Articles by Smart Recruit Online

What Impact is GDPR Having on UK Recruitment So Far

Four months on, almost three-quarters (73%) of recruiters say the ‘GDPR’ regulation has had no impact on their use of technology and software and many recruitment companies and businesses are yet to make any changes to the way that they operate.

Sixty percent of recruiters think regulators won’t strongly enforce the terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to a new survey conducted by Bullhorn.


Seventy-three percent of recruiters surveyed said they have seen no impact on the way that they use recruitment technology and software four months on from the introduction of GDPR, while a similar number (71%) said it hasn’t affected their ability to engage with candidates and clients at all.



Of the 100’s of recruitment professionals surveyed, the majority (79%) agreed that GDPR won’t have a negative impact on the industry in the long-term.

Peter Linas, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and International at Bullhorn said:

It’s worrying to learn that a significant proportion of recruiters think the ICO and other bodies will take a liberal approach. If recruiters have seen no impact whatsoever on their use of technology and software, it might indicate that official advice and best practices are not being followed closely enough. We can’t forget that GDPR was introduced for crucial reasons: to reinforce individual data privacy rights and improve transparency around how personal information is used. Penalties for non-compliance are, naturally, very serious.”

Linas continued: “It’s now more important than ever for recruitment companies to work closely with suppliers to understand how to maximise their use of technology, while staying within the boundaries established by GDPR.”

However, when asked about preparation for GDPR, over half (53%) of recruiters said they had enough training and support at an individual level, while nearly three quarters (73%) claimed that their company was timely and efficient in carrying out its compliance plan.



Additionally, over a third (36%) of recruiters working at firms with a global reach said that their organisation plans to expand its data privacy policy to non-EU markets in light of GDPR, despite the potential challenges involved. The three most commonly cited challenges involved in preparing for GDPR were:

  • Ensuring clarity around the terms of GDPR (58%)
  • Putting new data processing policies in place (56%)
  • Auditing all IT and other data-driven systems (44%)

Linas concluded: “It’s certainly a good sign that companies are planning to expand their data privacy policies in light of GDPR. This is proof of the regulation fulfilling its overarching aim: to have companies take their customers’ data more seriously on a global scale. Nonetheless, while most took the appropriate measures to prepare for GDPR, more still needs to be done to educate staff and ensure clarity around what can and can’t be done.”

The full impact that GDPR has had on UK business is going to take time to filter through into any meaningful data and there is some evidence to suggest that the worst offenders when it came to looking after personal data and probably the least likely to have taken the new legislation seriously.

Mark Stephens, CEO at Smart Recruit Online commented, “The biggest 3 issues I see, that we still have, in regards to bringing meaningful change on the back of the GDPR are firstly, that it is very difficult to monitor whether businesses are actually complying until perhaps it’s too late. Secondly, we are very reliant on individuals taking a responsible approach to their own obligations, no matter what the company itself has done to be compliant and finally, the biggest perpetrators of data abuse, those people who commercialise the reselling of unsolicited data, are uninterested in the regulations as they can close down and open up again the next day under a new name.

The survey of 100 recruitment professionals was taken in August 2018.



Related articles

Staying compliant with the latest GDPR/ Data regulations

What role does the HR and recruitment team play in GDPR?

15 predictions for imminent changes to the HR and recruitment landscape

Maintaining contacts with your candidates through the recruitment process