Julie Hughes – Reflections on the Recession


Having spoken with BBC Radio 5 yesterday ahead of their broadcast looking back on 10 years since the Credit Crunch, Staff Recruitments Julie Hughes Owner Director reflects on how the recession has affected the industry.


“In 2007 the start of the financial crash came as a shock to the majority of people, at this time most of our work came from logistics, distribution and front line services for the local authorities within the greater Manchester area.


As a result, the local authorities had to impose austerity cuts and at the same time, with the cut back on retail spending, there was a notable downturn within the distribution and logistics sectors. All of these resulted in an immediate impact on the level of temporary labour and businesses began to reduce their own workforce to combat the financial challenges the reduction in orders posted.


We ourselves had to make cutbacks on our own staffing levels so we know the tough decisions that were required.


Recession naturally impacts on the need for labour, the recruitment and agency workers industry being the first area within which businesses look to divest, however, the reverse is equally the case with it being the first to benefit from an increase in business in times of recovery and growth. We are therefore ideally placed to respond to and support fluctuations giving us a clear insight within a variety of sectors to gauge the optimism of the economy.


A further notable change was the calibre of staff coming through the door to register, it was evident that skilled workers and professionals were looking for any opportunity and type of work at that time.


Working mostly with local production and manufacturing companies our strategy at the time was to consolidate due to the lack of new opportunities available to us. In doing so we focused on offering our clients a higher calibre of staff, at competitive rates which would maximise their efficiency and effectiveness thus aiding their recovery and growth.


In more recent times the distribution industry has now been positively impacted, with internet access massively increased online purchasing and home delivery now a way of life the requirements for more goods, services and HGV drivers has risen.

With quite a number of drivers at the start of the recession nearing retirement age, many took early retirement or redundancy options as an alternative to where previously they may have cut back too less hours/days.

In so doing national availability of HGV drivers to support the upturn was severely compromised which has taken some time to fully recover.


On a positive note, we have noticed the number of start-up businesses that have opened over the last 10 years and an entrepreneurial spirit in the workplace.  Many of these coming through people affected personally within the recession seeking different career paths and business opportunities utilising the skills they had honed within business previously.


In the main, the majority of our clients have sustained and now continue to flourish, one of our loyal and long term clients James Briggs Limited, with whom we have developed a close partnership relationship with throughout this challenging 10 year period, is testament to this. Having experienced some turbulent times themselves and ridden the storm they have successfully put this behind them and move positively forward providing much-needed employment within the local area supported by ourselves.


I truly believe that where agencies and clients have worked closely together over this period sharing mutual challenges and supporting each other they can now look forward to a more positive and profitable future”.