There has never been a busier time in recruitment.

There has never been more businesses looking to grow.

The sun is shining BIG TIME in the recruitment world. 2021 was the sunshine after the rain of 2020, 2022 already looks like it’s going to be a scorcher!

Prove it?

There are currently over 1,500,000 vacancies advertised in the UK, and it’s the third week in January. If we are starting here, how high will demand go this year?

Demand is high and increasing.

Supply however does not match demand. Whether you refer to them as candidates or not, ‘people’ are open to work, and open to conversations about new career opportunities, but they are awash with options.

The biggest challenge of 2022 is not how you retain or engage your clients. Not how you reach out to people about new opportunities. Not about whether you automate or not. Not about how high a salary you can offer. Not about whether you offer work from home, hybrid, beach working, unlimited holiday, or good old fashioned come to the office 5 days a week working.

The biggest challenge in 2022 is standing out.

If you don’t stand out in 2022 how will you be noticed, seen, or in the right place to even have conversations which could lead to a positive outcome?

This is a BIG problem for the recruitment industry, and therefore by default a problem for those businesses looking to grow.


Although recruitment is full of alleged extroverts, it’s a sector which is not great at marketing, and in all honesty is as bland thing on a bland, wet Wednesday morning. It’s too safe and does not advertise properly.

Safe adverts. Safe videos. Very inward looking. A overriding belief that the industry is different to other others and therefore acts as such.

That is why this campaign from Manchester based Creative Agency Offended, which was ultimately rejected, caught my eye so much. This campaign was designed for a recruitment agency and nearly ran across a full-page in the London Evening Standard.

Does this picture shock you? Would you contact this recruitment business to look for your next role or to hire the next member of your team?

These are important questions, but not as important as, would this advert catch your eye, and draw your attention?

I would be amazed if answer to this question is not YES!

It caught my eye. It made me think. It stayed with me. It stood out. That’s what advertising is meant to do.

This advert and campaign would catch your eye. It stands out. It’s different. It’s bold. Its sex based and sex sells, but again recruitment never embraces sex, unless it’s the fallout from the Christmas party (again inward looking.)

Why does not recruitment as an industry not push the boundaries, push the conversation, and take more risks with advertising and PR campaigns?

Speaking personally, when we opened Digital 51, I thought our content was fresh, was different, and stood out. Granted it did not include a butt-plug, but it was out there. Then we got busy. Then we got more partner clients. Then we got safe.

Safe is not getting it done in 2022. Comfortable is not getting it done in 2022.

This advert for me highlights a campaign that is neither safe nor comfortable, no pun intended.

2022 is a about standing out.

Digital 51 is going back to trying to stand out, trying to be fresh, trying to be different.

How are you going to stand out in 2022? Is someone working on your behalf, so your business stands out in the busiest recruitment market in history?

This article was written by Simon Brown, Founder of Digital 51. Is Simon absolutely crazy for sharing this picture on LinkedIn, one of the most vanilla social media platforms out there? Or does he make a good point? Tell Simon what you think by dropping him a line on