History of Recruitment

Historians would argue that the recruitment industry began its existence in the slave focused ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires.  The modern interpretation which covers the development of the CV, as well as everything that followed, including recruitment Leeds based companies, agencies and internal Leeds recruitment teams all seem to stem from the 1940’s WW2 era. Skills gaps were created by the need to build an army and when those skills gaps became permanent, the recruitment agencies remained.

It took some time before the role and relationship of agency and client became adopted, where the commercialisation led to recruitment being performed on very much a regional basis to discover broadly used skills mainly in local hubs. It’s likely that recruitment Leeds companies would have initially focused on using some similar tools to the current day; word of mouth, networking with family and friends as well as mass media. Recruitment Leeds would therefore focus around blue collar and specialist skills required in the local industries.

The Woollen Mills industry had already peaked and created large middle class suburbs which changed the needs of the central recruitment Leeds arena. Development of the Leeds Tramway allowed better connections and communication across the City, fuelling a broader skills requirement in Academia and Medicine as the two Universities and Hospitals were built and developed.

Leeds escaped the worst of the blitz, so in the post war 1950’s, as the recruitment Leeds scene was in its embryonic form, Leeds needed little in the way of re-building.  However, as production of military equipment and ammunition scaled back, Leeds needed to modernise and the skills required to build a new economy that helped establish the recruitment Leeds sector.

As the 1970’s arrived, the formation of recruitment advertising revolutionised the recruitment sector and not just focused upon recruitment in Leeds but UK wide. Both regional and National newspaper advertising became a large part of the printed press as roles diversified and industry became more fragmented. Whilst the press medium helped develop recruitment as a sector in its own right, printing was expensive and so adverts were bland and short giving little away in terms of the overall opportunity. Mass recruitment brought an economies of scale to advertising but niche roles and in geo pockets within recruitment Leeds emphasised the challenges and those traditional tools, which we now call ‘search’, were utilised more and more.  By the 1980’s the ‘little black book’ and the rolodex were key to the success of most recruitment Leeds based companies.

The invention of the computer heralded a new era as CVs were more easily stored and together with printers and fax machine technology worked to speed up the process of recruitment in Leeds. The audience became more discerning and the pace of advancement in tools to deliver services (Recruitment CRMs etc) enabled the recruitment sector to thrive.

Technological advancements fuelled further growth and created a sector in itself. IT Recruitment Agencies in Leeds became a mainstream sector. The World Wide Web in the 1990’s created another advertising platform but on a borderless boundary. Recruitment in Leeds was going through a transformation but the rising use of the internet enabled a more diverse range of recruitment companies able to offer the same service but with broader points of difference (USPs – Unique Selling Points) and levels of service provision. Recruitment companies were offering on-site services (RPO), retained campaigns and campaign based volume services. Recruitment in Leeds was developing around core markets that the region had cultivated, Leeds had become the largest Financial Services sector outside of London and with new highs in online advertising and emailed applications, was appealing to a southern skill base where living costs were higher. The more traditional paper based advertising started to take a hit, as on-line advertising portals started to create on-line CV databases, creating another industry in itself which has since consolidated.

Social Media has surely changed everything?

Into the 2000’s and the dawn of Social / Business Media took the recruitment space into another realm. Tools to recruit is now in full flow, allowing recruitment companies in Leeds to open dialogue and advertise in a personal fashion.  Whilst job boards remain core to a number of markets and the disciplines communication strategy has become platform based. Technology influence on recruitment Leeds fashionistas is at its height. Leeds is now ranked 6th in the ‘Tech Cities’ Top 25 outside of London.

There is no doubt that the Leeds Recruitment industry is constantly evolving. Sometimes it sets the pace and innovates, other times it relies on innate human soft skills, impossible to replicate with tools and systems. Whatever the future holds Recruitment in Leeds has certainly changed forever.

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