The future is now, and by the looks of things the recruitment agency fraternity isn’t chasing the tech pack – we’re starting to lead it.

This past week we had the pleasure of being an exhibitor once again at the Recruitment Agency Expo, at London’s ExCel Arena.

The event was a huge success – to be witness to how the wider HR industry is transforming in the wake of COVID-19 and the drive toward digital transformation is awe-inspiring, plus we got to meet more of our newer clients, announce some deeper partnerships with some of our vendors and introduce our growing company to the recruitment tech great and the good.

What we’ve found is that, as the recruitment technology world’s most agnostic and objective hub of innovation, ideas and futurism, our stand at every event becomes a little hotbed of opinions.

So what are agency folks saying about the state of recruitment in 2023, and what were industry leaders discussing during the event?

Here is a brief breakdown of what we learned at the Recruitment Agency Expo 2023.

AI is here – but step cautiously.

Naturally, much of the tech chat revolved around AI, innovations in the chatbot and comms space, programmatic marketing and NLP.

Our future is, seemingly, being written as we speak – with OpenAI, Google and Microsoft all pitching into the NLP-led space and ChatGPT soaking up so much marketing, content, comms and CX oxygen of late, it was perhaps inevitable table-talk would revolve around how the recruitment marketplace specifically is evolving and how agencies are adapting to this rapidly approaching new tech horizon.

That said, NLP is in its relative adolescence and the tech world is furtively attempting to bring unalloyed AI growth to heel. Often, novel tech advancement moves quickly, and the “impact” is hard to judge, plus platform user base can spread unevenly, resulting in demographic and geographical inconsistencies in market effectiveness.

Genuine change is hard to qualify, and the benefits at this stage of AI are theoretical, rather than meaningful. But we’re on the precipice of material, total, and generationally defining change.

Much more qualified voices than ours have already highlighted where the pitfalls of relying on NLP lie, but in our view, all this shockingly incredible tech still hasn’t yet replaced the human element of effective recruitment – feedback from agencies on how AI will affect more intangible assets like Employer Brand and Referral Networks , for example, was muted and confused.

Tech Skills Shortages remain.

This is hardly groundbreaking recruitment or HR news but skills shortages – and getting tech to help do some more of the heavy lifting of sourcing niche talent and assessing them accurately and quickly – was a major pain point for our display visitors.

Because Rectec straddles the middle ground between emerging recruitment tech and agencies looking for a stack revamp, the question of “how does this vendor or that vendor help” is difficult to answer. But it’s clear as day that recruitment agencies of all sizes and stripes are in a positive frame of mind when it comes to utilising tech to attract passive candidates, candidates in niche sectors, or candidates looking to reskill and develop in a new market.

This, we found, is a hugely positive and exciting place for the industry to be in. Tech is not feared, nor misunderstood, and the agency sector seems less dubious than ever of tech and how it can help recruitment, CX, branding, payroll and more.

Despite our scale, we’re still new!

Rectec Compare has completed hundreds of thousands of comparison searches. Our recruitment technology Marketplace grows by the week. Our products have won awards and yet we are still relatively unknown!

Events like the Recruitment Agency Expo are as much brand awareness raising as they are vendor networking events – and, like every event we’ve attended, the response from agency owners and vendors to our services was wholly positive.

This, of course, is a good problem to have. We have cornered a clear niche in the market, and our Comparison service and Marketplace complement the other and provide two key solutions to a multi-faceted problem.

We know that, as a startup, we’re facing some rough headwinds – a fast-changing industry, inflation, high employment, skills shortages and a disrupted political environment, all of which impact everyone across the recruitment landscape from candidates to business owners.

But without a doubt the Recruitment Agency Expo provided us with confidence that what we do – and how we support the hard work of recruiters and providers – is more valuable than ever.

A quick, responsive process is what you need to attract and engage the best talent.

At Rectec we help organisations to find the best Applicant Tracking System or best Recruitment CRM to suit your needs, accompanied by our unique complementary technology marketplace, to help you build the perfect recruitment tech stack for your business.