidates who are rejecting offers because the starting salary connected to the offer is too low. (But don’t worry . . . they’re rejecting offers for other reasons, too.)

So that’s a wrap! However, there is much more in the way of analysis regarding current recruitment trends:

  • The strongest industries and niches to work
  • The industries and niches to avoid
  • Where to find the best candidates for your job orders
  • Where to advertise your jobs to reach the most candidates
  • Recruiters’ top concerns for the future

And of course, there’s always much more! For more recruitment trends, you can download Top Echelon’s 2018 State of the Recruiting Industry Report by clicking on the link below:

Download the 2018 State of the Recruiting Industry Report!


(Editor’s note: Top Echelon surveyed more than 5,000 independent recruiting agencies nationwide for this report, providing a snapshot of the recruitment agency industry. All information is based upon answers submitted by recruiters during the month of December 2017.)