The most important development in the talent ecosystem in the last 20 years or just one of the most important?

One of the biggest developments in the world of TA and recruitment in the last 20 years has been the growth of recruitment outsourcing. Whether through an MSP for contingent labour, an RPO arrangement for permanent recruitment or, increasingly, a ‘total talent solutions’ approach covering  both talent acquisition and talent management, the sector now handles multi billions in client spend each year and a number of them have become significant businesses in their own right. 

In the early days the sector had a straightforward pitch: give us lots of jobs and we’ll fill them faster and cheaper than agencies or than you can do yourselves.  Today, the range of offerings is incredibly varied and, increasingly, not just limited to large employers.  

And yet despite this rapid growth, RPOs are still often unloved by their clients and candidates and especially third-party recruiters. For their part, RPOs can often feel as if they’re operating between a rock and a hard place with unrealistic client demands and a candidate base that demands a consumer level experience at every turn. 

But the harsh reality is that whilst this may not be their fault, it is their problem.  

And it gets worse! As technology continues to evolve there is an ever-growing number of new players offering employers a dazzling array of solutions which promise to deliver their talent agenda in ways that are ‘better, faster, cheaper’ than ever before. And no one doubts that the impact of AI will accelerate this process even faster. So, is the end of RPO as a business model in sight? Well, not quite. In fact, not at all.  

The fact is that recruitment as a corporate activity rarely gets the respect it deserves and certainly is often the whipping boy for a host of other failings – a poor brand, systems or culture for example. 

It’s also one of those activities that everyone thinks they can do well.  

So, in many ways the successful growth of RPOs is remarkable and the best of them are increasingly influencing the talent agenda  – not least in their ability to assess and deploy the aforementioned technology offering on behalf of their clients – and whilst there is still more to be done they absolutely play a crucial role in the talent ecosystem.  

At TALiNT Partners we have been running an RPO Leaders group for almost five years and whilst a lot of the group will often be competing furiously with each other for new client wins, their desire to do this by improving their service rather than cutting costs is admirable  – a race to the top rather than the bottom, if you like. 

We’ve decided it’s time for us to do our bit; and rather than just add to the debate and discussion we thought we’d go even further so we are launching a brand-new awards programme dedicated to RPO, MSP and Talent Solutions providers: The TIARA Talent Solutions Awards.

Launching this week, we have created a unique programme which will not just recognise and celebrate the best in the sector but also, through our incredible roster of industry judges, be able to provide meaningful and actionable to feedback to all of our shortlisted entrants. The programme was developed with input from some of the biggest RPO operators and will be a fantastic opportunity for both large and small RPO, MSP and talent solutions providers to showcase some of the amazing work they do.  Watch this space!

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