Even in the most prosperous of times, businesses can struggle to balance cost efficiency with talent quality, but today’s uncertain climate only intensifies this challenge. As revenue growth stagnates or declines in some markets and industries, companies must optimise cost structures to protect their bottom lines.

Compensation, however, offers limited savings potential. Job seekers prioritise salary, and employers recognise the need to remain competitive. Page Outsourcing’s Talent Trends Report 2024 reveals that just over 40% of employees are unhappy with their current pay, with most actively seeking new positions.

So how do businesses optimise talent acquisition costs?

Talent acquisition processes offer a more promising avenue for cost efficiencies. Businesses can achieve significant savings by speeding up hiring, finding better candidates, improving company image and achieving economies of scale. This is where RPO providers like Page Outsourcing shine.

Adding up the costs of traditional talent acquisition

Consider the expenses of maintaining an internal talent acquisition team versus outsourcing some or all of this function.

“There are the fixed costs of the team, including salary costs. Then there are associated overheads, such as property costs, laptops, phones and technology,” explains Jasen Issory, Head of Commercial at Page Outsourcing. “Alongside that, you've got candidate attraction costs and the expenses associated with setting up the function, including recruiting and training staff.”

Jasen Issory notes that an outsourcing solution typically saves clients between 20 to 30% on these hard costs, depending on the scale of the programme, how new the business is to outsourcing and its hiring needs.

Businesses also need to consider the soft costs beyond these tangible expenses. In addition to the extra management time spent hiring and running the acquisition team, there is the knock-on outlay of decision-making and extra workflow processes such as payroll.  

These expenses can lead to inefficiencies in the recruitment process. The result? A longer time to hire and limited access to diverse talent pools. In-house teams may also struggle to access advanced analytics and market insights that could improve their hiring strategies.

How outsourcing delivers significant cost savings

The most significant advantage of outsourcing talent acquisition is financial savings, which result in a lower cost per hire.

Outsourcing providers typically achieve this in two ways. First, they achieve economies of scale in purchasing power for job boards, technology, licences and other resources. This gives them superior buying power, passed on to clients through a lower candidate attraction cost.

Second, many providers also use shared service centres with resources that serve several regions globally. This competitive delivery cost results in a lower transactional price for clients.

“Clients typically tend to see around 30 to 40% reduction in the cost per hire with an outsource provider as opposed to going out externally and paying agencies on a preferred supplier list,” says Jasen Issory.

Rather than compromising on candidate quality, an RPO solution saves money and gives clients access to specialised candidate pools, not only by market but also by skill sets, salary types and sectors.

Consider, for example, a business that wants to get a lead in artificial intelligence (AI) but is struggling to find software engineers experienced in machine learning. “We can give you access to the hot spots where there’s candidate availability,” explains Jasen Issory.  “Then we put together a really compelling proposition to make you appealing to potential employees in terms of salary requirements, working from home, work-life balance and other soft benefits.”

For clients with project-based work and contingent workforces, Page Outsourcing offers Statement of Work (SoW) management solutions. These ensure that project objectives, deliverables, deadlines and responsibilities are clearly outlined, and looks at cost savings and reductions across SoW contracts and engagements. As a result, clients enjoy successful project execution and better overall organisational performance.  

Diversity and branding: The added benefits

Beyond cost savings, outsourcing can also help businesses tap into more diverse candidate pools. Our Talent Trends report shows that many companies are falling short in diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), with a mere quarter of employees saying they believe their workplace is inclusive. Through our regional, local and global candidate pools, Page Outsourcing can find the best-qualified diverse talent, helping clients improve their DE&I metrics and create a more inclusive workplace.

Enhancing your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is another outsourcing perk. “Having a strong employer brand can improve the quality of your applicant pool by up to 54%,” notes Jasen Issory. Page Outsourcing works with clients on their overall brand awareness, giving them the means to execute on their overall organisational strategy by having access to and hiring best-in-class candidates. And it’s a virtuous circle — better quality of hire enhances employer brand, which in turn attracts stronger applicants.

Don’t overlook the tech benefits

The final advantage of outsourcing is the access it provides to technology. Page Outsourcing’s proprietary technology allows us to tap into talent pools across different regions and sectors, significantly reducing sourcing time and performing AI matching as well.

“Technology is often overlooked when people are looking to outsource, but it’s actually crucial because we can give clients access to analytics, market data and business intelligence as well,” Jasen Issory explains. These insights can give your business the edge in a competitive market through better forecasting and decision-making.  

Finding a solution that works for you

Perhaps the strongest proof of the benefits of outsourcing is that the global RPO market is growing despite today’s macroeconomic challenges. There’s increased interest from SMEs, especially in sectors seeing strong growth, such as AI, technology, healthcare and green jobs.

We also understand that full outsourcing may not be ideal for larger enterprises that want or need to retain some form of traditional in-house talent acquisition. For clients with these different requirements, Page Outsourcing offers Project RPO and Modular RPO solutions to handle both permanent and non-permanent recruitment or even the option of developing an outsourced recruitment function that can be brought back in-house in the medium term. Find out more about our flexible solutions in this case study, or reach out to our team of experts today.

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