APSCo survey shows hiring plummeting due to COVID-19

APSCo calls for clarity on the Governments' COVID-19 rescue package as hiring 'falls off a cliff' in the UK.

There has been a complete stall in hiring in the education, engineering, IT, finance and life sciences, sectors, says APSCo, following a snapshot survey of its members.

Also, job offers are being rescinded, and contractors told that their assignments had been cancelled.

The survey found

• Two thirds (67%) of recruitment firms said that permanent hiring within their sector was on hold
• Almost 90% of recruitment firms said that up to 50% of their contractors had already been terminated
• Three quarters (76%) expect up to 50% to be terminated by 29th March
• 83% of recruitment firms were considering redundancy for their staff
• Three quarters (76%) said that help with salaries was the most important measure that the Government could implement

“Permanent starters in April and May are now being told that their role is no longer available and so candidates have resigned from other jobs and are now out of work. Consequently, no invoices are being raised and so cashflow is a nightmare,” said one respondent.

Government pledge

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, said: “Recruitment is a service industry, and so the biggest business cost is the salary bill. The Government pledge to fund 80% of furloughed staff salaries up to a maximum of £2,500 is very welcome, but the key will be how quickly that can be accessed.

“The clarity and simplicity of the rescue package, whether that be loans, tax payment deferral or salary grants will be critical. It is also likely that HMRC and other financial services organisations will have a critical need for staff to process applications and APSCo members have ideal candidates ready and waiting.

“The VAT deferment will help cashflow, one of the key issues for recruitment firms, and the fact that the Business Interruption Fund will be interest-free for 12 months and available from today will also be good news for our members. We’re also concerned about the thousands of self-employed and freelance contractors who have had their assignments terminated and who will not be protected. Who, it seems, will have to rely on the benefits system.”


In support of the sector, Hinterview is offering free licences to help hiring firms during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As of March 23, 2020, the video enabled recruitment platform, is offering ten free Hinterview licenses to any recruitment agency worldwide for one month and promises to get them live within 24 hours.

Existing customers will receive a credit to the amount of ten licenses for two months, applied as at the end of their current term. 

 “As you can imagine, we have been overwhelmed with interest in the last few days for people looking to access our product suite as they come to terms with the realities of remote working in these truly remarkable times.

“On the one hand, it’s an exciting time to be in video, but in truth, it’s hard to enjoy success when it comes dressed up like this.

“Our immediate objective is to help the sector how ever we can, while at the same time protecting the interests of our existing customers and employees.”

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