Saturday, November 27, 2010

My take on market conditions – Plan your resourcing ahead or prepare to get burnt!

Well, 2010 certainly has been an interesting year. Last year at this time, I think a lot of us were reflecting on what a tough year 2009 was, and hoping that 2010 would bring some relief. For myself and my colleagues at AbsoluteIT, 2010 has been an altogether rosier year and we are hopefully seeing the backend of the recession. Working hand in hand with our clients and candidates, we have seen a strong uplift in demand for our services across the board and are experiencing a record numbers of placements in both the contract and permanent market. We were also delighted to receive the winner of the Excellence in Recruitment award at the CIO Conference, which was a true highlight for us as it’s the only recruitment award handed out by the IT sector.

Like many industries, the recruitment industry usually slows down over the November/December period. But that is certainly not the case for us in 2010. I was talking to my manager the other day, who has over 20 years’ experience within the IT recruitment industry across Australasia and the UK, and he said that he had never seen a Christmas period this busy in his whole career. Why is this? Are companies trying to catch up on time lost during the recession? Are some of these mission critical projects that have been put on ice finally getting kicked off? Or is it a combination of these things, I am not sure. However, the one thing I do know is this resurgence in the demand for resource is placing massive strain on our traditionally skill short market.

The biggest shift in 2010 has been the change from people needing jobs to employers needing people, which has led to a much more candidate orientated market. This has been a double edged sword for recruiters- it’s been great to have more jobs to fill, but it has become increasingly harder to source quality candidates for these roles. The companies that are securing the best talent are the ones that are taking a proactive approach to their resourcing. Companies that are insisting on having long hiring processes are finding quality candidates are pulling out mid-way through as they have been offered and accepted another position. It’s competitive, and that great candidate you are considering hiring probably has another couple of potential offers in their back pocket. So if you are hiring, and you haven’t already, it’s time to start looking at what your company or your project can do to secure the best people.

If you are going to be needing resource early in the new year, I would strongly encourage you to be looking at hiring RIGHT NOW! With the volume of roles and hiring we are experiencing currently, I am predicting we are going to be hit with a serious candidate shortage come February/March of next year. In current discussions with a number of my clients, a common theme is emerging – key projects are going to be kicking off in early 2011 or a number of new RFP requests are coming through and they are going to be very busy early next year! Companies simply must start looking at resource and staffing for these projects now or run the risk of being left high and dry come kick off time.

Some clients are starting to use this tactic and are signing up contractors now for a start in early February. This in my view is a brilliant approach- Not only does it ensure that project is fully resourced heading into February, but it also allows that particular client to look at permanent staff that are locked into a 4 week notice period that are looking for an entry point into the contracting market.
It is great to see the recruitment industry coming back strong as it means more jobs for more candidates and overall, less New Zealanders having to struggle due to the economic crisis. It certainly appears that 2011 has all the markings of being a very busy and productive year for lots of different industries, IT included. With the right degree of planning, there is no reason you can’t have your cake and eat it to. If you wish to discuss any resourcing matters, either contract or permanent, please get in touch with me at either or give me a call 021 465 644.

If I don’t speak to you beforehand, have a Merry Christmas and a happy safe New Year.