By Robert Kenward (YOU Search & Select)

YOU Search & Select, the leading senior specialist in event and brand experience industry recruitment is pleased to share its newest quarterly report on recruitment trends for the second quarter of 2024.

Drawing from extensive interactions with agency owners, managing directors, c-suite stakeholders and senior leaders, Founder and Fitabilty® Recruiter Robert Kenward offers unparalleled insider insight at the evolving priorities and strategies within the industry.

This quarter Kenward has witnessed the emergence of three noteworthy trends:


Trend One: Focus on Client Relationships

“This past quarter has seen a pronounced emphasis on maintaining and growing existing client relationships. Agencies are prioritising client services roles, such as senior account or client services directors, over new business development positions. The focus is clear: ringfence key clients and enhance their satisfaction to stave off the competition. Agencies with prominent clients and strong brands are doubling down on these efforts, aiming for organic growth within their existing portfolios. Despite being placed on master service agreements (MSAs), agencies are still being asked to pitch for each project, reinforcing the need for robust and measurable client relationship management.”

Trend Two: Awards for Internal Recognition

“The industry’s award season has highlighted the strategic use of accolades for internal PR and staff retention. Agencies leverage award wins to boost morale and recognise team efforts, encouraging a sense of pride and loyalty within their workforce. Additionally, these awards serve as valuable assets in pitches to incumbent clients, showcasing the agency’s capability and success. I’m often involved as a judge and I can really vouch for the dual benefit of awards in reinforcing agency credentials and enhancing employee engagement.”

Trend Three: The Return of DIY Recruitment

“A notable trend this quarter was the resurgence of do-it-yourself recruitment among agencies as belts were tightened and the usual recruitment practises were seen as a cost rather than a value adding service. After experiencing mixed results with the contingency approach (giving one vacancy to multiple external recruiters), many agencies turned to their own networks and internal referrals to fill positions. This approach has yielded variable success, with some agencies finding it effective in securing talent whilst many others face challenges in retaining their people due to the speed and manner in which they were hired. That said, I am also seeing more agencies wanting consultative recruitment partnerships to refine their recruitment strategies and better align hires with their evolving needs.”


As we look forward, Kenward can make several forecasts for the second half of 2024

Shift Towards Specialisation

Agencies are streamlining their capabilities and focusing on niches where they excel – a master of one rather than a jack of all trades. This strategic specialisation is crucial for standing out in a competitive market and effectively communicating value to decision-makers. Or the bigger players in the market are just hovering up smaller agencies to bolt onto their current offering.”


“Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations seem to be taking precedence over Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives which is disappointing. Brands and end user clients are making decisions based on ESG criteria, pushing agencies to align their practices accordingly or risk losing revenue. The rise in B Corp certifications reflects this shift, and I predict a significant increase in agencies adopting these standards by the year’s end.”

Talent Retention and Attraction:

“Post pandemic, there was a huge surge to recruit and this resulted in 18 months of easy talent attraction and retention; everyone was being offered lots of money to change roles plus no-one wanted to move as employers were nervous about attrition in a rough market. But now things are changing; people are on the move again and talent retention is becoming increasingly challenging as increased salary won’t be enough. Agencies must revisit their talent strategies; as trust me, if they don’t revise them now, they won’t get a second chance.”


The next recruitment report looking at the third quarter of 2024 will be published in October 2024. Stay informed, stay ahead – subscribe to Robert Kenward’s newsletter for the latest updates and trends shaping the industry: Recruitment Report

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