Recruitment Trends – Spring 2008…

Last month the RIOT Recruitment team outlined a number of recruitment trends we have seen over the last few years, as well as providing some insight looking forward. Since then we have seen an unprecedented global credit crunch unfold. In this installment we will explore further trends as they pertain to our Hawke’s Bay employment marketplace.

Economic & Global Market Conditions

The winds of change and uncertainty are blowing across the globe. It is highly probable that we are faced with recessionary conditions over the next few years. This is a "re-balancing" of credit markets, and of property values that have been in boom mode for at least the last six years.

These conditions are likely to impact in a number of ways in the general employment sector, as follows:

  • Business focus will be on streamlining process, and getting "bang for buck" across the board. This is likely to lead to further "right-sizing" in the commercial (and possibly government) sectors.
  • Sectors that are heavily exposed to discretionary consumer spending (e.g. tourism, hospitality & retail) will see a downturn in employment numbers, while emphasis will come on our primary production & manufacturing sectors, to enable the economy to trade to back to balanced conditions. The services sector will see a shift in skills focus to support such change.
  • Private sector large scale capital projects are likely to be deferred, at least in the short term, due to credit limitations & risk aversion.
  • Short term contracting & temping opportunities will likely increase, particularly in the smaller & medium size business category, as "gaps" are plugged (rather than committing to additional full time employees).
  • The ongoing outsourcing of non-core business functions will increase. For example organisations may opt to partner with specialised HR consultancy firms rather than retain this expertise (and cost) in-house. Similarly organisations will rely on ICT partners to guide them through the next few years. There will be a real focus on the cost effectiveness & "value-add" of such relationships.

For employers there is no doubt that this is a crucial time to position and utilise your most valuable asset (your people), ensuring that you have the right people in the right place doing the right job.

Skills Requirements

There will be an increasing demand on highly specialised skills in short term. We are seeing this already in the Hawke’s Bay professional services sector, where the emphasis is on skills and capability that can assist organisations in transitioning through the ever changing economic landscape. By way of example specialised tax expertise, risk management skills, HR change management capability, strong financial & management accounting knowledge, and so forth are now areas of high demand.

In the engineering and manufacturing sectors we see ongoing demands in specialist skills relating to areas of efficiency gain (this will increase as further focus comes on streamlining production).  In addition project managers, designers, electrical engineers, skilled machine operators and others remain in demand.

Strong sales skills & strategies are going to be key across the private sector moving forward. People will become more and more demanding in assessing where every dollar is being spent, and the importance of getting recruitment decisions right take on even more importance.

In essence, we are seeing more emphasis on specialised knowledge, and less on "generalist" capability.

Job Volumes & Applications

With unemployment figures likely to rise (fairly rapidly) in the near future, there will be a perception that there will be more "people on the market". Whilst this is true, the reality is that high calibre people will remain in demand, and it will become harder to find those with the skills needed to ensure business growth, or even sustainability, during more challenging times.

Another aspect of such increases in jobseeker numbers is an increase in recruitment overheads and workloads. For those of us that have actively recruited for roles in the past we will now find significantly higher volumes of applications for opportunities. This will mean much higher workloads in finding the "right fit" for business needs.

For the jobseeker in today’s employment market, you will need to seek ways to stand out from the crowd. Target your hunt in on opportunities that fit your experience and skill base, and be proactive in your approach (never be afraid to pick up the phone). Think laterally and if in doubt seek assistance from a job or career coach, or other trusted advisors.

Act Positively

In today’s uncertain economic environment it is important for both employers and jobseekers to act in a positive fashion. High calibre jobseekers will aspire to work with organisations that take such a positive approach to tackling the current conditions, and are capable of looking forward at the opportunities.

Similarly, employers will not look favourably on prospective employees who take a "victim" mentality into interview situations. Regardless of your situation, approach a prospective employment opportunity as just that, an opportunity.

Consider this – "some people walk in the rain, others just get wet".


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