Current Economic Scenario - Effects on Recruiters & the US Economy

All the brouhaha over lay-offs and pink slips is finally coming to an end, whether temporarily or for next few years, only time will tell. I recently graduated with an MBA and the speculation whether the economy is picking up was driving me to an edge. The only solace was that there were more people like me around – people sitting at Starbucks with their laptops open and job alerts popping on their screen and speaking to headhunters for “relevant” opportunities.

However, what I really tend to wonder is, where are we really headed? What does a recovering economy have in store for the recruiters? From whatever I have heard and read, it means more work and more screening of resumes to keep a positive cash flow. A simple example of this is an article that appeared in SFGate which stated that when a recruiter posted an ad for administrative assistant on craigslist, she received 400 applications within the first four hours. This is just one example. I am sure recruiters all over are experiencing this problem. Some applicants are over qualified for the job, but they still apply. Well, it is better to have something than nothing at all. It is also a fantastic opportunity for recruiters (at staffing agency as well as at the corporate level) to build up on their databank and have a pool of candidates ready for future openings. Today, recruiters are also offering a broader portfolio of services, which serves dual purposes: firstly, it gives recruiters an alternative source of income and secondly, it ensures that the client keeps coming back to them for all their requirements.

With professionals being laid off by hundreds, there is no dearth of matching profiles but where are the jobs? Employers are spoilt for choice and that has definitely affected the average salary offered to employees with Masters and PhD degrees. This is the short term scenario and most of us are always concerned about what will happen to us in the next few days or months.

However, along with recruiters, how will the current trend affect the US economy in the future? Recent graduates are going back to their own country after obtaining the necessary skills and knowledge from US universities. Experts are observing a trend here and the term they have coined is reverse brain drain. More and more people with PhD’s are going back to their own countries, mainly due to two reasons: a. they are offered lucrative offers in terms of salary and b. they can stay with their families while they earn. According to a 2008 working paper by William R Kerr of Harvard Business School and William F Lincoln of the University of Michigan, immigrants represent 24% of US workers with bachelor’s degree in science and engineering and 47% of those with doctorates. From 1995 to 2006, 67% of the growth in the US science and engineering workforce stemmed from immigrants. It is not difficult to guess how the economy will be impacted if such a talented pool of people is ousted from the country.

But, I am hoping that things are not as bad as they look. Both, the Congress and the corporate sector are certainly aware that this is a passing phase. Once the economy bounces back, things will be back to normal. Recruiters will have a tough time getting good candidates since they will all be taken, managers will have the best talent pool and qualified job seekers will have the best pay package with the profile they desire and the future will definitely look bright.

But till then, hold on guys! It’s a rough ride ahead and the tide can either completely favor you or leave you rolling in the sand. Future has never been so uncertain and like many, I am excited to see what lies ahead.

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Comment by Dan Nuroo on June 18, 2009 at 7:18am
nice post Dhruti, what is business as usual though? We were in an economic boom, which by definition is an anomoly or out of the ordinary. Is business as usual going to be as good as it was? These things normally take a bit of time.
Comment by Dhruti Shah on June 18, 2009 at 12:59pm
Thank you Dan. As we all know, not a single industry has been spared from this recession. However, businesses that have enough liquidity have a better today and future. These companies are building up on their financial as well human capital and ready to create a huge impact when the economy spirals up again. With the likes of Lehman, GM and Bear Stearns gone, business won't be the same. It will take a long time before US economy gets its full glory again.

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