thing is for sure - 2007 will be a challenging
year for Head Hunting. The talent market is
changing. The tools by which the market is managed
are changing also, as is the commercial model of the
modern Head Hunter.
The “War for Talent” was defined by McKinsey a decade ago - and some experts now see what they describe as the “Perfect Storm” raging around the market for talent. The signs are there: continuing growth in the UK and Europe at a rate which has already prompted Professor Shadbolt, President of the BCS, to worry that “there will not be enough qualified graduates to meet the demands of UK industry”.
emerging economies of China and India, having
stretched the global market for steel, oil and concrete
will now use their new muscle to go global and for that
they will require western skills and management, in
the same time the internet, now supported by the
availability of broadband, is pervading
everything. Mathew Taylor, the Prime Minister’s
Strategy Advisor, was quoted recently as saying about
the way internet affects democracy “It
has immense potential but we face a real problem if the
main way in which that potential expresses itself is
through allowing citizens to participate in a shrill
discourse of demands.”
some ways he could be speaking about the effects of
empowerment on the employment market, recruitment and
changing employers. As we have asked
previously: “what happens to recruitment when
every CV and every job is available on line via your TV
fact is that the www is already changing the way the
recruitment and head hunting markets work in terms of,
both, operations and billing.
the recruitment industry is itself recovering from many
years of poor results caused by over-confidence in what
turned out to be a reducing market. Today, the
movement of investment into head hunting firms is a
significant pointer to growing confidence that talent is
on the move. The picture canny investors see may
be good for recruiters but not necessarily for business
needing to recruit or to hang on to key talent.
is for sure that a lot of money has gone into head
hunting and recruitment agencies of late – Piers
Marmion has taken his team into Whitehead Mann and
Jeremy Hosking, reputedly one of the richest and most
canny men in the city, has added other interests to the
one he already held in Penna. Some of this
investment is undoubtedly opportunistic, investors
putting money into vehicles that are emerging from
troubles at a time when the sector is showing signs of
growth. To such people it is the opportunity that
matters so it could be recruitment or sandwich making,
but there signs enough to convince many that growth is
returning - and with it recruitment and head hunting.
There have been a few raised eyebrows in recent times at a sort of musical chairs effect brought about by the work of some Head Hunters who, it seems, operated from excellent 'little black books' which allowed them to set up series of deals wherein FTSIE 500 Directors appeared effectively to be swapping jobs. As with many things the reality was probably different but the perception was very damaging. Longer term, even crises are sometimes responsible for beneficial change.
head hunters have come to think of the 'little black
book' as being an important, but only one, element in
good head hunting which demands much more research and
data mining by head hunters to make sure that they are
covering the true range of talent that might be
appropriate. I know of several assignments where
the initial list has exceeded 100, yes one hundred
targets, a scale of activity unheard of not so long
ago. (No I'm not asking for sympathy for poor
overworked head hunters, I'm not yet that gaga!)
Moreover, changing jobs is now a much easier prospect for talented managers for who there is a plethora of new enterprises run by quick minded men and women running quick footed businesses that are unafraid to recruit the best with more regard for talent and less to sectoral experience.
In our view all
this points inevitably towards greater challenges in
both retention and recruitment which is why I am
forecasting an interesting year, one in which, if you
are to use head hunters, will require that you work only
with the best at a time when recognising the best will
be harder than you might think. What was good
three years ago may be ineffective in 2007.
The fact is that
head hunting and recruitment are moving on – not
before time some might say – and old structures and
traditional perceptions of what translates to quality
need no longer apply. Ample, good resources make
for good head hunting but these cost money and finding
the balance between overheads and revenue has always
been a problem for the industry.
We have seen,
amongst others, articles from Shena Parthab at
EURONET Search, Mike Taylor at Global Back Office
and the work of OSI2 along with some very interesting
material at onrec.com, the excellent online recruitment
magazine - all of which shows us that change is abroad
in more senses than one and how a new approach to
allocating work can facilitate innovative change in a
staid, mature sector.
hunting may be ever more dependent on research, but it
relies also on innovation and experience to add value by
looking at a range of options from which a selection can
be resourced. Modern head hunters do not just recruit, they look at resourcing solutions and they are also
increasingly concerned to ensure that the appointment is
right also for the appointee.
As Head Hunting
becomes ever more accessible and affordable it will
allow the methods to trickle down so that the head
hunting approach can be applied to a wider range of jobs
with a wider spectrum of salary levels.
platforms on which recruitment advertising have operated
are themselves under pressure and changing – ITV is
vulnerable because of falling revenues and how long will
it be before web based advertising becomes the medium
for recruitment as the circulation of newspapers
continues to fall? When those graphs meet what
will be the effects on recruitment and head
hunting….? Meanwhile, good hunting.
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