Preparing for a perfect storm

Andrew MountneyThe run-up to the end of 2017 was marked with a number of challenging conditions affecting the in-house recruitment market. 

Hiring freezes, headcount plans for 2018 being consistently deferred and in many cases not signed off, cost neutral or budget reductions expected for many, below expectation pay settlements, and a swathe of contractors being finished up early in recruiting roles accompanied by a handful of redundancies.

Grim times
That said, we’ve seen it all before and there’s one thing we know: recruitment teams are running lean and operating to capacity. As organisations start to turn on the taps, what should we prepare for based on what we have seen before, and how will it impact you as a recruiting professional?

Delivery first
As those headcount plans get released you do not get more time to deliver them just because they are deferred. There will be a rush on transactional roles. Recruiters and sourcers focused on filling the pipeline will get the first hint of activity and typically at the more junior end.

Availability rules and undermines value
If you’re looking for progression and your own development to be put first, you’ll want to wait a while to make your move; better still you’ll find it with your current employer. As transactional hiring continues to rule, those who can start immediately and focus on delivering requirements will be the first on call.

All is not lost
As this period washes through and teams settle down, we’re expecting a sharp focus on business partnering and stakeholder management to return in Q2. The challenge of a competitive market for technical, sales and marketing talent will continue the trend of businesses struggling with long-open requirements and hiring plans falling behind. The recruiter who can shape and manage stakeholder relations, share data and present credible solutions will always be highly valued. If that’s your sweet spot, keep an eye on the usual channels – there will be some challenging but fascinating opportunities to consider, particularly in the larger firms.

Smaller firms will continue to develop portfolio recruiter careers
Building on a trend from the last two years, we’re expecting to see a continued focus from companies as small as 20 people wanting to have an internal resource. This has driven the growth of some newer recruitment process outsourcing organisations (RPOs) and consultancies focused on the start-up world. It’s also created a credible market for those seeking flexibility and to work as an in-house recruiter for more than one business. This comes with risk, of course – minimal commitment from either party, short notice periods, self-employment and day rates – but for many, this is a great way to build a blended and flexible portfolio.

Let’s see how it all pans out but expect a lot of change and challenges. What’s new?

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