HR in 2014: the Recruiter’s View

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2014 was ushered in with two slightly convergent views to the recruitment market this year.  REC emailed their members with a bullish assessment of the sector in the year ahead with an estimated 7-8% increase in recruitment activity, whilst the CIPD’s chief economist talked of the challenge in 2014 coming in the form of increasing productivity to see the realisation of the ‘jobs machine’ which could push unemployment below the important 7% level and see real wages rise for the first time in five years.

The clear message coming from both was that the employment market will continue to improve in the year ahead and as a consequence, HR and Recruitment have a vital role to play in the coming months.  For me, recruitment is in possibly it’s most interesting period for decades and as both an HR professional and well established recruiter, I take a great interest in the direction of the industry in the age of expanding internal recruitment teams, LinkedIn and fully outsourced recruitment departments.

Blessed with the advantage of speaking to and working with key decision makers in HR on a daily basis, I see three key challenges for HR and recruitment teams in the year ahead.

1 – Getting Them

The past year has seen the market becoming much more candidate led as organisations look to invest in often scarce talent, especially in the North of England where Exclusive operate.  At present, in key areas of HR demand is outstripping supply and this is where I see the role of the specialist recruiter as being key.  For all that there are some fantastic internal recruitment teams in the region, a common theme that I hear is that whilst they are increasingly excelling in ‘inward recritment’ (response to advert and recruitment campaigns), the need for a strong recruitment consultant in going out and finding talent is greater than ever.  Partly this is down to the fact that often within certain industries, there remains a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ that one organisation will not directly source from competing businesses, therefore meaning the recruitment consultant is key in identifying talent but also a strong recruitment specialist is still the first port of call for most candidates in starting their job search.

Being recognised as a specialist and leader in HR recruitment means that Exclusive are often dealing with first class candidates that fall under the radar of direct advertising campaigns and emphasises why we can be so important in helping you find the talent for your own HR team.

2 – Keeping Them

It may seem strange for an HR recruiter like myself to be stressing the importance of retention, but along with engagement, I see this as being the key theme for HR teams in 2014.  Certainly, in discussing roles with employers, the key skillset I have heard over and over again in recent months has been engagement with a view to cementing retention levels across functions in businesses across the board.

However, the HR professionals who can demonstrate REAL expertise in these two areas are not ten-a-penny and as such, I would stress that only a specialist recruiter would be able to provide clients with a choice of top quality candidates – it goes without saying that engagement and retention specialists tend to be held onto pretty tightly by their own employers and as such aren’t often out there openly on the market at large!

3 – Developing Them

This, for me goes hand in hand with engagement and retention but as well as that, one of the key trends I have really noticed over recent months has been the paradigm shift in the role and expectations at the most junior end of the HR department.  As shared service models and ‘self service HR’ where employees are left responsible for their own admin including booking holidays and managing sickness become the norm, the role of the HR Administrator is changing out of sight….and quickly.

Unfortunately, some organisations perceive Exclusive as only operating at the mid to higher end of the HR recruitment market but nothing could be further from the case and we work regularly in finding HR Administrators and Assistants.  Of all the roles I dealt with in 2013, perhaps the one which really got me thinking most as a recruiter was working for a business to bring in an HR Administrator.  The business saw the Administrator as being as important as adding value as the HR Director and far from seeing the role as being a gentle introduction to the profession, instead expected the HR Administrator to come to the table with ideas of projects of their own and not only that but to lead on them in the (not insignificant!) business at large.

The quality of candidates taken to shortlist was fantastic and demonstrated that even at HR Administrator level, there were candidates that could only have been sourced through the lengthy and thorough recruitment assignment which we successfully carried out.  The days of just placing an advert and sifting through 200 identical entry level candidates are gone – the talent search starts now at the first point of entry to the profession and Exclusive lead in this area of the market.

If you have any questions about this article, our consultants at the Exclusive Offices in the North East, Scotland and Yorkshire will be happy to help.

North East: 01661 867 730
Scotland: 01244 912 151
Yorkshire: 01132 430 900

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