Future of Hiring: Exclusive Data from NPAworldwide’s Business Barometer Survey

March 1st, 2024 by Veronica Blatt

Contact: Veronica Blatt
Director of Corporate Communications
+1 616 871-3323

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, USA – March 1, 2024 – NPAworldwide, the leading global recruitment network, has released the results of its twice annual Business Barometer Survey, providing valuable insights into the current state of the independent recruitment industry. Completed in February 2024 by over 560 independent NPAworldwide recruitment firm owners, the survey highlights key trends and challenges faced by the industry.

According to the survey, the global demand for talent has been on a downward trend since early 2022, with a slow rebound in some markets in 2023. This has resulted in a significant increase in the difficulty of finding talent for senior positions. 55.8% of respondents reported business results that were similar or better when compared to the previous 180-day period.

chart showing business results for the past 180 days

“The results of our Business Barometer Survey show a noticeable reduction in optimism among independent recruitment firm owners, with a 14% decrease in benchmarked results since February 2023,” said Dave Nerz, president of NPAworldwide. “However, despite these challenges, the majority of respondents remain optimistic about the next 6 months, with 83.2% expecting similar or better results ahead. It’s clear that finding both jobs and talent has become equally challenging for our members.”

chart showing business outlook for the next 180 days

When asked about the strongest verticals in the last 180 days, the survey revealed that healthcare, technology, manufacturing and accounting/finance were the top industries for recruitment activity. This aligns with the overall trend of increased demand for talent in these sectors.

chart of vertical market strength in the past 180 days

Other results of this survey indicated:

  • About 47% of survey respondents are from outside of North America.
  • The largest respondent group was from North America at 52.8% followed by Australia/New Zealand at 16.1%, Asia and EMEA were at 14.3% each, and LatAm at 3.1%.
  • At the time of the survey, 62.1% of the respondents see the next 6 months as positive or the same as the last 6 months.  This is nearly an 11% decline since February 2023.  So, while things are slower, there is generally optimism for 2024.

“Member firms working contingent and retained recruitment are finding job openings less prevalent but still solid demand for top talent,” said Nerz.  “Top candidates continue to receive multiple offers and counteroffers from existing employers. Compensation offers have become more normalized with long-term trends versus the spikes when exiting the pandemic.  Retaining talent is going to be increasingly important and difficult.  A recent trend of unexpected retirements is an area of concern for employers that have not built strong pipelines or deep benches of talent. Confidence continues to grow as inflationary conditions mitigate. 2024 offers much promise.”

The NPAworldwide Business Barometer Survey provides valuable insights into the current state of the independent recruitment industry, highlighting both challenges and opportunities for growth. With a global network of over 560 independent recruitment firms, NPAworldwide is well-positioned to support its members in navigating these trends and achieving success in the ever-evolving recruitment landscape.

About NPAworldwide. NPAworldwide is a global recruitment network facilitating placements between its member firms. The recruitment network has more than 550 member offices across 6 continents. For more information about NPAworldwide membership, please visit www.npaworldwide.com or www.npaworldwideworks.com.


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