Navigating the Waves of a Global Pandemic: Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) State of the Market Report 2020

21 Oct 2020
by Arkadev Basak, Krishna Charan, Sailesh Hota

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has affected multiple industries, including talent acquisition. The Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) market was one of the fastest-growing outsourcing markets globally, posting double-digit growth over the past several years, including 2019. However, the market is expected to contract in 2020, considering the economic instability in the wake of the global pandemic. A sharp recovery can be expected in 2021, as deal activity is expected to accelerate with the economy’s recovery.

As the industry slowly recovers, buyers are expecting greater availability of talent at reduced price points. Thus, service providers are accelerating their digitalization and automation initiatives and optimizing their costs and processes. Cognitive automation solutions driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are helping ensure business continuity and cost reduction by enabling various recruitment processes' end-to-end automation. There is a rising demand from buyers to leverage advanced data analytics and derive better insights into their workforce and recruitment activity.

This research provides comprehensive coverage of the 2019 RPO market and analyzes it across various aspects, such as the impact of COVID-19, regional overview, adoption trends, value-added services and capabilities, and digital trends in permanent recruitment.


This report analyzes and draws insights from active RPO deals in 2019 – across various geographies, industries, and job families – which meet the following criteria:

  • The deal should include a minimum of four or more recruitment processes
  • It should be active and of at least one-year duration
  • The deal scope should not be limited to temporary hires
  • The deals should involve service providers that offer RPO as a stand-alone outsourcing service


In this report, we focus on:

  • Evolving RPO dynamics amid COVID-19
  • Geographical variations in the RPO market
  • Next-generation RPO trends
  • Implications for RPO providers and enterprises



Sourcing and Vendor Management


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