Why do recruiters leave recruitment firms?

January 27, 2023

Recruiters encourage people to change jobs, so much that they also leave their jobs often – is this inevitable?

There are over 6000 recruiters and more than 1600 professional recruitment agencies in Hong Kong. It’s bizarre to find out that there are more recruitment firms than 7-11’s in Hong Kong!

Out of the 1600+ agencies, only a handful of them is considered ‘sizeable’ firms with more than 100 recruiters. While many of the larger firms promote stability, and career growth, ironically the average tenure of recruiters is about 2 years. So why do recruiters leave?

Lack of scope

As a recruiter, there’s a lack of encouragement from management to learn new tricks. They are often put into a sector and expected to become domain experts. There’s little regard to the recruiters’ personal interests or growth.

Cut-throat KPI’s

Sending out 10 CV’s per day may be effective for some, but definitely not for all. Meeting KPI’s is generally a nightmare for recruiters, especially if these KPIs do not translate to strong performance. Most recruitment companies still adopt a KPI model but you seldom hear about the use of OKR’s.

Pyramid scheme-like structure

Many, especially larger, recruitment firms shape their teams as pyramids. This limits the learning and earning potential of recruiters as they are always asked to share the pie or give up on opportunities to serve a client on multiple fronts.

Low barrier to set-up

In Hong Kong, it’s not difficult to set up your own recruitment agency. With emerging technologies like wix, neat, airwallex, and others, recruiters can easily legitimize their own agencies once they are confident about the value they can bring to clients.

While some firms might have propaganda against the idea of starting boutique agencies, the truth is over 90% of recruitment firms have less than 10 people and there’s a preference in the market for these smaller agencies. They are more flexible in the services and valuable insights they provide.

With the number of boutique agencies on the rise, it is a critical time for larger agencies to rethink their retention plans and emphasize more on the growth of their employees.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear your opinion, so feel free to reach me at howard@findrecruiter.com

Howard Sung

Co-founder of FindRecruiter.com - Intelligent Recruiter Matching Platform

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