2023 turned out to be a bad year for recruiters worldwide - and LinkedIn a growing threat

Most recruiters worldwide did not have a good year. “The worst year since 2009,” remarked one individual. They are also becoming increasingly dependent on LinkedIn, which they are starting to see as a growing risk.

ToTalent on June 06, 2024 Average reading time: 3 min
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2023 turned out to be a bad year for recruiters worldwide - and LinkedIn a growing threat

For about 10 years, the ATS makers of Top Echelon have been conducting worldwide surveys among thousands of recruiters. However, the results of the State of the Recruiting Industry Report have never been as grim and depressing as they are this year. Less than a quarter of the approximately 20,000 respondents said they did better in 2023 than in 2022, and a total of 55.3% said 2023 was actually a worse year. Of those, more than half even reported seeing their revenue drop by more than 25% (while only 8.3% saw an increase of more than 25%). Although 2022 might have been a particularly good year, the researchers add.

Increasingly Dependent on LinkedIn

What stands out most in the extensive survey is the enormous – and still growing – dependence on LinkedIn among the respondents. When asked which media generated the most responses for job vacancies, former giants like Monster, CareerBuilder, and ZipRecruiter together didn’t even reach 5%. Indeed managed only a meager 17.1%, while LinkedIn stood head and shoulders above the rest with 39.8% of the votes.

“LinkedIn has been slowly gaining momentum and has grown stronger in recent years,” according to the researchers. When asked where they found the best candidates in 2023, even 41.4% responded with LinkedIn, far ahead of referrals (24.9%), the internal database (17.1%), and cold calling (5.5%). The fact that the latter method is still successful is evident from an earlier question in the survey, where cold calling was named by no less than 35.4% of agency recruiters as the primary source for marketing their services.

Priority: More Clients

The changing market is evident from the question about the priorities of the surveyed agency recruiters for 2024. Only one clear goal emerged: acquiring more clients and securing more assignments. A striking 47.2% named attracting new clients as their top priority, followed by getting more assignments from existing clients (22.7%) and finding new revenue sources (14.9%). Finding highly qualified candidates? This is now only the fourth priority for the surveyed recruiters, at 13.8%.

And what do they see as the biggest threat to their profession? Unsurprisingly, it is primarily a severe recession. Additionally, a substantial portion is so optimistic that they claim to see no threats at all (yet), and more than 1 in 5 also fear the rise of Artificial Intelligence.

“Never thought I’d say it, but LinkedIn has a monopoly on the industry, and they know it.”

But what is particularly striking about this question is the threat many recruiters now perceive from their heavy reliance on LinkedIn. “Never thought I’d say it, but LinkedIn has a monopoly on the industry, and they know it,” responded one of the participants. “LinkedIn has shamelessly raised its prices, and they don’t care about their customers at all. We recruiters fervently hope that another platform emerges to disrupt their monopoly, just as TikTok did to Facebook.”


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