So today (8th August 2012) appears to be a cheeky bad news Britain day tucked away in the maelstrom of Olympic glory but I’m not so sure. I’m not qualified to challenge the Chancellor and the Bank of England on growth forecast figures but I do have a strong view on recruitment metrics and in particular what a recruitment consultancy’s view of the market really means for general employment! So here’s the headline REC/KPMG’s monthly jobs report points to a softening of the employment market, agencies are reporting weakening operating conditions, and most importantly the pace of growth has slowed according to recruitment agencies… Well go figure… You’re asking the wrong people!
I’ve long argued that in recruitment we get very excited by false data. At the 2009 AGR conference the media was up in arms as applicants per job soared to record levels and showed that no one could get a job! Behind the scenes though recruiters (in-house) were saying they could not fill roles despite bumper applicant loads… The reason? Well who hadn’t invested in making it easier for graduates to apply online during the boom of 2006-8 and putting great systems in place? As candidate pool graduated with a strong dose of media enhanced fear they went application crazy and it’s clearly easier to click, copy, and paste a badly constructed general application to every company in the UK than it is to fill out all that paperwork and post it off! Basically the data was being misread, it was hard certainly to find a job as a graduate (and still is) but nowhere near what the media wanted to you believe a lot were simply never viable hires for the roles they applied to.
So fast forward to today.
I’m sitting here working on more in-house recruitment roles than I have for around five years, they may have incredibly specific requirements and to the frustration of many applicants the client pool may not want to hire agency recruiters seeking experienced in-house professionals instead, but they are hiring nevertheless. Believe me and ask any Head of Recruitment you do not get extra headcount for recruiters out of finance and procurement particularly for permanent in-house recruitment roles unless you really need them as a business and unless the demand is planned and long-term! So I say we’re asking the wrong people, before we get horribly gloomy about employment let’s talk to the people that make the hires, the employers, not the owners of the businesses trying to make money out of the process of recruiting with an outdated business model! There’s value in REC/KPMG giving a picture of the recruitment agency landscape but I’d love a comment or two from in-house professionals on how busy they are the two taken together would give us a real picture.
That’s me done on that one!