Most people working in employment services have never worked in an environment like this before.

Economists predict a global downturn, with recession fears growing in the USA, UK and Europe. While Australia can be expected to fare better than most countries, we’re experiencing the impacts of high inflation, increased living costs, and salary stagnation.

So, what does this mean for employment service providers across the world?

A tight labour market means you can probably get a job (if not multiple jobs!) for anyone who wants to work. Employment service providers are busy because employers require expert guidance to identify and recruit candidates, especially in areas experiencing labour shortages.

But unemployment can increase quickly in a downturn as the economy slows. In addition, finding a job during a recession can be challenging as more people are looking for work, and fewer businesses are expanding or hiring. Labour markets worldwide are being impacted as borders reopen following the pandemic closures, seeing employers regain access to a global labour pool through migration.

This means that it’s more important than ever for employment service providers to foster strong and trustworthy bonds with employers. When unemployment increases, competition in the employment service market will also increase with fewer jobs and more job seekers.

Now is the time to invest in building long-lasting relationships with employers. This investment will be rewarded in one to two years when placing job seekers becomes more difficult due to higher unemployment.

Here are Prospert’s top three tips to defend and proactively manage your employer relationships in the lead-up to an economic downturn:

  1. Segment your employers by their growth potential. What are the recession-proof industries in your region? Conversely, what businesses are facing a higher risk during a recession? Prioritise more stable, reliable, and recession-proof companies.
  2. Measure your employer satisfaction. The employer service experience clearly differentiates one agency from another. By measuring your employer satisfaction, you can determine what works well and areas for improvement.
  3. Build your team’s capability. Our regular research with CEOs of employment service providers identifies that upskilling is a key business challenge. At the same time, employees are seeking to develop their skills. Training in effective employer engagement is crucial.

Like all businesses, employment service providers must manage through downturns and upturns. A transactional approach to employer relationships might work in the short term, but longer-term, employment service providers must develop a proactive strategy that fosters loyal relationships and delivers sustainable placements for customers.

If you’d like to discuss your employer engagement training needs, contact the team at Prospert.