Six Revolutions that changed Recruitment. What is next?

 

“Those who are unaware of history are destined to repeat it.”

When I started in the IT recruitment industry back in the early 1980’s, for a company called Myriad Appointments, it was a very different world. Before you could get a ‘job-on’ you had to sell the concept of using an agency to clients rather than them doing it for themselves.

All communication was via the phone or post. Finding and sourcing good candidates was key and running client branded advertising was the best way to attract them. This was how I made my money, selling multiple campaigns to Clerical Medical, British Aerospace, GEC, Plessey, Imperial Tobacco and many more. Happy days!

Over a coffee the other week I was asked by some young delegates on the course I was running ‘What have been the biggest changes in recruitment’. After a 30-minute discussion it occurred that this perspective might be useful to others.

So in chronological order:

OldFaxMachineMid 1980s – The Facsimile Machine: Machines to transmit messages had been around in the form of ‘telex’ and ‘telegram’ machines for years but the ability to photocopy a candidates CV or resume and send it to a client rather than sending it ‘snail mail’, changed how we in the industry sold our candidates and contractors.

It created urgency, and the ability to close clients with more immediacy. It changed how we canvassed, arranged interviews and confirmed interviews. It also changed how IT contractors were placed too.

Naturally as sales people we saw the advantages of a fax machine immediately and tried to convince our MD it would change our business forever and we’d sell more candidates. We did initially but like all good process changes our competitors caught up quickly.

Old MobileEnd 1980s-91 Mobile Phones – Again these had been around for years and I received my first mobile back in 1989 when I began establishing a new office in the North of England. It was a second hand one with the phone the size of a brick and a battery pack the size of four tins of baked beans. For others the big revolution came in the early 1990s with (2G) technology.

It gave us as consultants better access to candidates and clients especially during the day so interviews could be arranged during office hours rather than in the evenings or via cryptic calls to their work numbers.

We also could be contacted away from the office rather than using telephone boxes. Once again it increased speed of communication and theoretically made us more efficient. Like the fax machine the competitive advantage disappeared.

220px-IBM_PC_51501990 Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) – These came in around the end of the 1980s but really in earnest in the early 90s. IBMs Talent was one I used. They didn’t really change how we canvassed clients but enabled us to find and source candidates much quicker. We could do ‘key word’ searches on CVs and find people faster. ‘Buzzword’ Matching entered our jargon. Candidates and recruitment consultants alike filled their CVs with ‘Buzzwords’.

Candidates sadly learnt the hard way that ‘Not Interested in jobs in Bristol’ on a CV or covering letter resulted in hundreds of calls about ‘jobs in Bristol’.

Clients discovered through their own experience that just because an interviewees had ‘COBOL, CICS and DB2’ on their CV 15 times didn’t make them good at the role.

Sadly recruitment consultants buzzword matching and just sending anyone, became a common place. Prior to this as agents we could do this but we had to read the CV in the first place and work harder to find people so they tended to submit only the best. Measuring KPIs started to come in aggressively to counter act this.

These tools enabled uneducated agencies to ‘blitz’ their clients like a second world war AK-AK Gun with any CV that looked remotely like the spec.

Once again over time as everyone acquired these systems the advantage you had sourcing candidates disappeared though interestingly enough I still see companies with better ATS systems than others retaining that advantage.

emai mark1993 Electronic Mail – Again like the Fax machine before it this was seen as a way of revolutionizing the industry. The appearance of the CVs the client received was better. We could log and trace what we’d sent. Theoretically they weren’t lost. We could also prove we sent our CV before the other agencies and therefore claim the fee in disputes. All great stuff and once again we promised our directors we’d generate more fees when we had one and as early adopters we did but only whilst the advantage lasted.

When email was connected to an agencies ATS system the indiscriminate emailing of CVs became a reality on a scale clients could not imagine. SPAM arrived in the client’s inbox in bucket loads. Quantity replaced quality as some clients desperate to find certain skills rewarded these indiscriminate agents with fees. So they continued to do it despite the protests of the majority of customers.

0_271_406_http---offlinehbpl.hbpl.co.uk-news-OWN-BB088D66-C6A1-C3F8-555F043B4670CA791994 Deregulation and Contracting Out Act – Prior to this date there were barriers to entry into the recruitment industry. You had to demonstrate you were a fit and proper person, apply and be granted a licence, which took some days if not weeks. You were inspected by HMI regularly and there were supposedly rigorous controls. The Conservative Government abolished licences and except for the occasional court cases recruitment agencies were relatively unregulated.

Some may say this was not a good thing but it massively improved our economies ability to recycle unemployed workers.

My three to fours working in mainland Europe at the turn of the millennium taught me that and to this day the relatively deregulated UK Recruitment Industry is one of the primary reasons why our percentage unemployment levels are much lower than our European neighbours. Naturally Social Security Benefit levels provide the ‘stick’ to encourage people to accept work that is offered but that’s another debate.

with no barriers to entry agencies could set themselves up quickly. With our ATS’s we could identify candidates and with email secure an up to date CV and send it to a client rapidly. Mobile phones meant candidates and clients were accessible quicker. These were the boom years and recruitment became a major industry. Agencies sprung up everywhere and for every niche imaginable.

UnknownLate 1990’s Websites and 1999 Job boards – Tim Berners-Lee’s Internet Revolution of the 90s created the need for businesses to have their own presence on the web, ‘websites’ were born. It was seen as the future and the ‘Dotcom Boom’ came along bringing with it all sorts of businesses.

The answer to every recruiter’s prayers was ‘the job board’, Monster, Stepstone and Jobserve, all arrived and quickly captured the imagination of candidates and agents alike and took hold. Recruitment in the off-line press started to decline.

In 2000 a VNU Computing sales director told me Job Boards were not here to stay and they had no intention of entering the market. (I think his Dad rejected the Beatles as an average bunch of boys from Liverpool!)

Now all lazy recruitment agents had to do was find a job, post it on Jobserve, go home, come back in the morning and with the minimal of CV sifts, email the resulting response to their clients! More SPAM.

Until the recession of 2008 the average recruitment consultant lost the ability to ‘sell’ a complaint most recruitment directors I meet lament.

Whilst none of us wish to return to the ‘old days’ it did demand certain basic intercommunication skills be learnt in order for consultants to succeed.

Each of these changes has affected the industry we are all apart of. All revolutionised what we do and how we do it and few would dispute their impact.

In all cases the early adopters gained a competitive advantage and in some cases have gone on to be hugely successful, whilst those that were slow to adapt in most cases no longer exist. There is a lesson in there.

So what next?

For me there is another revolution happening today which is changing the face of recruitment forever.

what is social recruiting12013 Social Recruiting: Social Media is transforming the way we interact in our society today and with job board traffic in the main declining, most major off-line titles struggling, ‘Social Sourcing’ (the sourcing of candidates via social media) is going to be the key as we enter the impending Talent War. (For more info read this blog: Can You win the Global Talent War)

This is not the crude broadcast of your jobs continuously as though it was a revolving job board but the sharing of useful and engaging content that encourages prospective candidates to contact and engage with your business. Whilst this should be easy for the niche suppliers, I currently see no niche agency doing it successfully but would be delighted to be corrected.

Costa Coffee does it successfully with their clients and even steals from the competition. One of my contacts recently visited Starbucks in Liverpool on his way to work to buy his team teas and coffees and on discovering they had run out of tea tweeted it. Within 30 seconds of his tweet Costa Coffee responded that if he visited their store in Liverpool One they’d give him a tea for free. He did and guess where he now goes every morning for his beverages! Interestingly last I heard Starbuck never even responded to his tweet!

Many other leading brands do this too; Virgin; Pepsi, Network Rail just to name a few.

Do you think tomorrow we could see Adecco, for example, responding to an irate candidate’s tweet after attending an interview organised by another agency, for which they were badly matched. May be but I think not?

In the five sectors I highlighted recently in my blog (Top five recruitment sectors to be in for next 5-10 years) where the candidate is soon to be king, it will happen soon. Think about it a Subsea Engineer in oil and gas or a frustrated Nurse in healthcare tweeting their frustration would be very impressed if a competitor agent responded with another job almost immediately.

Let me know if you do it, I promise to write a follow up blog but only if you are happy for me to.

As I mentioned in my other blog Recruitment Agency MDs – Will you Adapt or Fail? Millennials (Generation-Y) totally live and communicate it this social media world. So if you wish to attract them in the future you need to learn to ‘social-source’.

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 16.09.37The other dimension of ‘social-sourcing’, which again most business have not woken up to, is that most of this activity takes place on mobile platforms. At Recruitment Expo this year Mike Taylor of Web-Based-Recruitment.com gave some interesting facts:

  • 75% of all mobile traffic is to Facebook
  • Amongst Millennials Twitter is overtaking Facebook as the preferred medium of communication
  • 8 out of 10 phones now sold in the UK are smartphones so it should be no surprise to Recruiters that so many job seekers are now expecting to be able to search and apply for a job using a mobile device.
  • According to Google, 1 in 5 of all job searches are carried out on a mobile device (source: 2012 Mobile Recruitment Conference)
  • Some of the leading UK job boards are now seeing 30% of their traffic come from a mobile device

The Mobile Recruiting Outlook Report issued by Simply Hired in January 2013 showed that:

  • 70% of job seekers had used mobile technology to look for a job.
  • 86% of job seekers would use mobile technology if there was an easy way to apply for a job.

However, the recent iMomentous Fortune 500 Mobile Readiness Report, showed that:

  • Only 33% of companies had a mobile careers section
  • Only 3% had a mobile apply function

Mikes own research showed that 94% of the FTSE 100 companies had a mobile enabled careers section on their website.

Mike has some more interesting facts which are worth checking out on his website.

So the recruitment industry has been through revolutions many times over the past thirty years. Each time it has changed and every time those that were too slow to adopt the new models disappeared.

By 2020 I predict that our industry will have transformed again and almost certainly several of the household industry names we know will either be no more or greatly reduced in size. ‘Social-Sourcing’ is going to be critical to businesses success yet so many don’t even have a Social media Strategy

It may seem incredible today but back in 1998 there were many agencies claiming they did not need a website. Only last year Morrison’s Supermarket saw its Christmas sales decline because they had no on-line shopping site.

As George Santayana says:

“Those who are unaware of history are destined to repeat it.”

My question is ‘Are you?’

Recruitment Agency MDs – Will you Adapt or Fail?

 

 

 

Was anyone apart from the board of directors of HMV or Blockbuster surprised when their businesses went into liquidation? I know I wasn’t and most people I have spoken too weren’t either.

After all technology changed the way their customers could purchase their products and both HMV and Blockbuster were slow to adapt their business models. When you can buy your music and video choices on-line why would we go to a shop unless they added value.

The same is true in the World of Recruitment. With technology increasingly making the sourcing of mainstream talent and resource easier, employers will not use agencies in the future unless they can supply their ‘product’ with an added value. Only where acute skill-shortages exists may agencies still have a role but only if they can source the best talent.

 

The burning question is with their existing business models will they be able to?

 

7788113_sIn my recent blog Third World War begins now I discussed how the scale of the ‘War on Talent’ is about to accelerate dramatically. I questioned whether recruitment agencies would be allies of corporate businesses or mercenaries but the choice agencies face is far starker than that.

 

What is at stake is their very survival.

 

The traditional recruitment agency’s business model has been set up around attracting candidates; contractors and temporary workers who predominantly come from the ‘baby-boomer’ (born pre 1964) and ‘generation-X’ (b1965-1981) age groups. Only now are they starting to engage the ‘Millennial Generation’ (also known as Gen-Y born after 1982 and started work since the millennium).

 

A lot has been written about this generation and if you have not read it you need to quick.

 

Millennials have very different expectations and attitudes to work and so they will increasingly make different demands in the way they engage with agencies and employers. In a future world with acute skill shortages, highly educated young talent will progressively become harder to find.  Sourcing these millennial candidates is therefore a must if any recruitment agency is to thrive.

 

In my Third World War Begins now blog many of you will remember that in the next two years ‘Millennials’ are set to become the dominant generation in the work place. This is going to come as a shock for many ‘Baby-boomers’ who as a generation, have dominated the workplace for over thirty years.

 

It’s a timely reminder in the week that she passed away that Margaret Thatcher’s reign _66808649_66808648coincided with the ‘baby-boomers arrival as the dominant generation in the UK workplace. It was a period of huge change in the UK and US both within work and society.

 

New management practices came in and the old large monolithic business hierarchy’s dismantled. The Baby-boomers readily embraced IT into mainstream corporate life which saw swathes of administrative and clerical functions computerised and abolished. They embraced the free market economy and entrepreneurial spirit, which the US & UK governments were so keen to unleash at that time.  Whether one was a product of the other is debateable but the ‘Young and upwardly mobile’ Yuppies certainly exploited the opportunity that in the UK, the Thatcher government created.

 

Similarly todays ‘Millennials’ are poised to have a major impact on the post 2015 world.

 

So what are the key areas that make ‘Millennials’ different?

 

Meaningful Engagement – Most research indicates that the millennial generation are unwilling to perform dry boring work. Kevin Sheridan, the Senior VP of Avatar HR Solutions (an organization that specializes in employee engagement and talent management.) recently told SHRM On-line.

 

“In a gargantuan difference between Baby Boomers and Gen Y, the latter set their career as one element within their life, not the single element that makes their life. Gen Y wants their job to provide personal fulfillment and support a positive work/life balance.”

 

Clearly the work they do has to have a value and meaning. As recruiters we will find it increasingly difficult to find young people to undertake boring, repetitive and tedious roles and certainly not doing over 45 hour shifts. Recruiters might need to think differently how they sell the jobs they are seeking to fill. Millennials will increasingly demand more job information before attending interviews.

 

Fearless and Intolerant – One of the main qualities that sets Millennials out from the rest of us is their fearlessness and intolerance.  If there is something they don’t like they will not suffer in silence. They will not bite the bullet, or get their head down and get on with it.

 

No, they will challenge it and if  unsuccessful they will simply walk.

 

Increasingly the skilled and educated ones will know that they can get another a job. As greater numbers of this generation have travelled the world they already know first-hand that there are many countries where they can get work, Australia, China, Brazil, Russia the Middle East to name just a few.  Employers and agencies seeking to control Millennials with the fear of unemployment will simply find it ineffective.

 

calijody-interior

Flexibility – Millennials demand working environments, which are flexible. They will not work rigid 9-5 days. They will demand the flexibility to complete their tasks when and where it suits them. Employer’s business models will therefore need to reflect this desire including recruitment agencies own models.

 

Already a great many global companies who are aware of this are migrating to operating models where employees are evaluated on performance rather than presence. The ROWE (Results only Work Environments) is one of these such environments. Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson are the Founders of CultureRx and creators of the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) and their site is worth a read. This model will not work for every industry and there will be a need for some people to work core hours but entire workforces working rigidly will be a thing of the past.

 

Dynamic Environments – Stayed and monotone working environments will not appeal to Millennials they demand change. They also have low attention spans and will rapidly move on if the work isn’t stimulating and challenging. They are not afraid of tough challenges and will strive for ambitious goals. So recruiters when taking briefs you need to check how stimulating the work is otherwise your refund clauses could be used a lot more frequently that you might like. Money is not their primary motivator in making career choices.

 

Recognition and Management – Millennials crave feedback, instant reaction and gratification. They will not wait for annual appraisals they have been brought up on social technology and are accustomed to getting frequent responses. They will not suffer pretentious and insincere fools as managers. ‘Authentic and honest’ superiors whose knowledge they can respect is what they seek. 1970s and 80s autocratic leadership founded on hierarchy and status will not work. If your clients operate this way prepare to find them very difficult to recruit for.

 

Diverse, Fun loving Team Players – Millennials like most of us are fun loving at heart and for them work is not supposed to be an austere place. They will expect to work in multi-cultural and multi-disciplined teams with other workers who have knowledge they can respect and learn from. When attracting candidates your techniques and approaches need to reflect this.

BYOD

Technology Sensitive – If your clients are luddites and do not embrace new technology then Millennials will shun them. Filling jobs where employers shy away from investing in the latest and most efficient technology will see the Millennials leave. BYOD ‘Bring your own Device’ employers are expected to become the norm. Agencies that employ old methods of applicant attraction, which do not embrace the latest technology, will also see themselves lose out too.

 

To this end Social Media is therefore the most effective way to engage them.

 

This is the battleground recruitment agencies are already losing. The Millennials, who seeking ‘meaningful engagement’ are connecting with employers who are already ahead of the curve. Astute and forward thinking corporate HR departments are aware of these demographic and social changes and are reshaping their businesses to accommodate them. They are also learning to leverage their corporate brands to recruit and attract the best talent using In-house/Direct Sourcing team.

 

Like Network Rail, who at the CIPD conference in Manchester this year, outlined how they had used Facebook very successfully to hire virtually their entire 2013 apprentices, businesses are creating and cultivating their own talent pools not by tweeting incessantly that they have vacancies but by placing meaningful and highly relevant and interesting Unknowncontent into a Facebook Group.

 

A move to in-house recruitment at Network Rail has saved the company 85 per cent in hiring expenditure, the CIPD’s annual conference in Manchester has heard.


The reduction in recruitment agency fees has seen costs per hire drop from an average of £3,500 to £500 in five years, said Adrian Thomas, head of resourcing at the rail maintenance firm. The company – which employs 35,000 people – externally hires or internally promotes around 10,000 people a year.


Now, 73 per cent of external recruitment is done through direct resourcing, with only 7 per cent fielded out to agencies, delegates were told.


The majority of candidates were now generated through a revamped careers website, explained Thomas. Other initiatives included a specially designed Facebook forum for the Network Rail apprenticeships scheme, which generated 6,000 applications for the 200 places on offer, he added.


 

Other companies are similarly using YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn to post relevant and domain specific videos, articles, case studies and industry news for their target audiences to feast on. Only once their core following is established do they start to post jobs news into it. Like good farmers they spend hours preparing the soil before planting the seeds.

 

This is nothing that niche agencies in IT, Oil and Gas, Engineering, Biotech or Nursing couldn’t do but they choose not to. It requires patience and investment without immediate returns. Sadly for the agencies however by the time the industry accept the returns are there it may be too late. Agencies will have lost the high ground and the commercial advantages that go with it.

So MD’s will your businesses also go the way of HMV and Blockbuster or do you have the courage to start to change now. As Network Rail demonstrates there are models out there that work.

Globally the number of people under the age of 30 now exceeds 50% of the world’s population.  Somewhere between 2014 and 2015 the Millennials will become the dominant generation in the workplace. The time to change is upon you.

The War for Millennial Talent has begun. The only question is do you have the courage and wisdom to triumph?

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Recruitment Sectors to be in for next 5-10 years

Top 5 Recruitment Sectors to be in for next 5-10 years

With unemployment typically running at 8-11% across the developed economies of the world it seems bizarre to be talking about skills shortages but that is the reality of the world today.

In last weeks blog ‘Can we win the Global Talent War’ I mentioned the five:

  • Information Technology
  • Engineering
  • Energy, Oil and Gas
  • Healthcare
  • Emerging Technology application

This week I go into detail about why these sectors are the ones to be in.

Information Technology

At CeBIT in Hannover Germany last week, Neelie Kroes told delegate’s that the EUs competitiveness is under threat unless we can fill the gap in the regions IT Skills Shortages. The EU have launched a ‘grand coalition’ to address the regions issues.cebit

 

In addition in last weeks article on the CeBIT event the BBC reported:

The (EU) commission’s own figures suggested that there will be 900,000 vacancies for IT-related roles by 2015. There are currently about 26 million people unemployed across Europe. The number of “digital jobs” – jobs based around IT – is growing by about 100,000 every year, yet the number of skilled IT graduates is failing to keep pace.

IT is the fashion industry of business. Whilst financial practices change slowly and evolve at a gentle pace rather than being abolished, IT in business is obsolete inside five years and the people who design, build and maintain our complex IT architecture find their skills similarly redundant too.

In my 24 years in IT recruitment I was asked many times ‘how should I guarantee my employment? For many years I have responded in the same way, as there is no company that can guarantee continuous employment for all its employees forever.

‘If you wish to remain in employment you must take ownership of your own career and ensure you remain current with all the latest technologies in your core sector.’

IT is constantly changing and consequently it renews itself every 5-10 years.

Likewise so do its workers if they wish to remain employed.

As a result of these shortages many of my agency clients, despite the recession, see an increasing need for their services and all have growing sales lines. I see no end to this for the foreseeable future unless the need by business to adopt the latest technology diminishes radically.

Engineering

Last year a study Jobs and growth: the importance of engineering skills to the economy by the Royal Academy of Engineering found that British industry needs 100,000 new graduates in Science, technology, engineering and mathematics until 2020. In total that’s 830,000 professionals and 450,000 technicians.

They found nuclear new build and automotive manufacture as key areas and are predicting a 15% premium compared to UK averages salaries. Those that follow my ‘Greenshoots’ Newsfeeds and tweets will know that automotive has been a key growth area with Nissan, Land Rover Jaguar, BMW and many others all announcing a growth in jobs. With the HS2 Project due to kick off too, this will create further growth in this sector.

In January Sir James Dyson, the inventor, warned of a deficit of 60,000 engineering graduates this year and argued: “The government must do more to attract the brightest and best into engineering and science so that we can compete internationally. “Twenty-six per cent of engineering graduates do not go into engineering or technical professions,” he told the Radio Times. “More worrying is that 85 per cent of all engineering and science postgraduates in our universities come from outside the UK. Yet nine in 10 leave the UK after they finish their studies.”

Clearly all these reports on the engineering sector are collectively projecting skills gaps well into the 2020’s. This too is a key area to grow in.

Energy, Oil & Gas

In a way Energy, Oil & Gas are a subset of Engineering but need to be considered a sector in their own right. The global economy is demanding increased energy production and this drive is forcing greater and greater demand for the engineers to source, design and build the oil, gas and energy extraction and generating complexes. Besides traditional sectors of oil and gas exploration and production, the quest for renewables seems to be gathering a pace here in the UK.

To put the scale of this into context the Lloyds Banking group recently found that oil and gas firms could create up to 34,000 jobs over the next two years. Stuart

While, area director of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking north of Scotland, said “The 100 companies we surveyed have committed to creating 5,000 jobs, which, if replicated across the industry, would see tens of thousands of jobs created over the next two years.”

Again if you track my ‘Greenshoots – 1000 new jobs created in North Sea’ news feeds in recent weeks you will see them all littered with Oil, Gas and renewable energy projects that have been announced. Only last week Aker Solutions announced a new contract from BP which will see 500 additional jobs on top of the company’s 1,500 already announced here in the UK.

Healthcare

NHS NursesThe drivers behind the demand for healthcare professionals is our globally aging population which poses considerable threat to the world economy over the next 20 to 50 years.

 

As we reported in this weeks March Greenshoots the Nottingham office of Home Instead Senior Care found this week care is not an attractive profession for many and they have been struggling to recruit 40 care workers company. Nevertheless the demand for skills in this sector is set to boom and there appears no end in sight.

The only issue is can we attract the people to work in this highly demanding sector.

 

Emerging Technology Applications

 

As technology advances the application of this to every business is going to create and generate new jobs and skills for which there is a very small supply base.

It is debateable whether these will be IT or engineering jobs. Certainly there will be many in these sectors but technology and mobile technology particularly is starting to pervade the whole of our lives from in-car systems, to domestic climate control systems to intelligent hi-fi to the whole tablet, smartphone industry, which now enables retailers, suppliers and businesses generally to create totally new ways of delivering services to us.

telehealth-remote-kit-btFrom Tele-health that enables patients to be treated for many illnesses at home to iPhone apps that enable us to purchase things on the move, business is changing and the skills and people required to keep businesses ahead of their competitors are going to be highly sort after.

 

Only recently a Computerworld survey indicated that 60% of IT executives plan to hire app developers in 2013.

I’m sure other vibrant sectors will materialise as we emerge out of our worldwide recession and the skills shortages discussed in my blog Third World War begins Now – Recruitment Agencies Mercenaries or Allies? start to bite.

It defies logic that with Europe facing a skill shortage of 23 million by 2020 and China and incredible 140m by 2030, recruitment agencies will not have a key role to play.

Graduates

If you have children considering university then clearly these are the sectors to go for but Graduates in Cap and Gownwith the average student debt tipped to reach £50,000 by 2015 when the new student fees hit, you can understand why fresh graduates will look globally rather than in the UK when seeking careers.

Personally I remain convinced that UK Plc. does not have this policy right so watch this space.

 

 

 

 

Third World War begins Now – Recruitment Agencies Mercenaries or Allies?

 

 

Dramatic? Possibly but the scale of what the world faces over the next few years is beyond anything we have ever experienced in our history and the consequences for the global War-on-Talent are massive. Read on and form your own opinion.

 

In recent months there have been a number of reports released which collectively reveal how the global employment world is about to go through a seismic shift. It may seem odd when we have high levels of unemployment in most of the major industrial nations but there is a global shortage of skilled workers.

 

Recent research by Accenture Management Consulting indicates that business leaders believe access to appropriately skilled workers is essential for economic recovery but worryingly more than 50% say it is difficult to recruit entry level workers with the desired skills.

 

Alarmingly Accenture’s Turning the Tide: How Europe can Rebuild Skills and Generate Growth points to the issue continuing as businesses cut back on training despite acknowledging their own needs for staff. As demographics start to impact our workforces demand for entry level workers is about to accelerate.

 

According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s report,“Preparing for a New Era of Work.” in the United States, the gap between the number of people graduating from college and the number of college graduates businesses require will be 1.6 million graduates by 2020.

 

In Europe a shortage of 23 million college-educated workers will exist by 2020. Whilst new IMF paper – “Chronicle of a Decline Foretold: Has China Reached the Lewis Turning Point?”states that by, 2030 China will have a total workforce shortage of almost 140 million workers. “This will have far-reaching implications for both China and the rest of the world,” said the IMF.

 

China cannot avert their demographic cliff, as a result of the effects of low fertility rates – and the one child policy. It will take them over fifty years to turn it round. Even now the Chinese battle for our talented youngsters is starting.

 

During a recent open day I attended at one of the UK’s top universities for fashion design, the University of Westminster, the head of department stated that China was rapidly becoming the number one destination for many of his students with the Chinese paying good money to attract his top talent.

 

The IMF study found that—thanks to global competition, changing demographics and persistent “geographic mismatches” between the supply of workers and the demand for them—a stark skills shortage is emerging worldwide.

 

When you consider that 140 million is the combined population on the UK and Germany you don’t need to be a genius to realise that some of these shortages have strategic implications for nations.
Where are the shortages going to be most acute?

 

A review by Adzuna which was summarised in the  Daily Telegraph , at the end of last year pointed to IT, Healthcare and engineering as being the sectors in highest demand. The boom in Oil and Gas has been one that is globally overheating too with well publicised shortages there too. With the number of new recruits to these industries showing no signs of exceeding short term demands its clear the role for niche recruitment agencies operating in the sectors is set to continue.

 

Will recruitment agencies choose to exploit this market and sell their skills to the highest bidder or will they align themselves with the major global corporate players who will need their support and secure lucrative corporate contracts. It is going to be interesting to watch.

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For me the the critical battle ground will be Social Media. The ‘millennial’ generation are the ones where the skill shortage will be most acute and these are the most social media savvy generation. Win this battle recruiters you win the war and your prosperity is assured. Lose it and you will become as current as the dodo. The choice as they say is yours.

 

 

In next week’s blog I will be looking at ways the industrialised nations can respond to the Global War-on-Talent.