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Here is COREcruitment’s wrap up for 2017 and predictions for 2018.


“Buy when there is blood on the streets” was the mantra of one of our clients during the last economic downturn. The point at which it seems that things can’t get any worse and will get better.


On the whole COREcruitment experienced a year of growth in 2017

  • Our office in North America has trebled in size
  • We established a specialist Head office team looking after everything from HR to IT
  • We opened our office in Bangkok covering Asia
  • The sectors we recruit across have all experienced significant headwinds. Property, Facilities Management, Hospitality, Events, Leisure and Retail. It is difficult to pick our market trends as every business has responded to these challenges in a different way.

Let’s first address the most favourite of all topics right now, Brexit

The news of the EU Citizens rights will now create some much-needed stability and as more decisions are made that stability will continue to strengthen – and that means growth.

A few things across sectors:

1.     Companies have learned the cost of not having the right people in place running their businesses. COREcruitment normally operates with about 10% of our vacancies confidentially. This can be for reasons of underperformance, restructure etc. Currently we are operating at 40%. Most of these are roles where clients are keen to replace mediocre performers or bring top performers into the business to heard change!

2.      A number of London clients have mentioned that members of their management teams from the EU have stopped putting themselves up for promotion; citing that they are unsure of their mid/long term plans for remaining in the UK.

3.      We have noticed a similar trend when approaching candidates for roles. EU Workers appear sceptical about their futures not only in terms of the legalities of Brexit but also a shift in how welcome and appreciated they feel within the workplace. The challenge in the coming years will be to make the UK more attractive than Ireland, Germany and even Dubai amongst others in attracting them.  

The UK jobs market is performing incredibly strongly, with the highest employment rate on record and demand for staff continuing to increase as employers create more jobs. Decreasing application numbers and decreasing value of sterling making the UK a less attractive place to be – not only for Europeans but also for other nationalities such as South Africans and Australians

5.       The decreasing value of Sterling has stimulated growth from an investment perspective. We have many international clients from the US, Asia and Africa who have made acquisitions in the past year – and are planning more into 2018.

6.       Our Dutch office noticed an increase in applications for roles based in Holland. The Netherlands being voted as one of the best places for quality of life and family life in the EU, and one of if not the highest level of spoken English and out of all the EU countries it is a good choice. There are also an increasing number of British brands opening in Europe as there appears to be a hunger for good quality casual brands.


We have seen an increasing number of businesses looking to innovate their product and service through technology. Aps, equipment, efficiencies in costs and labour, training and employee engagement. We only expect this trend to continue into 2018 and beyond.

Movement away from traditional marketing towards digital marketing and social media. Digital is where it’s at and those who are savvy to its effective use are reaping large rewards. Two years ago, social media managers where paid about £25k – we now see roles of this nature reaching up to £60k. It is also far more common to see businesses using PR companies to target specific customer demographics – we have specifically noticed the use of “influencers” via Youtube and Instagram

Europeans long term careers.

Attracting Candidates

Candidates are increasingly looking to work for businesses with a strong brand and ethos, ideally one with a positive impact on the world. In addition, candidates are looking to work in a sector / for an employer that interests them outside of the workplace. Employers in sports, cycling, music and film are also looking to attract candidates who see their employment less as a ‘job’ and more as a ‘vocation’. This brings with it the risk of companies becoming too insular, so we have been careful to advise clients to appoint talent that have multi-sector experience.

There are also several experiential concepts on or coming to the market in 2018 – some of these are leisure focused and others are more about fitness (individual, family, school focused). People no longer just want to just go out and eat / drink, they want to have an experience. Hiring individuals who can manage these multi-faceted venues is more complicated than simply hiring for “single stream” businesses.

Counter offers – increasing salaries

When I started in recruitment “Head Hunting” involved research, planning and a targeted approach. You would know a candidate, their achievements and reputation before approaching them. It was the preserve of senior management and leadership roles. With the increasing accessibility to job oriented social media platforms candidates at all levels can be approached by potential employers – based, not upon reputation and research, but on what information they have chosen to upload about themselves.

Traditionally when candidates started looking for a job there was a clear “push” factor; a change in leadership, business closure, redundancy etc. Now individuals who are quite happy in their roles are approached about seemingly “better” opportunities with potential employers. It can be very flattering to be approached and before you know it – you have a job offer and when you weren’t even looking, your friends are impressed on social media, you tell everyone you were head hunted and you go to hand in your notice and start getting lots of attention from your boss and senior management. People need to ask the question if the grass is greener and what they are going to get out of a move.

Global Mobility

As we open more office locations we have seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of roles we are recruiting for in developing markets. In the Middle East specifically Saudi Arabia and Qatar, we have found candidates are attracted by jobs, benefits and career progression. In Africa, markets such as Kenya and Nigeria are seeing significant growth. There has been a large movement of candidates (and interested candidates) leaving the Middle East and relocating to Asia – attracted by a more liberal culture and attractive packages. From a UK perspective, many mid to senior level management level candidates will seek to move out of London and head for locations like Bristol, Manchester and Scotland.


Increased competition for talent, and a need to ensure higher management levels are actively engaged in the business, has led to LTIP (Long Term Incentive Programs) being offered not only to CEO and Board-level appointments but also senior management and some mid-level roles. We are also seeing these schemes in areas of finance, sales and most recently in human resources. There is also a move away from equity incentive models, especially within sectors such as Food Service, Facilities Management and Leisure.

Traditionally individuals might “hang -on” in the business waiting to realise equity – during this period they might not remain fully engaged in driving the business and may act as ‘blockers’ within the company – making it sluggish and ultimately less profitable and dynamic. LTIPs allow senior management to be incentivised toward a medium/long term goal regardless of sale /transaction. Provisions can be built in to allow for early exit, non-sale, sale or merger at different levels. The important thing being that the people at the top of the organisation are constantly motivated and energised to run the business as opposed to being side tracked on selling the company for a set multiplier or value. Loosing focus on the business can only lead to a lapse in service/productively/ guest satisfaction. These are the very things that make a company marketable.


Our office in Cape Town is still having a lot of success in “exporting” management and chefs from South Africa internationally. Across Africa, they have also noticed a trend in the increase of sustainability & eco-tourism, achievement based travel, authentic luxury experiences & emerging demographics. Many of the operators of these businesses are smaller independent operators that have found more access to customers via platforms like Airbnb. Clients have also noted the growth of single female and LBGT tourists in the past two years – encouraged by positive reviews and experiences shared by others.


The UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs, His Excellency Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, has stated that the UAE will implement VAT at the rate of 5% on 1 January 2018. The minister was speaking in Dubai on 24 February after a joint press conference with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). VAT is expected to be introduced at a rate of 5% with some limited exceptions including basic food items, healthcare and education. The UAE are planning to implement on 1 January 2018 - other GCC countries may do so at the same time or by 1 January 2019 at the latest.

Expo 2020 Dubai has started its preparations for the upcoming mega-event and has awarded its first regional licenses to four UAE-based companies that specialise in coffee, dates and chocolates. The four companies are Patchi and Mirzam-Kakaw for chocolate, Bateel for dates and Karam Foods for coffee.  Expo 2020 Dubai estimates that visitors attending Expo from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021 will generate approximately AED2 billion in food and beverage sales onsite. It is also estimated that around 85,000 meals are expected to be served per hour during the Expo, across 30,000 square metres of front-of-house space for F&B. In addition to this, an estimated five million meals will be needed to keep the event's workforce fed during the six months of its running.

Wishing you all the best for a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year!