What is it like working in recruitment in the UK?

17 October 2023  •  Graduates
What is it like working in recruitment in the UK?

The recruitment industry in the UK is a dynamic, fast-paced, and essential sector. It serves as the bridge between employers looking for talent and candidates searching for their next opportunity. But what is it really like to work in this industry? Let's dive deep and explore the intricacies of recruitment in the UK.

Understanding a Career in Recruitment

Working in recruitment is a fantastic opportunity if you like helping people and enjoy a fast-paced work environment. We’ve previously provided a useful toolkit for trainee recruitment consultants, but now we’re looking to provide a more general overview of the industry.

There are plenty of different specialisations in recruitment that you can work towards, all the while enjoying a challenging yet rewarding career with promising opportunities for salary and progression. To help you decide whether or not a career in recruitment is right for you, let’s discuss some important aspects of this type of work:

Career Progression

Most individuals start as Recruiters or Trainee Recruitment Consultants, focusing on learning the ropes and understanding the market. As you gain experience, you can progress to a Recruitment Consultant, Senior Consultant, and then onto managerial roles. The progression can be rapid for those who show aptitude, with some progressing to management within just a few years.

Many recruiters choose to specialise in specific sectors, such as IT, healthcare, finance, or engineering. This allows them to become experts in their field and often results in higher earning potential. You can find more on how to develop your recruitment career here.


The recruitment industry in the UK is highly competitive. With a plethora of agencies, from boutique firms focusing on niche markets to large multinational corporations, standing out in the crowd is vital. Success often comes to those who can establish a strong network of both employers and job seekers. Building trust, understanding industry trends, and having an intuitive feel for matching candidates with the right roles is key.


The recruitment landscape is continually evolving. Whether it's changes in employment law, the rise of new industries, or shifts in the job market due to economic factors, recruiters must stay agile and informed. Roles in recruitment can be high pressure, especially when working to fill roles quickly or managing the expectations of both candidates and employers. So it’s definitely a career with its own set of challenges, but with the right insight, you can find tremendous success by overcoming these hurdles.

The Rewards of Working in Recruitment

Beyond the monetary benefits, recruitment offers several rewards and perks, such as:

Making a Difference

Recruitment is not just about filling job vacancies; it's about transforming lives. Every placement can have a profound impact, potentially redirecting the trajectory of someone's career or personal growth. This ripple effect extends to businesses as well, with the right candidate potentially driving innovation, productivity, and organisational culture. The satisfaction of knowing that you play a pivotal role in these transformative moments is unparalleled.

Dynamic and Diverse Workdays

The unpredictable nature of recruitment ensures that monotony is seldom an issue. From interacting with a myriad of candidates from various backgrounds to understanding the unique needs of different industries and employers, recruiters are constantly learning and adapting. This dynamic environment nurtures adaptability and ensures that every day presents fresh challenges and learning opportunities.

Financial Rewards and Recognition

While the base salary is competitive, the commission structure in many recruitment roles can significantly boost earning potential. For those who excel, not only are the financial rewards substantial, but the recognition within the agency and broader industry can be immensely gratifying. Awards, promotions, and industry accolades are common, serving as a testament to one's dedication and skill.

Essential Skills for Success in Recruitment

To thrive in recruitment, certain skills and traits can set you apart from the competition. Some of the core skills in recruitment include:

  • Communication Skills: This is a people-centric job. Whether you're interviewing candidates, liaising with clients, or networking, clear and effective communication is crucial.
  • Reliability: As the primary point of contact between candidates and clients, recruiters must be reliable for all parties. From finding the right candidates for important roles to clearly communicating client expectations, reliability is an incredibly important skill in recruitment.
  • Resilience: With competition being rife, and the inevitable highs and lows (like candidates dropping out at the last minute or roles being put on hold), resilience is a must-have trait.
  • Organisational Skills: Managing multiple roles, candidates, interviews, and follow-ups requires a high level of organisation.
  • Sales Acumen: At its core, recruitment has elements of sales. Whether you're "selling" a candidate to an employer or an employer to a candidate, having a persuasive, confident approach can make all the difference.
  • Networking: Good networking skills will ensure you’ll have a good flow of candidates and clients to work with. You can build your network skills by attending conferences, workshops or other industry events.

Is a Career in Recruitment Right for You?

Working in recruitment in the UK presents both challenges and rewards. For those with the right blend of skills, resilience, and drive, it offers a fulfilling career with substantial earning potential and opportunities for growth. Whether you're drawn to the thrill of making the perfect match or the strategic challenges of understanding ever-changing industries, recruitment can be an enriching field.

If you’re interested in working in recruitment, then take a look at our latest vacancies at Globe Locums today. With our help, you can kickstart your career in recruitment and never look back!

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