There’s a Rather Large Elephant in the Room…

How easy would it be for me to write a blog this week about the mind boggling political situation we find ourselves in in Australia? Or, what about the sacking of the national cricket coach less than 3 weeks before the Ashes? Or maybe that Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur’s new film, action-comedy 2 Guns, will open the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland… go on, Google™ it…

But, no… This week I want to address something that many of us in the industry seem to be conveniently ignoring – or worse still lying about. It’s a problem that’s not going to go away any time soon – and is nabbing more and more victims on a weekly basis. It’s not the outrageous price we are forced to pay for a cbd latte and it’s not ever-changing definition of a passive candidate…

elephant-in-the-room1It’s time to stop the constant fibbing and address the recruitment elephant in the room… So… here it is… drum roll please…

Most recruitment businesses and consultants across the region aren’t doing so well… bet you didn’t see that coming. I read… you read… we all read… and what we’re collectively reading is a constant stream of poor revenue and profit results. We’re seeing headcount levels in our industry slashed and a butt-load of margin pressure.

You’d imagine that we – as a professional, pro-active and intuitive industry – would take the bull by the horns… face the challenge head on, and work towards a viable solution… Right?… Wrong…

In my game I meet with recruitment business owners every day. We discuss the market, their headcount and strategy… and usually some juicy gossip (my lips are sealed)… but almost all lie to me about how well their businesses are doing.

Example

‘So, Cedric… How are you finding the market, and how is ABC Recruitment tracking?’ I ask, pen poised.

‘Well Craig.’ Cedric replied. ‘We are flying! We’ve recently opened up a new division and have plans for a new office in the next quarter. I’ve just added 4 new consultants and we are bedding them in. We’re at full headcount right now, but will need new talent, so keep sending me the best people to see…’

Fast forward 3 weeks and an article in the recruitment press…

ABC Recruitment have released figures showing a 38% decrease in revenue and 43% decrease in net profit for last quarter…’

Further probing reveals that 20% of the workforce was made redundant…

This is not an isolated story.

At last count I see 17… that’s right 17… stories in the local recruitment press addressing; decrease in earnings, redundancies or shut-downs over the past month.

elephant in the room2So, what do we do from here? Below I’ve listed 3 starting points that will hopefully guide you toward recruitment enlightenment

  1. Stop the lies – I’m not saying go to market with a woe is me… recruitment sucks message. But there is no need to tell the market how well you are doing if you’re not… It will only come back and bite you on the bum… and it may get infected.
  2. Temper your reality – There have been a few blogs and commentaries recently suggesting that the current market is the new reality for recruitment. If it is you need to be ready for it. I know that qualified data in the market is showing a trend toward lower monthly consultant billings – and that is a reality.
  3. Plan Accordingly – Look closely at your cost base. Look closely at your marketing return on investment. Budget realistically – not based on figures from 2007.

I know, it’s a very simplistic approach and I know some of you will jump on the comments feed – telling me about how you really are doing well… congratulations you are in the minority… But, if you can accept the fact that the industry is struggling… and you are not alone in struggling… recruitment owners and consultants can begin to make the changes needed to fix things…

Oh, and as a final thought I’m a little disappointed that I only received 4 lousy requests to see the Dancing Luke footage… Shame on you…

Craig Watson

5 thoughts on “There’s a Rather Large Elephant in the Room…”

    1. Craig May be its time for you to advise your clients that now is the time to hire older experienced recruiters, who have been through the mill and know how to cut it in a difficult market. Us Dinosaurs out there need a spokesperson, as someone I do admire Greg Savage once said “‘ Technology is not the be all and end all in Recruitment” . A lot of us old timers would love to offer something back to the Industry that served us so well. ”Just a thought”.

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