6 Steps for Recruiters Looking to Break into new Sectors

In response to changing market conditions, established recruitment firms are starting to look outside of their comfort zone at new sectors.

This article looks at the main reasons for this before setting out a simple process for breaking into these new areas of opportunity.

Key reasons for switching sectors

There are a number of key reasons why recruiters are starting to look outside of their current sphere of influence with the main ones being Brexit, the rise of the gig economy and an increasingly mobile workforce. Let’s look at each in turn:

According to a report released by accounting firm BDO, 96% of FTSE listed recruitment firms admit that Brexit has affected their business in some way. Some sectors are hit harder than others. For example, a British Chamber of Commerce survey of 6,000 UK companies found that 81% of firms in the manufacturing sector reported recruitment difficulties. Although Brexit is not the sole cause, the reduction of job applications from EU nationals has exacerbated existing candidate shortages. Recruiters in manufacturing are therefore one group that might do well to consider moving to less challenging sectors.


Changes in market conditions and social perceptions have led to the growth of the so-called ‘gig economy’ alongside a general increase in workers looking for temporary and contingent positions. This suits some sectors more than others and is another reason why a sector move could be beneficial.

The rise of the mobile workforce is another factor that might prompt a sector change. As candidates increasingly demand the opportunity to work from home or adopt flexible hours, slow adopting firms could struggle to recruit. Rather than wait for them to evolve, smart recruiters could start looking for sectors where mobile working is accepted as the norm.

How to break into new sectors

Step 1: Clarify your vision

Before you start making any concrete plans, think about your current situation and clarify your reasons for moving into new sectors and your overall vision for the future. Are you looking to gain an advantage over agile new disruptors or just want to increase your client base? Have you reached saturation point in your sector? If you have a strong reputation yet business is stagnating, you may have reached the limit in your current sector. However, if you are losing out to smaller, more agile recruitment firms, you might also need to focus on better recruitment tools and processes (see Step 5).

You should also think about how much you want to expand and what success would look like to you.


Step 2: Research and plan

When you have decided you definitely want to explore new sectors, it is time to thoroughly research your marketplace. It has probably been some time since you last produced a thorough industry report but putting in the groundwork will help ensure you make informed decisions.

Research both your own performance (most productive sectors, best months, targets hit and missed) and competitor activity. Are they targeting areas you are not? How are they marketing themselves?

The more insight you can get at this stage, the better.

Step 3: Set clear goals

Before setting your plan in motion, make sure you have defined some specific, measurable goals to keep you on track. How will you know that a new sector is producing results for you? Which metrics will you use? How often will you monitor performance?

Step 4: Explore similar segments first

Rather than jump into a completely unfamiliar sector, it is wise to start your expansion by targeting sectors that are related to those you currently work in. You may already have contacts familiar with that sector who can introduce you to potential clients. Your existing talent pool might already include a number of relevant candidates.


Step 5: Move on to emerging sectors

Once you have exhausted similar sectors, you could turn your attention to emerging markets, both locally and across the UK. Fields such as AI, cybersecurity and software development may be worth exploring.

Step 6: Adopt new ways of working

At the same time as looking at where best to direct your efforts in the future, you should be exploring the tools and processes you are using to source talent. For example, a mobile workforce will expect recruiters to be using mobile technology to keep them informed as to available roles and the progress of their applications.

This is the value of using tools such as the idibu mobile app. From this platform, you can post to multiple job boards at once and then connect a pipeline of talent directly into your recruitment software.

If you are clear on your objectives, carry out thorough research and use state-of-the-art recruitment tools, moving into and mastering new sectors will help you to evolve and stay one step ahead of those agile but less established smaller recruitment firms.

idibu is next-gen candidate attraction software designed to maximise your recruitment CRM. Click here to arrange a free demo or get in touch now on 0800 311 2750.


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