Recruitment Agencies victors not victims of web
The web is having a significant and positive impact on the
fortunes of recruitment agencies according to a new study released
The research by thebestof, a national network of local marketing
websites, run by local people, that champion the best businesses in their area
shows that small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) plan to grow their
businesses by on average 38% in the coming year. However the more web-savvy SMEs
including recruitment agencies have growth ambitions that are twice those of
their conventional SME counterparts (41% vs 20%).
The study is based on
telephone interviews with 500 small and medium sized businesses combined with an
online survey completed by a further 2,583 SMEs. The businesses were drawn from
across the UK and from a mix of sectors, and included 63 recruitment agencies.
The research which explores SMEs general approach to marketing, reveals
that recruitment agencies typically spend £5,000 marketing their businesses and
94% of them plan to spend as much if not more on marketing in the coming year.
However a significant group are focusing this spend on the web and this spend is
delivering results. For instance the internet-enabled recruitment agencies get
56% of their enquiries from the web.
In general, the study paints a
picture of an SME community in a bullish mood. One in five plan to launch a new
product or service in the next 12 months and a further 13% will expand into a
new area. One in six will merge with or acquire another business and only 3%
plan to scale back their operations. Indeed when asked to score their future
optimism, on a scale of 1 to 10 the average score is a creditable
However, when analysing the businesses which are more web active
against those who are not, the study shows that the companies most actively
using the web for marketing, expect their business to grow twice as quickly as
the SMEs who aren't. These web-aware SMEs are also far more likely to be taking
business away from larger rivals too. For instance 58% of the internet active
recruitment agencies describe their competitors as bigger than them, whereas the
less internet active are more likely to say their competitors are the same size
as them or smaller.
Nigel Botterill, Chief Executive of thebestof
comments: "The first wave of the internet seemed to be all about the major
brands and retailers, or businesses like lastminute.com or ebay, whose whole
premise is built on the internet. What this research shows is that there's a
whole generation of ordinary small businesses - like recruitment agencies - who
have been quietly working in the background, using the Web to steal market share
from their bigger competitors."
The Report suggests the web-aware SMEs as
a whole haven't set up e-commerce operations, they are just making sure that
they are doing the basics. For instance:
76% have a site
46% do search
30% run email campaigns
11% run affiliate
9% do pay per click advertising
7% run a blog
certain SMEs are making major online gains, the study also highlights a digital
divide. For instance, some recruitment agencies report that the internet holds
no potential for their business, furthermore a third don't see it as relevant.
Yet in the same sector there are recruitment agencies generating over half of
their business from the Internet.
Nigel Botterill again: "It is
extraordinary to see how the internet is delivering so much for some and yet so
little for others. We're working hard to try and understand why this is."
Part of the problem appears to be a matter of mindset. One in five (19%)
reports that they don't feel equipped to take advantage of the Internet. A
further 56% simply believe it is the natural domain of the bigger business. The
age of the proprietor in charge of the SME is another issue.
Botterill concludes: "Recruitment agencies need to break out of this mindset.
69% of them turn to the web for their suppliers, so why do they think people
looking for recruitment agencies, aren't doing the same?
"They need to
realise that there are businesses exactly like theirs doing some very simple
things to capture business through the Web. It's not rocket science, it's a
basic business skill and tool, just like financial management, which they can
and must harness."