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What Do Recruiters Really Want in 2023?

5 months ago by Rose Hunt

What Do Recruiters Really Want in 2023?

Happy Office

​There’s no question that recruitment is one of the most exciting careers out there. No two days are the same, the earning potential is great, and you get to make a positive difference to people’s lives. Having said that, 2023 brings with it a period of potential uncertainty for the industry. Since 2020, we’ve grown accustomed to plentiful vacancies and a candidate-driven market, but as many employers tighten their belts and hiring budgets are slashed, the scales are starting to tip. As the role of recruiter is set to become trickier, it’s never been more important for senior leaders to consider how their teams can be given the support they need in order to thrive regardless. With all this in mind, we’re delving into what the magic ingredients are in helping recruiters to flourish in 2023.

1. Autonomy

Most recruiters know what it’s like to work in a highly restrictive, KPI-driven environment. You spend so much time focusing on metrics and reports, you end up feeling frustrated and restricted. However, when people are given the autonomy to work the way they feel is best, they’re almost always much more successful, and better equipped to build the types of genuine relationships the recruitment industry is all about. Not to mention, when recruiters enjoy autonomy at work, they experience greater levels of satisfaction with every successful placement and happy candidate, because they’ve achieved it all on their own without micromanagement. Perhaps most importantly, increased levels of independence at work allows recruiters to be more creative and innovative, as they’re given the freedom to think and work outside the box.

2. Work-life balance

Let’s face it, in times gone by, recruitment was the poster child of work hard, play hard ‘hustle’ culture. Many agencies still operate this way. Competition is fierce to the point of becoming unhealthy, and working evenings and weekends is simply par for the course. However, thankfully, in recent times we’re seeing this begin to shift. We’re realising that people actually do their best work when they’re driven by support rather than stress, and that a healthy work-life balance plays a crucial role in staying on top form during the working day. This is perfectly exemplified by the fact that since we adopted the 4.5 day working week here at Gleeson (that’s right, we get every Friday afternoon off) we’ve seen no drop in productivity. Quite the opposite, we’re more successful than ever!

3. Health and wellbeing support

It’s an unfortunate fact that 88% of UK workers have experienced burnout over the past two years, and the majority of employees report feeling stressed every month. Like any sales-driven job, recruitment can be incredibly stressful at times, and often tops the list of high-pressure roles! It’s therefore more important than ever that agencies take mental health and wellbeing seriously, especially given the threat that long-term stress can pose to physical health. At Gleeson, for example, we offer free professional counselling to any team member that needs extra mental health support, along with enhanced packages for employees experiencing health challenges such as a cancer diagnosis or the menopause.

4. Flexibility

No, we’re not talking about office gymnastics. We’re referring, of course, to flexible working. As recently as 2019, truly flexible working was still somewhat of a novelty, and even leaving early to take your kid to a doctors’ appointment was sure to raise a few disgruntled eyebrows. Thankfully, however, our collective views have changed in a relatively short period of time. As a traditionally male-dominated field, within recruitment, this crucial shift has been a long time coming. As women tend to be primary carers in many households, they’re often at a particular disadvantage in a traditional 9-5 structure, as taking care of children necessitates flexibility. Here at Gleeson, our team members are able to complete their core hours any time between 7am-7pm, and almost all of us choose a hybrid working structure. We’ve really found this to be a positive step, and one that again feeds into our culture of autonomy. Perhaps this is one of the reasons our team is 56% female!

5. Clear and transparent progression opportunities

One workplace issue I’m certain many of us have experienced is that it can sometimes feel like the people who get pay rises and promotions are simply the ones who willing to do the most schmoozing. As recruiters, we work bloody hard, and it can therefore be incredibly frustrating to see some people get rewarded for it whilst others are left behind seemingly without explanation. Therefore, pay and progression based on transparent performance metrics is an absolute must for any agency to function successfully, and for its employees to be happy at work. Here at Gleeson, we operate a tiered employment structure with six-monthly pay and promotion opportunities, and every team member knows exactly what they need to achieve to reach the next band. We find that with this structure, everyone knows exactly where they stand, and it helps keep our team members motivated, engaged and - most importantly of all – appreciated.

Looking to level up your recruitment career? You’re in the right place! We’re looking for recruiters of all levels to come on board and reinforce our already established teams in Birmingham, London and Reading. You can apply online, or get in touch with us at