In today’s sourcing market we are inevitably faced with two roads: agency or internal. With agency, as I was for more than six years, you can specialise in a certain sector or industry, building up your knowledge and network. With internal, you can be a jack-of-all-trades, building up a pure sourcing and recruitment skill set that sees you moving from one project to another, having to learn super-quickly. I have been internal for the past two.
In Australia, there is still a stigma around whether you are working for an agency or working for a consulting company. Both are seen as interesting and different work choices. And don’t get me wrong – people can have fantastic careers in agency-land, making heaps of money and progressing with good, global brands.
I firmly believe that if you want to stay relevant in this market in five, ten, twenty years, you need to get experience working in an internal environment.
I guarantee your skill set will sky rocket. That’s a money back guarantee. Think about it. If you are a Sourcing Specialist, working in an agency, you might get 8-10 jobs a month if you are doing really well – maybe 4-5 placements per month, all perm, or all contract. And you only work in the industry or sector you focus on. One off roles for maybe three or four companies.
Now you work in an RPO environment. You are thrust into an on-site role. All of a sudden, you are faced with working 15-25 roles at any one time. These are a mixture of contract and permanent roles. They also vary from a Senior Finance Manager, to a contract IT Project Manager, to a permanent Commercial Analyst position. Plus that short term Admin Assistant they need to start Monday.
Resourcing project management, and indeed the ability to project manage your recruitment and sourcing activities, will be critical to a Sourcer and their market value in the next decade and beyond. Think about it another way: most companies – particularly the larger ones – are moving more towards project-based work (if not already there). There are often large programs of recruitment activity, large transformation projects, huge volumes.
In ten years, Sourcing Specialists will be king. Freelance rock stars that jump from location to location (sometimes with a consulting firm), flying in and smashing out a six-month sourcing project here and there. They will earn huge money because the good ones – who possess that mix of strong sourcing ability, ability to engage candidates and influence hiring managers – will be in key demand.
Building your own personal networks in your chosen area of expertise will still be key – but none more than the Sourcer who has the ability to find the best talent in a variety of role types, sectors and industries quickly, effortlessly (or perceived effortlessly) and efficiently.
So if you are in an agency role – I’d encourage you to start thinking about what your skill set will be like in ten to twenty years. Build sourcing and project management into your own activities. Australia might take a while to catch-up – Europe has already embraced the segmented Sourcer/Recruiter model – so the question is – have you?